I have been sitting on this book for months. I got it expecting to find a great read; but instead, all I received was a book that left me confused. I didn’t even read the whole thing, I got that frustrated with it. So, I have been reluctant to post a review about it. Where to begin …
The book is about defining the word “righteousness” and living lives that match this *new definition. According to Chris Seay (a pastor and church planter), the average Christian misunderstands what the word “righteousness” means. He concludes that while many Christians believe that righteousness is about morality, the real meaning is about God restoring things. As Seay defines it, righteous is “God’s restorative Justice.” The problem I found with Seay’s definition is that he doesn’t really explain it, much less make sense about what he is talking about.
The GOOD points of the book:
Pastor Seay does make some good points in the book. I totally agree with him that the Church needs to be less self-righteous and more Jesus-centered. That Christianity – following Jesus – “cannot be boiled down to some religious rituals where we come, sit, sing some songs, throw a few dollars in the offering plate, and leave professing a Christian life. We cannot be Sunday Christians” (pg. 29). I agree with Seay that “the best thing you can do for your life, your kids, your marriage, and your city is to put Jesus in the center of your life. Do everything in the name of Jesus. If you take Jesus out of Christianity, you will have nothing but a set of rules, laws, and empty restrictions” (pg. 115).
Great. I get all that. Every Christian – and thus Church – should get that, and even more, they should be living as such.
The BAD (CONFUSING) points of the book:
Here are the 2 main problems I have with the book.
- First, he jumps around a lot from one point to another without really explaining in detail some of his “major points”. Chris makes a claim and then moves onto another conversation, leaving you hanging about what he just said (wrote). Case in point, a quote from page 109: “You may be familiar with the Ten Commandments as the ‘ten things you are not supposed to do.’ The truth is they are nothing of the sort. Just as our forefathers found, if worshipping God is about modifying our behavior and straining to keep the rules, we will fail miserably.” He then goes on to talk about idolatry and what it means. OK, but back up to what you just said about the Ten Commandments not being about things you’re not supposed to do. What?
- Second, not only does he make “unexplained-claims”, but he doesn’t back up these claims with scripture. I am open to learning new things, but I want scripture to go along with what I’m learning. On page 114, Chris writes: “We serve that which we set our hearts upon; whatever you love most owns you. That is what is so beautiful about making Jesus your Lord and King. He takes the throne of your life, but he does not seek to dominate and rule over us; he came to liberate us.” What?! He is our King and He sits upon the thrones of our hearts and lives, but He doesn’t seek to reign over us? Back this up with scripture. I can come up with verses that speak differently (Matthew 6:24, Luke 6:46, Ephesians 4:1, James 4:7 … the word “Lord” alone means Master, which implies ownership).
Then there is this quote on page 116:
We often try to make a life of faith very complicated. But in the end it is as simple as “love God and do as you wish.”
WHAT?! These words are not followed by any explanation or scripture backing. They simply leave the reader hanging. At this point I put the book down. I couldn’t finish it. Maybe, if you read it (or have read it), you can help me understand the point of this book. Or, maybe you’ll be just as confused as me.
**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”