The Crucified King STR Interviews Dr. Jeremy Treat -- By: Anonymous
STR 5:2 (Winter 2014) p. 171
The Crucified King
STR Interviews Dr. Jeremy Treat
It is a delight for STR to interview Dr. Jeremy R. Treat on the publication of his recent monograph The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Zondervan,
Interview With Jeremy Treat
STR: Jeremy, thank you for speaking with STR. Why did you write this stimulating and evocative book?
Treat: I’ll never forget sitting in church as a young Christian when the preacher bellowed, in that you-should-know-this tone, “What’s the number one thing that Jesus talked about throughout his life?” Lucky for me, I was sure that I did know it. After all, I had grown up in the church hearing every week about what was central to all of Christianity: the cross of Christ. As the preacher allowed a few seconds of silence to let the guilt build up for those who didn’t know the answer, I smirked and prepared to mouth the words along with him. “The number one thing Jesus talked about was…”—and then he said something that nearly knocked me off my pew—“the kingdom of God!” What! The kingdom of God? What about the cross? At that moment it was as if Conviction walked into the room and slapped me in the face; and then his friend Crisis came and sat next to me for an extended talk. How could the kingdom be the thing that Jesus talked about the most, and yet it had no place in my theology, church life, or my perception of what it means to be a Christian? That day was the beginning of a journey for me, in seeking to understand why two of the most important themes in Scripture—the kingdom and the cross—have been divorced in most Christian belief and practice.
I found similar trends when I began looking for answers more broadly in Christianity. Many Christians either cling to
STR 5:2 (Winter 2014) p. 172
the cross or champion the kingdom, usually one to the exclusion of the other. The polarization of these two biblical themes leads to vastly divergent approaches: cross-centered theology that focuses on the salvation of sinners or kingdom-minded activism that seeks to change the world.
When I turned to scholarship for help I found more of the same, although not necessarily for the same reasons. Tomes on the kingdom of God never even mention the atoning work of Christ. Book after book on t...
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