Sunday, August 15, 2010

True Religion by Palmer Chinchen

This is a totally mixed review. I was really excited to read this book because of the focus on missions and the importance of missions as part of spiritual growth. The book is well-written - I felt like the author probably writes like he speaks. It was very easy to read. The book is also filled with inspirational tales of the author's missions experiences overseas. The stories express a passion for spreading the gospel and encourage readers to put what they're reading into practice.

However, I had some strong theological misgivings throughout the book. First, the author continually encourages readers to become an "expatriate." Chinchen uses "expatriate" to "describe an extraordinary life, a life of adventure, a life of uncertainty, a life of exhilaration, a life worth living" (p. 51). The Bible's focus on missions is not about a big adventure but rather about spreading the glory of God.

Additionally, each chapter concludes with a suggestion on how to live more like an ex-pat. Some of the suggestions were to rent movies with sub-titles, eat at ethnic restaurants, and studying another language. And these suggestions on how to live like an "ex-pat" are really just suggestions on how to add a little culture to your life. I wish he would have suggested things like read magazines and blogs centered around persecution of Christians, praying for unreached peoples around the world, writing encouraging letters/emails to missionaries, sacrificing financial resources, actually going to another context, etc.

Another chapter focused on the idea that we as Christians are supposed to take pieces of heaven into places of hell. I completely agreed with his supposition that hell-like places/events include genocide, rape, starving children, etc. I strongly disagreed with his thoughts that "pieces of heaven" included things like a Krispy Kreme donut. I realize that we all talk about how great heaven is going to be and how beautiful it's going to be with the streets of gold and the giant mansions, but heaven's going to be great because of GOD. Certainly not because we had a Krispy Kreme donut here on earth and that gave me a small taste of what heaven is going to be like. I pray that when I am in heaven I am so focused on worshiping the creator and savior of the universe that I don't ever want another thing besides HIM.

There was just a real disconnect for me with the examples that the author gave and the thoughts he expressed around them. I would have preferred to see a book more focused on God rather than on our opportunity to have a great adventure doing missions.

Before the theological issues, I would probably give this book a 4 star review. However, with all the theological differences, I would have to give it a 2 star review.

I received this book for free from The B&B Media Group in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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