The Minyan Hardcover – Feb 2004
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Just about everyone can tell you who Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were. They were the Gospel Evangelists and those works bear their names. But how many can recite the names of the thirteen men who became the apostles of Jesus Christ. One infamous member of the original twelve, whose name became a household shibboleth, was Judas the betrayer. He was replaced by the eleven remaining members with Matthias, by the ancient ritual of drawing lots.
As is often the case, the scriptures provide only a bare bones version of the events that unfolded in the lives of these men as they set off in obedience to their Lord to publish the "good news." Considering the overall size of the New Testament, is it any wonder that the writers employed an economy of words in recording their stories.
Because of the need for terseness, the tellers of the stories frequently, through assumption, leave us dangling. Most of them worked from recollection for as with most of narrative scripture it was first oral tradition before it became written history. For a recorded history to work smoothly and accurately the writer often must rely on the God-given endowment, "imagination," to bridge the gap between the biblical record and the facts of history.
Eugene Peterson posits that one cannot truly understand the things of God without the use and aid of the human imagination.
"We who are made in the 'image' of God have, as a consequence, imag-ination. Imagination is the capacity to make connections between the visible and the invisible, between heaven and earth, between past and present, between present and future. For Christians, whose largest investment is in the invisible, the imagination is indispensable, for it is only by means of the imagination we can see reality whole,in context."(1)
That is the genius of this exceptional work by Dr. C. David Jones. He has given us a precious gift in his treatment of the story of the Minyan (Apostles) of Jesus Christ. Through careful, well documented research of both the biblical and historic records and scholarly, organized composition of this material he adds the essential ingredient, "imagination," thus bringing to life the dead letter of an encompassing gathering of what would otherwise be deemed just so many words, just the facts.
This book is a must read for the academy or the pulpit and pew. Can you name the thirteen who comprised this cadre of men who turned their world upside-down?
Dr. Larry Vern Newman,
Professor of Church Growth and Renewal
Columbia Evangelical Seminary
1)Eugene H. Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992), pp 169-170.
Dr. Jones has published another fine book, "David's Mighty Men" a tribute to 21st century Christian laymen. DAVID'S MIGHTY MEN