Rating: out of 5
Author: Gene Edwards
Publisher: Destiny Image Publishers
I was given this book to read by a lady in my church. At first from the title I thought it would be a testimonial about someone giving their life to Christ and implementing Jesus’ instructions to His disciples to ‘Take up their cross’. However when I actually picked up the book to read I noticed the subtitle, “as Told by Jesus the Christ” which clued me into the fictional nature of this book. I’d never heard of the author before so I had a little chuckle when I read this promo piece on the back cover,
…There is good reason for his being called “The Most Loved Christian Storyteller.”…
From the high recommendations and reviews given this book in it’s cover pieces I was looking forward to an interesting read and in that regard I wasn’t disappointed. I agree with Bill McCartney’s comparison with this book as a written “drama” on par with the visible drama developed by Mel Gibson in “The Passion of Christ”.
With that being said this was a good story and I emphasize that because while it is clear that the author is drawing from direct biblical sources in crafting this work there are many assumptions and conjectures being made on the thought processes and some of the “behind the scenes” stuff happening in the circumstances surrounding Christ’s crucifixion. It certainly could have happened that way but that is by no means a declaration that it did happen that way. There are some artistic liberties taken in this story that don’t seem to directly contradict the witness of scripture but nevertheless are developed by “filling in the blanks” with the author’s interpretation of events.
Whether or not this book was a “rhema revelation that was put deep within Gene Edwards by the Spirit of the Lord” it does rightly communicate the incredible agony and suffering Jesus willingly endured for the sake of grace and love for His creation (us). I was moved by the thoughts written on paper of what it must have been like for Christ and the level of sacrifice he endured on the cross and the intensity of what occurred there for those who would be redeemed. I can’t say that I was moved to the same degree as what was quoted by one reviewer but it did affect me on an emotional level.
My only concern (and it’s not a really big one at that) with these kinds of books (and movies too) that develop a picture of biblical events is that the power of a story holds incredible sway and it’s easy to supplement the truth of scripture with the subtle nudges in the wrong direction via the emotions/thought processess invicted by the story. In some ways its best to leave some of the “mystery” in the missing blanks to prevent projecting wrong ideas over the truth of scripture. For those not grounded in the Word of God such stories have the potential of becoming a “word from God” rather than being taken for the fiction (based on fact nevertheless) that they are.
Also, even though these creative pieces can provide an entry point for people to be introduced to gospel truths there is danger that the seeker would gain an incorrect bias before even being introduced to scriptural witness!
In conclusion, for entertainment value and emotional impact Gene Edwards did provide a good read. I definitely wouldn’t consider it a doctrinal thesis…but then he probably didn’t intend it for that anyway!