I'm not a scholar, just the occasional reader but as I made the introduction I felt intrigued; as I read the book I felt challenged; and as I turned the last page I felt inspired.
"This book proposes that Jesus, the traditional, biblical Jesus, the complete biblical Jesus, is still essential to give meaning to human existence and richness to human experience" (the editors, Bryan Ball and Williant Johnsson).
A series of respected, Christ-loving contributors have been chosen to answer the critics on who, essentially, Christ was and is. Each topic is treated in a remrkedly different style, depending on the demands of the topic and the temperament of the writer. Some flow easily for the reader, others perhaps not so, but that in no way detracts from the value of what is being said by either.
Each chapter constantly refers to Scripture. In fact, to gain the full benefit of some chapters where a series of texts is listed, an open Bible beside you would take best advantage of the contributors' work.
The supernatural aspects of our Lord's birth, death and resurrection are often denied. This book affirims a belief in them providing historical, scriptural and logical support. David Marshalls certairity is in his style as well as content. He sees "the resurrection of Jesus is not only the demonstrably true foundation of Cliristian faith. It is tot us the historical, public, and unbreakable guarantee given by God the Father of our own destiny and future glory."
The confronting Christ who demands obedience, a Christ contrary to contentporary Christian drought, is explored. We are confronted by His compassion, and our form of relationship with Him is directly challenged.
"Belief involves the intellect, but more than that, it touches our fears and demands our vidnerability. it invites us to remove our safety barriers and not seek limitations to our understanding of God and our relationship to Him' (Andrea Luxton).
And Norman Young approaches that old sticking point, the nature of Christ, with total reverence for his subject and for the Word. It is good to hear a writer say, the Bible says this, no more and no less, so neither shall I.
"The desire to be like God can be a worthy aspiration as well as a satanic delusion, depending on how we perceive the nature of God. In Christ we see the essence of God, and it is one of humble self-giving. To grasp that, or rather to be grasped by it, is the lowering of human pride and conceit in the dust' (Norman Young).
This book is not a collection of postulations; the editors contend that the Christ revealed in this book is one based on truth, not our imaginations.
No book win remove the need for faith; even Scripture demands it. What this book does do is remove crippling and unnecessary doubts for today's Christian.
PS. Do yourself a favour when you read this book: read the first and last chapters twice the first for its drawing power, the last for its challenge.
Karen Muirhead is a freelance writer living in Dubbo, NSW.
The Essential Jesus is available at HopeShop