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Book Review

The Person at the Center of the Bible: Book Review


A carpenter who hung on a cross. And He’s not just a historical figure

A toddler who loves to grab plants. A father dying of cancer. A drunk deckhand. A homebound diabetic. A choir director surprised by Lutheran hymns. Those are just a few of the characters you’ll find in Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus’ real-life stories he’s woven into the small book Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center (CPH 2003).

As the title suggests, the book, and by extension, all of Scripture has one central character: A carpenter who hung on a cross. And He’s not just a historical figure. It’s what Jesus did and why and for who.

As Preus states, “Substitution is essential to the understanding of Christianity. When we understand this concept, we receive immeasurable comfort because we know that Jesus did everything necessary for our salvation.”

But for every lucid explanation of a theological concept that has Jesus as its center — the Good Shepherd, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper — Preus presents the reality of what that looks like in our broken world.

He draws from over 20 years of experience as a pastor in Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado and Missouri congregations. His expertise extends to time as the first, third, fourth and fifth vice president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

“I am a Lutheran for the same reason I am a Christian,” Preus states. “It is not by choice but by grace. The teachings of the Lutheran church place Jesus at the center because the teachings of the Scriptures place Jesus at the center.”

In other words, the book’s title could just as easily be Why I Am a Christian.

This book is perfect for new believers or life-long Christians who want to deepen their understanding of Christianity.

Any time devoted to reading and re-reading this small volume will reward you. You will enrich your soul and satisfy your longing for truth. Most importantly, you’ll strengthen your resolve to proclaim “the Good Shepherd who searches for the lost sheep and leads His flocks to pleasant pastures and quiet waters.”