Here is Matt Redman’s song, “You Alone Can Rescue.”
While I am excited about having a review published in print, I am also very disappointed with the editing. As published, the book comes across as rather postmodern with perhaps only a hint of the gospel. However, the book is very strong on presenting the gospel and I said as much as originally written in my review. However, in the editing process, the key paragraph of the review was pared down to say next to nothing about the author’s message in his book. I’ve posted the paragraph as it was originally written, with all the bolded section indicating what was omitted:
Using the analogy of a disease, Pace presents the Biblical teaching that the world has a sin infection that permeates every area of the world and our lives. It is this evil in the world that brings about so much pain. The only cure from sin is found in the Gospel – the death of God’s son, Jesus Christ. Jesus experienced the pain of death and separation from God in order to give us the “antidote” for our disease. It is through this suffering that God empathizes with us and as Pace says, “the reality is that the God who created the universe is suffering right here with us.”
Additionally, the close of the review as originally written was as follows (with the bolded section indicating what was omitted in the published version):
Should We Fire God? is a book that speaks to the heart in pain and gives the assurance that God is there, God is still in control, and above all, God is always caring.
While I expected some editing in the final version, I am very disappointed that the key paragraph of the review was deleted. I could understand if it was my own spin on what Pace had written that had gotten removed, but Pace was very clear on presenting the gospel. As published, the review completely removes the fact that God empathizes in our suffering entirely because of the death of his Son and leaves the titular question unanswered.
While I don’t think the published review necessarily misrepresents what the author said, I can’t decide if it doesn’t represent what Pace was saying as accurately as it could.
In the past several years, it seems that there has been a resurgence of interest in some of the older hymns, hymns that have beautiful lyrics that bring our focus to the various aspects of God’s character. While some artists record the hymns as originally written (Fernando Ortega’s arrangements are very beautiful), others like Sovereign Grace Music take the words and apply new music to them and even some new lyrics. One such hymn is Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. Here is Sovereign Grace’s version of this hymn, from their album Come Weary Saints.
Having just finished my 20th book for the year, I thought I’d stop and give a brief run down of the books in my “to be read” pile. Thanks to a multitude of book review programs and access to some free books at work, the pile is growing faster than I can read the books! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So here’s my reading list:
- The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis – I found the Focus On the Family Radio Theatre dramatization at my local library and decided to check it out. Half way through and so far it’s very good. Andy Serkis (who also did Gollum) does an incredible Screwtape.
- Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House, by Sally Bedell Smith – this is the first book on a president that I’ve been able to get to this year. So far, not doing well on the president’s list.
- Homeschooling for the Rest of Us, by Sonya Haskins – a book from Bethany House’s book review program.
- What Your Son Isn’t Telling You, by Michael Ross & Susie Shellenberger – another book from Bethany House.
- Bringing Up Girls, by Dr. James Dobson – the long-awaited “sequel” to Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys. Never read the first one so not sure on what to expect in this one. This is from Tyndale’s review program.
- Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction, by Dr. Robert Kellemen & Karole A Edwards – this one has been on my shelf for awhile, but hasn’t quite made it to the top.
- Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith, by Dr. Robert Kellemen & Susan Ellis.
- Devoted: The Story of a Father’s Love for His Son, by Dick Hoyt & Don Yaeger – I’m looking forward to this book about the Father/Son team more commonly known as Team Hoyt.
- How Lincoln Learned to Read, Daniel Wolff
- Billy Graham: His Life and Influence, by David Aikman – this also looks to be an interesting biography from Thomas Nelson’s Book Sneeze review program of “America’s Pastor” . (Sorry, but Rick Warren’s got a long way to go before he can earn that title)
And that’s the list – for now.
I first had the opportunity to hear David Platt at the Adopted for Life Conference my wife and I attended in February 2010. I had never even heard of him before and wasn’t sure what to expect. What followed was an incredibly passionate sermon on the book of Ruth that left me feeling challenged and even more convinced that adopting again was what God had called my family to.
This same excitement and passion for God is evident throughout Platt’s new book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. In it, Platt takes aim at the prevalent complacency in American evangelical Christianity, challenging us to “explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical.” (p.28) He challenges the reader to examine whether or not we truly believe that Jesus is “something – someone – worth losing everything for.” (p.18) He gives many inspiring illustrations of Christians, both historical and current day, who have taken the challenge of willingly letting go of everything for the sake of the gospel. Platt concludes the book with a 5-part year-long challenge dubbed “The Radical Experiment:
- To pray for the entire world.
- To read through the entire Word
- To sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
- To give your time in another context
- To commit your life to a multiplying community
The purpose of this challenge is to have Christians focusing on the abundant worth of God, having a desire to spread the knowledge of God around the world, and acting on this desire in truly sacrificial way.
Although small, the book is not an easy read. It is packed with biblical teachings that will encourage, stir up, challenge, and convict the reader. There were a couple of things that I greatly appreciated about the book. The first is that it takes the concept of costly discipleship out of the theoretical and firmly plants it in the practical realities of everyday life. It will be very hard to walk away from this book without being our lives being affected in some way.
The second thing I appreciated is that Platt strives to show clearly that what he is advocating is not a social gospel – making the world a better place for betterments sake. Nor is he saying that it is radical obedience that saves us. No, the single driving force behind radical obedience is “the proclamation of the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth.” The questions we face is what are we willing to give up to proclaim the worth of Christ? What am I willing to give up? What is Jesus worth to us?
This is a book that I know I’ll need to reread because I know my own heart. I’ll put it aside and then get distracted by life’s other responsibilities. But the message is one that I need to not only think about, but act upon as well again and again. Recommended: Absolutely yes.
(Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah Press for providing a review copy.)