Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: It's Not What You Think: Why Christianity is about so Much More than Going to Heaven When you Die.

Sometimes scripture becomes so familiar that we gloss over details and miss rich meaning embedded within. With chapter titles such as “Your Story’s Not What You Think: Love Defined You Before Anything Else Did” and “The Temple’s Not What You Think: It’s God Pitching His Tent in Your Backyard,” author Jefferson Bethke opens our eyes so that we avoid missing out on our rich Christian heritage. For instance, you may think Sabbath rules are outdated and no longer apply, but Bethke helps you look behind the rules to principles that guide and bless our lives. He helps you see that the kingdom is not pie in the sky by and by, but it’s where you live—here and now!

I liked this book because Bethke makes Old Testament teachings relevant to today. No, he doesn’t put us back under the law. He simply applies the principles of the law to modern living. In one chapter he explains that the tree from which Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit was not a temptation to sin; it was in invitation to intimacy. Did you ever think of it that way? I didn’t. “We can lean into him for what’s right and wrong, since we don’t truthfully know, or we can ‘eat the fruit’ and have our own standards, ways and paths. One choice leads to life, and the other leads to destruction.”

Bethke also makes observations that clarify Old Testament teaching. For instance, he likens the five chunks of teaching in Matthew to the five books of the Torah. I also like Bethke’s analogies. He likens resentment to drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. Clever. His chapter on brokenness is sure to help you evaluate your own life. And he shares freely from his life experiences, which include much brokenness. This is an enjoyable read that would be helpful to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of scripture that will lead to deeper intimacy with God.

A foreword by author Ann Voskamp and recommendations by authors Lisa TerKeurst and Bob Goff and Russell Moore, president of Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, assure you this is a worthwhile read.

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