I opened this book full of excitement and eager anticipation. Being a Christian, I always turn to my Bible for inspiration and information. I always love a good book about how to live in a more Christ-like manner as well, so when the opportunity to review this book for Zondervan came along, I jumped on it.
According to the back cover, Different Eyes seems to be written to answer the question, “How should those who follow Jesus live distinctively in a time of uncertainty?” While the book does cover issues that are currently facing the Church (capitalized, meaning the Church as the worldwide body of Christ, not just your local congregation); in my opinion it falls just short of actually providing any useful information. The book is full of thought provoking information and jargon, but to me it seemed to truly skirt providing any true answers.
At times it gave the feeling that the Bible is irrelevant and Jesus was just another person like us, albeit one who wanted to inspire us to live better. Christ is so much more than that. Christ is God incarnate. He chose to come to earth, be scorned and die the death of a sinner, so that we don’t have to. The author describes God’s Holiness as “not about ‘absence’ but very much about ‘distinctive presence.” In fact, God’s Holiness is, “the aspects of God’s nature that makes Him separate from sin because He is pure and undefiled”. God’s Holiness is not just a characteristic that we need to learn to embrace, it is part of Him. It is what made Him turn away from Christ as He hung on the cross, He cannot be in the presence of Sin, to do so would be against His very nature.
The Bible isn’t just another book, which is the feel I got from reading this book; it is God’s Holy Word, not to be taken lightly. I do believe that the Bible provides us distinct and direct answers about how God feels about abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia. These topics almost seemed to be skirted in the text of Different Eyes. Each was brought up, but only delved into them by offering opposing viewpoints, presented in the form of letters from Christians; followed up by discussion questions. Yes, this is a great way to educate oneself on these opposing viewpoints, but in all honesty, I expected more meat. From a book that purports to help Christians learn to live as Christ did I would expect more on what He did and what He provides to us through the Bible, His Word.
One other disappointment for me was that the topic of salvation isn’t covered in the book. Yes, this book seems to be written to believers, but anyone could pick it up and choose to read it. Salvation should be something that any book about Christ or Christianity discusses in depth. Otherwise, how would it benefit those who don’t yet know Christ?
All in all, while Different Eyes was a thought provoking read, I could not in good conscience recommend it to anyone who truly wants to learn about Christ and living in a Christ-like manner. It falls short of being Biblically insightful, leaving me with an awkward unsatisfied feeling.
This book was provided to me free of charge by Zondervan for review purposes.
Towns, Elmer L., Theology for Today (2008)