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The Crucifixion
Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ
PAPERBACK; Published: 2/9/2017
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7534-1
695 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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Though the apostle Paul boldly proclaimed "Christ crucified" as the heart of the gospel, Fleming Rutledge notes that preaching about the cross of Christ is remarkably neglected in most churches today. In this book Rutledge addresses the issues and controversies that have caused pastors to speak of the cross only in the most general, bland terms, precluding a full understanding and embrace of the gospel by their congregations.

Countering our contemporary tendency to bypass Jesus' crucifixion, Rutledge in these pages examines in depth all the various themes and motifs used by the New Testament evangelists and apostolic writers to explain the meaning of the cross of Christ. She mines the classical writings of the Church Fathers, the medieval scholastics, and the Reformers as well as more recent scholarship, while bringing them all into contemporary context.

Widely known for her preaching, Rutledge seeks to encourage preachers, teachers, and anyone else interested in what Christians believe to be the central event of world history.
AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
Christianity Today 2017 Book of the Year
Academy of Parish Clergy 2015 Reference Book of the Year
REVIEWS
Robert Barron on Word on Fire
"Fleming Rutledge's The Crucifixion is one of the most stimulating and thought-provoking books of theology that I have read in the past ten years. . . . Rutledge has an extraordinary knack of cutting to the heart of the matter. Her book on the central reality of the Christian faith is supremely illuminating, a delight for the inquiring mind—and man, will it ever preach."
Peter Forster in Church Times
"This is pure gold."
Anthony B. Robinson in Christian Century
"Rutledge helps those who preach and those who listen not only to understand the meaning and significance of the crucifixion, but also to stand under it in awe and devotion."
Robert P. Imbelli in Commonweal
"Monumental. . . . Take up and read! Rutledge's volume wonderfully celebrates the triumph of redeeming grace: the crucified Messiah, Jesus who is the wisdom and power of God."
Stanley Hauerwas
Duke Divinity School
"This is a work of a lifetime that could only be written by someone who has lived a life determined by the cross."
Presbyterian Outlook
"An amazing and fascinating study. . . . Pastors might well commit to spending a year with this book—in conversation with others, if possible. It will preach!"
Leanne Van Dyk
Columbia Theological Seminary
"Before we can get to the glorious resurrection, we must take full account of the tragic necessity of the cross. . . . Penetrating and unflinching in its insistence on Jesus Christ, condemned, crucified, dead, and buried, this book powerfully demonstrates that the crucifixion of the Son of God is good news of cosmic and comprehensive scope."
Scot McKnight
author of The Jesus Creed
"In this amazingly complex but clear book Fleming Rutledge goes deftly where few seem willing to go—to the variety of imaginations shaping early Christian explorations of the significance of Jesus' death. She is one of the few theologians who not only preach inclusivism but practice it by inviting all points of view into the discussion."
Richard J. Mouw
Fuller Theological Seminary
"Though I have been thinking much about the cross of Christ for a half-century now, Fleming Rutledge has taught me many new things in this wonderful book. And where she addresses matters that I have long cherished, she has inspired me anew. This book is a gift to all of us who pray for a genuine revival of crucicentric preaching and cruciform discipleship!"
Katherine Sonderegger
Virginia Theological Seminary
"Fleming Rutledge here lays out the horror of the cross with unflinching honesty and with a patient, full exposition of the rich themes of Christ's redeeming death. She does not shy away from the demands of her theological vision, taking up motifs of satisfaction, substitution, rectification, and divine wrath in turn. Throughout, Rutledge draws on the rich storehouse of a preacher. The whole world stands under her gaze—literary examples, political folly and cruelty, horrendous evils of war and torment and torture, religious timidity and self-deception, human faithlessness and sin. But always the gospel rings out. Christ's cross has won the victory, and it is all from God. This book is a moving testimony to the courage, intelligence, and faithfulness of one of the church's premier preachers. Every student of the Scriptures needs this book."
Larry W. Hurtado
University of Edinburgh
"Demonstrating impressively wide reading, incisive observations, and a passionate concern for clear thinking and faithful preaching, this book is a big read but well worth the effort, especially for clergy—but also for thoughtful laity."
Marilyn McCord Adams
Rutgers University
"To those who think they want a maximally mellow God who overlooks our faults and accepts us just as we are, Rutledge's challenge is to 'get real.' Twentieth-century atrocities bear witness: there is something drastically wrong with the human condition, which only God can fix. Setting things right calls for crucifixion, not only Christ's but also ours. Rutledge has given us a very Pauline book, full of information and observations to provoke clergy to preach the cross to their congregations."
George Hunsinger
Princeton Theological Seminary
"Here is the kind of strong theology that will undergird strong preaching. Preachers who take this book to heart could well revitalize the church."
John D. Witvliet
Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
"A deeply probing and richly evocative exploration of the central mystery of the Christian faith. This is a book to contemplate, to savor, to reread. . . . It is easy to glibly repeat Paul's claim that Jesus' death is a scandal and stumbling block. It is quite something else to let that claim transform how you perceive the world and the triune God who created it. This book confronts all that is glib and evokes that life-giving transformation."
