When I sat down to read The Wrong Jesus by Greg Monette the other day, I had no idea how quickly my feelings of uncertainty toward the book would grow into full-fledged excitement. Before then, I’d never heard of the author. And while my type A personality initially cringed at the upside-down picture of Jesus on the front of the book, it only took a couple of pages for me to repent of my cynicism and begin wondering how I had never heard of this book before! I’m not exaggerating when I say that my enthusiasm grew with every page!
Monette addresses questions I’ve been asked over and over in many different contexts, writing for an audience that has been growing exponentially for years. His writing is directed toward curious people that would identify as “non-Christian,” and Christians who find themselves wondering, like Monette did, “What do the history books say [about the Bible]? Is any of what I believed real? Can it be supported?” (Monette, 15) The Wrong Jesus is his response to those questions, shaped by years of study and personal skepticism.
The book helps to uncover the solid historical foundation on which the Bible stands – a foundation that most social circles today are either unaware of or have simply chosen to ignore. It also strives to correct many of the cultural misperceptions Western thinkers have of Jesus, painting Him with pure, objective strokes that shed light onto his person, methods, and purpose.
Any individual who finds him or herself struggling with doubt as to whether or not Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) could benefit deeply from perusing Monette’s findings. He speaks words – such as the following – that many a seeking/questioning person longs to hear: “There may be some good reasons to have doubts…but there’s no reason you should remain stuck in your doubts. In fact, there’s a way to experience some freedom. Because Christianity is based around its founder, Jesus of Nazareth, when we focus on the historical person of Jesus, we can see how firm the foundation of Christianity really is. The historical evidence underpinning the life of Jesus is very well substantiated.” (Monette, 21)
Those are some eloquent words, but I was generally refreshed by the clarity, relatability, and humor with which The Wrong Jesus was written. Who knew you could write about historical Jesus in a non-narrative format and still end up with a page-turner?
On top of all that, I love the helpful discussion questions at the end of each chapter, no doubt provided to stimulate deeper thought and/or conversation about the book’s content and claims. Along with the questions, Monette includes a list of resources that expound upon the assertions he makes in each chapter. In a world where religious skepticism reigns, I’m always a fan of extra resources.
To put it briefly, The Wrong Jesus was written by a smart and well-spoken author who relates with his audience. The result is a book that flows effortlessly and provides the content millions of curious people are seeking. Definitively worth a read!
Thanks for this review. I’m going to check it out! Maybe buy a copy for myself and for some skeptical friends. : )
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