It happens all too often. A relatively new Christian comes upon a troublesome issue. Perhaps it is creation verses evolution. Maybe it is the issue of a good God and so much evil in the world. Faced with a tough situation and not prepared for survival, their faith suffers.
Survival requires planning. That goes for a hike in the wilderness and it goes for our spiritual walk. “Christian survival just doesn't happen.” Cyzewski writes. “It requires discipline, planning, and action.” (13).
He has written this book to help us survive the tough challenges of being a follower of Jesus. He draws from his own experience of being a life long Christian yet having hit rough patches that threatened his faith. He covers a number of topics identified as essential to survival. These are within the broad subjects of right beliefs, understanding God's story from the Bible, living in step with the Spirit, and being in community with other Christians.
He has some great insights into the challenges that often trip us up. He helps us see possibilities and various viewpoints. He brings a good balance, reviewing a variety of opinions on subjects like prayer, the Bible, God in the Old Testament, the problem of evil and pain, hell, the Bible and culture, rescuing Revelation, bad church experiences, and much more.
He has presented thoughtful investigations into these troublesome topics. I may not agree with all of the options he presents, but he looks for common ground among the various perspectives. I certainly appreciate that. He even adds some humor along the way, such as his Church Visitor's Checklist and A Coffee Lover's Survival Guide to Churches.
His discussion on hell made me a little nervous at first. By the end of the chapter, I could understand his conclusion. “I believe,” he writes, “there is room in the Christian family for a broad range of perspectives on hell because the evidence isn't cut-and-dried.” (78)
My favorite section was on Revelation. He does a great job critiquing the secret rapture. He gives valid alternatives to the date setting concept of interpreting Revelation. “Revelation tells us a whole lot more about how to live each day than about what the future holds.” (134)
He has kept the chapters short so he could cover many topics. He provides additional reading suggestions for those who would like to study the subjects in greater detail.
I really like this book. Cyzewski has done a very good job of presenting various biblical perspectives on topics that trip up Christians. If you are being challenged in an area of Christian belief, take a look at this book. There just may be a biblical perspective you have not considered that will help you survive with your faith intact. Above all, rely on the Holy Spirit to sustain you and keep you focused on Jesus.
You can find out more about the book, read endorsements, etc., at the author's website: http://edcyzewski.com/sg/
Ed Cyzewski is a freelance writer and the author of several books. He regularly writes about Christian living for The High Calling, Red Letter Christians, and A Deeper Family. He also provides professional blogging and book editing for small business and individuals. You can follow his blog at http://inamirrordimly.com/ and find out more about his work at http://edcyzewski.com/. He lives with his family in Columbus, Ohio.
Kregel Publications, 208 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.