Featured Reviews, VOLUME 8

Alan Cross – When Heaven and Earth Collide [Feature Review]

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1603063501″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517JUQAHCuL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″]Kindle[/easyazon_image]Page 2: Alan Cross – When Heaven and Earth Collide

Cross climactically leads the book to an appeal from Jesus’ life.  In the chapter What Would Jesus Have Done, Cross urges the Church to lay aside its prejudices and take a Christo-centric reading of scripture in regards to ethics.   Cross shows us the Jesus who was crucified to break down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile, between black and white.  Cross calls on the Church to be united upon Jesus as the Christ, placing Him as far greater a reason to worship together than the mutual agreement regarding praise and worship styles, so often appealed to as why blacks and whites cannot worship together.  He calls the Church to be unreserved in braking down racial walls in culture, even if it means being disbanded from your political affiliations.  Cross argues that the actions of Jesus towards the religious and social minorities are to influence the Church more than proof texts pulled out of context to support this or that doctrine.
Perhaps what struck me most about this book was chapter 5, entitled “Civil Rights, Broken Trust, and Missed Opportunity.”  In it, the author describes how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for breaking an Alabama law against mass public demonstrations.  Dr. King was attempting to revive the ‘Birmingham Campaign, “a direct-action protest against the segregationist business practices of Birmingham’s downtown merchants” (124). Dr. King expected to get the attention of community leaders in the area, but while in Jail, eight members of the white clergy wrote a letter to the Birmingham News condemning his strategy as “unwise and untimely”.  They pleaded “to both our White and Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and common sense.”   Cross comments that much of white evangelicalism was “more interested in ‘order’ and ‘peace’ for itself than in justice for the oppressed” (126).  Cross quotes the chilling words of a jailed Dr. King: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in this stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action..”.
Alan Cross has written a timely text that calls the church to a higher vision, one of justice and love, especially pertinent for our times.  Indeed, perhaps it is past due for the Church to emulate its Founder.


Enter your email below to sign up for our weekly digest & choose a free ebook
from the four pictured ------> 


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

Comments are closed.