Mission Drift and how to Avoid It.

Mission Drift

“In its simplest form, Mission True organizations know why they exist and protect their core at all costs. They remain faithful to what they believe God has entrusted them to do. They define what is immutable: their values and purposes, their DNA, their heart and soul.” (p. 27)

Mission Drift is a book that will help any organization, charity, church face the future with a steadfast foundation. What is that steadfast foundation? God. This book builds on research that helps the reader realize that any organization is prone to wander from its original mission. Many Ivy League universities started as places to train young men for the ministry. However, if you look at them now, they have strayed from that purpose and are far from what the founders intended. You can go all around the globe and find many ministries, charitable organizations, trust funds who were founded for one specific purpose and with a mission in mind, who have now drifted. This happens over time and to keep it from happening, it takes intentionality. Staying true to your mission does not just happen, it has to be made to happen. For some organizations or charities, it might mean turning down donations from companies or people who want you to change who you are, or maybe just not mention God or Jesus Christ as much.

What will you do as you go through life? Do you have a mission that is founded? What is it? How do you know that you will not drift from it in the future? Do you work at a church, charity, or any other organization that is currently Christian? What will keep it from changing in the future? This book is written to help you answer that question. Mission Drift is for leaders and people in leadership positions who help make decisions that guide organizations or ministries into the future.

The authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst write Mission Drift not simply from observing and researching, but also from experiencing it themselves in their own lives. They write from a point of view of having experienced what it takes to remain mission true. They combine their own personal experience with research to help the reader understand the importance of this topic. As time continues to march towards the return of Jesus Christ, life is not necessarily going to get easier for Christians. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, it will get more difficult. So as Christians, should we fold or continue to stand true and not drift from the mission God has given us? The Bible only gives one answer to people who claim to follow Christ: to persevere regardless of circumstances. We need to be equipped and ready for what lies ahead, and Mission Drift will help you.

As a youth pastor, I can see the effects of drifting from a mission. It is not always a dramatic shift all at once, rather, it is something that takes place over time. So if you are in any kind of leadership position with a ministry, church, charity or Christian organization, read this book.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for a review of the book.

 

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Be the Message – a Gospel centered devotional

Be the message

If you only had one sentence, this book could be described this way: Be the Message is a simple, yet life-changing devotional centered on the Gospel. As followers of Christ, it is easy to speak words but not actually live them. If you grew up in a church, chances are you can state what it is you supposedly believe even if your life does not follow your words. This is a struggle for any person claiming to be a follower of Christ. We make statements to satisfy our minds and cause us to think we believe something when our actions simply do not align with our words. Be the Message hits this struggle head on.

Each day follows the same process of opening yourself, God’s Word, your mind, your heart, your life and your arms. This is an effective process because it challenges you to slow down and not simply read through the day’s devotion quickly to simply check it off. It challenges you to think about what you are going to read and one of my favorite parts of the book, gives simply but practical ways to actually do something with what you have read. It is always easy to read something that challenges you and walk away thinking and knowing you should do something with what you read, only to not do anything. This book helps you get beyond that with different ways each day to apply what you have read.

Be the Message is a challenging devotional that will impact your life and challenge you to move beyond words and live your life with the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center. Jesus did not simply preach the Gospel, He also lived it. This is what we as followers of Christ need to be doing as well, living the Gospel and not just preaching it. When we do this, people will take notice and lives and hearts will be changed.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as a part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

 


Finding the Skinny in your cooking

The_Skinnytaste_Cookbook__81885.1415496788.1280.1280

For those of you who normally check out the reviews I post on Thetoddlynn, this review will be a break from the typical theology or Christian inspirational/living book. This review is actually of a cookbook. My wife and I have been looking for ways to eat healthier without losing the flavor and without breaking our budget. From all the mom bloggers out there, it is easy to see this is something where we are not alone. Today, families are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and break from the norm of not considering the results of what we eat and how it affects more than just our waistlines. Our attitudes, energy, focus, and passion for life are all affected by what we eat and how we eat.

Gina Homolka initially started her Skinnytaste.com blog to share healthy but delicious and family-friendly recipes and this cookbook includes some recipes from her blog as well as 125 all-new dishes. The blog began when Gina decided she wanted to lose some weight. After initially trying to Weight Watchers program, she began looking for ways to “skinny-fy” her meals so her and her family could eat what they enjoyed while remaining healthy and still losing the desired weight. The great thing about The skinnytaste Cookbook is that the recipes are not too elaborate for a mother, or even a father, with young kids to follow and put together while living with the craziness of family life.

