Book Review – Unparalleled
Unparalleled is a book published earlier this month by Jared Wilson about the compelling uniqueness of Christianity when compared to other religions. The back cover reveals that Willson attempts to show that the message of Christianity is unparalleled among other religions by revealing how “Christianity alone answers the deepest longings of every human heart…” After reading the book, I believe that Wilson has done just that.
In Unparalleled, Jared Wilson shows how the God of Christianity is not only holy and just, but also personal and relational. He demonstrates that the Christian view of humanity is the most optimistic and yet also the most realistic. While we are created in the image of God (and therefore have immense value) we are also broken and sinful. We have a deep resident evil within us that causes us to partake in all sorts of twisted acts which mar our value as God’s image bearers and hurt others who are also made in the image of God. He then goes on to show how Christ validated his claim to be God by dying in order to triumph over evil and injustice and put death to death once and for all by rising from the grave. All of this culminates in a chapter showing that the Christian view of salvation is “the most incredible idea in the History of the universe” because it is a salvation that is by grace from start to finish. Here Wilson shows that grace is the essence of Christianity because it is the only basis for salvation in Christianity. Grace is, as Wilson puts it, both powerful and provokes true worship.
But what about the place of good works? After all, Christianity has many examples of good works and we are told in scripture that the Christian is characterized by his/her good works. Wilson answers this by pointing us away from ourselves and to God who created us in Christ Jesus for good works. However, our works are neither a way of paying God back (which we could never do) or self-righteousness. They are a way of honoring God and pointing others to him. They are, as the author puts it, both worship (in that we honor God with them) and warfare (insomuch as we take dominion with them pointing others to God).
Good works are the resulting life of the heart that has been set free.. . good works as worship is not about earning but about delighting”
Why is this? Because in our salvation, we are not saved by our good works but rather that we are freed to do good works. These works are prepared for us beforehand (Ephesians 2:10) so that we might walk in them. This means that we are guaranteed to produce good works if we are Christ’s. This is what is means to “work out” our salvation rather than work for it. The difference is the very essence of Christianity. Unparalleled ends in a chapter on Christian eschatology and Wilson demonstrates that the end of the world is (in Christianity) just the beginning and an entire eternity awaits those who put their faith and trust in Christ.
Unparalleled is an excellent book on the basics of Christianity. There are a lot of good books which give an apologetic for the Christian faith. This is one which you will want to have on your bookshelf to return to often. It is a wonderful tool for reminding the believer of the hope that we have in Christ and an excellent resource to give to those who have questions about the place of Christianity among other religions. While it focuses more on Christianity than other religions, it is a trustworthy resource for the homeschooled student wanting to study comparative religions.
Where to buy Unparalleled Click here to purchase Unparalleled: How Christianity's Uniqueness Makes It Compelling from ChristianBook.com OR Click here to search Amazon for the lowest price on Unparalleled!
About the author
Jared is not a catalytic “agent of change” or a visionary anything. He is a failed church planter and once made a mess of his marriage. He likes food too much and worries way too much about what people think, and he’s definitely not all that he’s cracked up to be. After 20 years of ministry, he’s mainly learned that he’s kind of a nincompoop. But he knows Jesus loves him.
Jared blogs at The Gospel-Driven Church.
You can follow Jared Wilson on twitter at @
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Books in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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