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

forsakenMcCall, Thomas H.

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

Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012. Pp. 171. Paper. $20.00.

Amazon | CBD



With thanks to IVP Academic for this review copy!

Here’s a link to the review in case the audio player isn’t embedded in your RSS feed.



15 thoughts on “Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters (Audio Review)

  1. Tom: Thanks!

    Robert: Much appreciated! And thanks for buying the Kindle version after clicking on my link. Those purchases help to earn me Amazon credit!

  2. I enjoyed the audio review. I actually listened to the whole thing. I can really imagine you teaching in the church. You communicate these issues well.

    On another note, I’m not following you on the later nice bits of the Psalms being assumed when Jesus quotes “My God why have you forsaken me” unless he was expressing hope that they later part of the Psalm would apply to him (as in God would hopefully rescue him or something). Although it’s possible he had the later part in mind it seems a stretch to interpret his feeling on the cross based on what he didn’t say but might have been thinking rather than what he clearly did say.

  3. Bryan: Thanks for listening. Tune in again next week… ;-)

    You agreed with me 5 years (!) ago on this point. ;-)

    But it’s not like the quotation of Psalm 22:1 is all there is in the narrative (this is a point that McCall helpfully makes and Rikki Watts does a superb job at showing the parallels to Psalm 22 in the passion narrative in his entry in Commentary on the NT use of the OT — I’d summarize it but I’m sure I wouldn’t do it justice). Jesus knew that he was going to die and be raised from the dead (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34) so it’s not like he merely hoped for vindication; he was certain of it. And keep in mind that (1) Jesus’ audience would have been intimately familiar with this psalm (indeed a wide-ranging OT theme) about the righteous sufferer (which is why I believe he quotes it; to show himself to be that sufferer; the epitome of the Davidic Messiah), and (2) Mark’s audience already knows the end story (i.e., the reports that Jesus had been raised from the dead); when they read Mark’s account they know the end from the beginning; Jesus’ vindication would have certainly occurred to them.

    But Watts also notes a theme of the LORD upholding his messianic king (see Pss. 2; 110; 118) and suggests that “Psalm 22 likewise assumes Yahweh’s able protection of his own.” He goes on to say, “Consequently, while not detracting from Jesus’ suffering, it is hard to understand why Mark would work so hard at evoking Ps. 22 if he did not also expect his informed readers to know exactly what was coming next: a startling reversal and deliverance” (CNTUOT, 236). If all we were to go on was the actual quotation of Psalm 22:1 and ignore the seemingly deliberate parallels in the progression of Mark’s passion narrative with the progression of Psalm 22 as a whole, then as McCall quoting Robert Stein says, the text “does not give us any explanation” (Forsaken, 37).

  4. Nick, thanks for the audio review — it was a fun listen and a nice change of pace from written book reviews. I’ve been meaning to blog about the “Psalm 22 in nuce” argument for a while, and your review gave me the occasion to finally get around to it. It’s the pingback link above to Out of Bounds, if you’re interested in checking it out.


  5. How did you find something from 5 years ago of me agreeing with you on this?! Amazing! Unfortunately the link appears to just point to your blog. I’d like to read it though. Good times. :)

    How ’bout I split the baby on this one and say Mark may have had the fuller context in mind and even constructed his narrative with that in mind but Jesus would not have (necessarily). He could have but I don’t see any reason for him to have.

    I think in situations where we’re asked to assume someone meant something else than what they seemed to have clearly said it’s important to ask what we think they would have had to say to mean what they originally seemed to. If Jesus had intended to say God had forsaken him on the cross (he believed God did and he felt he did) what would Jesus have had to say instead of or in addition to “My God why have you forsaken me? “

  6. Bryan: I have a memory like a steel elephant, or something like that. Hmm… The links is working for me. Here’s the full URL: Yours is the first comment.

    I think I’ll keep the whole baby on this one. Besides, who likes a bloody cut up baby anyway. ;-)

    Darren: My pleasure. Thanks for formulating some thoughts for me to interact with. Don’t know that I have the energy to carry on an extended dialog on the topic but I am looking forward to more of your thoughts.

  7. I’m never surprised to see an old view of mine that I no longer agree with. I’m fickle like that. Especially over 5 years. :)

    I’m not sure in this case I disagree with my old self though since I’m not really thinking of whether Jesus experienced some sort of ontological separation on the cross. I think he just felt forsaken and didn’t obviously have the good part of Psalm 22 in his head unless he was hopeful of it being true that he really wasn’t forsaken.

  8. Hi Nick, you mentioned in your review that you felt McCall’s section on Calvinism was a bit light and Calvinists would take issue with the section. I wrote an extended review of that section. I didn’t mean to come off “obsessive” as I clearly gave McCall’s section more attention than he intended it be given. However, I treat his comments in that section as launching pads from which to extend the argument. But I do interact directly with his specific claims too (e.g., his use of the “direct argument” and he use of Acts 7). Hope you don’t mind the plug

    (Paul Manata)

  9. I’m arriving late, I knokw, but is there any possibility of checking on the audio link, Nick? It doesn’t seem to be working.

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