Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Review: The Bravehearted Gospel

This book is radical.

I like radical.

This is the kind of book that makes you uncomfortable, that says things that are not normally said, that opposes our culture, that dives into those difficult areas we normally never explore, and brings a truth we so desperately need to hear.


The title of my blog is "Pursuing the Truth". This book, The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy, is one of the few books I've ever read that captures the essence of that idea so perfectly and entirely. It is one of the few books I've ever read that is simply bursting with the concept I think of when I say... "Pursuing the Truth." 

Truth. This book is just oozing with it.

This book is about a new way -- or rather, an old way -- of looking at Christianity and our relationship with Jesus. It is "new" in the sense that it is very different, in certain respects, from the church at large today. It is "old" in the sense that it is what the basis of Christianity is all about. This is what Christianity used to be like... but something has been lost.

For all who are craving something more in the Church... for all who are concerned about the modern state of Christianity... for all who desire a Christianity that "actually works"... for all who are hungering for more meatiness, meaning, power, and adventure in their walk with Jesus... this book is for you!

I would encourage you to watch the short film below. This very powerful short film embodies much of the essence of this book (the voice you hear is the author, Eric Ludy). If this film stirs you at all... the book, The Bravehearted Gospel, will stir you even more.

As always, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book, to give you even more of an idea of what this book is made of. :-)
"Most people today attempt to make a sales pitch for the gospel as if it were sweet plums and fairy dust, when it more accurately should be cast as an adventure full of blood, death, insurrection, trouble, persecution, and certain difficulty, with a shocking and ultra-dramatic final chapter in which the good guys win. In my opinion, this adventure dimension should be our sales pitch."
"Christianity is about a kingdom, a glory, a power, a love, a grace, a righteousness, an eternal triumph, and yielding to the all-powerful King who is bringing it all about."
"All I care about is this Someone [Jesus] who has intoxicated my soul with effusive passion. I love Him so much it hurts with the most beautiful hurt."
"The gospel life is an adventure, plain and simple."
"The bravehearted path... [is] a violent and effusive love story between a Bridegroom and His bride, in which the Bridegroom radically spends His life to rescue His bride and then the bride, in turn, radically spends her life for the fame and renown of her Groom."
"The stuff of the Bravehearted Gospel is the stuff of frontline soldiers. It's the stuff of martyrs and mighty men."
"The Bravehearted Gospel is not just another idea; it's historic Christianity. It's the way it has always been and must always continue to be."
 Interested yet? Read more about The Bravehearted Gospel, or buy it on Amazon.


Another Word...

Now, I have a few comments I want to make on two of the concepts in the book. But, I would encourage you to read the book first, and then come back and read my thoughts... because you won't be able to amply appreciate these thoughts out of context.

Thought #1 

In chapter 10, Ludy talks about Christians trying to be "cool". I think I agree with him in this chapter, but we need to be careful; I don't think there's anything wrong with wearing cool clothes, unless their immodest. It's the heart that's important. I don't think there's anything wrong with "being cool" in general, unless it means doing things that are immoral. (You can still wear torn jeans and be 100% on fire, in love with Jesus.) 

Cool is fine -- unless you're changing what Christianity is in order to be cool. And I think that's his point.

Thought #2

In the section of the book entitled "The Canon-mind", Ludy talks about having a "canon-minded" view of scripture, versus an "open-minded" view. (By the way, this is an awesome chapter -- I highly recommend it. You can read part of it here.) Once again, I think Ludy is right, but we need to be careful. :-) 

Open-mindedness isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I see it. When he talks about open-mindedness, he's talking about being open and receiving all forms of faith and all perspectives, and treating them on the same level as GOD's truth, as if they're all "just as right". As he says on page 183, "It's all-accepting, tolerant of all thoughts, opinions, ideas, and religions." Of course, that is wrong. Ludy is right on that.

But open-mindedness doesn't always have to mean that. I'm not talking about unquestioning acceptance of all other beliefs; I'm talking about avoiding the "Matthew Brady" stereotype. Brady, in the movie "Inherit the Wind", was a falsely portrayed Christian who believed in Christianity and Creation "just because". He had no reasons or evidence for his beliefs; he believed it with unquestioning certainty simply because "the Bible said so", because that's just what he believed. (Whereas Eric Ludy presents a very sound reason for trusting the Bible in this chapter! Again, I really recommend it.)

Brady had never read or looked at the other side -- not once -- and he was proud of it. He was unreasonable, and irritatingly unpersuadable -- not because he was firmly grounded, convinced, and confident in the truth -- but simply because that's what he had chosen to believe, and that was that. He was "close-minded". (Read more about my thoughts on Inherit the Wind and Matthew Brady.) 

When Christians have this mindset, it is very hard for nonbelievers to find us believable. "And why do you believe that? Oh, because the Bible says so..."

The Bible is the source of all truth. But if it is, (which it is), it should stand up against all other false beliefs and worldviews. An open-minded Christian, as I see it, knows that the Bible is 100% true, the source of all things true and right... but will look at other views anyway, for the sake of arguing with and persuading nonbelievers. 

"And, why do you believe that?"

"Well, let me show you why I know the Bible is true, and why all these things are true..."

This way, we have an answer. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

An "open-minded" Christian, as I see it, goes into the world of foreign, false beliefs, armed with the knowledge and assurance that the Bible, that Christianity, is the only correct way... not because they are seeking other alternatives with an "adulterous"-like heart, but because they are looking to prove that God is right -- for the sake of persuading others, and for a strengthened faith in their own heart. I guess this is a biased way of searching out truth, but I believe it is right... it is biased with the truth.


Well, if you're still reading this article, what are you waiting for?! Go to Eric Ludy's site right now and check out his book, The Bravehearted Gospel. (Then, of course, buy it... either on Ludy's site or on Amazon.) You will never be the same!