Book Review of Bruce A. Ware’s “The Man Christ Jesus”
- The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (November 7, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 1433513056
Pros: Clear and very well organized.
Cons: Some analogies are stretched a little too thin to make the point
One of Crossway’s newest titles, “The Man Christ Jesus” by Bruce A. Ware, focuses on a defense of the humanity and deity of Christ. Attacks have come from all sides arguing that Christ’s divinity was a hedge against real suffering or a real emptying of His divinity.
Ware develops his response first by presenting Jesus as truly and necessarily human while at the same time, fully God. It’s as if, the author reasons, some arguments suggest that somehow Christ cheated by laying out his divinity as a way to overcome the Temptation. Some readers might be influenced to view Christ’s “growing in knowledge” or His perfect obedience to God as a sure thing. After all, He was God, it may be argued as if suggesting that there is nothing special about the humanity of Christ in the work of salvation. Of course He will overcome death. Of course He will not be tempted. Of course He will appease the wrath of God. He’s God. It’s an interesting point that I, as a reviewer, had never considered.
The humanity of Christ must be 100% real, Ware argues. It is essential in understanding not only how Christ was said to have emptied Himself, but also how “He took on” humanity. Bruce Ware’s analogies when presenting these chapters are insightful and helpful. Ware says “The point is this: the king cannot both live according to the rights and privileges he knows as king while also living life, genuinely and authentically, as a beggar.”
The chapters follow a well-reasoned development. To support his thesis, Ware moves from presenting the fundamental significance of the true humanity of Christ to being actually empowered by the Spirit. He addresses how it is possible for Christ to grow in faith and wisdom, resisting temptation, living as a man and concludes with a section on Christ’s victorious return.
But beware: The book also gets in to masculine and feminine gender issues that may ruffle some feathers. The author squarely addresses why God is revealed as male and what that entails for the believer today. He addresses headship and authority in an honestly cautious, but comprehensive manner.
Ware also manages to roll this whole project together in the format of a group study. He provides discussion questions and external references that deal fairly and fully with the subject areas at hand.
In all, I found the first chapter the single most fascinating discussion. The presentation of the humanity and divinity of Christ was fluid and well reasoned. The entire development of the book hinges on this essential point. Some of the analogies seem to me to be far reaching at times or maybe taken too far, but overall, it doesn’t detract from the solid presentation. He writes *to* the audience without speaking down to the individual reader.
I believe Ware has done a wonderful job at presenting a clear picture and introduction to the real identity of Christ as fully human and fully divine without stepping off the theological cliff with undue speculation. It is cautious, but it does put a foot forward as a defense of the Evangelical understanding of the nature of Christ.