My wife said the recipes were simple to follow, and I enjoyed that the flavor was great. She enjoyed how the book is organized and includes a wide variety of recipes broken down into easy to find sections ranging from breakfast to soups to appetizers to meats and salads. However, that is not all. In a cookbook like this, you would maybe assume there would not be a section for desserts. But let me share with you that there is even a section for desserts. As of now my wife and I have yet to try any of them but as I look through the options, I am excited and looking forward to trying even more of them.

The two recipes that really stood out to us were the French Bread Pizza Supreme and the So-Addicted Chicken Enchiladas. Having a daughter that is a picky eater makes it difficult for us to try new things all the time keeps us from branching out as much as we would like but these two were meals that she even ate along with us. We are looking forward to finding other recipes she will be willing to eat along with us.

Needless to say this book will definitely help any family enjoy delicious but healthy homemade meals without forfeiting the flavor. Are you looking for ways to make a change to a healthier lifestyle? You should check out the blog then pick up this book. You and your family will be glad you did.

 

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Bonhoeffer Abridged by Eric Metaxas

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Having heard much of Dietrich Bonhoeffer I was excited to get this book by Eric Metaxas and start reading it. After getting it, it took me a few days before starting to read it but as soon as I did, I couldn’t put it down, finishing the book in only 3 days. You might think 3 days is kind of slow but for me, it is fast. In Bonhoeffer Abridged, Eric Metaxas does a great job of painting a clear picture of this pastor and theologian as well as what inspired him to be the man he was.

The reader is drawn in and taken on a journey through the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You learn about his family life and childhood and on to his life as a student and eventually a teacher and pastor. The life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is inspiring and motivating. His love for God and theology as well as his love for other people is revealed throughout this small glimpse into the life of one of the great thinkers in Christian history. This is not an all-encompassing biography of Bonhoeffer as you can perceive from the title, but a brief overview or summary of the more important parts of his life, the parts that truly reveal who he was. What is truly captivating about this book is the glance at what life was like for many Germans as Adolf Hitler was coming to power and throughout his reign through World War II. One amazing part of this book is the revelation of how Dietrich was involved in a plot to end Hitler’s reign by assassinating him to regain control of Germany from the Nazis. Throughout the book you get to read some of Bonhoeffer’s own words and thoughts as well as those who knew him well. “The man who died was engaged to be married. He was a pastor and a theologian. And he was executed for his role in the plot to assassinate Hitler. This is his story.” (p. xii) His is a story worth reading.

Bonhoeffer Abridged is definitely worth your time. Eric Metaxas does a splendid job of writing and sharing just exactly who this man was and why you should know him. I can definitely say after reading this book I am already looking forward to reading some of Dietrich’s own writing and getting to know this German man who was a theologian and a pastor.

“The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one’s bread; on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian.” (p. 33)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 


Not a Chance: A Review

Not-a-Chance

Can faith in God and science coexist? Does one contradict the other? Many opponents of Christianity attempt to use science to show that a god does not and cannot exist. Along with this, many believe that the supernatural does not exist. They believe people see or experience an illusion or a figment of their imagination, but nothing actually supernatural. Opponents of believing in God often claim that “chance” plays an integral part in the world. This is where Not a Chance makes its plea. Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the back cover:

Despite claiming unbelief in God or any higher power that may have designed or created the world, modern scientists often write and speak of chance as some kind of being or force that can actually cause things to happen.

In this book, Sproul and Mathison “call the scientific world to employ logic and clarity in their discourse, to leave the word chance as an abstract concept to describe mathematical possibilities rather than an ontological entity that can cause change.” How do they accomplish this? They accomplish their goal by presenting compelling and logical arguments that demand to be answered. Not a Chance touches on everything from chaos to reason, magic, contradictions, quantum physics and logic. This book is a great read for someone wanting to stretch their brain and learn more about how God and science cannot just coexist, but actually strengthen an individual’s faith.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“Chance is their magic wand to make not only rabbits but entire universes appear out of nothing” (p. 24).

“However, even in our wildest dreams, chance, which is nothing, cannot do something” (p. 24).

“Chance itself has no influence on the outcome of either the coin toss or the subsequent game” (p. 37).

“I do not allow for uncaused effects because uncaused effects represent a contradiction in terms” (p. 58).

