Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Worldliness


This is one book I have actually read thoroughly lately - in addition to the 'blokish' one featured by Lorna in the last post! It is generally a lot better than I first expected. The danger is that you dip into one part of it and reject it right away, especially if you are prone to look at the back first (strange how one does that automatically isn't it?) and hit the appendices. Perhaps I need to accept it's 'the American way', but checklists smack of an 'under the law' mentality to me. This actually contrasts with parts of the book which are firmly Christ focussed, and take on issues from a gospel perspective.

The fact is C J Mahaney, an American New Calvinist, has edited a book to which there are 5 contributors, all from within his Sovereign Grace Ministries network. It is on an important subject - one which all true Christians must recognise as having caused great corrosion in churches everywhere. Worldliness. Subtitle: 'Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World'. Maybe many rightly diagnose this problem, but much that is written/preached presents the wrong solution. The tendency is to 'get stricter', to insist on the application of the Law of God. Now this is good if dealing with unbelievers, but the children of God are not to be saddled with that unbearable yoke again after being brought into soul liberty through Christ. So I welcome the chapter 'God, my heart and media' being dealt with by expounding and applying Ephesians 5:1-14 and other passages from the epistles. The one on music is on similar lines and pretty good, as is 'stuff' and material covetousness.

In fact Mahaney himself is about the nearest to poor in that he boldly opens up 1 John 2:15 in the first chapter, but is rather hamfisted with 1 Timothy 2:9 on 'Clothes'. There are some good pastorally inspired points appealing for Christian women to be less naive about the way in which they can make themselves sources of temptation for men by their dress (or lack of it!). However, men themselves do not seem to be dealt with so evenhandedly in this section. It gives a good twist that the final chapter is 'How to love the World'.

The real problem about a book like this is that the people who probably really need to read it won't, and those that (relatively) don't, will. How do you get over that hurdle?

Worldliness, ed. C J Mahaney. Published by Crossway at £8.99. Good value for a nice hardback.

Jeremy

2 comments:

Steve said...

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads:

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com
http://www.sgmrefuge.com

Hope this helps.

Steve said...

C.J. Mahaney recently stepped down due to various allegations including his blackmailing the cofounder of his group. It looks like these blogs I sighted were raising legitimate points.

A series of documents were released showing various private emails. It looks like C.J. Mahaney was one of those persons where you should do as I say vs. how I do.

A real sad revelation.