Review from the Ink Slinger, December 9, 2011
Earlier this week, I was blessed to receive a pre-release copy of Jon Cardwell’s book, Christ and Him Crucified. Having read and appreciated Cardwell’s blog, I was expecting more of the same from his latest book: sound theology, earnest exhortation, and good writing. I was not disappointed.In Christ and Him Crucified, Cardwell contends that “the source of our strong faith, the very lifeblood of our growth in grace, has lost its place as the heart of our Christianity: the truth of Christ, and Him crucified.” (p. 11) This is a sad state of affairs. Rather than recognizing Jesus Christ as their all and everything, many professing Christians (unwittingly or otherwise) tend to view Him as something of an add-on. Important, yes; but not absolutely vital.In response to this, Cardwell– not content to merely point out what is wrong– sets forth what is right. Over the course of 125 pages or so, he expounds the essential Gospel truth of Christ and Him crucified, by its preeminence, proposition, power, purpose, provision, privilege, and priority. And in doing so, he reminds how and why this truth is at the very core of the Christian faith.As I read this book, I was repeatedly reminded of one of my favorite theologians, J.C. Ryle; and particularly, his works How Readest Thou? and A Call to Prayer. I do not invoke the name (or those titles) lightly. Christ and Him Crucified resembles the aforementioned books, not only in length– it’s very short, and could be read in a single sitting– but also in style. And I mean that as a compliment.Ryle and Cardwell may be handling different subjects, but the ways in which they handle their subjects are very similar. Both draw on a vast reservoir of Scriptural knowledge. Both write with fluidity and grace. And both infuse their work with a unique sense of earnestness. They’re not just telling you these truths; they’re pleading with you, striving with you, spurring you on.Of course, in the end, one must consider the question that is asked of all books: did Cardwell do justice to his subject matter? Yes and no.On the one hand, Cardwell has done a magnificent job of setting forth this glorious Gospel truth of Christ, and Him Crucified. And yet, one must concede– as Cardwell himself does– that it is a truth so divinely glorious, so wondrously powerful, that it can never be fully expounded by the pen or tongue of mortal man:The truth of the crucified Lord of glory is an infinite and eternal truth and the finite creature will never span its breadth, fathom its depth, scale its height, nor measure its length. We can preach for eternity and never exhaust its excellence. We can lecture with the utmost eloquence and never exceed its majesty and magnificence. We can teach with the most impeccable intellect and never capture its incredible beauty. We may converse by the most holy unction of the Holy Spirit and never fully comprehend its splendor. (p. 112)The projected release date for the final version of this book is January 1st, 2012. When it does come out, I urge you to get a copy for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Email from D.B., Tennessee, December 28, 2011
“Greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own Blood. Brother, I got your book yesterday, read it today. My impression... Thanks be unto God for His Unspeakable Gift. God has blessed you with THE MESSAGE... it has been my heart’s desire and purpose in life to preach the crucified redeemer. You know better than me that all in this life is temporary... but when Christ is our life we really have all we need for this life and the life to come. Your book greatly blessed my heart and you summed it up perfectly... May God richly bless you as you continue to ‘Preach Christ Crucified’. The Lord be with you tonight.”
Review from Michael Wright, January 6, 2012
After reading my good friend’s review of the book, and hearing more of this particular book, I was very interested in acquiring a copy of it. I received this book through the giveaway that Corey Poff hosted on his blog. After receiving it in the mail, I opened and began to read, and I found myself hard-pressed to put it down. This is my review.“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified” – 1 Corinthians 2:2That is the theme verse of this small book by Jon Cardwell that focuses on the glorious Gospel of our blessed God as revealed by His dear Son, Jesus Christ and Cardwell takes up this theme with great passion and precision. Jon Cardwell’s skill as a Bible teacher, tenderness as a pastor, and worship as a grateful son of the Heavenly Father show through on every page of this book as it carefully expounds the Gospel of Christ.A book written with the express purpose of declaring the glory of Christ’s redemption of His church, this small tome brings to us a tremendous balance of solid doctrine, sincere exhortation, Biblical foundation, and superb writing through nine easy to read and thorough chapters.Expounding the Gospel in its preeminence, proposition, power, purpose, provision, privilege with an exhortation in its priority, Christ And Him Crucified does not spare in carefully laying out the truths of the God’s miraculous, sovereign grace with extra care to reference Scripture, backing up each point with verse upon verse and endnotes that are blends of Scriptural references, occasional Greek explanations, and citations by authors of days gone by. Cardwell does not spare in the amount of information that he can fit into this small book, and not a single bit of it wasted.The writing style in general possesses a tone of a fierce love for the Gospel that echoes such men as Paul Washer and Charles Spurgeon, without sacrificing pastoral compassion and Cardwell’s personal voice. While this book can easily be read in a day, you may wish to savor it, and read over the words slowly, so as to soak up their meaning more fully.As I read this book I was reminded much of older authors that I have enjoyed so much. There is a hint of Spurgeon, Bunyan, and other great Puritan authors mixed into this precious book, and as with those author’s writings, this is a book to be visited over and over to refresh the soul and to savor the richness of Christ’s redeeming work. This book has again reminded me of the great debt that I owe to my Savior for what He has done, and brought me again to the truths of God’s immense redeeming love. If you wish to renew your passion for the Gospel, or to drink again of the fountain of these truths, then I would highly recommend this book to you.
