“What did Jesus do and say, in as little as one year and a maximum of three years, that could possibly have had such an impact? How did the community he somehow gathered together so quickly – made up of semiliterate fishermen, prostitutes, tax collectors, wealthy widows, day labourers, and even Roman soldiers – give birth to the spiritual revolution that became Christianity?”
What makes Christianity so special? What sets it apart from any other religion? These are important questions. But if you dig a little deeper, there are more interesting, more disturbing questions.
How did a movement that changed the world start, when the founder only worked for a maximum of three years? What did this Jesus do to have such an impact that has lasted for thousands of years? What did his followers do to spread this movement from a small Middle Eastern country to almost every corner of the globe? These are the types of questions that The Dawn of Christianity is interested in answering, and in a way that will truly set this book apart.
The author of Searching of Jesus, Robert J. Hutchinson, sets out to help the world understand who this Jesus was, what He said and did, and how that has transformed the world. But not only that, Hutchinson goes on to share how Jesus’ followers continued the work that Jesus started, ushering in The Dawn of Christianity.
In a style that is truly his own, Hutchinson gives flesh to a story that is familiar to many, grounding the story of Jesus the Christ in reality. For those that don’t know, Hutchinson reaches into the treasure trove of wealth from the world of ancient writings and modern archeology to assure them of the truth; Jesus of Nazareth was real, the claims he made were radical, and because of him, the world will never be the same.
Join Robert J. Hutchinson as he walks through the historic life of Jesus and the early church, as recorded in the New Testament, giving it a fresh face and new weightiness. The power of the gospel and the remarkable life of Jesus Christ has not seemed to real and powerful since the original audience received it. The “novelization of history’, The Dawn of Christianity will ignite your soul and your imagination, regardless of how well you think you know Jesus.
“In fewer than thirty months, Jesus and his friends ignited a spiritual revolution that sent shock waves far beyond the rural villages of northern Israel and into every nation and institution on earth. It would eventually change everything: politics, art, science, law, the rules of warfare, philosophy, the relations between men and women, and the family.”
As a pastor’s kid, I have heard the story of Jesus hundreds of times. My upbringing was in a tradition where the events of the early Church were mentioned just as much. There is a point where the stories of Jesus and the early church become dull. You have heard them too many times. The details become facts you have memorized. The events are filed away in a chronological catalog in your brain. Too much repetition breeds familiarity, and it also breeds boredom. The Dawn of Christianity is anything but familiar, and most certainly not boring.
I called this a “novelization of history” for lack of a better term, because it reads like a novel, while simultaneously being informative and packed full of dates and names and places, all the things that people hate about history books. Hutchinson has created something that is unique and powerful, something that readers across the spectrum of literature will enjoy. And that is true, regardless of their spiritual affiliation.
I told my wife what I was reading and the phrase “novelization of history” struck her as odd. As I tried to explain it she looked over my shoulder and read this,
‘At this point, the crowds would have been kept back some distance by the soldiers, the tips of their javelins glistening in the hot sun.”
She didn’t know that Hutchinson was talking about the crucifixion of Jesus, but she instantly understood what I meant by “novelization of history’ and was intrigued.
Hutchinson has fleshed out the narratives of the Gospels in such a rich way that the newest convert and the oldest church member can read this and be astonished at who this Jesus was, and how powerful his life and message were. The humanity and realism that the stories are covered in make it the events of Jesus’ life so much more impactful, even more believable.
I’m not saying that I doubted Jesus or the stories of the Bible before, but there is something about seeing them take on a new dimension from Hutchinson’s writing that I had never considered, never thought about, never knew before I read The Dawn of Christianity. When Hutchinson explains the political history to Jesus going up to the Temple, the historical significance of what Jesus did, the networking system that Jesus had in place…it took me a while to read this book because I was regularly blown away by the Jesus I thought I knew, and humbled because I really did not know this Jesus.
While Hutchinson does cover the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and the following events of the early church, it may strike readers as bizarre how little time is dedicated to the supernatural. Hutchinson does talk about Acts 2 and the Spirit falling on Pentecost, but not as much about the miracles of Jesus and the powerful impact that they had. The resurrection of Lazarus does get its own chapter, but to say that this was the defining miracle, or the only miracle would be to dismiss a large portion of Scripture.
I would not go so far as to say that Hutchinson is denying the miracles of Jesus but would wonder why such life changing and theologically powerful moments were skipped over. Especially when miracles were present in the early church, the Dawn of Christianity.
While some may point at this as a negative, I hold it as a positive: Hutchinson doesn’t answer every question. Most history books will lay everything out, stand firm on the “facts’ and leave any other opinions on the edges, ignore them or declare them false facts. Hutchinson doesn’t do any such thing. Where scholars disagree, he lets us know, and then moves on. Where archeology is still questioning, he leaves us to wonder with the best and brightest. For Hutchinson is not that problem, but simply opportunity for more research and more exploration into the movement that Jesus started at The Dawn of Christianity.
“[Hutchinson wrote] as a Christian not only for other Christians but also for people without any religious ties who are interested in learning who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.”
For those that want to know more about the history of the New Testament but don’t want to be bogged down by the dryness that is typical of such books, The Dawn of Christianity is a perfect mix of novel and history. All the information that you want to know, both ancient and modern, with the colorful strokes and styling of a work of fiction will keep you interested chapter after chapter. The Dawn of Christianity is a spectacular work, a rare gem in the library of New Testament historic book. Preachers and seekers will both appreciate the brilliance of this book.
I give Robert J. Hutchinson’s The Dawn of Christianity a 4 out of 5-star rating.