“What if you’re living in obscurity because God is so intent on showing you things about yourself that you would not otherwise see and revealing things about His love that you would not otherwise know?” Jonathan Martin asks in his book, Prototype – What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? This paperback book is two hundred and thirty-five pages with a four page foreword by Steven Furtick, nine book chapters, an epilogue, acknowledgments, notes, discussion guide and author biography. Targeted toward Christian believers and using mainly the New Revised Standard version of the Bible, charismatic-type churches and their members would benefit the most. Growing up in a Pentecostal parsonage, Martin was raised with apocalyptic night terrors of his youth where one of his escapes was riding his bike and fantasizing. Years later when he dedicated himself to Christ, he looks back at his “boy on the bike” experience as being “in the moment” talking to God, finding his true identity in Him. As pastor of Renovatus, a Church for People Under Renovation consisting of liars, dreamers and misfits in North Carolina, the author quotes current day pop artists like Bruce Springsteen’s “Fear is a powerful thing, baby,” and U2 along with Martin Luther King as he blends Biblical characters of King Saul, David, Jacob and others in how they reiterate God deeply loves us. Through the growth of his church and community outreach, he tells how others come to a personal relationship to Christ by promoting the concept that God is already wherever we go so we simply have to help folks recognize Him instead of striving to be perfect ourselves. Stating that fear is at the heart of all sin and disaffection, he believes imagination, wonder, joy and creativity are endangered species in current day’s society. Martin declares that whenever fear is absent, God is not far away but there is no reference to how the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom as stated in Psalms and Proverbs. With us seeking the Lord for salvation, no predestination of God choosing us first is mentioned. He does go into depth about how Jesus is our prototype in that the Son fully believes He is God’s Beloved so we should relate the same way to Him. With plenty of personal experiences including escaping to Trappist monasteries, telling about pranks at Bible camps, and dancing in church aisles, there are several testimonies from a coffee shop convert to his spiritual grandmother. Even with explanations of church doctrine of laying on hands, foot-washing baptism, anointing, and communion, the book jumps around on a plethora of topics yet maintains the undertone that God loves us immeasurably and unconditionally simply because we exist. This book was furnished by Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes.
I just finished this book. It was one of the first books (other than the Bible) that I have read. I know that it was sent for me so that chains I have will be broken. I came from COC denomination growing up to AOG now. There have been many times I feel I have quinched the Spirit because of the teachings I had when I was young. Reading this book and hearing a Pastor tell of having gone through this even having grown up in a Pentecostal Church. I have recommended this book to several at our church and know they will love it also.