Your Jesus Is Too Safe, by Jared Wilson

Jared Wilson is, among other things, a pastor, a writer, and a participant at one of our favorite blogs, The Thinklings. Phil has already reviewed his recent book, Your Jesus is Too Safe, but I’d like to say a few things about it too.

I picked it up without great anticipation, assuming from the title that it would probably be lots of things I already knew, plus a guilt trip on a deeper Christian life which would only depress me. But I read it with great interest (almost the same as if it had been a novel), and benefited it from it.

It seems to me that Your Jesus is Too Safe is a unified work that may be approached from two different directions (perhaps more; I might have overlooked something). For Christians, it’s a plain-speaking explication of our basic beliefs that develops into a challenge that grows organically out of the theology. I got much good out of this, and received a fresh, important insight that I hope to blog about at a later time.

For the non-Christian reader, it’s a sort of Christianity for Dummies, presenting the essentials of our biblical/theological views in accessible language. (Perhaps too accessible. This book will work well this year, and next year too, but it’s specifically aimed at here and now. Ten years from now the topical jokes [there are quite a few] will be dated.) Alas, even though I might call this a Mere Christianity for the present day, I fear it won’t age as Lewis’ book has.

I have some disagreements. Wilson doesn’t follow Lewis’ lead in eschewing denominationalism. The book is pretty straight Calvinist. As a Lutheran, I think he fails to appreciate the value of the sacraments (which doesn’t mean he despises them. He just views them through Reformed spectacles). And he rejects pretty strongly a position on the meaning of Christ’s cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” which I’ve found pretty significant in my own spiritual life.

But all in all, I recommend Your Jesus is Too Safe, both for Christian readers and for their seeker friends. It’s an impressive achievement.

11 thoughts on “Your Jesus Is Too Safe, by Jared Wilson”

  1. He interprets it as a fulfillment of the psalm from which it is a quote, and not an actual statement that the Father turned His back on the Son. I believe the Father’s rejection is a part of the descent into Hell; the depth of Christ’s suffering.

  2. I agree with what you’ve said too. Our church leaders have described that in explanation of The Apostle’s Creed which says “He descended into hell.” Did Jared oppose this observation, or did he not comment on it? Naturally, I don’t remember.

  3. If I understand him correctly, he finds the idea of God forsaking the Son an obstacle to faith; that if God would forsake the Son, He’d forsake us too. So he says that Christ was merely quoting the psalm to fulfill its prophetic meaning, which he goes on to explicate.

  4. You know, I heard a professor suggest the Lord was praying the psalms at that time, like he and some others were in the habit of doing. I hadn’t thought of that before he said it. Not that he wasn’t expressing his honest emotion, that the Father had forsaken him as he took on our sin and became cursed, but that he was praying Scripture to get through his horrible trial.

  5. Seems to me that someone who writes a book entitled “Your Jesus is Too Safe” should take Jesus at His word, even if the literal meaning of His words doesn’t seem “safe.”

  6. I wouldn’t accuse him of falling short in the literal reading department. There are different senses of literalism. And the rest of the book doesn’t display any tendency to take the literal sense less than seriously.

  7. One of the parts I admired in this book was Jared’s focus on Jesus as a shepherd. He said that he could, as others have done, list the attributes of shepherds and apply them back to Jesus, but he wanted to describe Jesus as he truly appears to be, not force a shepherd illustration on him.

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