Friday, October 29, 2010

The Gospel According To Jesus

Chris Seay, pastor and president of the Ecclesia Bible Society, has written an interesting book, in which he tries to help modern Christians embrace the authentic Christian life. He titles the book: The Gospel According to Jesus, but a more appropriate name would be: The Gospel of Jesus According to Paul.

The book centers on understanding Jesus through the lens of the Epistle of Paul to the Church at Rome. According to Seay, true Christianity is about restoring what is broken. He suggests that 84% of Christians misunderstand the meaning of the word “righteousness” and this failure leads to a distorted understanding of the message of Jesus.

The Gospel message is all about restoring our sinful ways, not about a social gospel or personal piety. Jesus came to bring life and light into the dark corners of our lives. This vision is one that is then played out in all aspects of our lives; from the restoration of broken marriages, to care for creation.

The book is well written, although there is some material that is missing on page 74. His arguments are well constructed, as long as your understanding of the Biblical material is the same as Seay’s. Which is not a literal understanding, but at times it does not seem far from it.

The book is meant to counter some of the more progressive understandings of the Gospel that are presented by other authors. What I found frustrating, is it really has very little to do with Jesus, as his contemporaries would have understood him, but the understanding that Paul begins to construct 20 or 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. With that understanding, it is well done. But it is not really the Gospel of Jesus.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.