Let’s start with the negatives: at around £15 for 240 pages, this book is overpriced. This is probably because it has been published by a rather specialist house (Wipf and Stock) rather than one of the more popular and mass-market Christian publishers, but it is frustrating.
That being said, I reckon you should get your credit card out and buy a copy of The Forgotten Jesus and the Trinity You Never Knew by Damon So, anyway. It is worth every penny.
One one level, there is nothing surprising about this book. It gives an interesting and comprehensive overview of the life and teachings of Jesus. There are other books out there that do something similar (though they tend not to be as comprehensive). What sets this book apart is the last chapter, where Dr So draws the whole story together and shows how the life and ministry of Jesus is also the key to understanding the Triune nature of God.
The first chapter gives an short overview of the challenges of contemporary culture; the context in which we read the story of Jesus.
Chapter two takes us straight into Jesus ministry by examining the Nazareth manifesto in Luke 4, while Chapter three introduces us to Jesus teaching in the beatitudes.
Chapter four looks at various incidents in the life of Jesus (including the woman taken in adultery and the healing of the centurion’s servant) and shows how these illustrate the unconditional love which typified all that Jesus did.
I would have preferred it if chapter five had been divided into two or three long chapters, rather than just being one enormous one. It covers the live journey of Jesus from the manager to the cross and resurrection. Step by step, this chapter shows us a Messiah who, empowered by the Spirit, is dedicated to following the Father’s will to the bitter end (and triumphant conclusion). It makes an inspiring read.
As I mentioned above, the last chapter ties the whole story together by pulling the Gospel narratives together into a Trinitarian framework. This chapter alone is worth fifteen quid!
The Christian understanding of God as the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is unique to Christianity. This central understanding (or doctrine) of God in Christianity has manifold implications for human individual living and human community or society as a whole. If before the creation of the world God was not a lonely figure but the Triune God was already in perpetual inter-personal communion of love and holiness, then we learn that inter-personal communion is intrinsic to God and that inter-personal love already existed within the Triune God before the creation of the world (p. 185)
Let’s be honest, this isn’t an easy book to read in the vein of The Shack or other Christian fiction. But it is far, far richer than that genre of literature and deserves to be much more widely read. Do yourself a favour, log on to Amazon and get yourself a copy of The Forgotten Jesus and the Trinity You Never Knew; it will do you good.
We are only two weeks into the year, but this will take some beating as my book of 2013.