On the day after Jesus' death, it looked as if whatever small mark he left on the world would rapidly disappear," writes John Ortberg in his new book, Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (Zondervan). "Instead, his impact on human history has been unparalleled." Ortberg, the California megachurch pastor and bestselling author, spoke with Joe Carter, an editor for the Gospel Coalition, about how Jesus changed the perception of everything from art and architecture to children and human dignity.
How does this book differ from other books on Jesus?
Who Is This Man? is about the impact of Jesus on human history. Most people—including most Christians—simply have no idea of the extent to which we live in a Jesus-impacted world. From the existence of hospitals to the notion of universal human dignity and rights to the prizing of virtues like humility and forgiveness, our lives are simply unimaginable apart from his life.
In the Gospel of Mark, the scribes asked Jesus, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5—"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (ESV)—but added the admonition to love God "with all your mind." Why the addition?
Cornelius Plantinga called this the Magna Carta for the Christian intellectual life. To love God with all our minds means we should think about him a lot—be interested in him. It also came to include the thought that "all truth is God's truth." This mandate meant monasteries became places of learning that saved classical texts, giving rise to scholarly guilds and eventually ...1