Anthony T. Selvaggio
Reviewed by: James J. Cassidy
The Seven Signs: Seeing the Glory of Christ in the Gospel of John, by Anthony T. Selvaggio. Published by Reformation Heritage Books, 2010. Paperback, 128 pages, list price $7.50. Reviewed by OP pastor James J. Cassidy.
Anthony Selvaggio has provided the church with a small, but robust, biblical theology of the Gospel of John. His approach to the Word of God is thoroughly Christ centered.
Selvaggio opens his book by examining the use of signs in redemptive history. Beginning with Moses, he explains that the purpose of signs is to authenticate God's messengers (p. 4). Selvaggio then moves to the New Testament and to John in particular, focusing on the signs in the first half of the book. From John 20:31, he explains that these seven signs are recorded by John to lead people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, so that in believing they might have eternal life. Like the signs of the Old Testament, these signs authenticate the messianic person and message of Jesus. And in so doing, they lead us to behold the divine glory of our Savior (p. 11)!
The book also has an apologetic edge. Selvaggio invites the unbeliever to sit as a juror and deliver a verdict on Jesus (p. 12). While this reviewer is not persuaded that the metaphor of a juror is the best one available, the point is well-taken. The book ends with a call to the unbeliever to believe in the Jesus who is authenticated by these signs. This makes the book a good one to give to a friend who does not yet know the Lord.
Between the introduction and the conclusion are seven chapters, each dedicated to one of the seven signs. The first sign, the changing of water into wine, is not moral instruction to obey mom! Rather, it signifies the transition from the old covenant to the new. The second sign points to the glory of the Suffering Servant of God, who would lay down his life, only to take it up again in three days. The third sign shows us the glory of the God who by his mere word brings to being that which is not. The fourth sign shows Christ's intent to heal people of their fallen, sinful nature. The fifth sign not only shows us that Jesus feeds us with himself unto eternal life, but also teaches the doctrines of grace that we know as Calvinism. The sixth sign shows us the glory of a Savior who is the light of the world and gives sight to the spiritually blind. The last sign shows us the glory of Christ who reigns over all things—even, and especially, death.
In this book, Selvaggio has brought profundity, clarity, brevity, and popularity into wonderful harmony. Not many today are able to penetrate the depths of Scripture without losing the Christian in the pew or the unbeliever. But our author, by the grace of God, has managed to do both. The book is small, but not lightweight. Buy many copies and give them out to believer and unbeliever alike!
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