The Third Cross
Avin Harry Johnston – Zondervan Publishing Co. – 346 pp. – $3.50
The Third Cross, written by A. H. Johnston, is a sincere attempt to write a Christian novel. The depth of thought, the type of romance, and the perpetuance of action make this novel especially appealing to those of Junior High and High School level.
Fabius, a Roman soldier, accustomed to high living in Rome, is sent to the lonely hills of Judea with a replacement contingent for the Legions in Judea. He arrives here at the culmination of the life of Christ. Here he coincidentally meets a Jewish girl who despises all Romans, good-looking or not. Being repelled, he, of course, becomes doubly much interested in this lithe, dark-haired, Jewish repellent. But, he finds that their modes of life conflict, she, being an avid follower of the Son of God, he, holding only a gripping awe for him. The conflict is resolved. “If you will follow Him, I will follow you!”
This novel descriptively depicts Roman and Judean history during these times. It reveals the nature of the Jewish people in contrast to that of the Romans . . . And the intense hatred between these two factions. Again, the history is based on Scripture’s interpretation of it. One would especially enjoy the eight page, dramatic scene of Pilate’s dilemma in crucifying Christ.
The title of the book may lead one to think that this is a novel portraying the life of Christ. However, very little is evidenced concerning the life and words of Jesus Christ. Christ is portrayed only as He directly bears on the lives of these two people. Thus, Christ’s words and works are kept those of the Scripture, and not portrayed (as they are by so many artists who depict this era) to such a degree that Christ becomes nothing more than a main character in the book, molded for the author’s intents.