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Book Review:

"The Jesus I Never Knew"


Philip Yancey

Published by Zondervan Publishing House $18.99


The title alone is intriguing. After reading the book, I found that the cover illustrates the content better than any I've seen. The cover evokes the image of a fogged window partially wiped to see Jesus peering in. Yancey does just that in the book. He wipes away the fog of false ideas, tradition, and cultural screens giving the reader a view of the Jesus presented in Scripture.

The book is divided into three sections: "Who He Was;" "Why He Came;" and "What He Left Behind." Through these sections, Yancey offers a clearer view of Christ from birth to death, resurrection and ascension. He uses an expository method of revealing scriptural truths and well-developed historical backgrounds to give this clear view. He does away with any concept we may have of a "tame Jesus," that we often hear we are to "accept." He rids us of the false image he grew up with of a Jesus that was "someone kind and reassuring with no sharp edges at all--a Mister Rogers before the age of television." His depiction is of Jesus as Lord of the Universe who came to redeem mankind and therefore can and does make demands upon our lives.

In the chapter, "Kingdom: Wheat Among the Thorns," Yancey defines the true purpose of Christ's Kingdom, as a kingdom of love and not power. This is a truth often missed by those seeking political power for the church. "...[P]olitical involvements risk pulling onto ourselves the mantle of power that smothers love. From Jesus I learn that whatever activism I get involved in, it must not drive out love and humility, or otherwise I betray the kingdom of heaven." How often do we tend to denigrate the opposition in our "cultural wars?"

Our vision of Christ too easily becomes obscured by so many things, and for the most part we don't even realize it. That is one reason this is an important book. Chapter after chapter, Yancey clears away a little more fog so the reader can clearly see Jesus, His kingdom , and the role of the Christian. The book won the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's "Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year Award." I highly recommend it to any wanting a clear vision of Christ and a closer walk with Him. 



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