Putting Jesus On Display With Love And Power, by Brian Blount
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Sometimes one’s impression of a book can be colored by its context, and that was definitely the case for me here. It is easy to see how this book could have been a great book and certainly a compelling one, but there are aspects of this book that keep me from getting onboard with the author. Three of them stick out to me in particular. First, the author organizes this book in such a fashion that he skews discussion of Jesus’ power towards the beginning and mentions himself as a wounded healer with his own son’s struggles late in the book. It would have been better to foreground the story with a discussion of his own family struggles, so it would have been obvious that the author was not trying to snow the reader. Second, the author mentions big companies while being silent about mentioning small companies, as if he is trying to impress the reader with corporate reputation, which makes me uneasy. Third, the author mentions a lot of supposed leaders in various Pentecostal circles as a way of borrowing clout for himself, and as I am not part of that tradition I do not find it effective.
This book is a bit more than 200 pages and is divided into ten chapters. The book begins with a foreword by Robby Dawkins as well as acknowledgements and then moves on to discuss the miracle of deaf ears opening from the author’s travels (1). This segues into a discussion of Jesus’ mission and message and ministry of healing (2) as well as the author’s insistence that the Kingdom of God is at hand (3). After that the author discusses the desirability of living an “as you go” lifestyle (4) and posits that risk opens the door to the impossible (5), thus encouraging believers to be open and make themselves vulnerable. After that the author urges the reader to look, listen, and respond to God’s promptings (6) and states that we were created to do good works (7) and that we are empowered by love (8). This leads the author to comment on the way that we possess treasure in fragile earthen vessels (9) and then end the book with a chapter that reads more like an appendix of providing a healing and power evangelism model to other charismatic churches (10), which closes the book’s material by presenting the author as a leadership consultant for other churches.
As someone who exists as an outsider with regards to the charismatic and Pentecostal tradition, I wonder what sort of book would allow the message of the author to resonate with a wider audience outside of his own denominational world. Like many authors, the author is wise to point out cases where God’s Spirit still works in miraculous ways contrary to the expectations of cessationists. That said, the people who the author considers to be authorities to bolster his credibility simply do not resonate outside of the world of other charismatics who likely believe in many of the same points about the desirability of preaching and living with power. I was admittedly a bit disappointed that while the author has a lot to say about showing the power of the Spirit in praying for healing and in engaging in evangelical work for lay Christians that comparatively little is said about living a godly lifestyle in accordance with biblical ways. It is easy to talk about good works but a lot of people need to be told exactly what works are good works and this book does not manage to do that, unfortunately.