At the same time, however, while Cardwell does an exceptional job of expounding Gospel truth, do remember that this is by no means an exhaustive treatment of it. Great though this book is we must at the same time acknowledge that the truths this book mines go far deeper than one hundred odd pages can go. But then, even if for all eternity men were to write books on the Gospel, there would never be an end to them. Cardwell says as much in his book, and I will close with this quote:“What more can be said? Well, infinitely more, actually. The truth of the crucified Lord of glory is an infinite and eternal truth and the finite creature will never span its breadth, fathom its depth, scale its height, nor measure its length. We can preach for eternity and never exhaust its excellence. We can lecture with the utmost eloquence and never exceed its majesty and magnificence. We can teach with the most impeccable intellect and never capture its incredible beauty. We may converse by the most holy unction of the Holy Spirit and never fully comprehend its splendor.”I give this book four out of five.
Review from FrankRollberg, January 8, 2012
Just got through reading this book from a dear brother in Christ Jon Cardwell and it was a blessing to my soul. I recommend this read for anyone who wants to marvel in the riches of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. The Gospel is like a diamond that sparkles in its beauty any way you turn it and are amazed at its splendor. Thank you brother for this work. To God be the Glory!!
Review fromPamela Swartzel, January 10, 2012
Review from Christina Langella, February 27, 2012In a day where the gospel is either diluted to a meaningless set of words or is confused with the RESPONSE to the gospel (repentance and faith in Christ), it is honoring to God and profitable to man to focus on God's culminating act----the ultimate end of all Scripture----the substitutionary and wrath satisfying crucifixion of God's Son--- is indeed the good news and glad tidings to a world of sinners from an offended and holy Deity.
I stumbled onto this book from Sermon Audio (as if there was stumbling from God's perspective). So much of Christendom denies the doctrine of regeneration. If a person has truly been born of God, they will follow Christ, they will grow in grace and they will persevere until the end (exhortations in the Bible will be effectual for them). Because so many church members do not KNOW Christ crucified, we have endless programs to put them under laws and rules to bring their outward behavior into conformity to biblical principals. How much better to lay down clever words and preach Christ and Him Crucified and trust the Sovereign God of the universe to do what He says He will do with the "foolish preaching" of that message.
Lest my review be misunderstood, even though we are not under "law", we in no way dismiss the Old Testament Scriptures or their proper place in teaching us. We are just no longer UNDER the Old Covenant and it's relentless demands on our conscience. We are 'in-lawed' to Christ by grace. What the Law could not do, Christ did. And everything God did for man for his eternal good is tied up in Christ Crucified. This book causes us to "look to Him" and that is the great need of our time. This will be my "gift" book for the year to friends, family and strangers.
With shepherd-like tenderness and scholarly precision, author and pastor, Jon Cardwell takes us back to basics: the soul-saving doctrine of Christ, and Him crucified. In nine, easy to read, scripture laced chapters, he expounds upon the Gospel message in its preeminence, its proposition, its power, its purpose, its provision, its privilege, and its priority. Displaying his gift for poetry and prose, Cardwell caps each chapter with a hymn that is both doctrinally sound and devotionally sweet.
For those seeking "signs and wonders", Cardwell points to John the Baptist of whom Jesus said, "among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist."
"It is interesting to note that John performed no miracle; neither was there any wondrous sign given by his hand. He preached the Christ to come, and repentance in preparation for His coming. Yet, Jesus also included at the end of His discourse that the "least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." I believe that this is because the very least soul saved by the preaching of Christ crucified after the Day of Pentecost and the impartation of Holy Spirit, is full of the greatest power on earth: God Himself. The greater works that would be done is the preaching of the cross by the blessed power of the Holy Spirit."
For those pursuing doctrine apart from knowing Christ, Cardwell reminds us of the end goal:
"Our study of and meditation upon scripture is not to merely amass and categorize factoids to increase our intellects and enhance the knowledge of our minds; it is to know the Person of Jesus Christ. It is to know Christ, not things about Him. To know Christ is godly; to desire to know things about Christ is idolatry."
I believe the timing of this book to be providential in that the current state of affairs bears a strong resemblance to the conditions that led to the Reformation. A gospel of grace remains largely obscured in a compromised church that sits in the midst of a culture characterized by moral and social declension. Moreover, the Romanization of the evangelical church is quietly but most assuredly picking up speed. Cardwell, in the spirit of the Reformers, calls us to put away our rotten religious falsehoods and cast ourselves wholly upon a crucified Savior. Only then will the church be revolutionized and whole societies reformed.
It is with great pleasure that I recommend "Christ and Him Crucified" to anyone seeking gospel truth. This book will lead you to a deeper examination of your faith in light of the one event upon which all eternity hinges— Calvary.
I leave you with the sobering yet faith-filled words written in his postlude:
"If we desire to be faithful in Christ's kingdom, we need look no further than the truth of Christ crucified in the pages of scripture. Every doctrine that exalts itself above the gospel truth of Christ, and Him crucified, will lead men astray: into temptation, into sin, into gross heresy, into blasphemy, unto death. Every good work, kind deed and Christian practice that exalts itself and draws attention away from Christ crucified is a damnable exercise from the start to finish. Both of these, whether deed or doctrine, if it detracts from the gospel of Christ crucified, it is building with wood, hay and stubble in Christ's kingdom, and will be consumed by the Judgment in that Day."