Unparalleled, Jared C. Wilson. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016.
Summary: A book that makes the case for Christianity by proposing that the unique elements in Christian faith’s account of God, humanity, Jesus, salvation, history, and the end make it both worthy and credible.
I love to tell the story;
’tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God’s own holy Word.
I not only love telling the story of the Christian faith but listening to others tell it, even when they are speaking of things I’ve heard before. Reading Jared Wilson’s account of the compelling character of the Christian faith in its “unparalleled” claims was “wonderfully sweet” and I commend reading such books even by “seasoned” Christians so we can better tell the story ourselves.
In a conversational style, Wilson recounts his own efforts to tell the story, and along the way, highlights how so often the good news that we share is a message most have never heard before and shatters their misconceptions. He speaks of a God who is great, utterly good and just, and yet who may forgive even the most heinous crimes. How can that be? He talks about the challenging matter of a God who is three and yet One, and whose relational character serves as the basis of all loving relationships.
He explores how the Christian view of humanity reveals us as both beautiful and yet broken reflections of the beautiful God. He opens up to us the uniqueness of Jesus, who had the audacity to claim to be God, lived a life that backed this claim, and then amazingly died and rose to triumph over evil and death. All this was to accomplish a salvation that rests utterly on what he has done, and not what we do, and propels the forgiven and beloved into global mission that speaks bring a message both universal and unparalleled that anticipates a new heaven and earth, a glorious future that transcends both our own lives, and life on earth as we know it.
I think there are several good uses for this book. One I’ve already alluded to is that it helps Christians, both young and old alike, to crystallize our message for this generation. A second use is as a more accessible version of a book like Mere Christianity to offer those exploring the faith and how it could possibly make sense to become a Christian. For both, this is not a book so much of apologetics as that upon which good apologetics is founded, a good explanation of basic Christian belief, or doctrine.
The only thing that mars this book in my opinion are the few places where the author feels compelled to speak critically of Christians outside his own (Baptist Reformed) tradition, taking shots at points at both emergent and mainline Christians. There are other places where this kind of engagement may be appropriate but it detracts from the “mere Christianity” feel of so much of the book that is its strength.
That said, I found myself enjoying the old, old story being told by a new generation of story-teller. No doubt, I will draw upon this book as I have chances to share that same story.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.