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Frank Peretti
Samuel White
Jan Karon
Janette Oke
George MacDonald
Robert Calvert
Brad Whittington

 

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The First Gospel

by Edward J. Frail

The First Gospel

 

The First Gospel



  • The First Gospel (The Life and Times of Jesus Christ) by Edward J. Frail

    This novel takes a fictional cousin of Jesus (Simon) and tells the story from Simonís eyes. It is an interesting take and the writing is quick and engaging.

    Frailís book works best when focused on Simon and his impressions of Jesus and the surrounding culture. Frail has obviously done a great deal of research into the times and casts the story of Jesusís life against those times.

    Remember: this is fiction. So, many of the things that happen to or with Jesus in this work are not recorded in the Bible, yet they donít contradict the historical Jesus of the four gospels. Did Jesus really win a footrace? Not that we know ofóbut thereís no indication that he didnít eitheróso this novel provides some interesting speculation into Jesusís life outside the Bible and especially before he took up his public ministry.

    What is going to strike most students of the Bible are the things that are left out. In telling the story of Jesusís adolescent years, Frail leaves out the only story we actually have from those years: Jesus arguing with the teachers of the law when he was twelve (Luke 2:41ff), and in fact places Jesus in Egypt at this time. (It's possible that Jesus and his parents went to Jerusalem from Egypt, but the narrative doesn't indicate this.) And while there is a fictional cousin in the story, there is no mention of Jesusís brothers and sisters (Mark 3:32). Most troubling to anyone who has read the Bible will be that Frail has Jesus performing a miracle before the wedding in Cana (which would seem to be a contradiction of John 2:11), and has Pilate giving a verdict that is not in keeping with that which he gives in the gospels (see Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23:22, and John 19), which depict him as being far less decisive than the Pilate of this novel.

    If given a chance to read this book (it us currently available at infinitypublishing.com and will soon be in bookstores everywhere) some people are going to hate it and some will love it, for it will be the Jesus some seek, but go against the Jesus many expect. Frail focuses on Jesusís message of love and peace (and abolition), yet doesnít touch on Jesusís declaration that his message would tear families apart. Jesusís message to Gentiles in this novel will seem to some readers as being closer to Paulís exposition of the gospel than that which Jesus proclaimed.

    Still, if it opens up the times and the culture and sends the reader back to the gospels, then I would say it has done what itís supposed to do. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

     

    Typesetting, Grammar and the Like

    A review of this book must, unfortunately, mention the mistakesólapses, evenóin the proofreading. While the mistakes are not egregious in themselves, there are enough missing quote marks, misapplied question marks (and missing question marks) and incorrect word usage that they must be mentioned. These mistakes do not negate the recommendation of this review, but they are a distraction to the reader and need to be addressed.

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Other Recommendations from Best Christian Fiction

  • First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch - by Samuel White

  • In His Steps - by Charles M Sheldon

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