IVP Academic

Review: Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters


God is one, unified, without parts or passions. That is the message Thomas H. McCall elaborates, defends, and applies across four chapters of his book Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters (IVP Academic, 2012), with each of these chapters focusing on some aspect of Christ’s work on the cross. McCall quotes the church fathers and the modern liberals, but always supports the traditional view, showing its relevance to the redemption purchased by Christ.

In what sense did Christ quote Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” McCall teaches that though Christ did indeed bear the Father’s wrath, the Triunity of God was not broken. Christ died according to His human nature, but His divinity was not killed. Furthermore, God did not kill His Son. Humans killed Christ, and humans are the beneficiaries of His work.

McCall also addresses the misconception that God loves His people because of Jesus’ death. Instead of this view, he teaches that Jesus’ death is the primary evidence that God already loved His own long before Christ actually died. He showed His love on Golgotha. Finally, Forsaken explains how Christ “became sin” for us: He served as a sin offering, one given to propitiate the Father’s wrath.

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Though narrow in scope, Forsaken addresses several common misconceptions in the American church. It does not provide a complete theology of the cross, the Trinity, or the atonement—but it fills in the gaps and explains how those doctrines interact with each other.

Though it comes from an academic press, it is actually a work of popular theology. McCall ends with a moving epilogue about his own earthly father’s death in the light of the foregoing four chapters of theological truth. Time after time, this book combines the theological with the practical, consistently delivering (as the title promises) “why it matters.” 

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson

Caleb is the pastor of Harvest Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Gillette, Wyoming.


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