Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review of Both-And

Book #31. Both-And, by Rich Nathan, with Insoo Kim. Paperback.

Too many times, especially since The Reformation, Christianity has become filled with either-or propostions. There are choices between faith or works, Bible or tradition, intellect or emotions, charismatic or fundamentalist. Modern American culture plays into that divisiveness with its own set of either-or choices.

But Nathan and Kim offer a different way of thinking. Instead of an “either-or” approach, they propose that the natural tensions inherent in Christian orthodoxy imply a “both-and” approach. Covering one topic per chapter, they discuss their identity as both evangelical and charismatic, desiring a community that is both united and diverse, showing concern for both justice and mercy, methods that involve both proclamation and demonstration, an ethic that is both social and personal, expectations that relate to both the now and the not yet, and a callings that is both relevant and orthodox.

Nathan brings his own “both-and” to the writing of the book. He is both an intellectually gifted thinker and writer, but also brings the practicality of being a senior pastor of a large church. Many of the examples in the book come from the church these men are pastors at, Vineyard Columbus.

The book strikes an unusual balance, offering a mix of practice and belief that will make many uncomfortable. There are times when the book will sound too liberal for conservatives, and times when it sounds too conservative for liberals. But that is an “either-or” dichotomy, and as this book makes clear, the Biblical path to maturity is something different.

Disclosure: I attend the church were these two men serve.

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