“To be free of causality is to be free of logic, and license is given for making nonsense statements with impunity” (p. 61).

One of my favorite quotes from this book is this one: “For something to come from nothing it must, in effect, create itself” (p. 26). The authors respond to this statement with this thought: “For something to create itself it must be before it is. This is impossible” (p. 26). Everyone will agree that this is in fact impossible. And that is why a book like this is so important for Christians to read as it will educate us all with how to respond to arguments against the existence of a supreme being, God Himself.

There is much more that I could cover from this book in this review but let me bring this to a conclusion and share the conclusion as the authors wrote it:

Gravity is not nothing. Space is not nothing. A multiverse is not nothing. Scientists may be able to show mathematically consistent ways in which the existence of any of these somethings could lead to other somethings. But what are the odds that something can come from absolutely nothing? There is not a chance. (p. 223)

How could something come from absolutely nothing? That is a huge question that unfortunately science has never nor will ever be able to answer. Why? Because when science tries to make something out of nothing, in their very experiments they are using something. So they are not reproducing and reenacting the very beginning of the universe they claim to be trying to prove.

Want a book that will cause you to think deeply? Have you been looking for a book on God and science? Then Not a Chance is a book that you will enjoy. Written by author and theologian R.C. Sproul, this book will challenge your cognition. If you are just looking for light reading, keep looking as this book will leave you with a headache.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.

 


Does Theology make you sleepy?

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Is this your response when you hear the word “doctrine” or “theology”? If so, you are not alone. Unfortunately today, in many churches, theology is looked at as unnecessary, or outdated or even tedious. People who profess to be followers of Christ do not even attempt to bother with theology. This is sad but also alarming because how can we claim to know God through Christ Jesus without in some ways seeking to understand theology and along with that, doctrine? I do not understand how it is possible but that is the state of the church today. In many cases, you start a study on theology and you would hardly find enough people worth turning the lights on for. On the other side, start a study on the book of Revelation and you will pack the church out. Everyone is interested in what will happen in the future, but not everyone is interested in knowing God. Many people are interested in understanding what benefits knowing God will have for their life, but not many are interested in simply knowing God. We are like kids at Christmas time, extremely interested in the gifts to be opened but not so much anything else.

Many people could care less what theology and doctrine mean to their lives. They do not want to take the time to truly understand how theology and doctrine relate to every aspect of their lives. Incorrect doctrine and theology has ruined churches and Christians throughout history. Many people in the past have done things in the name of Christianity that if they had simply taken the time to the knowledge and study of Theology, they would have seen their error. To this day, there are people who hate Christianity due to the barbaric acts done in its name.

So what do we do? How do we combat this? How do we bring about a change in this mindset in this day and age? We need to teach theology and doctrine to our churches. We need to help the people in our care understand how theology plays into their lives Monday through Saturday. We cannot simply remain on the surface, we have to go deep. But we have to do it in a way that draws them in, not pushes them away. To do that, we have to be leaders who are first students. It is hard to teach something that someone does not first have an understanding and it is hard to get other people to want to know something that we have not taken the time to study and know as well.

That is where this book comes in. Edited by Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel, Exploring Christian Theology is written “as guidebooks for a church, that overall, is starving for the very doctrine it has too long avoided” (p. 9). This is the first of 3 volumes and they “will offer introductions, overviews, and reviews of key orthodox, protestant, evangelical tenets without belaboring details or broiling up debates” (p. 9). These books are written for the purpose of helping people who may not have read much theology to be able to understand key concepts and ideas of Christian thought.

To be a Christian, it is not simply enough to know about God. A Christian should want to personally and intimately know God. Too many people who claim to be Christians only know about God, but they do not know God. That would be like claiming to be married without actually having a wedding and changing your lives to live together with your bride. It would be similar to being in a relationship with someone you have never met. Yet many people do that. They claim God loves them and knows them and that is all there is. “I know there is a God, and hopefully when I get to the end of my life, I will have done enough good to go to heaven.” Yes, it is true God knows us and loves us. It is true God sent Jesus to die for all of us. But it takes more than knowing about that, it takes personally knowing God and seeking Him with your life. The Bible says that even the demons believe there is a God, and they shudder because of it (James 2:19). So we are to be students of God seeking to know Him more and more as we live our lives.

