Prototype by Jonathan Martin explores the concept of Jesus being the first, and therefore our example, to define a new way of being human. Throughout the book, Martin attempts to explain how Jesus, through His life, death, and resurrection, showed us how to live in such a way that other people will begin to grasp what our future in heaven will be like right now. On the first page of his epilogue, Martin tells us that he has not attempted to say anything novel. He is simply trying to explain the New Testament term for Jesus, “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18), in modern day terms. He defines the church as a “community of new humans entrusted with the task of making the future present.”
Martin has some beautiful ideas. The first three chapters of the book are brilliant. After that Martin’s style becomes a little more rambling as he presents his ideas more subtly through stories of his and other people’s experiences, sometimes through the experiences of Bible characters. The final chapter is a conclusion which ties the beginning to the end, clarifying the whole. He closes with a powerful letter to the church, encouraging her to identify and focus on her role on earth right now while resisting the strong temptation to be something less.
I chose to review this book as part of Tyndale’s Summer Reading Program, but obtained it myself. Readers will find Martin’s presentation unique and will be challenged to think about their role in Christ's church.