I can’t fairly call this post a book review because I started reading a book called Grown-Up Faith by Kevin Myers and didn’t finish it. Not because it’s a bad book, but simply because after the first few chapters, I didn’t seem to be learning anything new. I actually would recommend it for a small group, especially one with newer Christians, to read and discuss together. At the end of each chapter, there is a summary about “Grown-Up Faith in Action” and some chapters in the Bible to read before tackling the next chapter. These passages take the reader from Genesis through Revelation, giving a good overview of the Bible and its’ message.
I did like the premise explained by the author at the very beginning. Here it is:
“A grown-up faith requires the involvement of the whole person. It doesn’t come from half measures. We can’t be half-in and expect whole results.”
If we want to be mature Christians, we must engage our mind (Biblical knowledge), our heart (spiritual intimacy with God) and our will (holy obedience). How many of us stop at some point in this process? Or develop only one in one area, ignoring the others? This can lead to several problems such as:
- Intellectualism: Biblical knowledge without any real relationship with God or obedience to His Word
- Emotionalism: A relationship with God without knowledge of the Bible and obedience
- Legalism: Obedience to the Bible’s “rules” without an understanding of the full meaning of the gospel or spiritual intimacy with God
Individuals and even denominations can fall into the trap of being less than whole Christians because they neglect some areas, or overemphasize one. My big take-away is something I’ve heard for years at Via de Cristo retreats:
There is no Christian life without Christian action
And it might be added, that action must spring from a correct motivation — one that flows out of a heart-felt relationship with Christ and a true knowledge of His teachings.
This book gives us all something to think about. On which area am I (and possibly my church) weak? I would say the Lutherans with whom I’m most familiar, lean toward intellectualism. We know our Scripture well, but don’t always have a true hunger for Christ and obedience to His Word. We know we’re saved by grace, isn’t that enough? Well, it is and it isn’t. True grace will lead us into true relationship and true obedience. Wherever you find yourself, go one step further. Grow up in your faith.