I received a free copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for an honest review. This has not clouded my judgment 🙂
There are some things in the Bible that make us scratch our heads. Sometimes things can seem to be opposites, for examples love and wrath, and yet when we search Scripture we find that they aren’t opposites. Instead, they are two things, two truths that we must hold in tension. How is it possible for Christians to hold the tension between theological truths? Let me introduce you to a book…
In Stop Taking Sides; how holding truths in tension saves us from anxiety and outrage Adam Mabry nine areas in which he sees tenions that Christian must hold in balance. In some of these areas, swinging one way could lead to people having an unloving attitude and elitism and swinging the other could lead to softening the gospel and incorrect theology. Here are the 9 areas…
- Sovereignty and Responsibility
- Divine imagers and Deeply Flawed
- Word and Spirit and Tradition
- Us and Them
- Victory and Suffering
- Love and Wrath
- Politics and Kingdom
- Strong and Weak
- I and We
Reading that list might immediately make you want to go on the defensive and argue. Trust me, I had a number of questions to begin with too. But I will say that this book is a good introduction for people who are wanting to wrestle with some of the big issues in the Christian faith.
I don’t agree with everything this book says, but I do think that it could be a helpful tool for many people. The general premise of each chapter is that Mabry explains the two (or three) seemingly opposing truths and then talks about the importance of holding to both of them. Mabry helpfully unpacks a number of things in a bit more depth to help the reader think through the implications of their thoughts and actions regarding a particular truth.
As I read this book I was challenged. This book will make you think, it will make you search your heart and it will make you run to the Lord for help as you try to live for Him in this world. I would recommend that you buy this book and consider walking through it with someone, think through how you practically hold tensions that naturally arise in the Bible. You can buy the book here.
I have two additional thoughts about the book;
- Whilst I think this book is a good introduction, it is a bit too short. I understand word limits and so on, but that shouldn’t mean we sacrifice being accurate. I got the feeling that Mabry overs implied a few things in the book, probably due to having to keep to a certain word limit. There were parts where, describing a certain position or theological school of thought, felt a bit like a caricature. There were elements of truths, but through generalisation they were mischaracterised.
- The second point isn’t about the book itself but about an endorsement. One of the endorsements of the book is from Mark Driscoll, I thought this was a very interesting choice for The Good Book Company. Driscoll has been quite vocal in the past against people who would characterise themselves as ‘reformed’ (as Mabry would), and not in the most friendly of ways. In addition, Driscoll isn’t a person many people in ministry, that I know of, would recommend. So to have him endorse this book made me scratch my head a little bit.
If you get a copy of the book and would like to discuss it with me that would be great, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Adam Mabry is Lead Pastor of Aletheia Church Boston, MA, a rapidly-growing downtown church. He is married to Hope and they have four children. Before planting Aletheia, they had planted two churches in Edinburgh, Scotland. Adam did his theological studies at Reformed Theological Seminary and is studying for a PhD at Aberdeen. Adam is author of Stop Taking Sides and The Art of Rest.