It seems to be a tough time for religion in the U.S. Confidence in religion is in decline. Only about half of Americans think religion does more good than harm. (154/4739) Christians feel they are losing influence on society. We've lost ground in sexual ethics and religious liberty. (3297/4739)
The authors want Christians to have a broader perspective and not lose heart. A look at history and activities around the world will remind readers of the power of the gospel. The authors tell many amazing stories of people whose lives and actions are bound by the gospel. They are laying down their lives for the weak, the sick, the poor, the lonely, and their enemies. The stories give great hope and assurance of the power of the gospel to a needy world.
But the authors take the American church and American Christians to task as well. The church is concerned about losing privilege and power it was never meant to have. (308/4739) The authors ask if the power the American church experienced did not make it stronger but rather sapped its potential for genuine Christlike faith. (295/4739) American Christians are especially unprepared to suffer for their faith. Part of the reason is because they have been a favorite in American society. (1253/4739) We need to have faith in the midst of this anxious age and be prepared to suffer with joy.
So there is good news in that we see the power of the gospel working in so many ways in the world today. But we also are admonished to personally act and sound like Jesus and to make sure our actions do not hinder others from believing the gospel. If you are discouraged, this book will encourage you. The book will also challenge you to be the example of Jesus to your next door neighbor.
There are Questions for Reflection for each chapter so this book would be a good choice for a small group to read and discuss.
You can read a sample here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Collin Hansen, an author and editor of numerous acclaimed books, is also vice president of content and editor-in-chief of The Gospel Coalition and host of the Gospelbound podcast. He has a MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife and children life in Birmingham, Alabama. Susan Eekhoff Zylstra is a senior writer for The Gospel Coalition, where she oversees coverage of faith and work. Her features on cutting edge trends in religion and church leadership are regularly rated among TGC's most popular and valuable content. She earned her master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Before working at TGC, she reported news for Christianity Today for more than a decade. She lives with her family in Orland Park, Illinois.
Multnomah, 240 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)