BOOK REVIEW: Jesus or Nothing by Dan DeWitt

9781433540462 Book Details:

Dan DeWitt, Jesus or Nothing. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 144 pp. Paperback, $8.18.

Who is the author, to whom is he writing, and what does he hope to accomplish?

In his latest release, Jesus or Nothing (Crossway, 2014), Dan DeWitt sets out to “encourage believers in their love of the gospel, challenge skeptics in their rejection of it, and assist Christian parents and leaders as they contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).”[1] As the Dean of Boyce College and former college pastor, Dan is in the ideal position to get an accurate beat on the spiritual pulse of that generation. Truthfully, this read was refreshing. Dan actively avoided dabbling into the crockpot of  straw man arguments and polarizing characterizations of the evil atheists who are secretly miserable and wish they were Christians just to make a point. There was a genuine heart behind this book that bled over into every chapter: There is a God. He’s real. Indifference is rejection. Here are your options: Jesus or Nothing.

What this book is not:

This book is not an exhaustive defense for the faith. No tips on how to trap Jehovah’s Witnesses. No list of five things every Muslim doesn’t want you to know about the Qur’an. He doesn’t explain the Kalam cosmological argument. Neither does he work through Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs for the existence of God.

What this book is: 

To sum up the book in a phrase: Jesus or Nothing is an earnest attempt to probe genuine doubt with gospel questions in hopes that it will bring about gospel results.

We know that the Scriptures tell us to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 3:15). Knowing that this assumes we will likely be asked questions, I think a lot of us posture ourselves for a strong defense. Dan, however, turns the table and asks non-believers a lot of questions; thought provoking questions. But unlike most books in this genre, Dan concedes that there is a bona fide appeal to high philosophy. He showcases the allure of “Nothingness” with Demas, Paul’s co-laborer in the gospel (Col. 4:14), who later fell “in love with this present world” (2 Tim. 4:9-11).

The tenor of this book is centered around the legitimacy of Pascal’s Wager, and it is with that voice that DeWitt ends this short book:

Don’t let the wager fool you. This is no game. And you should not bet lightly. All of humanity stands at a cosmic crossroad facing the consequential choice between two stories: Jesus or Nothing.

Choose Wisely.[3]

Recommendation:

Dan writes well. He clearly stated whom he was writing for and what he hoped to accomplish and I think he did just that. If you are a believer and want to be encouraged in your faith, a true skeptic who has a genuine desire to examine and keep searching, or a Christian parent or leader who would like to learn to have evangelistic encounters with love and reasonableness, then this book is for you.

As always, I am grateful to Crossway for giving me the opportunity to review these quality books and look forward to posting an interview I did with Dan about Jesus or Nothing.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Crossway Publishing for this review. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

 

[1]Dan DeWitt, Jesus or Nothing, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), Kindle Location 120 of 1215.

[2] Ibid., 202 of 1215.

[3] Ibid., 1066 of 1215.