One of the most lamentable symptoms of today’s emotionalist Christianity is its tendency to inaction. We can trace this symptom to any number of causes, and most of them are theological. Many Christians suffer from warped understandings of the will of God, of the nature of true discipleship, and of the character of the Christian life. Tragically, throughout their lifetimes many church members and nominal Christians never actually do anything of significance for Christ and his kingdom. Owen Strachan not only laments this fact, he intends to do something about it. With fresh energy and keen insight, he offers a vibrant vision of the Christian life in Risky Gospel, just released in the past few days.
He confronts “mystical, fearful Christianity” head-on and, as he explains, this means a living discipleship that is rooted in a heart and mind transformed by Scripture and leads to strategic deployment for the Kingdom of Christ. As he asserts, this means not living fearfully. To the contrary, it means living a life of Gospel risk-taking. Owen talks about risky faith, risky identity, risky spirituality, risky family life, risky work, risky church, risky evangelism, and risky citizenship. With incredible honesty, he also describes risky failure. Many of those who have been used of God for the greatest work of the kingdom have been failures in the eyes of the world. As he explains:
So this is what the concept of gospel risk does for you: it frees you. It positions you to see life with fresh clarity. You’re released from the tyranny of small expectations. You’re loosed from the chains of fearing what others think of you. In point of fact, their opinions pale in comparison to God’s. You’re freed from the endless cycle of brand management. It’s not your reputation among fellow sinners that gives you happiness; it’s being a child of God.
Risky Gospel is filled with biblical truth, saturated with wisdom, and targeted right at the heart of weak, indecisive, emotionalist, inactive spirituality—and at every false gospel. This book would serve as a great Christmas gift for young Christians, and it is well-timed for the challenges all Christians now face in our risky world.
Owen Strachan is assistant professor of Christian Theology and Church History at Boyce College and Executive Director of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He is a brilliant young scholar and teacher. I should know, because he served as one of my research assistants and interns several years back. He was kind to dedicate this book to me. I am proud to commend this book to you.
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Owen Strachan, Risky Gospel (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013).