BOOK REVIEWS · Discipleship · Uncategorized


wilsonJared C. Wilson. Unparalleled. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016. 233 pp. $9.25

Unparalleled by Jered C. Wilson cuts through the postmodern fog and alerts readers to the message of Jesus and his gospel. Wilson’s book highlights the compelling case for historic Christianity and draws out the features that make it unique.

Wilson paints with a broad brush but includes enough details to illicit an appropriate response from his audience, either believers or unbelievers. Topics include the nature and essence of God including an excellent discussion on the Trinity. The author discusses the doctrine of man, Christ, and salvation in a way that will attract long-time followers of Christ as well as people who are investigating the Christian faith.

Readers unfamiliar with Wilson will be immediately lured in by his transparency, clear writing, winsome style. In the end, the author succeeds in setting forth a lucid case for the Christian faith. Anyone who reads Unparalleled will be touched, encouraged, and prompted to seek the face of Jesus Christ. Indeed, he is the most unique and compelling Person in the universe.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


THE STORYTELLING GOD: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables (2014)

wilsonI want to begin this review a bit differently.  I would like to thank Jared Wilson for his writing ministry.  Wilson is a young man committed to biblical authority, a Reformed framework, and has consistently demonstrated faithfulness to a robust God-centered approach to the Christian life.  His writing ministry has been of deep encouragement to me personally and for that I wish to thank him and commend him to the readers of Veritas et Lux.  I would also like to commend his other books to you as well.  Gospel Wakefulness is a powerful book that I greatly benefitted from.  Gospel Deeps is another worthy read.  And The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry will be noted as one of my top reads of 2014 (though it was originally published in 2013).

Wilson’s latest work, The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables is a logical extension of his previous works.  The author guides readers on a journey through selected parables, which as he rightly notes, “give us a direct portal to the kingdom of God being done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Wilson debunks some of the typical views concerning parables and suggests that “parables function in Jesus’s ministry as representative stories about the kingdom of God.”  He argues, “The parables … give us peeks behind the veil between earth and the place where God’s will is most manifest; they show us glimpses of the day when that veil is torn and that world conquers and integrates with this one … The parables show us that the kingdom of the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ is God’s reign over all creation, not just part of it … [they] show us how Christ-centeredness rebukes, subverts, and sabotages the sinful kingdoms of the world.”

Each chapter includes thoughtful and careful interaction with a selected parable and a good dose of practical application.  Like Wilson’s other books, the most important feature is the beauty and power of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I challenge readers to pick up The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables.  You’ll be educated and encouraged; you’ll be drawn in deeper to the riches of God’s kingdom!

4 stars

BOOK REVIEWS · Discipleship · Leadership


wilsonIt is no secret that pastors get discouraged, overwhelmed, and frustrated in the ministry.  Many resources are available for men who seek counsel in difficult church settings.  Most of them pale in comparison to Jared Wilson’s offering, The Pastor’s Justification.

Wilson, a seasoned pastor himself brings experience to the table.  But more than personal experience, Wilson brings the gospel to bear.  The Pastor’s Justification is aimed directly at the heart.

Part 1, the Pastor’s Heart includes six chapters that uncover the motives, frustrations, and weakness of the shepherd leader.  As a pastor, Wilson shoots straight here.  He admits his shortcomings and my suspicion is that most, if not all pastors can relate.

In Part 1, Wilson exposits 1 Peter 5:1-11 and makes direct application to the pastor/elder.   He reminds pastors of the mandate before them, namely – “shepherd the flock of God that is among you …”  The author encourages pastors, “The freedom from shameful gain is found in the cross of Christ, the shame of which our Savior scorned, counting all the privileges of his deity but loss for the surpassing worth of the Father’s will in the purchase of the elect by blood, freely given.”

And while Wilson includes a wealth of practical help and encouragement, what really sets this book apart (his other books are no exception), is his unrelenting emphasis on grace, the gospel, and the completed work of Christ.  An example of this kind of gospel-centeredness is found at the end of Part 1 as the author stresses the strict qualifications that a man must possess if he serves as an elder: “The kind of man the Scriptures call into church oversight seem beyond my power to become.  And this is because he is.  Left to my own devices and trusting in my own power, I can never be the pastor God has called me to be or the pastor my church needs.  But the message of our faith is not ‘I am justified because I obey,’ but ‘I obey because I am justified.’  Embedded in the gospel is the power to fulfill its implications.”  Gospel-centered and gospel empowered, pastors have all they need to minister to the flock in Christ-saturated grace.

Wilson concludes in Part 2 by surveying the five sola’s of the Protestant Reformation and reminded pastors that these five anchors ground both their lives and their ministries.  Part two contains a theologically charged message that is sure to make the Reformers grin from ear to ear: “The justified pastor – the man justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to God’s glory alone, who happens to be a pastor – when taken on his good day or bad day, ministry high or ministry low, will be received with gladness and welcome.  Clothed in righteousness of him in whom you trust, how can you be turned away?”

I cannot recommend The Pastor’s Justification high enough.  Wilson’s approach is winsome, his theology is grounded in the cement of Reformed theology, and his shepherd’s heart is clearly revealed in a book that every pastor should read, absorb, and pass on to other shepherd leaders.

5 stars