Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church by David Limbaugh, Regnery Publishing, US $28.99, Pp 350, October 2018, ISBN 978-1621577041
The rise and spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to the rest of the world as the most popular religion is still a favorite subject for the scholars of religion. Of particular interest to scholars is the early period of Christianity and the roles different apostles played in making Christianity a great religion. In Jesus Is Risen, David Limbaugh revisits the birth of Christianity and provides new perspectives about the role of Apostle Paul as Christianity spread out of Judea. David Limbaugh is a lawyer by training and a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate and author of eight bestsellers on Christian history. Limbaugh says that Paul is his favorite character in the Gospels. The Gospels are where we meet Jesus in person. In Gospels, His words and actions come alive, and His character jumps from the pages, and His love and goodness permeate every verse. While we learn Christianity through encountering the person of Jesus in the Gospels, we see Him and His message from a different perspective in Acts and the epistles, the former showing the apostles’ fervor for Christ, honoring His Great Commission to spread the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the latter setting forth Christian doctrine and the instructions for the early Church.
Limbaugh says, after his conversion, Paul became a tireless evangelist and literally “writes the book” on spreading and teaching the Gospel. The richness of his theology and his practical advice to churches is unparalleled in Scriptures. Paul expounds the Gospel message like no one else, especially the notion of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Limbaugh reinforces the reader’s understanding of Paul’s unique role and why God sovereignly chose Paul for this pivotal time in his Salvation history. As we read the New Testament, we are dazzled by Paul’s unrivaled passion, his intellect, his perseverance despite any hardship, his abundant love for the churches he founded and the believers he evangelized, his deep, abiding, unrelenting affection for his Jewish brothers, his alternating sternness and tenderness in communicating his instructions, his exemplary evangelism, and above all, his love for Christ and his fellow man. Readers of these letters can’t miss Paul’s determination that the congregations he established grow harmoniously in Christ. There is no mistaking his view that while saving faith is between the individual and God, Christianity is very much a relational religion. While the church is vital, Christian brethren must support one another and hold one another accountable. Paul is adamant that all believers are united in the Holy Spirit as members of the body of Christ. Each member must contribute his gifts and services to the good of the body.
Paul echoes Jesus’ teaching that we are saved not by our works and not by adherence to the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul further affirms that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law. While works don’t earn us salvation, we will reflect our saving faith and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit through our works. Paul desperately wants his Jewish brothers to understand that Jesus is the Messiah — their Messiah Whom their Scriptures promised. Throughout his writings, we see a divinely inspired interweaving of the Old Testament with the New and come to grasp the marvelous integration of all of Scripture and the unity of God’s salvation history. The more we study the Book of Acts and Paul’s letters, the more fully we comprehend God’s plan for our lives and His offer of free grace for our salvation through faith in Christ.
Jesus Is Risen is an inspirational book that provides new insight into the role of Apostle Paul in the rise and spread of Christianity. Limbaugh revisits Apostle Paul’s writings, Acts and epistles and reinterprets the role of Apostle Paul in Christianity’s early days. He shines a new light on the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Limbaugh is a terrific writer and Jesus Is Risen is an enjoyable read. It will change the way you understand the Gospel. It is a must-read both for the believers and students of Christianity.