Book Review: The Christian Life: Cross or Glory?

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Christian Life - Cross or GloryTitle: The Christian Life: Cross or Glory?
Author: Steven A. Hein
Publisher: New Reformation Publications
Language: English
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Pages: 189

The purpose of this book is set forth in the first sentence of the introduction: “The title of this work, Christian Life: Cross or Glory? is intended to entice the reader to consider a rather distasteful question: What is the relevance of the crucified Christ for daily Christian living?” The author brings up a good point in that Christians must ask, “Should my focus be Christ on the cross or the glorified risen Christ?” The author further states that the purpose of this book “is not to inspire or uplift, but rather to inform and then persuade you to reevaluate what constitutes a healthy life in Christ.”

I found much of this book to be true. The author spends a good deal of time discussing the paradox of the Law contrasted with the Gospel, laying out that the Law demands perfection which we cannot achieve in order to show us our desperate need for the Gospel. He rightly points out that the Law is not ultimately directed to our behavior but to the core of the flesh: the heart and mind.

He also points out the necessary balance of Law and Gospel in the life of the Christian. Focus too much on the Law and we become undernourished and discouraged. Give the Gospel too much attention and we become complacent, bored, irritated, and ungrateful. But with Law and Gospel in balance, we turn to the Law when we have become accustomed to our sins so that we are shaken out of our complacency, and we turn to the Gospel when we are struggling to realize that God’s love is unconditional and not dependent on our successfully fulfilling His rules.

A couple of doctrinal points with which I find contention are the author’s promotion of transubstantiation (the belief that the communion elements of bread and wine become the literal body and blood of Christ) and baptismal regeneration (that salvation occurs at the moment of baptism). Neither of these is surprising considering the author’s Lutheran background, and I would urge caution in reading this book without careful consultation with Scripture (which is really the attitude I encourage in reading any book).

I encountered some important points to consider in my own faith, but this is not the first choice I would recommend, especially to a young/immature believer. Overall, I would rate this work 3/5.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review.

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