Gregory R. Lanier. Is Jesus Truly God? How the Bible Teaches the Divinity of Christ. Wheaton: Crossway, 2020. 144 pages. $16.99 (paperback).
Gregory Lanier, who serves as Associate Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and Associate Pastor of River Oaks Church in Lake Mary, Florida, combines theological acumen and pastoral perspective in his latest book, Is Jesus Truly God? How the Bible Teaches the Divinity of Christ. His express aim is to offer the full range of biblical arguments for the deity of Jesus Christ, though with a general, non-scholarly audience in view. Through his use of clear prose, well-ordered argumentation, and neatly interwoven support from Scripture, Lanier has hit his target. In six chapters spread over just 144 fast-moving pages, he works deftly through several titanic truths concerning the divinity of Christ.
Lanier builds his case for the deity of Jesus Christ according to the following flow of argument: the preexistence of Christ (chapter 1); Jesus’s unique status as God the Father’s eternally-begotten Son (chapter 2); the application of language reserved for YHWH in the Old Testament to Jesus in the New Testament (chapter 3); the recorded practices of the earliest Christians in worshiping Jesus as God (chapter 4); Christ’s position as an ontologically equal member of the Trinity (chapter 5); and the various instances in Scripture where the word “God” (theos) is used in reference to Jesus (chapter 6).
Lanier stacks towering theological truths concerning the divinity of Christ, but remains approachable to his target audience. He opens each chapter with relatable illustrations, which then lead into his easy-to-follow analysis of the Scriptures, and concludes each chapter with a concise summary of the doctrine he has developed.
One area of weakness in Lanier’s work relates to the ordering of his arguments. His fifth chapter, concerning God the Son’s eternal role, function, and position within the Trinity, would be better placed as either the first or second chapter of the book (either preceding or succeeding the chapter on Christ’s preexistence). Its current placement after the chapter related to Christ’s receipt of worship as God during his earthly ministry seems to be chronologically out of place.
Is Jesus Truly God? is a well-crafted summary of the biblical arguments for the divinity of Jesus Christ. Lanier’s work efficiently covers the depths of the doctrine but does not sacrifice biblical fidelity or theological weightiness. This volume will be of great benefit to church members, lay leaders, pastors, Bible teachers, and theological students alike as they grapple with, defend, and proclaim the truth that Jesus is “our God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).
Jesse Randolph serves as the Equipping Pastor at Mission Bible Church, in Orange County, CA, and is a Th.M. student at The Master’s Seminary.