This volume focuses on two aspects of theology: God’s Revelation, Scripture and Truth as well as the Trinity. These are not simple ideas to grasp or understand fully but this book presents the topics in a manner that will help the average Christian reader or lay person understand the importance of knowing these topics and how they relate to our relationship with God. One of my favorite parts of the book came after the topic was explained. Included on each topic are chapters that cover the topic in history, facts to never forget, dangers to avoid, principles to put into practice, voices from the past (this is simply thoughts on the topics from Christian thinkers of the past) and finally other recommendations for further study and reading on the topic.

If you are looking for a simple book to broaden your understanding of theology and doctrine, give this book a chance. I love how the book introduces the topic, goes into an explanation and then helps the reader understand the topic through the various means mentioned. It is a simple but effective presentation that would be beneficial for any Christian to deepen their understanding of God as well as whet their appetite for more.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for a review of the book.


My Battle Against Hitler

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Do you like history? Do you enjoy reading about World War II? Does behind the scene firsthand experience of historical events interest you? Have you ever wondered what was going on inside the heads of German nationals as Adolf Hitler was coming to power on his path to taking over Germany?

My Battle Against Hitler will be an interesting read for you. This book is firsthand experience of a German college professor named Dietrich Von Hildebrand who, interestingly enough actually wound up as one of Hitler’s top targets once he came to power. Mr. Von Hildebrand was a college professor who was very outspoken against the rise of Nazism. My Battle is basically outtakes from Dietrich’s personal “anti-Nazi papers edited by Austrian historian Ernst Wenisch” (p. 18). Also included within the text are notes from the same editor.

Of all the books I have reviewed, this has probably been the one I have enjoyed the least. This is not due to the book being boring or not interesting. It is more due to the fact I am not a huge history buff. While I do enjoy hearing and understanding what happened in the past, this book just did not hold my attention as others have. There are some interesting parts to the book such as the part of his escape to Vienna and how he made it out at just the right moment or he would have been killed by the gestapo. But this part comes at the end. Everything before this part serves simply as background to what lead up to him being targeted by Hitler. Also included in the book are some of his writings against the Nazi ideology and these were interesting to glance over.

Overall, this book was not one of my favorites to read. As I said, I am not a huge history fanatic so my review is heavily influenced by this. If you really enjoy history, this book might be intriguing to you and something worth purchasing for your library. However, if you do not identify yourself as a history buff, then let this book pass and just watch the History Channel.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


Want a great marriage?

From this day forward

From This Day Forward is a simple but effective book on how to have a lasting marriage. Many Christians like to point their fingers at the gays and homosexuals saying they are ruining marriage. However, they are not ruining it. Who is ruining marriage then? Those heterosexuals who fail to live up to the commitments they made at the altar. Love is tossed around as a simple feeling or emotion. While it can be that, love is a choice and a commitment. I once heard it said “You do not fall in love, you fall in holes.” This is definitely something I have come to see in my own marriage. I did not fall in love with my wife, I chose to love her. Yes we had all those great feelings and emotions that all couples experience on their journey towards marriage but we also came to the conclusion that love is more than those butterflies in our stomachs, it is a choice, and it is a choice we made to love each other.

Unfortunately, many “Christians” are falling for the world’s idea of love over God’s. What this means is the church has been infiltrated with the wrong idea of love. Marriages are crumbling within the church just like it is outside of the church. Divorce is mentioned more often than it should be within the church. It is even seen as a way out if your spouse fails in some area or another. Instead of sticking through thick and thin, divorce is seen as an escape route. Craig and Amy address this in From This Day Forward.

This book does not break any new ground and or share any amazing new secret or wisdom to a happy marriage, but it is written in a practical and encouraging way to challenge couples that even though hard times can and will come, it is still possible to have a happy marriage. In the book, they address five commitments couples, whether married, dating or engaged, should make to fail proof your marriage. The five commitments are 1-Seek God, 2-Fight Fair, 3-Have Fun, 4-Stay Pure, and 5-Never Give Up. As you notice, these commitments are not rocket science and you have probably heard them mentioned before, but married couples would do well to actually commit to remember and practice them. If this were to happen within the church, I could almost guarantee that the church would be a happier and more welcoming place. Can you imagine a community coming together often who were practicing these five commitments? Wow. It would be amazing to see this happen. Imagine a church where married couples only spoke positively about their spouse to other people? Imagine a church where couples spoke of how they loved each other? Imagine if even the jesting and joking among married couples were to cease? Younger people would get a better idea of what marriage is supposed to be about. When we first star dating someone, we do not even think about joking on them like married couples do after marriage. And when we get engaged we do not suddenly begin to talk negatively about them, even to other people. But it seems after being married for so many years, it becomes natural for couples to begin talking and joking about each other to other people. Who is hurt in these jests? Those younger people hearing us talk about marriage in this manner. If this is what happens when someone gets married, then why should I get married? I would just rather date someone so we can stay in love. That is what we are simply telling younger people when we act this way.

