A very valuable, and quirky view of grace.Brian
This book was radical and very suspicious to my immediate thinking but as I read more and more I felt as if He had something, something that is very seldom addressed in the church and that is the radical nature of Grace. Stemming from his understanding of Justification by grace through faith he calls the Church to understand the freedom that comes from a true understanding of the gospel message. Pastor and speaker Steve Brown calls believers to live in response to the message that God loves you no more or no less based on what you do or don't do.That our sin has consequences and those consequences are the scorn we face, not the wrath of God, that his wrath is saved for the unbelieving. He teaches that we need freedom from the prisons of the neurotic ideas that plague the church. Thinking we can earn Gods favor, or that he keeps track of our sin to hold it against us. I have read the book and partially digested it but I must admit for me, an american Christian, this is not what I've been hearing the past 12 years in the churches I've attended. This book adresses many subjects that when you read them you will no doubt feel as if he's a lunatic, but he put much if not all of my skepticism in perspective, he's no slouch theologically, he's a 5 point calvinist, teaches occasionally at RTS Orlando and has completed seminary. He claims his ideas are no different than many great church leaders down through the centuries, but modern Church has torn away the rudiments of the radical nature of the gospel message. Through out the book he addresses the questions of antinomianism, freedom in Christ, sanctification, focus points for those who want to escape the prisons of legalism, showing us why loving Jesus is the true goal of the gospel, and when we have freed ourselves from living up to a standard we never could live up to anyway, but we simply rest in the completed work of Christ and find that that is what brings us the joy we seek by trying to be good, but in turn this love for Jesus should drive us to do good out of love not fear. I suggest this book be widely read if for no other reason than, it will open your eyes to some things that are holding you back from really experienceing the joy that is in Christ Jesus. He asks us to ask ourselves if we feel the gospel message that we commonly have preached to us sounds like "good news", if it is good news then why do we have so many problems in the church today, are we not truly believers or are we not getting the radical nature of grace and living free rather then in bondage to our need for an approval that we already possess. I look forward to reading more and learning and growing in grace. He has some 40 messages on the Itunes RTS Orlando site called "Grace in the Church" which basically sums up this whole work in audio format. Enjoy the journey!David
God’s salvation could bring us to laugh the laugh of freedom and joy in His presence. But there are some important reasons why we who have come to God for grace and salvation have not known this freedom to laugh for sometime. This book explores what went wrong and shows us how to find the freedom to laugh again.In part one, Steve explores the humorless elements of that which has corrupted Christian faith in our day. The further you get from a relationship with the God who loves you and frees you, the more fettered your faith is. It helps to remember that Jesus and Paul were accused of being lawless, because real Christianity is closer to lawlessness than the Pharisaism found in the Church today. Moreover, genuine Christian faith must be distinguished from the cultural and psychological baggage of its adherents. Part One begins with a beautiful and illustrative story of a mean little boy who secretly desires to learn to play piano. This boy, who cannot afford lessons, is surprisingly befriended by a master who not only teaches him for free, but also covers his mistakes as he learns and performs. To prepare us for the rest of the book, Steve asks us to remember this story, which obviously stands for the gospel, as we wrestle through the implications of the free grace of God in Christ.Having separated genuine Christian faith from its dross, In part two, Steve takes us on an exploration of the pure gospel itself. We investigate justification (via another wonderful illustration of our pardon by the Father-King who paid the price for all of our crimes). We examine sanctification, receiving clear and helpful teaching of the four-fold purpose of the law (how to use it and how not to abuse it). And then, Steve treats us to a compelling survey of essential lines in the sand; between the saved and the lost, between love and fear as a motivator; between God and man as the One who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and between freedom (which leads to obedience) and obedience (which does not lead to freedom).Then having explored the true Gospel which God gives to set us free, Steve asks the following question in part three: If Jesus set me free, why do I feel bound?And the rest of the book is taken up with this question’s four-fold answer. Sometimes its because Christians like to be bound – and here, Christians are likened to Pharaoh who asked to keep the frogs just one more day (Ex. 8:9-10a). We like the security and safety in bondage or the deserts of a guilty conscience or poor self-image. Sometimes its because we forget that the prison keepers are just like us, equally longing for freedom themselves. Sometimes its because we focus on the wrong things; the law instead of love, judgment instead of Jesus, results instead of relationship. And, Finally, sometimes its because we fail to grant others the grace we so desperately rely on for ourselves.This is a rich and rewarding read! The illustrative story in part one alone is well worth the price of the book, especially if you borrow it as I did from a seminary library. Read this book and find the freedom to frolic and laugh in God’s free grace again!Michael Banh
Not as good as his book "Three Free Sins", but no less thought provoking and grace filled! I love his candor and compassion! It frees me to know that I don't have to get it right or have it all together 'cause even in his old age, Steve isn't perfect either! He's a sinner like me struggling with feelings of not being good enough, but believing that Jesus' performance was good enough for the Father to be satisfied! And his righteous is imputed to us!Jay B
One of my favorite books and people, be free!Maam
My new favorite author..another book that really touched my heart and mind of things I needed to hear from God's Word.