These days, it’s just not fashionable to praise Christianity. In ‘Who Is This Man?’ John Ortberg defies fashion and dares to speak up for the positive contribution of Christianity to human civilisation.
John Ortberg explains that much of what we take for granted - much of what we call 'civilisation', was virtually unknown before the widespread adoption of Christian teaching. Sticking up for what Christianity did for us John Ortberg gives you plenty of argument for how and why you should too. But this is no ego trip for Christians. The whole book is a reminder that we are nothing without Jesus – and would be nothing if Jesus wasn’t still with us in a very real sense. This is something that’s easy to forget when Christians get bogged down in the business of looking like Christians rather than being like Christ.
Ortberg’s small and highly readable book never lets you forget that Jesus was a real man living in real, historically documented times. It's true; Jesus of Nazareth lived in history and made history. Taking the gospel narratives as his basic structure, John Ortberg places Jesus' every step and word in the picture frame of what was going on around him at the time. Then he shows how all human history that followed is defined by what Jesus taught.
Ortberg doesn't ignore the often justified criticism levelled at Christians through the ages. He describes how, once the oppressed Church became the official religion of the Roman Empire, newly empowered Church leaders systematically burned the books and writings their early critics; foreshadowing the actions of godless dictatorships of the mid twentieth century. Within that framework, Ortberg paints a complete picture of how Jesus' words influenced thinkers, writers, artists and scientists including Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, Johannes Kepler and G K Chesterton.
'Who Is This Man?' is one of those rare books that give you something new and relevant on every page. It even helps you find what you're looking for with chapter headings that relate to the gospel accounts. The whole book is well supported by hundred's of quoted references making it unusually readable and sound academically. General readers, new believer and Bible scholars will find this book a mine of accessible and meaningful information to be dipped into over and over again. Because I like books that I value to look like I value them, I'd recommend the Hardback Edition with its quality paper and dust jacket; especially if you’re buying it as a gift.
For its size and price, I don't think there's a better or more readable examination of the impact Christ on his times and our history. As you'd expect from the popular Menlo Park preacher and teacher, there's also a ‘Who Is This Man?’ DVD Group Study Course; giving you an easy way to invite others to ask and answer to the one inescapable question that'll change your life and theirs. - Les Ellison
January 22nd, 2013 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison