This is a good compliation of thoughts by several well know Christian writers / preachers. It is a short book but a profound book for all of us to read, understand, ponder and then put into action.
The goal of the book is to push us beyond the fact that the Christian Life is that of engaging the intellect. We also need to put into action that which we are reading. I think that the opening line in Thabiti Anyabwile's chapter sums this up, "The fullest expression of Christian living is a combination of head, heart and hands. In involves receiving truth through the head, which ignites new affections in the heart and flows out in action through the hands." To many of us are so busy gaining knowledge that we neglect to put what we learn into action.
In the first Chapter, Rick Warren mentions how he went to church on Sunday morning and in Sunday school was encouraged to take an application from the lesson. Then in service he got another application, then on Sunday night a third application from scripture and on Wednesday night a fourth application. He was so busy getting applications he was suppose to follow through on that he never had time to follow through. Does that sound like your church?
We need to follow Thabiti's thought and put the head knowledge into our heart and let it flow out through our hands as we take action to apply all that we are learning about scripture.
But further the book challenges us that we as Evangelical's in the West have lost the art of "Thinking." We critically think about what we read or learn. We don't delve into learning about God so that we can "Think" about who He is, what He does and what He desires His children to be doing. Christians today are not challenged to THINK. They are challenged to sit and listen to others who have supposedly done the thinking for them.
Rick Warren's chapter challenges us as Christians to become learners, to immerse ourselves in learning about God, to read continually, to saturate our minds with the things of God so that when we act we are acting out of a knowledge base of Biblical thought.
Art Mohler's chapter delves into the need to look at Worldviews, see how they have developed, why they have taken hold in our cultures and what we need to understand regarding them so that we can critically anyalsis and respond to them. We need to study not just our own Christian worldview but the worldview of others so that we can acknowledge and address them in a way that challenges them to look at Christianity to find the truth.
R.C. Sproul then takes us through a study of Philosophy and the Philosopher's of the past. He looks into what the early philosophers were thinking, how they pondered our world and cultures and why they came to the conclusions that they came to. He then works through Paul's address in Acts to the philosopher's regarding their statue to the 'unknown God.' He knew their thoughts and that they gathered everyday to dialogue about "what is new?" He brought them the answer to what is new and it was in the form of Jesus Christ. But to do so he had to study, learn, understand others thought processes and then see how Christianity fit into that mode of communication to help people come to understand Christ. Today we don't think that way.
The Thabiti gives us in his chapter a dilogue about encountering Islam with the Mind of Christ. It is a challenging chapter that will help you develop a critical mindset on how to approach our fellow humans who happen to follow the teaching of Mohammad.
Finally Francis Chan challenges our thinking and our lifestyle. His chapter sums up the problem and approaches us with a challenge of how are we going to live today.
This book is short, but very challenging. It will push you to want to "THINK" and learn and grapple with today's issues but then to take your Christianity, your faith, your love for Christ and want to love others enough to do something about sharing what you have learned so that they to can come to know the Savior.
This books is one that would be great to read as part of a book club and then talk through the lessons learned and then hold each other accountable for how you are going to put it into action.
Matthew 22:37 states that the Great Commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Christians, and even non-Christians today, have lost the ability to truly unleash their mind. Colleges try to teach people how to have an open mind but in essence they want their students to believe what they believe, feel what they feel, etc. If they teach that there are no absolutes, they want their students to absolutely believe it. We want young people to use their minds but we do not teach them how to. In the church, we have done even a greater disservice in this area. David Mathis makes the point that "Healthy Christianity clearly appreciates the life of the mind." (p. 15)
True Christianity encompasses all of the emotions. Thinking. Loving. Doing. Is a book that truly challenges how we use our mind. It challenges us to even question whether or not we are even using our mind. As I sometimes do in my reviews, here is what the back of the book has to say:
"Here is a call to holistic Christianity. A challenge to be thinkers, engaged and serious about knowing God. And to be feelers, pulsing with passion for Jesus and His gospel. And to be doers, endeavoring great acts of love for others. Our Savior himself shows us that holistic Christianity is comprised of mind, heart and hands. And he shows us that the Christian life is multidimensional - irreducibly and inseparably thinking, loving and doing."
I use the back many times because the way they word the description or purpose of the book is the best way to put it. This book is all about challenging Christians to be fully devoted followers of Christ and to do that, we must be engaged in all of our emotions. That is how Jesus set the example, He loved, He felt and He did so why should we be expected to do any less as His followers. With the great commandment being to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, why do we think that is an option? The best way to live the Christian life, and the only way to live the Christian life, is with all of our being; anything less than that subconsciously says that we do not have to obey the greatest commandment.
This book began as actual messages spoken at the Desiring God Conference from 2010 and has contributions from Rick Warren, Francis Chan, R.C. Sproul, R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Thabiti Anyabwile. Each of the contributors adds their own unique ability to communicate to the book which makes this book a great read and challenge for anyone desiring to truly walk with the Lord.
Rick Warren begins the book with speaking of the battle of the mind. We face a war for our minds each and every day. There is so much trying to grab our attention and get us thinking about it that for us to truly begin thinking in a Christian way, it will take effort on our part. Albert Mohler follows with speaking on the way the world thinks and how the natural mind is at work within all of us because of the fall of man. R.C. Sproul then moves us on to thinking about the Bible because it is what actually gives answers to life's biggest questions. Thabiti Anyabwile speaks on Islam and Muslims and how our thinking has affected our reaction or thoughts towards these people. Francis Chan then gives a great challenge to think about whether or not we truly love God and love others. John Piper concludes the book with a challenge on how thinking is what will actually help lead us more fully into experiencing true and lasting joy.
Over all, this book is a great read for any Christian who wants to be challenged. And yet what this book will lead you to is actually begin thinking, and even thinking about thinking. That is what it did to me. After reading many portions of this book, I would find myself sitting and actually just thinking. Our minds are powerful things and as one famous quote states, a "horrible thing to waste." For the Christian, this is extremely important because the greatest commandment says we are to love with ALL. If we are to love with ALL our mind, it must cause us to think and to think deeply. Not to become more knowledgeable and prideful because of our knowledge, but to think because thinking leads to loving which leads to doing; and that is what the Christian life is all about. So go ahead and pick this book up and read it. You will find yourself challenged and glad that you did pick it up.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for this review.