Book Review 23: “42 Seconds: The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions” by Carl Medearis

***DISCLAIMER***I received a complimentary copy of this book for free from Tyndale House for review purposes.

Carl Medearis’ 42 Seconds: The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions mostly “has to do with helping people who are far away from Jesus follow him more closely” (p. xi). Medearis, an “author, speaker, and an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations”, claims that “the average length of Jesus’ conversations as recorded in the Gospels was 42 seconds long” (p. ix). Ironically, this book places little to no emphasis on this “42 seconds” concept (thus making a title a bit odd). Instead, it focuses on being “Jesus”, kind, present and courageous in the process of engaging “the everyday moments in simple ways” (pp. xii-xiii). The book is essentially a lot of Law with little to no Gospel. Nevertheless, for the born-again believer, some of the points Medearis emphasizes serve as a good reminder of how the believer should conduct his or her self in everyday interactions.

As for my opinion of the book (the fourth I have reviewed for Tyndale Publishing House), the book’s literary qualities stand out very well. It is concise, clear, direct and well-organized. Theologically, it leaves much to be desired. While I appreciate Medearis’ mass usage and discussion of Scripture, he errors on many occasions. This includes but is not limited to his inaccurate concept of the greatest commandment (p. 10), his usage of prophetic buzz words (p. 15), his ambiguity regarding the Good News of Jesus (p. 31), citation of mystics/false teachers (Evelyn Underhill and Brennan Manning, respectively; pp. 33, 111), bizarre and inaccurate concept of faith (p. 72), allegorization of a biblical text (pp. 75-79), a stance on Muslims that is basically a denial of original sin (p. 78), his bizarre claim that Jesus had Braveheart moments (p. 84), and his promotion of the false “still, small voice” doctrine (p. 138). Despite both the book’s literary qualities and Medearis’ mass citation of Scripture, I would not recommend this book to anyone given its deep theological flaws. While he makes a few good points, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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