Book Review: The Sonship of Christ

Energetic and fast-paced, this book contains some "big ideas in an easy-to-read presentation".

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(Credit: thesonshipofchrist.com)

The Sonship of Christ: Exploring the Covenant Identity of God and Man
Ty Gibson

One of the persistent streams of theological argument in the Adventist Church relates to our understanding of God, particularly the doctrine of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. As well as being a profound mystery, it remains an important discussion, with implications across the breadth of our theology, our assurance of salvation and the practical responses these beliefs call from us. It took our Adventist pioneers some decades to reach an appreciation of the beauty of the Trinity doctrine, so it seems fair that our exploration of this doctrine has some space to grow.

". . . using human language to talk about God is always inexact and we must be careful not to under-read or to over-read the words we have to work with."

In this context, The Sonship of Christ is a readable and engaging argument, that makes useful progress in shifting it away from mere argument. It’s emphasis on reading the Bible as a larger whole, rather than proof-texting, is important and something that needs to be said more often. And tracing the motif of “sonship” through the Bible story reveals Jesus’ identification as the “Son of God” as more about mission and purpose than origin story. This is a significant understanding: that using human language to talk about God is always inexact and we must be careful not to under-read or to over-read the words we have to work with. That’s why reading the larger context is so important—and The Sonship of Christ does this well.

Author Ty Gibson is writing as an evangelist, more than a scholar. His style is enthusiastic but perhaps not always careful. And the absence of obvious engagement with other theologians and authors, with no acknowledgments or footnoting, misses opportunities to introduce readers to more of the thinking behind the flow of his creative and compelling exploration of the story of God. But, in this sense, Gibson is simply a great storyteller—passionately re-telling the best story ever.

The Sonship of Christ is energetic and fast-paced, big ideas in an easy-to-read presentation, as it points readers back to the Bible and the big story it tells. Gibson paints an overwhelmingly beautiful picture of God and His plan for redemption and restoration. More than an argument for the Trinity doctrine, Gibson offers a fresh rationale. And—to give away the ending—“it’s a love story.”

The Sonship of Christ and other books by Ty Gibson are available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand.