Christ Alone

In The 5 Solas series: What the Reformers Taught… and Why It Still Matters published by Zondervan Stephen Wellum wrote on Christ alone. Wellum focuses on the exclusive identity of Christ and the sufficiency of his work. He shows that without the first we can never maintain the latter. The exclusive identity of Christ was not a point of dispute between Rome and the Reformers in the sixteenth century. Both adhered in it their Christology to the New Testament message as confessed in the creeds of the Early Church.

Today, however we cannot get to the work of Christ before first confronting the loss of sense of his exclusive identity. Orthodox Christology is rooted in the conception that God has really revealed himself and that the Scripture is his Word. The church today needs to defend the Trinity and the authoritative Scripture as absolutely necessary. To have the power to proclaim Christ alone, we must submit to the Scripture as the living voice of the living God to know Christ true identity.

With regard to the sufficiency of the work of Christ the ways of Rome and the Reformation parted. Rome always speaks about Christ in connection with the church as the extension of Christ’s incarnation. In her sacramental theology Rome makes clear that the church itself has a mediating role between God and the sinner. Actually Rome denies the sufficiency of the work of Christ.

Wellum shows the rich meaning of the work of Christ as revealed in the New Testament. He rightly states that apart from viewing Christ’s work as our penal substitute none of the biblical data make sense. In the light of the work of Christ as our penal substitute we get the right view on other aspects of his work as his victory of the devil and the renewing and transforming nature of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection.

The author emphasizes that it is necessary for the church to confess and proclaim Christ alone, because Christ alone in his person and work can do what is necessary to redeem us. He writes that to capture the heartbeat of the Reformation confession of solus Christus one can do no better than to meditate deeply on the words of John Calvin: ‘We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.’ (Institutes II, xvi, 19).

Christ Alone is a spiritually rich book. Is does full justice to the biblical data of Christ’s person and work. It is a work that combines in a very good way biblical theology, historical theology and systema-tic theology and in this way a stimulus for meditation and devotion centered on Christ and his work. I heartily recommend it.

Stephen Wellum, Christ Alone – The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior, The 5 Solas series: What the Reformers Taught… and Why It Still Matters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), paperback 341 pp., $21,99 (ISBN 9780310515746)

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