Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life

Reviewed by: Kendra Smalley, English major at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana.

 


Introduction

Title: Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life

Author: Kevin Myers and Charlie Wetzel

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Format: Paperback

Length: 242 pages

OVERVIEW

Written by pastor Kevin Myers of 12Stone Church, Grown-Up Faith is a book that isn’t quite sure what it’s supposed to be. Described on its back cover as a “roadmap to a grown-up faith,” this book appears to be a guide to help Christians grow in their faith and better understand God and His calling within their life. However, the chapters are titled as if it was a book on apologetics, and the content itself is somewhere between the two—with plenty of memoir thrown in for good measure.

Myers organizes the book based on a pyramid-shaped image used to illustrate the parallel natures of the Old and New Testaments, with the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ at the pinnacle. Each chapter title poses a question many people ask about Christianity, and most begin with an anecdote from Myers’ life to introduce the question and indicate a trajectory for the answer. At the conclusion of each chapter, Myers has a brief “Grown-Up Faith in Action” section to help readers digest the material of chapter by reflecting on how to apply it to the mind (biblical knowledge), heart (spiritual intimacy with God), and will (obedience). Afterward, he also provides a Scripture recommendation to read before continuing on to the next chapter.

The book is not as clear-cut or well-organized as one might expect based on the chapter headings and back cover copy. It often reads like a memoir packaged as a spiritual self-help book, with passages from the Bible sprinkled in. The tone frequently feels somewhat condescending, which is not helped by the awkwardly modern The Message translation that is preferred throughout. Additionally, many of the Bible references are included only as endnotes, which, while not awful, was irksome to be flipping back and forth just to know where in the Bible a passage was being quoted from. Including in-text parentheticals would have been a much more practical method to cite the Bible.

There is an obvious lack of theologians quoted and referenced throughout the work. C.S. Lewis and A.W. Tozer are about the only two of note, and even their appearances are embarrassingly scant for a book about increasing intimacy with God through answering some of the tough questions related to life and faith. When trying to tackle issues such as why bad things happen or whether it’s narrow-minded to think that Jesus Christ alone is the way to salvation, it is wise—perhaps even imperative—to learn from those Christian minds who have come before and already had much to say on these topics. Instead of researching these saints and drawing from their deep wells of thought—whether as resources of truth or perspectives to refute—Myers appears to almost completely ignore them. His only non-biblical sources are a handful of semi-relevant online articles and an abundance of personal anecdotes.

Another issue is Myers’ anecdotes. While it is important for pastors, especially those who are writing books, to admit their own sins and shortcomings, readers ultimately learn too much about Myers’ faults and the spotty areas in his past. Some stories are so cringe-worthy, readers may wonder how the author ended up as a pastor, who he is to be writing a book on Christian living and growth, and why we should trust anything he says. The book overall felt much too personal and rambling to be focused on helping Christians grow in their faith.

The book has a condescending tone, confusion of audience, and cluttered presentation, Myers quickly lost his credibility with his unnecessary and long-winded stories, evasion of the issues, and tendency to talk down to the readers.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

1 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

While marketed as a book for skeptics, seekers, and believers, this book is best for those who are relatively new to the faith and are hoping to learn a bit more about how to live out their beliefs and grow closer to God.

Christian Impact

This book can be off-putting for someone who has not given their life to Christ and surrendered to God, but it may be able to offer some degree of guidance for new Christians who are seeking additional resources. Instead of drawing people into the beauty and mystery of God, it may instead repel people away from Christianity.

 

 


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About Cecelia Carey

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

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