Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Christians in an Age of Outrage by Ed Stetzer

Stetzer notes that our world is awash with anger. How are Christians to walk through this? Stetzer is quick to point out that there are areas that should generate Christian anger, such as human trafficking. But how do Christians keep from allowing unrestrained outrage?

The book is divided into three section. Stetzer first looks at what causes the outrage and how Christians have contributed to it. Next he identifies the lies that reinforce the outrage. Stetzer then suggests ways Christians can counteract the outrage by developing a Christian worldview, by loving others, engaging them thoughtfully, etc.

I gleaned many insights from this book. Because of the influence of Christianity in the past, Christians came to think they “owned” culture in America. American Christians have not learned how to flourish in a minority situation, as did early Christians. Another insight was about tribalism and having a win/lose attitude, like in sports, rather than one of coexisting.

Perhaps the most disturbing insight was about trading a kingdom-based identity for a world-based identity. Stetzer identified what we Christians have done to have others outraged at us. The most glaring has been to use kingdom-based identity to achieve world-based ends, such as in politics.

The bottom line is that, “Outrage is a product of the flesh.” (2224/5424) Stetzer offers practical suggestions on engaging others in the Spirit, placing the focus on God and His glory. He also includes resources for further study.

I recommend this book to Christians who are ready to own up to how we have helped create the negative environment we now experience. You'll be encouraged to discipline your minds to think more critically and to engage others with the gospel, not hatred.

Food for thought: “You see, you can't hate people and engage them with the gospel at the same time.” (2252/5424)

My rating: 4/5 stars

Ed Stetzer (PhD) holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, where he is the dean of the School of Ministry, Mission, and Leadership. He also serves as the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton. He is a prolific author and well known conference speaker. He has planted and pastored churches and trained pastors and church planters on six continents. He is a contributing editor for Christianity Today and a columnist for Outreach magazine. He cohosts a radio broadcast and serves as interim teaching pastor at The Moody Church in Chicago. Stetzer lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife and their three daughters.

Tyndale Momentum, 336 pages.

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