Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review: Unashamed to Bear His Name by R.T. Kendall

According to Kendall, "The most predictable thing in the world is to be scandalized or stigmatized for your total commitment to Jesus Christ." So why do we act surprised when it happens? In this book, Kendall shows us we are in good company when we are misunderstood, gossiped about, ridiculed, slandered, libeled and even assaulted and killed. Didn't those things happen to Jesus, the apostles, the prophets, and believers of all the ages?

The scandal is the gospel itself—the true gospel, not the prosperity gospel, which actually attracts people despite (or because of) its falseness. The real gospel offends because it is exclusive (Jesus is the only way) and it includes bad news (you are a sinner, bound for hell, with no way to save yourself.) The true follower of Jesus must be unashamed of this.

Old Testament examples abound as Kendall makes his case. Noah accepted the shame and stigma of building a boat miles from the sea. Joseph lived through prison after Potiphar's wife spoke vile lies about him. David accepted the scorn of his wife, Michal, refusing to apologize for dancing as he brought back the Ark of the Covenant.

Especially helpful in accepting our own stigmas is his exposition on Mary and Joseph. There was the stigma of suspicion—the assumption that they had conceived Jesus before they were married. There was the stigma of no vindication—Joseph died without seeing Jesus resurrected, and Mary died n a world where most people believed the lies about Jesus' body having been stolen instead of resurrected. Their vindication comes in eternity, not in time.

Are we willing to bear the name of Jesus and the stigma that accompanies it? Are we willing to live without vindication on earth? Kendall lays out the case for why we should be unashamed of the shame.

I received a copy of Unashamed to Bear His Name free for review from Chosen Books.