Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: The Jesus Experiment

Title:  The Jesus Experiment
Author:  Bill Perkins
Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers
General Subject Matter:  Christian Living, Spiritual Growth 
First Copyright:  2011
Type:  Paperback
Price:  $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-4143-1142-5

The purpose of The Jesus Experiment is to provide the reader with a real-time connection to Jesus Christ in order for the reader is able to test His promise to give the reader abundant life. The author gives us this statement on the third page of his introduction. 

The theme of The Jesus Experiment is encapsulated in the subtitle, "what happens when you follow in Jesus' footprints?" The thesis of this book is that the reader can apply concept of a scientific experiment by applying the concept to Jesus' claim or promise of providing His followers with abundant life.

Perkins develops both his book and his thesis by way of argument or persuasion. Perkins provides twelve chapters as a twelve week series of exercises that centers on one major truth about Jesus each week. The author uses what he calls "four commitments" to persuade the reader that Jesus can be trusted to provide the abundant life that He promised to His followers. These four commitments are:

Ask what Jesus felt, thought, said, and did in a variety of situations
Observe your own responses in similar real-life situations by noting what you feel, think, say, or do when you are self-reliant
Evaluate what you would feel, think, say, and do in the same circumstances if you were abiding in Jesus following His example
Apply a specific plan to prepare yourself to actively follow in Jesus' footsteps the next time you encounter similar circumstances.

The author includes at the end of each chapter or exercise a set of questions to be answered and charts to be completed on the readers progress.

Perkins uses several real-life illustrations in which he was personally involved in order to further drive home his point. He uses past and present failures and successes in his own walk to demonstrate that the experiment or exercises work and that Jesus does keep His promise concerning abundant life.

Lest we get to far afield and forget to inform the reader of this review, this is not another "prosperity gospel, health and wealth" book or scam. Perkins uses these illustrations, scripture references, and exercises within sound biblical exegesis in order to encourage the reader to "put Jesus to the test" in regards to the promise of an abundant life.

I found The Jesus Experiment to be interesting. Perkins is a talented writer. The book held my attention all the way through. His illustrations are well chosen and support the points that he makes. I think Perkins was objective in his approach to the many within the church who need sound guidelines to develop their faith and trust in Christ as they growth in grace. I believe this book to be a useful tool to the audience for which is was written.

Perkin's main argument is that the goal of Christian spirituality is for believers to become more like Christ. He proposes for example, that Peter was never more like Jesus than when he stepped out of the boat and began to walk on the water. The moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and he focused on himself and his surroundings he began to sink. So Perkins argues hat we are to keep moving forward in our Christian walk and growth step by step ever learning to keep our eyes on Jesus as we follow Him.

The Jesus Experiment raises the issue of true Christian discipleship. The book suggests the possibilities that with discipline, grace, and ever growing faith a believer can follow after Christ and receive all that Jesus promised to provide for His children.

The weakness of this book is that it tries to "pack" to much helpful material in such a small space. Perkins is barely able to skim the surface of Christian growth or maturity. However, this book is a good start for new or shallow believers. It is readily adaptable for a Sunday School or Small Group Study. It can certainly be used individually also.

Bill Perkins is an accomplished writer. He ha authored or collaborated on twenty books. He is the founder and CEO of Million Mighty Men. Perkins has served as a pastor for over 24 years. He holds degrees from both the University of Texas and Dallas Theological Seminary. He addresses men's groups, leadership conferences, and has led chapels for major league baseball teams. Perkins blogs at www.billperkins.com

The Jesus Experiment short two page end notes section and no bibliography. 

In summary I found this book to be interesting, factual, helpful, and would recommend it to anyone as a good means of taking spiritual inventory. It will serve as a helpful guide to those who truly care WWJD.The concluding chapter is very convincing in regards to the benefit and thesis Perkins set out to demonstrate. 

The principal topics are Introduction, What Jesus Did in Private, What Jesus Did in Public, and What Jesus Did With People. These main topics are broken down into several sub-divisions which support the main topic. 
________________________________________________ 
I received a free copy of The Jesus Experiment for this review. I received nothing else nor was I required to give a positive review. This review is my own thoughts and opinions. 

3 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great review Gregg, enjoyed the read.

Have a great day,
Yvonne.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great review Gregg, enjoyed the read.

Have a great day,
Yvonne.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great review Gregg, enjoyed the read.

Have a great day,
Yvonne.