Andrew Wilson is the author of the book, Unbreakable: What the Son of God Said About the Word of God. He serves as an elder at Kings Church in Eastbourne, UK. He is currently studying for a PhD at Kings College London. He blogs regularly at Think Theology.
I grabbed a copy of this book for a class I taught at our church regarding Jesus as the Word of God and the Bible as the Word of God. I heard about the book in detail recently when I watched the debates with Andrew Wilson, Steve Chalke, and Brian McLaren. In these debates, Andrew talks a bit about what he discusses in Unbreakable. Having been personally exposed to both sides of the debate regarding Jesus or the Bible as the Word of God to us, I appreciated Andrew’s approach in the debates and his approach is expanded upon in his book.
The book is short, ringing in at 78 pages, but it is not lacking content. His approach is centered around various aspects of scripture: its authority, sufficiency, and inspiration, to name a few. However, as the subtitle suggests, he is concerned about what Jesus upholds and emphasizes about the scriptures. The greatest summary statement of the focus of this book is, “I don’t trust in Jesus because I trust in the Bible; I trust the Bible because I trust in Jesus,” (Wilson, 10). This outlook is one that could bring needed clarity to those confused about the question of, “Do I emphasize Jesus or the Bible?”
Wilson’s style in this book is accessible and helps deliver the content well to the degree that this book could be recommended for the lay person and for the seminary student. As a pastor, I feel the pressing need to be able to explain heavy, weighty doctrinal truths to those that don’t care about the fancy terms and theological debates. Wilson does this in Unbreakable and gives his readers the language and the explanations to pass on to a congregation or to those that his readers may be discipling.
I have a few favorite parts in this book that I find particularly helpful. The first is from his chapter on the centre (he is from the UK) of scripture. He talks about being at lots of weddings as a pastor and often being caught in the background of candid wedding photos of the bride and groom. He says,
When we read the Scriptures, Jesus is the centrepiece. He’s the one the photographer was trying to capture. We’re there too, in the background, and we can approach that and give thanks for it. But the Bible isn’t about you. It’s about him. (Wilson, 32)
This is a helpful reminder to all that would classify the Bible in the kitschy terms that we sometimes use like road map, guidebook, rule book, and so on. An affirmation that Jesus is the center of the Bible is a needed emphasis for all of us.
Another great section is his chapter on the challenges of scripture. He tackles the ideas that often become areas where people balk at the claims that the Bible makes, particular to areas of sexuality and the like. In all of the ways that we can try to slip past the claims that the Bible makes about certain topics, Wilson points out Jesus’ resolute, uncompromising, yet loving stance in relation to these topics.
The point is: whenever Scripture challenges some of our deeply held beliefs, as it often does, we have a choice. We can challenge the Bible, or we can let the Bible challenge us. We can do a Jefferson on it, cutting out the bits we like and binning the rest. Or we can do a Jesus on it, affirming the accuracy of the Bible in spite of the difficulties we have with it, and allow it to refine our view of God, the world, sexuality, or whatever it may be. (Wilson, 53)
His mention of Jefferson is about Thomas Jefferson regarding the fact that he cut out all of the mentions of Jesus’ miracles in the Bible and created his own version of the Bible. His actions are akin to what many do with whatever seems to offend the most in the Bible. Wilson points us to what God wants to do to, through, and with us with His written Word, which is to bring us in accord with his will.
I wish that Wilson would have dealt more with the topic of revelation in relation to Jesus and the Bible. This wish is not born from a deficiency in Wilson’s book, but simply what I personally wanted him to talk about. Millard Erickson, in his Christian Theology, talks about the theological debate between God’s special revelation being either propositional or personal. “Revelation is not either personal or propositional; it is both/and. What God primarily does is to reveal himself, but he does so at least in part by telling us something about himself,” (Erickson, 221). I would say that Wilson indirectly affirms this, however a chapter on this both/and topic of special revelation would have been a good addition.
In conclusion, I would and will recommend this book to anyone wanting to dig into the doctrine of scripture. The main reason why I would and will recommend this book is that it is a Christ-centered view of scripture. Whether a reader is coming out of a background with a low view of scripture or perhaps too high a view of scripture, this book can help bring either back to the orthodox center. I believe this book can help revive a proper love for the scriptures in light of what Wilson says about their purpose, “The Scriptures are there to point to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must honour them when we find our life, and our joy, in him,” (Wilson, 61).