Prototype. I'll go ahead and tell you now that I when I finished the book, I enjoyed it. It's a good book and I would recommend reading it. The reason why I'm wrestling with this review is I didn't enjoy it at first. It took me a little bit to get into the book and really understand the direction that Jonathan Martin was going.
The subtitle of Prototype is, "What happens when you discover you're more like Jesus than you think?" Entering into Prototype, I was expecting to see something more theological. This comes out of my experience last fall teaching about Jesus in a Basic Christian Beliefs class. I was expecting "theological speak." I taught my class about how Jesus is the prototype for the new human, so I thought that I would see sections of scripture from the New Testament spelled out through thorough exegesis explaining how Jesus set the example for the new humanity. Martin does use scripture and he does show how Christ, he just didn't do that in the way I expected and I say this because I know I won't be alone in that expectation. Instead, he does something better. He shows it through real life stories of how he has seen his life and other lives changed. He makes this clear in his last chapter titled "witness" and I think that is an appropriate way to describe this book. It is a statement of what he has seen and now he is witnessing to the call of God to be his beloved like Christ is. It is possible to live a new life and live like God's beloved child.
All that being said, Martin does a great job of explaining how Jesus shows us a new way to be human. He does this by starting off with the fact that God call us, like he calls Jesus, his beloved. God want to love us like his children in the same way he does Christ. Our lives are different now because of the resurrection. Christ came to change the world and make it possible for us to live new lives. The message of the book reminds me of the refrain that Rob Bell keeps returning to at the end of his video The gods aren't angry which is, "You don't have to live like this anymore." Martin is calling all of us broken down sinners to a life where we are called the beloved of God and can live in the light of the resurrection.
This isn't a technical book. That's what I expected, but I'm glad it's not what I got. It's testimony to the life changing power of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you want to see if change is possible, if you want to hear stories of life change, or if you don't believe that you are loved by God, then you should read this book. It's not the greatest book ever written, but it does tell stories of real people who have been changed by the love of God and there's nothing quite as amazing as that.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”