In these five commitments, a foundation is laid for a strong marriage. But it takes commitment and choosing to live according to these commitments. This has to be a daily choice for both spouses to make towards each other and to remember constantly, even in the heat of the moment when a fight or argument seems imminent. Marriage takes work, but Craig and Amy in this book lay these five commitments as foundations for any marriage. Let me share with you a couple quotes from the book that stood out to me:

“Become the kind of person you would like to marry…I will seek the One while I prepare for my two” (p. 28).

“Imagine how hard it must be to divorce someone you’re genuinely seeking God with. What are the odds that God’s direction to you is going to be, ‘Yeah, you should just split up’? Not likely” (p. 42).

“All couple fight, but healthy couples fight fair” (p. 53).

“One of the best ways you and your spouse can become slow to anger is by communicating regularly and honestly when you’re not facing conflict…work on your marriage during non-conflict times” (p. 61).

“When you’re married, fun is not a luxury; it’s a requirement…Without romance, without adventure – without fun – marriage is reduced to a simple business arrangement” (p. 85).

“We decided that our marriage will be as good as we decide it will be” (p. 141).

That last quote I feel sums up the main theme going through this book: if you want to have a great marriage, decide to make it great. Most things of great substance in someone’s life do not happen as an accident, it happens as a result of making choices. So if you want to have a great marriage, decide to make it great. Do not wait to see if it happens because if you wait, it will pass you by and you will miss out on years of fun as a married couple.

From This Day Forward is a great book and one I will use in the future when counseling and talking with couples getting married as well as couples already married. I also recommend singles read it as well. This book will go right up there with another book I reviewed called True Love Dates. So if you are dating and expecting to get married, engaged, or already married, pick this book up and read through it with your spouse and practice what it teaches. Choose to have a great marriage.

In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.


The Unbelievable Gospel

Unbelievable Gospel

 

Are you fearful of sharing your faith? Does striking up conversations regarding faith cause your palms to sweat and your head to spin? Do you find it hard to know when and where to bring up your relationship with Jesus in conversation or how to even try to transition? Or do you maybe wonder why it seems people are not open to the gospel message as much as it seems people used to be? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you are not alone. Many Christians would be right there with you, including myself, even as a youth pastor. The Unbelievable Gospel is the book for you.

Having never heard of Jonathan Dodson before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the insight and wisdom shared within this book is helpful as well as challenging for the individual seeking to learn how to truly engage the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jonathan, the founding pastor of City Life Church in Austin, TX, blends in personal stories to help people learn from what he himself has experienced.

One of the main themes woven throughout this book is that we as Christians need to have a way to share what we believe that helps other people see that it is in fact worth believing themselves. A point Jonathan argues is that many people do not see the gospel as something worth believing and thus when Christians try to share the gospel with them, they are not interested. This can be due to many various things going on in their lives but in many situations, it comes down to Christians not presenting the gospel in an attractive or believable fashion. Thus, Mr. Dodson wrote The Unbelievable Gospel to “show us how to communicate and embody a gospel that is believable, personal, and culturally engaging” (Back cover). How does he do this?

The book is divided into 3 sections: Defeaters, Re-evangelization, and metaphors. Defeaters is all about the things that pull at us and keep us from sharing the gospel. Re-Evangelization helps the reader recover the Gospel and “remind us of the need to continually communicate the eternal gospel in new ways to various cultures and people” (p. 100). Lastly, metaphors is the practical part of the book “filled with examples of how to share a believable gospel” (p. 142). Metaphors is where Jonathan simply started sharing story after story in hope of “stimulating our missional imagination” to help us see it is not difficult to share the gospel in a believable way, it just takes us being willing to listen to culture and the people around us to find ways into their lives. Mostly gone are the days where we simply just asked people to come to church or an evangelistic meeting with us; today, people want to hear and see the gospel lived out before their eyes. When people see authentic faith lived before them, it gives us more of a voice with them but we also have to be mindful of the people we are sharing with and be listening for ways to engage people in a way that is personal. We cannot simply use gospel presentations anymore.

