Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Scandalous Freedom by Steve Brown - Book Review #18

Steve Brown, in certain circles, is a pretty famous man. He is speaking at my church tomorrow, which is quite exciting for me. I'm therefore breaking my rule of not reviewing theological books on this blog. What follows is a review of the book that he will be discussing tomorrow. And since he writes about freedom in this book, he has convinced me that I'm free to break my own rules.

A Scandalous Freedom by Steve Brown lives up to its name. Immensely conversational in tone, this book explains the difference between religion and Christianity. Throughout eleven chapters, Steve Brown shows how Christians have turned a free life into one that is prison-like by being religious instead of by living according to the Gospel.

I have the privilege of hearing this man's teaching every Sunday, and because of that teaching, much of A Scandalous Freedom was not necessarily scandalous for me. However, if you, a Christian, find yourself exhausted by the rules that you find yourself enslaved to as you seek to live out the tenets of the faith, this book is for you. If you, who do not subscribe to Christianity, are disgusted by what you know of this faith and are interested in reading a summary of the faith that accurately describes how Christians truly should be living, I encourage you to read it.

One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about this book was the conversational nature of it. Steve Brown's voice is, well, immensely distinctive. Brown is on the radio every day, so when I was reading the book, I felt like he was simply talking to me and I was responding to him. That's never happened before when I've read a book. If you know Brown's voice, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Another aspect of the book that is different from many Christian theology books is that he does not include Scripture reference locations within the text. He quotes Scripture, but he footnotes the locations in the back of the book. This adds to the conversational tone of the book.

My favorite chapter is titled "The Perfection We Desire and the Forgiveness that Sets Us Free". I need this chapter. Where has it been all my life? Specifically, I need it for my *ahem* parenting techniques. Even though the chapter was not written directly to parents, it was a reminder that, as I seek to help my children obey and behave and well, let's face it, become perfect, I may just be pushing them away from Christ. The chapter was a reminder that showing my kids the love of Christ is the very best way to show them how to obey and behave. And in the pursuit of finding genuineness and vulnerability among Christians, that same chapter makes this statement: "You greatly diminish your freedom when you pretend to others that you are accomplishing perfection."

I highly encourage you to read this book, whether you love Christianity or hate it. You'll walk away changed, or at least feeling free. And if you don't want to read it, show up at my church tomorrow and listen to Steve Brown talk about it in person.

A Scandalous Freedom offers many stories to make his point, along with the poignant one-liners for which Brown is so well known. And because of this, the book does what so often theological books fail to do. A Scandalous Freedom shows us how to live the theology we say we believe.

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