Book review: Bad Acts of the Apostles

by John Henson

★★★★★

I loved this book!! It’s original, fun to read, and thought-provoking. And that last one is, above all else, the primary determinant in how I rate a book … how much it makes me think. 

I do confess this: You need to know your Bible before reading this one. There’s just too much cram-packed into these 200 pages for Henson to take time to describe the setting of every topic. He assumes you know the Bible stories, and he assumes you’ve had some exposure to Biblical criticism. The result is no wasted words, and I wound up savoring it very slowly.

Henson’s point seems to be that nobody, not even Jesus’ closest followers, measure up to Christ. Given the opportunity to lead on their own, the apostles’ floundering attempts in the book of Acts sometimes seem to steer the boat off course, away from the compassionate message of their founder. Henson relays the stories in Acts with wry insight, and here I should confess something else: Once in a while, Henson’s opinionated directness overshadows his humor. He comes down particularly hard on “Rocky” (Peter) and  Paul (who “loved to give advice” even on non-theological matters, and wasn’t above the occasional “I told you so” afterward.) Hey, turns out these guys were human after all! None of this is cause to despise these early Christians, we just love them all the more in their character flaws, marveling all the more at how Christianity survived its first bumbling attempts. In other words, Henson’s direct approach works.

Definitely worth reading!

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