Carson’s expositions on First and Second Corinthians have been a blessing to me. These come in a series of smaller volumes from Baker Books. The title of this volume interested me and I found it an encouraging read as well as an instructive lesson on the first half of First Corinthians. Carson often paints a caricature of fundamental believers, but does not become caustic. He has equally scathing words for his own evangelicalism, especially the more progressive side. For example, he points out that George Barna often becomes more important than the Bible; that performance-oriented preaching is compromised and asks, “has the smoothness of the performance become more important to us than the fear of the Lord?” He also asks, “Have professional competence and smooth showmanship become more valuable than sober reckoning over what it means to focus on Christ crucified?”
Carson gives good insight on chapter 9 about becoming all things to all people. Paul is a “world Christian,” and presents himself neither as a Jew nor as a Gentile but only as “becoming” one for the sake of the gospel. Carson is clear on the Mosaic law being abolished and affirming that Paul was not saying he kept the law. Paul understood his position as a Christian who stands above all cultures, nations, and ages. He can use culture that is neutral and be critical of culture that is morally wrong.
There were some negatives (for me anyway). Carson believes the kingdom of God is future but also exists now in a “realized or inaugurated eschatology.” Carson avoids any mention of the rapture in discussing the Judgment Seat of Christ and sees the primary judgment to be for leaders more than for Christians in general. I thought, however, that his term “world-Christian” (not “worldly”) and his discussion of how the believer relates to the time and country in which he lives to be very good.