Philip G. Ziegler
University of Aberdeen
"To read this book is to share in a work of joyful, honest, evangelical thinking done right at the foot of the pulpit steps for the sake of the one thing that finally matters in the church—the hearing and proclamation of the word of the cross in all its scandalous power."
Mark Galli
editor of Christianity Today
"I can hardly think of a book more necessary for our time. Many well-meaning attempts to summarize the good news today barely allude to the cross, and we're left with an anemic if not a false gospel. Read, mark, and inwardly digest this book if you want to learn about the cross that truly rectifies the ungodly, even the likes of you and me."
Paul Scott Wilson
University of Toronto
"Brilliant. . . . Persistent readers will find their hearts transformed. Preachers will be emboldened to speak more frequently of the cross, contributing to the gospel renewal of the church."
Nicholas Wolterstorff
Yale University
"The word that came to my mind as I read Fleming Rutledge's book The Crucifixion was 'bracing': the book is bracing in its vigorous affirmation of the centrality of Christ's crucifixion in the Christian proclamation, bracing in its description of the unspeakable horror and shame of the crucifixion, bracing in its affirmation that we are one and all sinners, bracing in its identification and rejection of the many forms of theological silliness now inhabiting the church. Though meant for pastors and laypeople, this book will also benefit scholars. It carries its deep learning with eloquence and grace. I will be returning to it."
J. Louis Martyn
Union Theological Seminary
"In the crucifixion we sense anew the intersection at which Christian drama and Christian dogma meet one another with announcements that are emphatically universal and nothing less than cosmic. At that intersection we are truly fortunate to have the voice of Fleming Rutledge, one of the most gifted theological preachers of our time. In her writing we encounter the confluence of high drama and arresting dogma, as they work together to strengthen the preacher and provide a high-protein diet that will nourish the congregation to vigorous health."
Stephen Westerholm
McMaster University
"Richly illustrated with examples from literature and current events, this book should prove a gold mine for preachers at the same time as it invites the careful reflection of every reader on the mystery of salvation."
David Bentley Hart
author of The Beauty of the Infinite and Atheist Delusions
"Rutledge's work on the crucifixion is not only broad but also deep. Thought-provoking, often moving, this book offers a genuinely novel approach to a topic on which it often seems nothing new can be said."
Robert W. Jenson
Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology
"This justly celebrated preacher has been digging into the doctrine of atonement for many years. Here is the rich harvest of her labors—a resource especially for preachers like herself."
Douglas Harink
The King's University, Edmonton, Canada
"In this bold, uncompromising, nuanced, and expansive work Rutledge takes us through—and beyond—theories of atonement, avoiding all merely individualistic, spiritualized, religious, moralistic, and therapeutic reductions of the meaning of the crucifixion. Rutledge resolutely proclaims the truth of Christ crucified. To all priests, preachers, and professors: if you care about the church and its mission in history, read this book!"
Joseph Mangina
University of Toronto
" 'Who put the roses on the cross?' asked Goethe, who in fact preferred that the brutal cross be covered in roses. Fleming Rutledge brushes the roses aside and asks us to look at the cross and, even more so, at Him who hung upon it for our sake. This is a book marked by outstanding exegesis, theology, and pastoral sensitivity—a book for thinking Christians and even thinking unbelievers."
Martinus C. de Boer
VU University Amsterdam
"In this thoroughly readable book, preacher-theologian Fleming Rutledge demonstrates that she is also a fine exegete. Through careful exegetical study of the Bible in dialogue with a range of interpreters, she has produced a book that merits a wide readership among theologians, biblical scholars, and preachers."
Christopher Morse
Union Theological Seminary
"In the rich tradition of the preacher-theologian, Fleming Rutledge in her own incisive voice gives testimony to the rectifying significance of Christ's crucifixion with detailed exposition that is at once deeply reflective and full of deep conviction. From a wealth of scholarly references and observations ranging from Scripture, the history of church imagery and its critics, literature, modern theology, and the daily news, readers will find much to ponder in this commendably studied yet vitally proclamatory gospel treatise."
Arne Rasmusson
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
"In this remarkable study of the cross Fleming Rutledge weaves together many metaphors, motifs, and themes into a hermeneutically well-reasoned synthesis. She has mastered an incredible amount of material, including biblical scholarship, the history of theology, and contemporary systematic theology. And she is a master communicator. This is a great book."
Dirk Smit
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
"Fleming Rutledge's reputation as a preacher is widely known, her rhetorical skills—of logos, ethos, and pathos; of content, engagement, and passion&mdsash;widely respected. This treatment of the crucifixion—the fruit of almost two decades, and indeed of a lifelong journey—could in fact also be read as one long sermon. . . . What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ died for us? Honestly facing her own resistance to many traditional and contemporary framings of this question, she consults widely and delves deeply into biblical, historical, and interpretive material in search of her own answers. . . . Informing, reminding, critiquing, illustrating, unmasking, challenging, reassuring, encouraging, and inspiring, she writes for both preachers and listeners. The question Will it preach? is in fact her major concern. The answer can only be a resounding and grateful Yes!"

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