Morality is such a deep topic. Ethics and philosophy and the ideas that branch to and from the discussion are at most times way beyond me. Ethics, particularly moralism, at its core is the idea that we are to live a “right” way and to judge others accordingly.
Life up until Christ was well saturated in this idea of morality. Even a cursory reading of the life of Christ will tell you that Jesus was different. His teachings were different and his ministry was different. His words and his works were different … and different is good. In fact, it is the Good News. And this Good News, which arguably has the summary of its life application in the Beatitudes, is exactly what R. W. Glenn has honed in on in this text.
On the topic of morality and its correlation to the Gospels and Christ’s life, Allen Verhey writes, “The Gospels use the tradition of Jesus’ words and deeds to tell his story creatively and faithfully, shaping the conduct and character of particular communities.” (Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier and N. T. Wright. London; Grand Rapids, MI: SPCK; Baker Academic, 2005. Page 198). This is the heart and soul of Glenn’s message! Morality as the world knew it was not only done away with by the life and death of Christ — Christ is greater than any moral measuring rod you have.
“You do not have what it takes and your own moral excellence falls short of the goal, yet you have waiting for you in heaven an eternal reward that will more than make up for all your sufferings for Jesus. It will be Jesus himself, so delight yourself in him.” (Crucifying Morality, 113)
With that truth embedded in your mind, which Glenn exposits in great and easy-to-read detail as he travels verse by verse through the Beatitudes, you realize that you have nothing to gain but Christ. All that we, by nature (which is sinful), feel as though we are supposed to live for, is garbage and Christ gives us a new agenda. Himself. His life and His death. Most insightful for me was Glenn’s chapter entitled “Jesus was the Beatitudes.” Glenn was quick to point out the many ways in which Jesus exemplified the Beatitudes, but when he highlighted the fact that Jesus embodied them than that made me want to be more like the Beatitudes. To be more like Jesus, that is.
This is a stellar text on applicable insight into Beatitudes. Laced with relevant passages, Glenn has done his homework and has applied his teaching to himself (be cautious to invest yourself in any author/pastor/professor who hasn’t wrestled himself through the passage he is expositing). Bottom line: Moralists want to be satisfied now. They want to get revenge and have a full stomach and they want to complete everything on their spiritual checklist … but we’re strangers of this world and Jesus is preparing a place for us where we’ll never thirst again. Focus on that place. Focus on the grace-giving Beatitudes. Focus on Christ.
Book Description from Shepherd Press.com:
Christianity is not moralism. Christianity is not religiosity. Jesus was crucified because we are committed to saving ourselves by our religious stamina and moral efforts. The Beatitudes in their simplicity are not commands to be followed, principles to live by, or attitudes to adopt. They profile people who have crucified their own morality in Jesus’ death, resurrection, and rule.
Crucifying Morality walks through Matthew 5:1-12, where Jesus doesn’t prescribe what ought to be in order to experience God’s grace, but describes what is true of people who understand the grace of God.
Includes group discussion questions with each chapter.
“God’s sanctifying work in this Jersey boy is extraordinary. Jesus himself will come alive for you in the Beatitudes like never before.” —David Mathis, Executive Editor, desiringGod.org
“This much is clear — Jesus turns the world upside down. This includes human morality. Read it and learn.” —R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
“I love humor and I love theology. R W Glenn uses both to clear away the fog of confusion from the Beatitudes to show us that it’s all about Jesus.” —CJ Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries
“R W left me hopeful and motivated because he helped me see that the Beatitudes aren’t a moral code for me to achieve. Read and let yourself weep and celebrate.” —Paul David Tripp
“The quest to become moral can turn into just one more self-salvation project. Bob shows that our anchor is that Jesus became like us.” —Tullian Tchividjian, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, author of Jesus + Nothing = Everything
I’m not the only one with an opinion of this book, learn more at the following link: crossfocusedreviews.com
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CURRENT WEBSITE SPECIAL (as of April 4th, 2013): When you buy the paperback edition of Crucifying Morality from ShepherdPress.com, you’ll receive a download link for a zip file containing both the ePub (for iPad, Nook, etc) and Kindle editions as well. Just download the file to your computer, unzip it, and transfer the appropriate file to your ebook reader. (Note: Offer valid only for web orders placed at shepherdpress.com.)
** This book was provided free with my promise to share an unbiased review of this text.