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Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Fathers World by Ryken

My Father's World: Meditations on Christianity and Culture
by Philip Graham Ryken

Point: The disciple of Christ has been called to be in the world, but not of the world.

Path: My Father’s World was a thought provoking book. The author splits the book into nine different parts all revolving around Christians and culture. The chapters are short, normally four pages or less and address a specific historical event, contemporary topic, or theological debate. Philip Ryken skillfully addresses each of the issues and relates them to the believer’s responsibility in this world. 

Agreement: I appreciated the idea of having the pastor address a topic each week which affects the lives of the parishioners. From Bible translation to homosexuality, the pastor is forced to deal with debates in and surrounding the believers present in his congregation. I can see that the practice could be very fruitful. It appears that it would keep the pastor current with the movements of the culture where he is ministering. It also would provide a valuable resource for the believer. As the essays are brief, it would seem that this would grab the attention of the readers each week. 

Disagreement: Several of the comments that he made throughout the book sparked some debate in my mind. The first of these was his explanation of evangelism. He stated “that inviting people to church is still the best way to bring them to Christ” (pg. 25). I believe that the Church is the Bride of Christ, and it is His intention that all believers take part in this Body, but is it the primary location of evangelism? I understand that the best way to bring people to Christ is through consistent and intentional building of trust and presenting the truths of Scripture in a personal manner. I was called to make disciples, not invite people to church. 
I found his teetering between creation (of Adam and Eve) and evolution (possibility for day-age theory) to be a little confusing.

Personal App: Am I engaging culture as well as he is? I don’t think so. 

Stars: 4 out of 5

Overall I appreciated the book, and would love to see this practice imitated throughout the churches in our circles.
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.
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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)