Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

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With a very unique title, I instantly was drawn to this book the first time I ever saw it. Jesus + Nothing = Everything is the kind of book that piques your interest and makes you wonder what that equation is all about, or curious if it says exactly what it seems to be saying.

With all of the Gospel-centered books that have flooded the market recently, one question I asked myself before and throughout listening to this audiobook was how is this one different from any of the others? The answer is in the title - there is nothing we bring to the equation that adds to the "everything" which Jesus Himself already brings.

The layout of the book wisely follows the title's equation, describing what the "everything" is that we desire, the nothing we as sinners can contribute, who Jesus is and how He fulfills what we cannot, the light His perfect life casts on our works, and the perfection that is promised to us in eternity. The message of grace is repeated and highlighted throughout every chapter, showing how it is sufficient for us to live by and necessary for us to live the joyful Christian life with Jesus at the center.

This message of resting in the finished work of Christ is an urgent one, and probably always relevant, because we as sinners will always want to find some way of performing our way into God's graces. Throughout the book, Tchividjian offers many examples of the ways in which we try to live against the equation, using a situation from his own life to reflect these various dynamics. Despite being a Pastor of a megachurch, I found him relatable which made the read that much more enjoyable and applicable. At times the book felt similar to Keller's Counterfeit Gods, which is a fantastic text on the topic of idolatry, but in the end I would classify it as a having an entirely different focus.
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One word of caution as you read this book, though: while Tchividjian leans heavily on the side of grace, it may be possible to read into his message that our responses are meaningless so we might as well just sit back and do nothing. While he doesn't go into great detail on the works side of things, he does spend some time addressing it and showing that what we do does matter but only as a response to grace. I think he gets this right by focusing more on grace than works, which is just what the Apostle Paul does so masterfully in the book of Romans.

The audiobook version was read by Adam Verner, who did a solid job of reading at a decent pace, expressing the emotion of the text, and capturing the tone of the book. Overall I highly recommend this book to anyone without any reservations or concerns.

I received this book in exchange for my unbiased review from through their reviewer's program. To learn more about Tullian Tchividjian, you can find him on Twitter, read his blog, or read more of his writings on The Resurgence.


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