Bowman, Robert Jr. and J. Ed Komozsewski
Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ
Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2007. Pp. 392. Paper. $18.99.
I want to conclude this review by posting my much briefer (and very different) review that appears on Amazon. This is a 5 star book but because of its end notes I am forced to follow my own rules and give it 4 stars— in the end, this book is nothing short of remarkable for the task it sought to accomplish.
Many thanks to Ed Komoszewski for sending me the original PDF file of this work and for his kind interaction via email and my blog. I’d also like to thank Rob Bowman, Jr. for our kind interaction on the Parchment and Pen blog. And of course I have to thank Leslie J. Paladino for providing me with a hard copy of this indispensable work.
Putting Jesus In His Place (PJIHP) is perhaps the most accessible book on Christology to come along since Raymond Brown’s “An Introduction to New Testament Christology” — but this is more than a mere introduction. J. Ed Komoszewski and Robert Bowman, Jr. introduce the interested layperson to Jesus but then bring us into an intimate relationship with him through what the New Testament and current scholarship have to say about him.
The authors have developed the acronym H.A.N.D.S. in order to help the reader memorize the various themes discussed in this book which show forth the deity of Christ. As a student in general, I appreciate any pedagogical tool that will help me to retain useful information, but as a Charismatic-Pentecostal in particular (the Trinitarian kind) I very much appreciate this specific acronym. As a Charismatic, I am accustomed to lifting my hands in worship and adoration of the Lord Jesus. I’m also accustomed to clapping and waving my hands in praise of him. I take the New Testament at its word when it speaks of laying hands on the sick and praying the prayer of faith, so as you can see, HANDS are an integral part of my faith. So when the authors set forth this acronym as a way to instill the Biblical teaching of Christ’s deity, it really hit home!
As other reviewers have noted, the H.A.N.D.S. acronym stands for:
Jesus shares all of these things with the Father and the way in which Komoszewski and Bowman go about proving this is nothing short of remarkable. Both authors are extremely gifted writers who for quite some time have been producing top quality material for a lay-audience. They examine not only the major passages of Scripture that many of us are familiar with with regard to this debate, but they also bring to our attention some more obscure passages. We’ve all seen countless apologists cite John 1:1 or Titus 2:13 in defense of the deity of Christ, but when was the last time you saw someone draw attention to Luke 8:39 (p. 204)? When was the last time you took into account the vast Old Testament material that speaks of Yahweh and the way it is appropriated and applied to Jesus in the New Testament? Think about it… Exactly… It’s been a while, maybe even never. It would be impossible to say that no stone was left unturned, but in reading this volume one gets the sense that if there are some stones that haven’t been looked under, they’re few and far between.
This is a book that needs to be in the hands of every Bible Study teacher, every Pastor, every counter-cult Apologist, and every person interested in theological and biblical studies. Why?, you ask. Because there’s not a book on the market that is so easily accessible which dialogues with the best of current scholarship (names like Larry Hurtado, Richard Bauckham, James Dunn, R.T. France, etc.), interacts with the best of current arguments against the deity of Christ (names like Greg Stafford, Jason BeDuhn, etc.), and which takes into account the various points of study that these men have chosen to focus on. Sure, you can find a book that deals with one or two of these themes, but you won’t find anything that deals with all of them, and even if you did, it wouldn’t be as readable as this!
It’s also worth noting that the book is lined with helpful charts that will aid in your memorization. There’s detailed endnotes for anyone who wants to dig deeper than the text itself (and trust me, that deep all on its own!). A Scripture index is included and my favorite extra, a recommended reading list. This list reads like the top shelf of my main bookcase, so I can attest to how good it really is.
There’s simply not enough positive things to say about this book, but I will say this… There are going to be people who read this book and take exception to it. They’ll give it bad reviews and chide about how the authors haven’t made their case or have misrepresented x or y. So this is what I say… Get your own copy and find out for yourself. It’s that simple and at the price Amazon has it for, you can’t afford not to get it!