Friday, May 15, 2015

Love without fear

                Wouldn't it be nice if everyone loved like we want to be loved, or better yet like God loves us, and not just the way we think He loves?  In No Fear in Love: Loving Others the Way God Loves Us (Baker Books, 2015) Andy Braner points out several ways that we can learn to do just that, along with some of the obstacles that we so frequently encounter or create.  Braner's book is a lesson in loving others even when there is significant disagreement.
                Braner writes in the introduction that his hope is that the reader will learn to become a gentler, more caring and more compassionate follower of Jesus; that fear and hate would be replaced with a willingness to love others generously.  That sounds good on paper, but unless everyone in the world reads the book and agrees to follow the recommendations, it seems that generous love remains a lofty goal
                Our world is rapidly shrinking thanks to technology and as you'll read in the 2nd section of this book one of the side effects of that shrinking world is that worldviews collide. Non-Christians from around the world come to what have long been seen as traditionally Christian countries; they come to study, to work, or as refugees. And with them they bring their world views founded in Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, animism and other belief systems.
                Christians have their own language and belief system, which work just fine when you're interacting with other Christians, but sometimes that language doesn't translate well when dealing with people from other cultures.   Although a goal of everyone loving fearlessly is admirable, my fear is that Braner does not go far enough in reminding the reader that Christianity involves following Christ exclusively.  Loving others is the Christian thing to do, but it's all too easy to cross the line into pluralism or inclusivism.
                But fear, one of the most prevalent emotions known to man can be replaced by love. We need to learn to love our enemies, to love those who think differently than we do, and be willing to share the gospel with them.
                I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.


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