We human beings are burdened by our tendencies to harshly judge others and ourselves. Unfortunately for believers, this bent is as prevalent in the church as in the world.
Pastor and author Gregory A. Boyd calls readers to a higher standard through understanding the true manner in which God views humanity: as infinitely worthwhile and lovable. Only an attitude shift in how we perceive ourselves in light of God's love can impact how we relate to people and transform our judgmental nature.
Believers wrestling with the reality of God's love and Christians struggling with judging in the local church will appreciate this examination of how we move from a self-centered to a Christ-centered life.
Gregory A. Boyd is the senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church (BGC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of many books, including the best-selling Letters from a Skeptic, and formerly taught theology at Bethel College.
Boyd, pastoral theologian and author of Seeing Is Believing, presents a
forceful, if one-sided, solution for Christians torn between judgment and
acceptance. Drawing on biblical images including the Tree of Knowledge, the
Samaritan woman at the well and Jesus' reputation as a "friend of sinners,"
Boyd argues that "the church must be the community of people who simply love
as God loves." Christians who judge others are, in effect, eating forbidden
fruit, labeling people as good or evil in exchange for a tainted boost of
spiritual energy. Even in the context of church discipline with the best of
motives, Boyd is skeptical about the benefits of confrontation and rebuke,
decrying the "trust we have in our power of judgment rather than the power of
God and his love flowing through us." Bucking evangelical convention is
nothing new for Boyd, but his development of the biblical basis for his
conclusions is less comprehensive than in most of his previous works. This is
unfortunate considering that Boyd's proposals for the church-such as treating
homosexuality and overeating as essentially equivalent issues-are already
guaranteed to raise eyebrows among evangelical readers. While its message is
engaging, this title incorporates more repetition and less nuance, more
rhetoric and less practical pastoral guidance, than Boyd usually delivers.
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