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Book Review: “Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger” by John McDougall
Armor up, Christians, you’ve been recruited
Warriors share character traits that set them apart from the rest of us and Jesus is our example.
In his book, “Jesus Was An Airborne Ranger,” John McDougall, an Airborne Ranger Chaplain, explains that our “Sunday school” and “boy band” Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. The real Jesus is “the Warrior Christ.”
What the book is about
In a well-organized, scripturally sound, and succinct manner, McDougall parallels the characteristics of an Army Airborne Ranger to Jesus. Airborne Rangers are some of the best warriors in the world and through this comparison, the reader gets a view of Jesus as the ultimate warrior.
“The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training — sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image.”
Bible readers know that the Old Testament is full of warriors, but rarely is Jesus portrayed as such. Epic battles fought against all odds are waged by Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and Jonathan. Then we get to the New Testament and those wars seem to stop.
McDougall frames the coming of Jesus like a Rangers Raid:
“…an Airborne Ranger executes daring missions to rescue humanity at the cost of his own life. That’s exactly what Jesus does for us…Enemy-occupied territory — that is what this world is…We are trapped in hostile territory, and our Rescuer has come to save us.”
With this frame of reference, the entire gospel changes. Jesus came to enemy territory after God engaged in significant planning. Exhibiting tactical patience and surprise, Jesus infiltrated the world and recruited disciples. Then he trained those disciples to continue recruiting, even after He sacrificed himself for us.
Jesus calls us to be warriors.
What I got out of it
When I married a warrior, I had no idea what I was getting into. It has been the ultimate joy of my life, but I have also learned the character traits that make warriors unique:
Honor, integrity, selflessness.
Seeker of truth.
Strategic and tactical thinking.
Protector of others.
Tenacious adherence to “never give up.”
I used to think these characteristics were a little much, thinking they were not needed. It’s not like we’re in war.
But we are.
I admire these character traits and now I strive to emulate them to be an example to others. Especially for young people.
The one thing about warriors is that they never stop being warriors. Physical injury or age may take warriors out of the immediate game, but this book reminds us that spiritual warriors are needed even more. Spiritual warriors have a leader in Jesus. McDougall stresses this point by describing Jesus’s leadership.
“He faced his enemies and spoke his mind. He didn’t apologize for offending. He didn’t sugarcoat. His approach was direct and his message divisive.”
Is it worth your time to read and why
This book is fantastic for warriors.
My husband read it first and suggested I read it. After reading it, he told me he feels more purposeful about his spiritual mission, and framing Jesus as a warrior makes more sense to him.
This book is fantastic for non-warriors or beginner warriors like myself. Warriors come in all forms and in this war. All are called. This book not only deciphers the language of “soldiering” for those who never were one, but it also serves as a recruiting tool.
“The Enemy, like a skilled sniper, is picking us off one by one — our friends, our neighbors, even our own families. We can’t hide in bunkers any longer. We need to follow the Warrior Christ and engage in the fight.”
Each chapter ends with discussion questions. If you think that the warrior ethos is not your thing, these questions help reframe it for everyday life. Like it or not, God is calling us to engage in defeating the enemy and we need to be prepared to fight.
Because, as McDougall warns us, the enemy does not fight fair. I mean, which enemy does?
“When you and I go into battle for God, we should not expect the other side to fight fair. Injustice is often the way of things. In the midst of it, we have to keep trusting and wait for God’s ultimate justice to prevail.”
One look around us and the evidence of the enemy’s tactics are everywhere: Framing biblical values as hate speech, denying God’s creation as male and female, taking away parent’s rights, promoting murder of the unborn.
This book will start conversations. It may even move you from lukewarm to enlisted and engaged. Not everyone is called to fight the big battles, but we must fight for ourselves, our families, and our communities. The Bible reminds us that we are in the world, not of it, and the world belongs to the enemy.
The good news is that our Rescuer Jesus leads the charge, we just have to join the raid and this book lays out the battle plan.