Prior to reading Unashamed To Bear His Name; Embracing The Stigma of Being a Christian, I had never heard of former pastor and author R.T. Kendall. The premise of his new book is to better understand the stigma and shame that comes from being a Christ-follower and learn to appreciate and embrace the negativity that comes from being a Christian in the modern era. Kendall uses the Greek definition of scandal and stigma to give the reader a proper word picture by which to frame how we are called to live as Christians. “Scandal” in the original language means to be caught in a trap or snare. Today, scandal refers to that which offer the moral sensibilities. “Stigma” in the original language meant marked with a reproach. Kendall’s use of the these words show that being a Christian is offensive to many and that we are marked people today.
Kendall begins the book with a brief history of his early life, including his 25 years as pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. The following chapters explain why the gospel of Christ is so offensive to many. He writes, “What is so offensive about the Christian faith can be briefly summed up: Jesus Christ is the only way to God and faith in the blood that He shed on the cross fits a person for heaven when they die”. Kendall uses the lives of the Old Testament saints such as Noah, David, Joseph, and others to show how far back this stigma has applied. Chapters nine and ten, “The Reason the Jews Missed Their Messiah” and “The Stigma of No Vindication” are the best in the book. Kendall then goes on to point out how scandalous the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit is in the world today.
I cannot agree theologically with everything Kendall wrote. That being said, I enjoyed and appreciated the way Kendall puts for the gospel and our proper response to it. I can recommend this book with great enthusiasm. Kendall’s quote from the beginning of the book gives a proper summation. He writes, “I write this book basically for one reason: that you will be unashamed to accept the scandal that arises from following Jesus Christ. More than that, you should become willing to embrace that scandal, to take it with both hands and rejoice in the privilege that you are a part of the greatest enterprise on the planet – namely, to be associated with the name Jesus Christ.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Books as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”