Book Review – The Future of our Faith
WOW! Ronald J. Sider and Ben Lowe have teamed up to write a compelling, thoughtful and challenging that every North American Christian should read.
The Future of Faith: An Intergenerational Conversation on Critical Issues Facing the Church does what you would expect from the title, as the 76 year old Sider talks back and forth with the millennial-aged Lowe. Neither of them are shy about the challenges and errors of their respective generation, nor are they lacking in clarity or directness in confronting the underlying issues. Their responses to one another on issues ranging from truth, evangelism, justice, sexuality & gender, and creation care/environmentalism are a godly example of the type of passionate and gracious dialogue that needs to occur within the Christian community. The authors, along with Brazos Press, are to be commended for getting these two men together to discuss the issues so clearly.
The opening chapters on truth, evangelism and social justice, and marriage were strong, honestly assessed the general concerns, and gave thoughtful boundaries for both ends of the spectrum (theologically & generationally) to consider. Their discussion of homosexuality was an exceptional combination of biblical perspective, interaction with multiple facets of the topic and challenging. In fact, it prompted me to write Responding Positively to Political Legislation. Likewise, the chapters on division in the church (ie broad theological categories and denominations), living like Jesus and creation care were respectful, reasonable, and still not shy about areas where Christians have failed.
Personally, as a resident of oil-producing Alberta, Canada and one who considers throwing pop cans & bottles into recycling as being “environmentally friendly,” I was challenged and convicted by the final chapter dealing with a Christian responsibility to care for all creation. Particularly helpful was Lowe’s analysis and refutation of eight obstacles (excuses) for Christians to avoid caring for God’s creation well.
Only one chapter fell short of expectations, partially because the rest of the book was so exceptional. The chapter on renewing our political witness accurately stated the obvious problems intergenerationally but seemed weak both theologically and in terms of issues of global Christianity (ie. persecution).
I highly recommend this book to any Christian, whatever your age. As a model of intergenerational conversation, it is exceptional and can help leaders build unity rather than watch further polarization on key issues.
*This book was provided to the reviewer by Baker Books for blog review purposes.