A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Jesus Paradigm from Energion Publications. I’ve been a reader of ‘Brother Dave’s’ blog for a while now, as was definitely interested when the publisher offered to give a few copies away!
The core of the book is essentially this. ‘Christianity’ and ‘Church’ have become more and more removed from Jesus. Rather than becoming followers of Jesus, we are becoming at times followers of the church, or followers of a certain preacher, or followers of a certain political party – not followers of Jesus. Many organizations and people want to claim Jesus as their own – and so create their own followers, rather than direct people back to Jesus!
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Dr Black (yes, he is a New Testament Greek scholar) then takes on various aspects of our lives, and even of what we consider Christianity, and measures it against the Gospel. As you would expect, the result is challenging to our daily lives – to live as followers of Jesus, not ‘members of the church’.
The good – Dr Black speaks from personal experience, as well as drawing from many historical groups to make his point. In many cases drawing form the early Anabaptist traditions, showing how they came to believe what they did and how that is focussed on the Gospel. This is not an Anabaptist book however by any means, as even by the title we can see that Dr Blacks primary goal is to draw us back to focussing on Jesus – not another church or denomination!
The average – There is a lot of very specific criticism of the American political environment right now. Not that this area isn’t due for some honest criticism, but as someone who lives outside of America, it is significantly less relevant. Fortunately however this doesn’t make the whole book inaccessible, it was for me just less relevant than the rest of the message.
The very good – you might think from my comments above that the book is primarily one of criticism and negativity – not so! In fact I would dare say it is one of the most positive treatments of the issues in the church that I have read of late. Rather than be negative and browbeat the reader into depression over the state of the church (I read a book like that recently), and Christianity as a whole, Dr Black spends a short time focussing on the issue – but then more time going back to Jesus for the solution. This was an entirely positive experience, and one many writers could learn from!
To conclude? Though you might not agree with absolutely everything, and though all of it may not be applicable to you, this was still a good book, not only challenging you to grow closer to Jesus, but providing solid answers on how you might respond. Highly recommended.
Want a free copy of this book? (I’m giving away 2)
Well, though I was sent a hard copy of The Jesus Paradigm, I read the book on Kindle, so my copy is perfect. And this book is challenging enough I would love for someone else to read it as well – so I’m giving away the print book and a Kindle edition.
Leave a comment below, using the form to enter your name and email (so I can contact you!). And let me know whether you would prefer the print book, Kindle edition, or either (meaning you don’t mind and are in both opportunities). On the 19th of August I will be drawing the winner from the comments below. Easy!