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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Unparalleled" (Jared C. Wilson)

TITLE: Unparalleled: How Christianity's Uniqueness Makes It Compelling
AUTHOR: Jared C. Wilson
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016, (240 pages).

Aren't all religions about the same? What is wrong with being spiritual but not religious? What is so different about the God of the Bible? Isn't Jesus basically a good teacher? These questions and several more form the gist of what this book is all about. Part theological, part apologetic, and part Christian Education, popular speaker and author Jared Wilson helps us see that Christianity is unique from other religions in at least ten ways. On Theology, God is bigger than any of the other religions combined. In the light of recent controversies over whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God, Wilson says that as long as one does not worship Jesus as God, the path is already different. On the Trinity, the God that Christians worship is also Triune Godhead, which is precisely why community is such a big thing in Christianity. That is because God is already in a divine community and desires for us to share in the same love and fellowship. He highlights the Christian perspective of humanity as one that is most optimistic not on the basis of what they can or cannot do, but on the basis of them being created in the image of God. This is the Christian doctrine of Humanity. He describes the doctrine of sin (Hamartiology) by calling the sinful generation as "broken mirrors" in which we do not realize how broken we are, and how loved we are. On Christology, Wilson writes about the uniqueness of Christ and how Jesus is the only way to salvation, this grace being offered to all. The doctrine of the atonement is explained in "winning by dying," how Jesus himself lived counter-culturally and triumphed eternally. He explains the Resurrection plainly by saying that it is this great historical event that has no parallel. On the doctrine of salvation (soteriology), he reminds us that it is grace that leads us home. The last two topics cover the Great Commission and the last days. From the supremacy of Christianity, Wilson moves on to focus on the supremacy of Christ.

This book can be simply summarized as a paperback mini-theology for the layperson. Wilson refrains from using theological jargon and communicates in everyday language and vocabulary. Those of us who have studied theology will easily recognize the ten key doctrines that he is trying to explain. Rather than a mere theological treatise, Wilson takes readers further toward making theology not only applicable for the masses, but also about equipping believers to learn how to articulate the basic beliefs of Christianity. He draws comparisons frequently to other religions, philosophies, secular worldviews, and other popular humanistic thoughts in our cultural age. This makes the book look more like apologetics and comparative worldviews. This active engagement puts this book in a unique position of bridging the theology and practice. Key to this book is how Wilson tries to differentiate Christianity from the rest. By doing so, readers will be reminded over and over again that they have at least ten reasons to give whenever they hear arguments that all religions are basically the same. The standard answer is no. Christianity is unique and there is no parallel this world can ever offer.

I warmly recommend this book as a gentle introduction for studying theology and learning doctrines.

Jared Wilson is Director of Content Strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and also the managing director of "For the Church," a site for gospel-centered resources. He also writes regularly for "The Gospel Coalition." He has authored other books like "Gospel Wakefulness" and "Your Jesus Is Too Safe."

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Baker Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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