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New Book by Jared C. Wilson: Friendship with the Friend of Sinners

Posted September 5, 2023 by Brett Fredenberg

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Midwestern Seminary celebrated the release of Friendship with the Friend of Sinners: The Remarkable Possibility of Closeness with Christ (Baker) by Jared C. Wilson, assistant professor of pastoral ministry and author in residence at Midwestern Seminary.

“One of the great joys of leading a seminary is getting to be around gifted writers who help the church more fully understand their Bibles and the good news we have in Christ,” said President Jason Allen. “This new book Friendship with the Friend of Sinners by our own Jared Wilson is a prime example of that. I am confident readers will leave this work encouraged and will further marvel at the fact that we are considered friends of Christ.”

The idea for the book began one day when Wilson was reading Exodus 33:11: “And thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one would a friend.”

Wilson said, “It gave me goosebumps to think about experiencing friendship with God that way. In the years since, I have pursued a variety of avenues of exploration on the theme of friendship with Jesus, in my writing and especially in my preaching. This book is the culmination of really sitting in that concept for a few years, most meaningfully in my own devotional time.”

Book chapters feature different insights into the beauty and benefits of friendship with Jesus. From “On the Unsucking of Your Gut” to “I Just Didn’t Want You to Be Alone,” Wilson seeks to delve needy sinners deep into the gospel truths of fellowship with Christ.

Reflecting on one of the chapters, Wilson said, “Chapter 4, titled, “On the Unsucking of Your Gut,” covers Jesus as a Comforting Friend. That’s an especially heartfelt chapter—a gut-felt chapter, maybe!—because I think we all long for friends with whom we can just be ourselves, just breathe, just be.”

“In nearly every aspect of our lives—work, school, even church, and even oftentimes in our homes—we feel the pressure to perform, produce, put forward an image or idealized version of ourselves. We really yearn for the kind of friend we don’t have to pretend in front of, the kind that sees us as we really are and doesn’t turn up their nose or walk away.”

“The wonder of it all is that Jesus, who is the most perfect Person to ever live, the Holy God incarnate, comes near to abide with stupid, silly, sinful people like us.  He loves us as we are and will always make time for us. As I get older and more in touch (and more at ease) with my lack of impressiveness, I am increasingly thankful for Christ Jesus, my comforting friend.”

Just as with all of Wilson’s books, Friendship with the Friend of Sinners centers on the good news of Jesus Christ. For Wilson, gospel-centrality is not a passing fad. Gospel-centrality is the orientation of all his life and ministry.

He commented, “While I’m readily aware of the dangers of subscribing to so-called gospel-centrality as merely an ideology or a church methodology or, even worse, a consumeristic marketing gimmick, I cannot shake the haunting of my soul of the nearness of Jesus for a sinner like me. For me, this stuff isn’t a shtick. It was, and is, the difference between life and death.”

At the conclusion of his book, Wilson expressed his gratitude to the many people in his life that helped make this book possible. In addition to mentioning his family, close friends, and local church, he also expressed a word of appreciation for the leadership at Midwestern Seminary.

He said, “My role at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has brought me as close to a dream job as I ever could’ve hoped. I’m exceedingly grateful for Dr. Jason Allen, Dr. Jason Duesing, and all my friends and colleagues there for giving me a wide lane in which to write.”

As a gifted and prolific writer, Wilson shared how writing has shaped his life and ministry.

He said, “I have been writing for as long as I’ve been able, since I was a child. I believe I am wired to write, created by God to do this. To borrow a phrase from the Scottish missionary Eric Liddell, ‘When I write, I feel God’s pleasure.’ So in a very real sense, writing of all kinds has become an act of worship for me, because it is my exercising the gifts and talents God has given me.”

“It’s an act of worship for me when I’m writing Christian books like this one, because my overarching goal is to magnify Jesus, to exult in His gospel, and to help others desire to do those things too. In that sense, writing is a stewardship. It’s a gift with which I’ve been entrusted in order to enjoy Jesus and serve other’s enjoyment of him as well.”

Friendship with the Friend of Sinners: The Remarkable Possibility of Closeness with Christ is now available for purchase.

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