A Review of Anyabwile’s ‘Captivated’

If the aphorism is true, that familiarity breeds contempt, then maybe that explains the flippancy of so many regarding the death and resurrection of Christ. After all, we can see the cross around necks, on business cards and car bumpers while the name of Christ has probably been invoked more often when a toe is stubbed than in modern pulpits. Has the story of Christ–His life, His death, His resurrection been missed on us because the significance is hiding in plain sight, drowned out in all of the noise?


In Captivated, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile seeks to help the reader find Christ among the distractions–and not just find Him, but set your gaze upon the Redeemer. The book is a selection of 5 sermons that Pastor Thabiti preached leading up to Easter. As such, they are readable, easy to follow, clear, and applicable. Each chapter/sermon is designed to address questions that Christ Himself asked (with the exception being chapter 3) during the last days of His earthly ministry.

There is often a give-and-take when a book is based on sermons. Typically one would expect the content to be clear and applicable, and Captivated does that well. But can I also say, and I confess that it feels awkward, can I say that this book feels ‘preachy’? Not that I am being preached at, but that the subtleties, fluctuations and nuances that the preacher can convey in person simply don’t come through on paper. Having listened to a number of Pastor Thabiti’s teachings, I love his style and passion for the Word. But as prose, his warmth and pastoral touch is missing.

That being said, I enjoyed the book and think that it is a valuable resource–a worthy addition to any thinking Christian’s library. In a market dominated by self-help manuals, this book is refreshing. Christ is the main character, from start to finish, and for that reason this book is a winner. Because of the readable chapters and summary questions at the end of each chapter, I can see this book being used as a small group study, especially one leading up to Easter (as the holiday creates more natural conversations).

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