So this is a random book to start off my book reviews with…but it’s the one I just finished reading, so here’s what I thought.
Pros: Yancey is a journalist, so he researches everything like a journalist ought to: thoroughly. He does an excellent job describing the core messages of the gospel in a simple manner. If you’ve never really dabbled much in the historical Jesus (or much theology for that matter), then Yancey’s details and cadence in writing will suit you excellently because it’s not going to go over your head with high language or complex concepts. It’s simple without being heretical.
Cons: Because he’s a journalist, Yancey also interjects his own opinions into the mix, and his opinions certainly aren’t of theological par. This may sound arrogant to say, but I almost feel like he thinks that because he read a few books on Jesus that he can go ahead and make scriptural interpretations of his own invention without reading something on hermeneutics. This would have been the only part of JINK that I would have worked on: his exegesis. It’s not horrible, but he goes on unbalanced tangents not well backed up in the canon of scripture quite often (I’d go into detail, but I don’t have the book with with me at the moment.
Also, for theologians, this book is stuff you’ve already read. For a more in-depth look at the matter, check out NT Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God.
If you’re new at the history of Jesus, check out this book. Good stuff.