Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Good News For Anxious Christians

I'm re-reading a book, Good News For Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don't Have To Do, by Phillip Cary, and it's a great little book. I thought it might be a good idea to try blogging through it. If these posts catch your interest and you decide you might want to get the book and read it, you can order it here, at amazon. So here we go with the first part of the book, the Preface.

Cary, the author, is concerned about "the new evangelical theology". He believes that this theology consists of supposedly "practical" ideas that promise to transform our lives, but which actually get in the way of our believing the gospel.The gospel is the good news that God has already decided to do something about our lives--whether we let him or not, whether we do anything about it or not, whether we believe it or not. In contrast, the new evangelical theology offers ideas that "promise practical transformation", as Cary says, "but in real life they mainly have the effect of making people anxious--not to mention encouraging self-deception, undermining their sense of moral responsibility, and weakening their faith in Christ".

These are serious claims. We should be startled by this because each of us is, to some extent, a product of the teaching of this new evangelical theology. That's because it is taught in the majority of churches and sold in the majority of Christian bookstores. Cary believes that this theology, which is actually relatively new to the church, is harmful. Therefore, he says, he intends to be "unsparing in my criticism of these ideas... I want to do my best to free Christians from the burden of believing these ideas and trying to put them into practice".

The Introduction is next, in which Cary explains how "trying" to be Christian is making Christians anxious. The ten chapters that follow--the "ten practical things you don't have to do"-- will, in their turns, explain:

  1. Why You Don't Have to Hear God's Voice in Your Heart
  2. Why You Don't Have to Believe Your Intuitions Are the Holy Spirit
  3. Why You Don't Have to Let God "Take Control"
  4. Why You Don't Have to "Find God's Will For Your Life"
  5. Why You Don't Have to Be Sure You Have the Right Motivations
  6. Why You Don't Have to Worry About Splitting Head from Heart
  7. Why You Don't Have to Keep Getting Transformed All the Time
  8. Why You Don't Always Have to Experience Joy
  9. Why "Applying It to Your Life" Is Boring
  10. Why Basing Faith on Experience Leads to a Post-Christian Future 
I really like this book. I think it's an important one, especially for women. I appreciate the good news and the freedom of the gospel truths of it. Next time I'll try to summarize the Introduction, which has some important stuff in it, and then get on to the *heart* of the matter in Chapter One.

1 comment:

jan spooner said...

I do have that book but have not read it (though it's possible I skimmed through it quite a while back). Looking forward to your posts!