Ever left reading a so-called “Christian” book feeling empty? It happens to me all the time. Even as a new Christian 15 years ago I was almost shocked how sappy and substance-less the market was for books branded to help Christians grow. Whenever a solid book comes along, combining substance and style, I take heart. (There’s a false dichotomy separating those two, as if to be faithful and true we cannot be compelling? Or to be creative we must become soft on the true message?) I’m convinced that for us to have substantial lives we need to be challenged with solid truth and not just palatable platitudes. Please, no more easy-believism.
I was invited to participate in a blog tour for the new book, Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the Bible, by Krish Kandiah. Here’s my review provided freely in response.
Buckle up, we have quite the adventure ahead. The subtitle of Krish Kandiah’s latest work Route 66 [paperback|kindle] summarizes the intent well: “a crash course in navigating life with the Bible.” Oftentimes the driving metaphors used in Bible summaries are such a far reach that it’s painfully obvious the message has morphed to fit into a new mold. Route 66 employs the metaphor of a touring a highway, navigating life with a guide in hand (Route 66 here in the States; think of the winding road in the Pixar animated CARS if that helps). Why 66? That’s the number of books in our English Bible.
What makes this book unique is the author is not content to try to fit God in the glovebox. He is not in the car along for the ride with us. He is in the driver’s seat, showing us the way. Unfortunately that’s rare in popular level Christian writing. Encouraged by the opening pages I grabbed my keys and began down the road optimistic about what lay ahead. Continue reading
The Good News in 3-D:
- The Gospel Story // Creation ➙ Fall ➙ Redemption ➙ Restoration (the storyline of Scripture, and of the world)
- The Gospel Announcement // Jesus Christ our Substitute, who gave Himself for us in order to bring us to God
- The Gospel Community // Jesus purchased a people to embody His message, people who live in a new reality, being zealous for good works, living His life
We need all three to faithfully believe, embody, and proclaim the Good News of Jesus. When we negate one, we have a partial or incomplete gospel, that while perhaps not direct heresy will dissolve the foundation of our hope in Christ. These are ‘counterfeit’ Gospels, where we have tweaked God’s message to soften it and suit our preferences. Just about every time, counterfeit gospels represent either a dilution of the truth or a truth that is out of proportion. Sadly, these watered down versions never satisfy our longings.
Author Trevin Wax summarizes the message of his new book — Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope — with a video trailer:
Wax takes aim at these six ‘counterfeit’ gospels Wax in his book (p. 210):
One Thousand Gifts
In the most recent NY Times best seller list of hardcover advice & misc. category, #10 is The Secret (the “Law of Attraction” as a key to getting what you want) while #7, One Thousand Gifts has a much different theme. That book is all about gratitude, which isn’t about getting what we WANT; it’s on becoming who God designed us to be through continual gratitude. We attract God’s will by living each moment in the present, grateful for all things.
In reality, the secret to a successful life of joy and purpose comes not through greed (even attracting self-defined ‘good things’). The secret is gratitude.
Having read much of both books, I can highly recommend one [a thousand times over] but not the other.