Book Review: Plan B by Pete Wilson

In his first book, Plan B, Nashville pastor, Pete Wilson, takes a swing at the always formidable problem of pain. Though it is his first time at bat, with Plan B, Wilson hits a home run.

In a voice that is both entertaining and reassuring, Wilson weaves his personal narrative together with Biblical examples to form a compelling basis for trusting in God in the midst of the personal pain and setbacks.

As the book’s title suggests, Wilson presents the problem of pain as the failure of life to go as we plan, that is, according to Plan A. That reality, unavoidable in a corrupt and fallen world, places us all at one time or another facing Plan B.

Wilson’s insight is born out of a confluence of his experience as a pastor and his knowledge of the Bible. He needn’t reason to a solution for the problem of pain because the credibility of his answers are supported by the authenticity of his experience and the authority of the Biblical examples he provides.

Wilson’s heavy reliance on personal narrative, supported by authoritative Biblical narrative–as opposed to declarative Scripture–is part of the genius of Plan B. It’s a book written with postmoderns in mind, yet it doesn’t sacrifice Biblical authority at the altar of the subjective narrative. That is why Plan B works so well.

Plan B is a postmodern companion to C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain. If you are familiar with Lewis’s life, you know he wrote The Problem of Pain before he had personally confronted the worst of it in his own life. Pete Wilson writes out of the vicarious life experiences that come with pastoring and caring for people who are constantly being confronted with Plan Bs.

These experiences give Wilson a wisdom beyond his years, and an advantage over Lewis who would explain his response to the problem of pain first and be forced to live it later. Pete Wilson has lived it and can now explain it with a calm confidence that makes Plan B both an apologetic and a salve.

I highly recommend it. GS