A reader’s delight, A Scandalous Freedom sometimes shocks with challenges to prevailing wisdom, but it follows up with compelling validations of our need to celebrate real, unstinted freedom in Christ.
Christians do not trust freedom. As author Steve Brown explains in this brave new book, they prefer the security of rules and self-imposed boundaries, which they tend to inflict on other Christians. Brown asserts that real freedom means the freedom to be wrong as well as right. Christianity often calls us to live beyond the boundaries, bolstered by the assurance that we cannot fall beyond God’s love. Freedom is dangerous, but the alternative is worse—boxing ourselves up where we cannot celebrate our unique gifts and express our joy in Christ. Each of the book’s eleven chapters explores a common pharisaic, freedom-stifling tendency, then opens the door to the fresh air of a remedial liberty.
Dr. Steve Brown
is a broadcaster, seminary professor, author, and founder and president of Key Life Network. He previously served as a pastor for over twenty-five years and now devotes much of his time to the radio broadcasts, Key Life
and Steve Brown Etc
. Dr. Brown serves as Professor Emeritus of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary teaching at the campuses in Atlanta
and Washington, D.C
. He sits on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters and Harvest USA. Steve is the author of numerous books, and his articles appear in such magazines and journals as Christianity Today, Leadership, Relevant, Leadership, Decision, Plain Truth
and Today's Christian Woman
. Traveling extensively, he is a much-in-demand speaker. Steve and his wife Anna have two daughters and three granddaughters.
Brown's message is bold and emphatic: the gospel is a message of freedom that
reverberates in various facets of human life. Yet far too many Christians live
under a burden of guilt, fear, and religious bondage. Brown, who is a radio
broadcaster and seminary professor, focuses directly on presenting this
message of freedom in its multidimensional aspects so that others might
discover the liberating experience of the gospel. Examples of chapter titles,
e.g., "The Freedom We Surrender...and the Heritage That Sets Us Free," give an
indication of how the book proceeds. Brown writes in an appealing style that
includes numerous illustrations to accentuate his points. His book covers a
needed area in the literature. Recommended for academic libraries. John
Jaeger, Dallas Baptist Univ. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The best radio-show hosts speak not to a group of people but to
individuals-listeners feel the show is just for them. Brown (Born Free), a
Presbyterian seminary professor, former pastor and host of the Key Life radio
program, uses that approach to fine effect as he encourages Christians to
celebrate their absolute freedom. Conversational, lighthearted and full of
funny lines (and a few urban legends presented as fact), Brown's writing
nevertheless conveys deep truth: believers too often stagger beneath a burden
of behavior forced on them by other Christians, a standard that God does not
require. "I fear too often the church has become an organization of guilty
people with a guilty preacher standing in the pulpit, telling guilty people
that they should feel guiltier," he writes. The oppressed and their oppressors
miss the power of authenticity, especially the freedom to fail, the joy of
God's complete forgiveness and the boldness it brings. God's liberty also lets
Christians embrace those with whom they disagree. Brown illustrates the point
in one of his best anecdotes, recalling his relationship with Tony Campolo.
Brown's honesty about his own failings drives his points home. This book has
the power to help Christian believers who have been struggling to march in a
straight line to leap up and dance. (July 6) Copyright 2004 Reed Business
Shocking? Yes. To the point of cardiac arrest? For some. Steve Brown, a seminary professor, radio broadcaster, and author of A Scandalous Freedom suggests that Christians need a spiritual rewiring to break their bondageand that includes freedom to sin. Now that I have your attention
The subject of Steve Browns book is freedomand why were not free. He writes, If Jesus says were free, we ought to accept his declaration at face value and run with it. Throughout 11 chapters, he explains, through anecdotes and Bible quotes, how Christians have lost their freedom and how it hinders them as Christians. The author, in his introduction, draws us into a fireside chat by adding one more credential for writing the book: Well, I have sinned big enough, and Ive lived long enough to write a book like this oneand also to serve as the negative illustrations of most of the principles taught herein.
Among the books main points, Christians fall into the pattern of viewing the world in terms of us and themus being the self-righteous who pretend they are perfect, and thus, have the authority to tell others how they should live so they can also be perfect. They, on the other hand, are those outside of usthe less than perfect, Christians or not. The obsession with perfectionism and living without sin actually keeps Christians from being Christian-like when they appear self-righteous, condemning, and bound by rules and regulations. And they become lonely. Says Brown, If you demonize those people who disagree with you, you will end up being the only one left. Later he says that making others better is Gods job, not mine. To sum up the basics, freedom is accepting Gods grace while working toward perfection, but knowing you, as well as others, will never reach it.
The anecdotes used throughout the book, like the parables Jesus used to teach, help readers relate the authors message to their own lives. The book deals mostly with the whys regarding loss of freedom, and at times rambles without making concise points on how to change. I would have liked to have read a final chapter that actually gave specific steps and suggestions on how Christians can become free -- free to follow them or not, of course. Another book, perhaps? Nevertheless, pastors or priests or anyone involved in Christian ministry, as well as Christians in general will find the book provides some provocative insights. The authors most shocking message is that in our attempts to be evangelists for God, we often make people run in the opposite directionand therein lies the danger. So, how can we afford not to read A Scandalous Freedom to check our own spiritual wiring? -- Karen Thurber, Christian Book Previews.com
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