Let me share a couple quotes with you:

“Surprisingly, it isn’t all that hard for someone to mistake clear gospel preaching with moral, religious teaching…This is why gospel preaching and teaching, as good as they are, are not enough. We need everyday evangelists, people who are willing to rub shoulders with those outside the church, hang out at their parties, take them to lunch, and ask enough loving questions to surface true beliefs. It takes time, conversations, and patience for people to get grace, to get it down into their hearts.” (p. 62)

“We desperately need to set apart Jesus as Lord in our hearts, not what others think as Lord. This is where deep security is found.” (p. 95)

“People need to know why Jesus is worthy of their faith.” (p. 143)

“An evangelizing church is a praying church. The church that evangelizes has to pray because it knows evangelism is ineffective apart from the powerful work of the Spirit, who responds both to our prayers and to God’s will.” (p. 203)

Are you looking for some renewed energy and motivation for sharing your faith? Has your approach to share the gospel kind of gotten stale? The Unbelievable Gospel will give you energy and ideas for how to share with people what we as Christians believe is the most important aspect of our lives. I am going to be looking for ways to use this book with my church youth group. I would also love to see a church curriculum come out of this book as I believe it would personally help the people in the church where I currently serve. The gospel is life changing and life giving and as followers of Christ, it is our mission to be sharing it with people we come in contact with. This book will help encourage you to engage the world.

In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.


Should Christians defend Same-Sex Marriage?

Samesex marriage

 

Same-sex marriage has been the topic you use to stir up controversy for years now. Political parties have been divided and businesses sued all due to how this topic drew a proverbial line in the sand daring people to stay on the opposite side and not support the movement. Today, if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and fear-monger. All you have to do to see that is look at how the Duggar family has been attacked recently as well as Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. It is either support us or else. How did this country get to this place? How did we arrive at this point in history? Is there any chance for recovery from it? Is there any chance for the Biblical perspective on marriage to stand strong again?

Is homosexuality a sin? Is God really ok with people who practice homosexuality? Should Christians support marriage between homosexuals? How should Christians and churches respond? In the name of the “new tolerance” Christians are being shut up and people are trying to change what the Bible says to defend their lifestyles. So how should we as Christians respond? So what is or should be our response?

That is where this book comes in. Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet do an excellent job at covering the topic of same-sex marriage in-depth. This book helps people understand this: “Same-sex marriage is here. It went from unthinkable to legal at a dizzying pace. The question is: Now what?” (Front cover) This topic matters, especially to followers of Christ who want to stand with the Bible and its truth. There is a battle that will continue to be fought and for Christians, it is imperative that we know what we believe, know why we believe it and know how to defend it.

Throughout this book there is never a harsh word written towards anyone who labels themselves a homosexual or gay. You will not find it. There is no fear-mongering or trying to get people to see gay people, as unequal or unworthy of human rights. You will not find any hatred. This book is written in a loving but truth seeking manner. Same-Sex Marriage is about helping Christians learn to live “fully engaged in the world.” (Back cover) If we want to move forward and defend the Biblical definition of marriage, we need to understand a few things. We need to understand how the homosexual movement got us to this place, we need to be willing as the church to learn from the past and then we need to be able to look forward to the future and use what little voice we have left in the public square to stand for truth. If we truly want to engage the world around us as Christians should, then we need to be able to “balance humility, conviction, truth and hope.” (Back Cover)

Let me share 5 meaningful and powerful quotes from the book with you:

“A strong marriage culture brings stability to the lives of the individuals who are involved and to the entire community.” (p. 49)

“Unfettered freedom is destructive. Marriage brings incredible freedom, but only when properly understood.” (p. 127)

“Regardless of our words, reality hasn’t changed: sex still makes babies, society still needs babies, and babies still deserve a mom and a dad. We need a word for the unique relationship that best manages those things in a society. Expanding marriage to same-sex couples leaves us without one.” (p. 58)

“A culture in which sex is cheap is a culture in which people are devalued.” (p. 125)

“The most important question is not ‘What are we going to do about same-sex marriage?’ It is ‘What are we going to do about marriage?’

Go pick up a copy and read it with your family, teach it in your church and use it as a way to engage the world around you. We as Christians cannot come at this by attacking the other people. We must be willing to have conversations with people, engage them. That will open the door for us to speak truth.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.