(Book review) Resurrecting Religion


Reviewed by: Reviewed by Tim Pietz, a Professional Writing Major at Taylor University

 


Introduction

Title: Resurrecting Religion

Author: Greg Paul

Publisher: NavPress

Publication Date2018

Format: Print Book

Length: 215 Pages

OVERVIEW

     Greg Paul opposes the legalism of “religion.” However, he knows the solution is not a private, irrelevant faith. Through Scripture and examples from his ministry experience, Greg Paul challenges Christians to resurrect true religion. Paul’s message hinges on a balance between doctrine and action. In today’s church, Paul sees Satan playing two main factions against each other: those who promote personal holiness and those who promote social justice. Resurrecting Religion affirms that both are grounded in Scripture and are connected, with an emphasis on Christians’ neglect of the poor. As James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (NIV).

     In addition to James 1:27, Paul’s other biblical bases for valuing the poor are numerous and convicting. A sample of these many verses are James 2:8-9, Luke 14:12-14, Exodus 22:22-24, Isaiah 58:3-7, and Matthew 5:3-10. Each of these verses emphasizes the value God places on helping the poor, the neglected, and the oppressed. On top of this, Paul lives what he preaches. Firsthand examples from the faith community of Sanctuary Toronto demonstrate Christian engagement in a troubled world—without ignoring the difficulties and messiness that comes with it.

     Rev. Paul’s balanced, thoughtful, and passionate entreaty has a lot going for it. Conservatives, in particular, are challenged in a way they respect: through Scripture. Resurrecting Religion has the potential to help Christians of opposite extremes unite and fight on a common ground. Unfortunately, Paul goes beyond this. Throughout the book, Paul’s central argument is supported through well-cited Scripture. However, he frequently brings up unnecessary side-arguments—mostly political—that risk alienating his conservative readers. Liberal beliefs on pacifism, gun-control, homosexuality, government aid, and other issues are thrown in without nuance or debate. Lovingly disagreeing Christians are ignored. In addition, Paul’s theorizing about biblical individuals sometimes tints Scripture beyond the plain reading. For instance, he refers to Jesus as “left-of-center” (p.74), further drawing a political line.

     Resurrecting Religion contains valuable thoughts on living out Scripture. While its blatant politics detract from its message, it has the potential positively to challenge Christians of all persuasions.

 

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

3 stars

Suggested Audience

Sheltered middle and upper-class Christians who are willing to be challenged.

Christian Impact

Challenges Christians to step outside the comfort of a boxed-in church and value the least of these.

 

Other Notes:

Unnecessary politics detract from the basic message.



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The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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