How did you like the book?

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Some time ago, I completed a nearly year-long process of review of a book with another brother. It was his first time to read the book whereas I had read it some 25 years ago. We had agreed to read this book together and interact over our impressions of the content due to a mutual interest in the subject matter.

It was an interesting exercise for me to re-read a book I had read so long ago. In my previous reading, I had been impressed by the points made by the author and thought it an accurate, uplifting book.  During this current process, however, I was struck by the liberties the author had taken with certain tenets of the faith, his inappropriate application of Christian doctrine, and his inaccurate definition of words used in the Christian life. It became apparent to me how much God had matured my thinking in the intervening years and how He had increased my discernment to the point of providing this new knowledge as a basis for discussion with my brother for his edification.

For example, it seems that reasoned discourse between individuals is a somewhat sparse occurrence nowadays. Because “tolerance” has been re-defined to mean “accepting all viewpoints that agree with mine”, “intolerance” re-defined to mean “any viewpoint that either disagrees with mine or proposes the existence of an absolute”, and the elevation of “offending someone” to a crime of near-capital proportions, many people are reluctant to engage in discussion (what  in days of yore was termed  “argument”) over differing perspectives in order to arrive at a better understanding of a matter.

It occurred to me in this process what a tool such an endeavor could be in ministry, whether in encouraging or instructing (edification) a brother, or for interaction with a non-believer (evangelism).  It seems that many times we are the beneficiary of re-reading scriptures and using prior materials and messages that can suddenly affirm a new perspective of truth and hope.

Perhaps interacting over a book covering a subject of common interest  would provide a vehicle for you to engage in ministry with another man.

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1 Comment

  1. Good thoughts, Jonathan. So true and sad about tolerance these days. Carson wrote a good book on the subject, The Intolerance of Tolerance. Thanks for the article, brother.