Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Time for another "snippets" with a few statements about some books I spent time with but didn't want to write up an entire review about. (Although, admittedly, I got on a rant with one of them and it's a bit long.)


Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time was gifted to me by a friend who was reading it and wanted to provide some personal encouragement to me. I really enjoyed this book, despite the fact that it's a devotional, meant to be read in 30-days. (I'm not very good at reading devotionals. I seldom am able to spread the reading out for the appropriate number of days! But I did pretty well with this one, finally giving in at about 20 days and finishing it off with one more sitting!)

Two particular things that stood out to me from this read:

1. Focusing on my sin and my efforts to stop sinning, suffering all-consuming thoughts about how I can change my behavior actually decreases God in my life. When I start questioning my ability to deal with sin, I start to act as if I have god-like powers. I start ignoring the cross. I start assuming I can do more for myself than God can and I fail to accept God and His work on the cross for all that it has been, is and will be. (In other words, I saw how I've been a little me-focused when it comes to my salvation in Christ.)

2. Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, I thought, did an excellent job explaining that God "shares" His holiness with us in that we are called to be holy just as He is (1 Pet. 1:16.) We are to pursue holiness. But while we can be holy, we cannot share God's glory. (I guess I could say that she clearly separated the two terms for me.) He is jealous to receive all glory. Glory is His alone. Hence we should be careful with things like the songs we sing in church. Are we singing about ourselves? Are we focused on us? Building ourselves up? We are to pursue holiness. But we must not make a grab for God's glory. That belongs to Him exclusively.

Fitzpatrick did a much better job of explaining this, but this was a point impressed upon me during this read. Definitely a recommended read for a devotion OR a straight-through. ;) (If you can't help yourself like I can't.)


A Woman's Walk in Grace, by Catherine Martin was another one I mentioned earlier in conjunction with a contest. I told you point blank that I hadn't had a chance to read the book yet and when I finally did get around to picking it up, I was less than impressed. (Hence I made a few determinations about the books I would mention on this site. For starters, I must read them before they make an appearance around here.)

The basic idea of this one is that God's grace can cover a multitude of sins and can heal a broken life. Not a bad message, right? My quibble with it is that it is rather unbalanced in its approach to grace, leaving out a great deal of what God's holiness demands. Then too, I confess, she lost me in the first chapter when she referenced the book Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace, by Cathleen Falsani which is a bunch of hoo ha in my opinion.

The idea behind Sin Boldly (which is not really the book I'm talking about but if Martin read and liked it and wrote any part of this book around it then I'm going to take issue with the source) is that grace abounds everywhere you look. You can feel God's grace when the wind blows in your face and you can see God's grace when you watch a good movie or read a good story. It's everywhere. The title comes from a statement that Martin Luther made which I will quote as follows (as Falsani quoted in her delightful little book):

"Be a sinner and sin boldly. . ."

It's what comes after the ellipses here that Falsani seemed to ignore in her work, wherein Luther finished up that sentence by saying:

" . . .but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life in not the dwelling place of righteousness but, as Peter says, we look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. . . . Pray boldly-you too are a mighty sinner.”

Now let's just stop everything and see what scripture actually says:

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,a]"> that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 6:1-14

So yes, as long as we are alive we will sin because we are humans and we have a fallen nature. But we are to believe in Christ MORE and in His work on the cross. He died so that we could have victory over the sin. We are now under grace, yes, it's true and we can rejoice in that! But we must believe in God more and what He did on the cross - a holy act, glory filled, so that we can come to Him for salvation and deliverance from our sins.

I read Sin Boldly and watched a few video interviews about it because I wanted to find out exactly what it was all about. I don't trust it further than I can throw it because it is an incomplete work, unbalanced in it's view of God, and ultimately expresses a desire to run free with the butterflies without obligation to the Word of God. God is grace. God is love. God is holy. All things combined. You cannot separate His beautiful attributes and if we try then we are in grave danger of making a god of our own liking (who lets us do whatever we want.)

So, yeah, I said I didn't like A Woman's Walk With Grace right? Well, I didn't like her sources of study and inspiration in writing this book and it seemed a little on the light and fluffy side. So there you have it. My "snippet" for the day and I'll stop here.


Annette W. said...

I love how well you articulate boldy, using God's Word to speak against Sin Boldly...bc as you's an incomplete and unbalanced in his view.

Barbara H. said...

I first heard of Elyse Fitzpatrick a few weeks ago in someone's quote on Facebook, and now it seems like her name is coming up everywhere. I like that distinction between holiness and glory.

I am just appalled at the encouragement to Sin Boldly -- that is so opposite of what Scripture teaches, and that would make me wary of Martin's book as well.

Janet said...

Your snippets are more substantive than some of my full reviews...

Saying "Amen" to your impressions of Sin Boldly.

Lisa Spence said...

Love Elyse Fitzpatrick's books! I liked Comforts very much; I liked Counsel from the Cross even more. I've also read Idols of the Heart--very, very good as well.

Anonymous said...

Did you read Sin Boldly?

Carrie said...

As I said, Anon, yes I did.

Just FYI - I won't continue a discussion on it with an Anonymous reader. But I'll answer that one question.

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