01 November 2015

Book Review: Unapologetic

I heard about Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense by (2013) by Francis Spufford from a few authors whom I respect. The few snippets in combination with the premise was intriguing to me and is probably why I wrestled through it longer than I typically would.

The book is titled Unapologetic for two reasons. First, Spufford is clear that the book was not written as an apologia, or intellectual defense of Christian ideas, but rather "for a defense of Christian emotions." The second reason is that he is not sorry for the book. Certainly, this is a well-written book.

One of the themes that finds its way throughout the book is the HCtFtU, or Human Capacity to F--- Things Up. I think that Spufford rightly points out that any honest person recognizes that things don't work as they should. Any honest person recognizes their own tendency to mess things up. Without unnecessarily theologizing, the author recognizes the truth of human depravity. He continues moving forward through a discussion of religion, landing eventually upon Yeshua, or Jesus. Indeed, the chapter dedicated titled Yeshua is the strongest in the book, in my opinion.

I wanted to like this book, but in the end I didn't. Spufford makes generous use of swear words throughout the book, perhaps to be edgy, though I did not get that sense. Regardless, in my opinion, his crassness detracted from the rest of the book. I am certain some people will think that my offense at his language colored the rest of my impression the book. Let me try to assure you it does not. It did nothing to add to the book.

He admitted early on that he tends toward the left end of the political spectrum, which is fine. However, he suggested certain topics (e.g., sexuality) appeared to be unimportant to Jesus. This suggests poor exegesis and frank ignorance of the Bible as a whole story. At one point, he appears to suggest that heaven is simply an unimportant consideration to his view of Christianity; whether it is or it isn't is of little relevance, what matters is life before death. Unfortunately, he may be prematurely cutting himself, and others by means of this book, off from a full-orbed Christianity.

On the whole, Unapologetic presents a view of Christianity in the image of Spufford and not as God Himself presents it through His word.

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