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Jesus the Son of God
by D A Carson
Publisher:IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
In what sense is Jesus the Son of God?
Week after week Christians assert that Jesus is the only Son of God, but unless one believes in a physical God-being, this title can in no way imply a DNA-type relationship between God and "His Son". It's an important question and not only because we shouldn't routinely say things in church as statements of belief without some understanding of what we're asserting. For the non-Christian observer, the title "Son of God" is at best perplexing and at worst can make the Christian faith sound faintly bizarre.
D A Carson's succinct and readable book begins with a detailed explanation of all the different ways in which sonship is described in scripture and especially to Jesus. This section alone makes the book worthwhile. Carson then continues with a detailed exploration of two passages – Hebrews 1 and John 5:26-30 – through which he lays the foundations for a Trinitarian uunderstanding of Jesus. The third chapter then embarks on potentially difficult territory – how our understanding of the title "Son of God" should be communicated in a multi-faith world and especially in the sensitive arena of Christian-Muslim relations. Here Carson emphasises the importance of understanding the diversity of contexts in which the term is used and the need for Bible translators to draw out such nuances and avoid simplistic translations that are neither wholly accurate nor sensitive.
D A Carson is not an especially well-known theologian in Britain but deserves to be much more widely appreciated. Carson's writing is accessible without sacrificing depth and this short book deals with a complex topic in a way that is helpful and relevant to lay and ordained Christians. The useful scriptural index at the rear of the book will greatly aid ministers and others in their sermon preparation.
Reviewer: David Ford (23/02/13)