Not Forsaken: McCall Responds

For the past week and a half, Fred Sanders and Matt Jenson have been discussing Thomas H. McCall’s new book Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why it Matters. See parts 1, 2, 3, & 4 if you missed our little cartoon theology-heads talking back and forth about this commendable book. As our discussion drew to a close, I wrote to Tom and invited him to chime in. Here’s his response.

Sanders: Hi Tom. I hope you found our public discussion of your book engaging and fair. I also wanted to extend the invitation to you to respond in person on the blog, if you want to.

We don’t have a comments section at The Scriptorium on purpose, because I hate comments sections. But we’re not trying to hide, or get away without any accountability. Anything you want to add?

McCall: Matt and Fred, I’m very grateful to you for this conversation. I’ve been amazed at how kind you’ve been. You’ve been engaging and fair, but you’ve gone far beyond that: you’ve been very, very gracious. I wrote this book with a broad (and more general) audience in mind, so it is very humbling to see such respected theologians taking it this seriously.

I think that many of the insights – including the gentle criticisms – are both correct and helpful. In some places your comments left me thinking “yep, I almost wrote that book instead of this one,” while in other places my response was “wow, I wish that I would have had this kind of feedback before the book went into print.” Earlier I had planned to write a book addressing some of the suggestions that you make; initially I was hoping for a longer and dense scholarly monograph that more fully surveyed the history of interpretation of the cry of dereliction (as well, Fred, as 2 Cor 5:21 and Gal 3:13) and more carefully analyzed some important issues in Christology and the doctrine of the Trinity. But some interesting things happened along the way: first, my students urged me to write a shorter, more accessible book, and, second, I was privileged to preach during Holy Week. The more I reflected on it, the more I became convinced that what I had to say needed to be heard by pastors and students (as well as scholars). So, after prayerful consideration, I decided to write this little book, and to be as concise, straightforward, and direct as possible.

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