Book Review: Speaking of Jesus
By: Carl Medearis ISBN: 9781434702104
Publisher: David C. Cook
The timing of this book was providential, this I know. Before I proceed with my review, I should say that I truly enjoyed this book. I don’t think it is the stuff of earth-shattering revelation, but it is probably one of the most practical and timely reminders of what the gospel is all about that I have read in quite some time. The other book that stands with this one in the same “most practical and timely reminders” status is The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight. This is where the providential part of this review comes in… I read Scot McKnight’s book immediately before picking up Carl Medearis’ Speaking of Jesus book. In my estimation, these two books provided me with a “one – two” punch of divine proportion.
There are parts of this book that I might not completely track with, but on the whole it is masterful in message and mission. Every part of the book is clear: The message, mission, and ministry of our faith is about Jesus… only Jesus. How often we forget this… it is the lost message of Christianity. Medearis makes a strong case for his thesis that the message of Christ has been derailed by the Western Church. He points out how the message of the gospel has been complicated through our reinterpretation of what the gospel means; depending on the doctrine of a particular people group the “good news” might mean many different things. These different things are not the gospel and are certainly not “good news;” these reinterpretations are false messages and most often complicate the way of people to finding and being reconciled to Jesus.
Medearis’ writing style is very down-to-earth and easy to understand. I read this book over the course of a four hour flight and caught myself several times with my head shaking with “yes” affirming nods. He weaves a number of stories from his years as a missionary to the middle east as a means of explaining and illustrating his points. I found these stories engaging and pertinent to the point of the book and the evidence that Medearis had put into practice the things he was presenting to the masses.
The most beautiful part of my experience with this book was the experiment I engaged in upon completing it. I have started sharing my journey through the lens of Jesus. In the most recent opportunities I have had to champion my faith, I have shared by retelling lessons and stories of Jesus. I have pointed to Jesus through the Old Testament narrative, I have made comparisons to my present life as interpreted through the teachings of Jesus, and I have paralleled present culture with the life of Jesus from the gospel accounts. I have done this in the settings of people who are unchurched, churched, and anti-church. In every instance my words have been received openly and deeper discussion has ensued. The conversations continue to this day.
I am thankful for the reminder to keep the story Jesus-centered. This is a good book and a very timely read. I believe this will challenge your thinking in areas, but if you are willing to try telling the Jesus story instead of teaching Christianity, you might find renewal and excitement that you have only dreamed of. I highly recommend this book and also The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight. Reading these together build a more complete picture of where this teaching is based.