Author: Glen Packiam
Pages: 224 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christian Living
In November of 2006 Glen Packiam’s world was rocked when his pastor Ted Haggard confessed to accusations of sexual immorality and drug abuse. This book, although not directly related, is Packiam’s response to that occasion. Since that Thursday in November Packiam was set on a spiritual journey in which he discovered much of his relationship with Jesus was only secondhand.
This book follows the biblical journey of the Ark of the Covenant. Throughout the journey our author looks at four rumors about God: God will give me what I want; God can be added to my list of loyalties; God is pleased with my goodness; God prefers specialists. Packiam’s hope in this book is easily laid out: that believers might no longer settle for a secondhand experience with God but might worship him personally.
What I Liked:
If I am being completely honest, my expectations of this book were not very high. I knew the book looked catchy and by its marketing I figured it would be pretty surface. I have to say that by chapter four I was convinced that there is more to this book than your typical watered-down Christian sub-culture book. Packiam is very honest and highly readable. He also tells a great story and conveys a passion for the God he writes about. I was able to read the book very quickly and none of the chapters felt laborious.
For your typical mainstream mega-churched, Christianized, or gospel-depleted person this book will serve as a wakeup call. (I realize nobody would call themselves that, but read Packiam’s story and you will see just how easy we can fall into that trap).
What I Disliked:
In my opinion Packiam does a great job of defining the problem and identifying a gaping hole in our relationship with Jesus. He is right, we do often run off of rumors of God instead of an actual relationship. However, he is a little shallow in the solutions offered. The message of this book is basically this, “stop having a secondhand relationship with Jesus and start living on firsthand knowledge”. That is all well and good; but how do we break away from these rumors? What cause us to keep God at a distance? Why do we settle for crumbs? Joy comes from having a deep relationship with Jesus—but why can I not seem to desire what I ought to desire? The only answer to these questions is to live gospel-saturated lives (and yes I realize that would take books to explore such a topic). The gospel is in this book but in my opinion it does not flow all throughout.
Should You Buy This Book?
Even though Secondhand Jesus may not thrive in the answers department it does ask very thought provoking questions. For some this book may serve as a much needed wake-up call and the beginning of a journey of faithfully pursuing Jesus. For others this book might bring conviction in some areas and spark passion in yet others. I would heartily suggest reading this book, but be sure to read a companion book with it. Perhaps this book would be good with a Jerry Bridges book like Transforming Grace or The Gospel for Real Life. You really may want to check this book out ; it may not change your life, but who knows it might rock your world.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars