Monday, April 7, 2014

Uncovered by Rod Tucker

Tucker wants Christians to be honest. He begins with honesty on the individual level and then what it means in the Christian community. He shares many of his own experiences with honestly, or lack of it, and encourages us to
authentic transparent relationships.

Transparency, Tucker says, is what sets the stage for genuine transformation. He struggled with pornography and much of the honesty promoted in the book revolves around it. Because of this, women may have difficulty identifying with Tucker's stories, as I did. Also, Tucker apparently had counseling (59) so there is more to his dealing with the issue than just being honest with others.

I pretty much agree with Tucker's call for honesty. I would offer some caution. Tucker said he became ruthlessly honest with people he knew could help him (including his counselor) and that is important. Blurting out one's sins could be disastrous. Perhaps it should be done only in a trusted setting.

I think Tucker deals with only a part of the gospel in this book. He writes, “...the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which exclaims God's reality that all are loved, all are welcome, all are desired, and all are accepted.” (81) “The issues with the church and homosexuality is not whether homosexuality is right or wrong. The issue is whether or not we will receive the homosexual in the same way that Christ has received us.” (79)

What Tucker fails to address is what happens after that. What about church discipline? (See what Paul commands for one living in unrepentant sexual sin in 1 Cor. 5.) What about the whole issue of God disciplining us because he loves us, not wanting us to continue to sin? (Heb. 12:4-11) What about discipleship? Once we have welcomed them, as Christ welcomes us, how do we love them through discipleship and discipline, as God does because He loves us?

Here's another example of Tucker telling half the story of the gospel. Writing about Paul and Galatians, “He explains freedom as something that exists simply because it is good that it is exists, and that we are intended to experience it for freedom's sake alone.” (127) The footnote refers us to Galatians 5:1. Tucker did not include the other side of freedom, where Paul says, “But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh...” (Gal. 5:13b) Nor does he write about the restriction Paul places on a Christian's freedom in 1 Cor. 9:23-33.

Tucker goes on, “All He asks is that we confess our need for Him, receive His grace, and give His grace to those who need it most.” (136) That is a good beginning to living the gospel life, but what about, “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31)?

Tucker writes, “We no longer need to strive to become perfect. We can live under the umbrella of God's grace.” (136) What about Paul's commands to rid ourselves of certain behavior and “put on” others (Col. 3:8,12)? What about Paul beating his body into submission? (1 Cor. 9:27) What about all the other behavior commands we find in the new Testament, like not being sexually immoral (1 Cor. 10:8)?

Tucker writes, “...what I really want is for people to come together in a place where everyone can be honest. Where everyone, imperfect as we are, can be received with grace.” (119) I agree. But let us not forget – that is only part of the gospel. That is the “nor do I condemn you” from Jesus. We must also include the rest of the gospel, the “go and leave your life of sin” part. (John 8:11)

This is a very simplistic look at a complex issue. It leaves so many questions unanswered. When a believer is honest about his sexual immorality, how do we help that person “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31) and “flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18)? How do we disciple? What is the role of church discipline and how is it done to God's glory?

This book is an encouragement to be honest and live transparently in the Christian community. You will have to go elsewhere, however, to find out how that is actually lived out in a lifetime of glorifying God.

Rod Tucker is the founding pastor of The River:pm, a church site in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rod and his wife live in Kalamazoo. You can find out more about him at rodtuckersays.com.

Kregel Publications, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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