is pleased to announce an upcoming two-volume work by Jeff McSwain, PhD
Book One: Hidden in Contradiction: Humanity in Christ Before, During, and After the Fall
Book Two: The Goodness of Judgment: The Ministry of Christ’s Cross for a Hurting World
Jeff McSwain confronts sin and societal ills by investigating the tangle of human duplicity. In so doing, he provides insight and interpretive clarity about the truth and goodness of human nature via the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The author of Simul Sanctification (2018) develops his argument over the span of the two volumes, relying most heavily on a central cluster of Protestant and Catholic theologians that includes Karl Barth, Julian of Norwich, Athanasius and James Cone. Dozens of other thinkers buttress McSwain’s view that the only humanity that exists is a humanity created in Christ (Eph 2:10), redeemed by Christ (Rom 3:23-24) and “living to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11). These volumes are filled with scriptural exegesis and practical illustrations that will be especially appreciated by pastors and teachers. Using the elementary image of green and red construction paper woven together to make a placemat, McSwain’s “placemat anthropology” argues that every person in this world is simultaneously totally good (by virtue of creation) and totally wicked (by virtue of the fall). Returning us time and again to Genesis 1, McSwain provides a dynamic way forward built on a dimensional view of human agency and Christ-centered community. The result is a thorough application of Christology to anthropology and everyday life, an inspiring work of systematic theology aimed at systematic change.
Book One focuses on the Triune God’s purpose in creation and the continuity of human goodness in the midst of a world in fallen contradiction. Christ’s resurrection demonstrates the inner connection of re-creation to creation, revealing the priority of life over death. This Easter asymmetry is the key to interpreting our human tangle. By the Spirit we are empowered to live in the hidden truth of who Christ is and who we have always been in Christ and as God’s beloved in the Trinitarian communion. In Christ’s free human agency we find our own, not as “individuals” but as persons existing in the Person of Christ, sharing life with the Triune Persons.
“’Created in the image’ is not enough. We are created in Jesus Christ.”
Book Two discusses how Christ’s death provides the radical discontinuity (judgment) needed to preserve the continuity of creation. In this light the Spirit urges us to freshly embrace our true selves in Christ and to deny our false, destructive selves that have been crucified with him. It is the cross of Christ, as will be made clear on Judgment Day, that finally disentangles evil from good and sin from righteousness. McSwain’s cosmic vision pictures all people sharing in Christ’s sufferings and also in his glory. Thus, the reconciled human race genuinely participates as one in Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil.
“Creation without redemption is Christianity without the cross”
Projected release for Book One, late 2022