"Rutledge began to write the volume 20 years ago when she was struck by the absence of the preaching of the Cross in the churches she visited. 'Our pastor says preaching the Cross is not a good tool for growing congregations,' she quoted one lay person as saying. 'No, it is not a good tool,' she responded, intimating that preaching the Cross should not be a tool at all. Preaching the Cross is of the essence of Christianity.
Why? Because at the Cross God did something radically new. Where other scholars are now emphasizing the continuity between God’s work with the people of Israel and God’s work in the ever-expanding church, Rutledge wants to emphasize the discontinuity, the radical newness of Christian faith. Thus she finds herself out of step with those who promote a ’new perspective on Paul’ and in line with those who emphasize an apocalyptic view, which accents the in-breaking of God’s reign to be consummated in a new creation. […]
For us to face the radical evil in our world, Rutledge says, we need this kind of apocalyptic understanding. Evil is pervasive and persistent. It manifests itself in genocides and mass shootings, but also in individual lives. The apocalyptic gospel recognizes the potential for such evil in every human person. And the magnitude of radical evil in our world requires a radical solution. Thus Rutledge turns not just to the fact of Jesus’ death, but to the particularly ghastly manner in which he was executed. ’The horror of the Cross corresponds to the annihilating power of Sin and Death,’ she says. Anything less tends to trivialize the problem.”