Many of the theological and ministerial circles I run with are not known for their humility. While I don’t think it’s right that they’ve been caricatured in this way, they have been for a reason. And because of this, I love Joshua Harris’s Humble Orthodoxy. Here’s three reasons why.
1. It’s right. ”I don’t know any other way to say this: it seems like a lot of the people who care about orthodoxy are jerks” (3). Harris is quick to point out that orthodoxy is important, which it is. He is also quick to point out that our attitude is important, which it is. The old adage is true, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And more than that, God cares about our attitudes. Therefore, this little book is much needed as a call to humble orthodoxy. When speaking the truth in love, there is a lot of balance and opportunities for “yeah, but….” and Harris does a good job diffusing these. For example, “there’s a difference between having a critical mind that carefully evaluates and having a critical spirit that loves to tear down and belittle” (44). Nothing in this book stood out as me thinking “I’m not sure if that’s quite true” or “I get what you’re saying, but there’s a better way to say that.” At the end of the day, Harris is right.
2. It’s personal. Originally I thought that this book would be helpful for “that guy,” not for me. I didn’t think I was arrogant with my orthodoxy. But Harris does not give you the option to compare yourself to those worse than you. He makes you take an honest assessment of yourself. He says, “all of us should be less concerned with whether others are being faithful to God’s truth than whether we are being faithful to God” (33). Then a few pages later he talks about measuring yourself not by what you know but by what you practice. Wow, convicting stuff. No more was I thinking about “that guy,” but “this guy.” There are questions that I wanted Harris to ask, but he didn’t ask them. Instead, he asked the questions I needed him to ask. It’s personal.
3. It’s accessible. The actual text of this book is about 60 small pages. I read the whole thing in 45 minutes one night. It’s not difficult to read, nor is it overwhelming. If it was a normal sized book, I wouldn’t have given it the effort. But I needed to hear what this book said, and it was small enough where I was willing to listen. If I toss it at a friend, they can knock it out on a lunch break and be better for it. Many people have complained about the size, I really like it - it’s accessible.
I really love this book, I bet you will too. If you want to get a preview, you can find Josh on Facebook, see his bio, get more info, or even read the first chapter. By the way, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. But they didn’t require me to love it - that was by my own volition.
This book was unlike any other that I’ve read. Dr Mohler is a leader I trust and a leader who is worthy to be emulated. As a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I have seen first hand and been greatly shaped by those convictions he speaks of leading with. Dr. Mohler is one of those leaders whom I will gladly follow. I really did like this book and Its because of at least three different aspects.
First, this Dr. Mohler seeks to change the way one thinks about leadership. This isn’t just another “how to” book on leadership or the results and interpretation of the latest studies. Instead, a whole new category is introduced -convictional leadership. I have no idea if this is original with Dr. Mohler, but it is a profound difference from other books I’ve read.
Second, The Conviction to Lead is a very useful book. It effectively walks the line between overly practical and only theoretical. Some chapters, such as with dealing with the media, are extremely practically focused. Others, like those focusing on convictions in general and one’s use of time say this is something each leader has to figure out for himself. This balance is extremely helpful.
Third, Dr. Mohler writes in a way that is very easy to read. I doubt any will accuse this book of being simple or unintelligent - it really is complex and informed - but it is a really easy and fun read. The chapters are pretty short and Dr. Mohler illustrates wonderfully how his points actually come into practice. There are several topics crammed into the 200ish page book, so it always stays interesting.
I could continue on with the reasons I really like this book, but I think those three should suffice. Needless to say, I commend this book to all sorts off leaders and aspiring leaders. Dr. Mohler doesn’t just write to one category, but all leaders and I think all who read will be helped, convicted, and encouraged.
*i did receive this book free from Bethany House in return for posting a review, but that did not influence my opinion of the book.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really have a strong opinion either way about this book. I’ve read my fair share on gender roles, parenting, the role of a father, and the likes, and this book was quite different than what I had previously read. Whereas most Christian books start with the biblical commands and principles and work out to their implications, Wilson starts with culture and works backward to show that what the Bible says is true. I think this method can be helpful, especially for someone curious about fatherhood who doesn’t pick up this book already believing that what the Bible says is true.
There are several points that are particularly good and helpful. Chapter 4, Masculinity, False and True, for example, makes the argument that masculinity is not culturally determined. At the same time, how it plays out in life is often a matter of cultural definition. For example, Salutes look different in different cultures, so it is not the form of the salute that shows respect. However, a salute still is demanded to show respect, and if you use one culture’s form in another culture, it shows no respect at all. Now escalate this example to masculinity - I find this extremely insightful and helpful.
Other areas make you think, and wonder if what Wilson is concluding is true. For example, he says that our government is against fatherhood:
"Over time, what you subsidize and what you penalize reveal what you are actually after. What does our government subsidize? If a girl in the inner city gets pregnant, the state will offer to take care of her provided she does not marry the father. We then scratch our heads over the epidemic of illegitimacy we have created when we are subsidizing that illegitimacy. And when a man takes responsibility, marries a woman, starts a business, begins employ other people, we make sure to fine him heavily and throw in a bunch of regulations to keep the hassle factor high." (84)
I suppose what he says is true, but is that really what the government’s going for? I don’t really think so.
Stylistically, I did really enjoy reading Wilson. He’s somewhat quirky and ADD, and fills his pages with random allusions. For me, this makes his arguments more engaging and not at all sterile and clinical. I found this to be a real strength of the book.
Finally, I have to ask myself what this book is good for. I helped me understand a few areas better, but I don’t think I’ll reference it in the future. If someone is coming to me for advice on fatherhood, I’d recommend something that is more based in the biblical commands and principles on the topic. As an apologetic for his - our - position, I would not recommend this either because Wilson is not completely winsome or tactful in his writing.
Like I said in the beginning, I don’t have a strong opinion of this book. If you’re part of the choir and want to be preached to, sure, go ahead and buy this book. If you’re looking for life shattering advice, go elsewhere. If you’re trying to understand a Complementarian position from the outside, again, go elsewhere. However, if you want something to read that’s of substance, but not too academic, this may just be the book for you.
*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 (but I did anyway). The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
A few months ago I was very excited about reviewing The Truth About Forgiveness, so I decided to order another book in the series on the Lordship of Christ. Overall I really like this book. Comparatively speaking, I liked Forgiveness a little bit better, but that in no way means that this book was bad.
MacArthur’s biggest strength here is the simplicity in which he presents his information. From what I’ve read of MacArthur, he doesn’t sugar coat his words and lets those doctrines that are offensive be offensive. This doesn’t change in The Lordship of Christ. The simplicity I’m talking about is giving straightforward answers to common questions about Jesus’ lordship.
Second, MacArthur is very practical with principles in his writing. He doesn’t leave the doctrines in the abstract, he gives principles that one can build their life on. This is especially well done in the final chapter on assurance. I like the fact that MacArthur does not give specific application, which makes the book widely applicable.
The weaknesses I found in this book are very subjective. First, it is not very deep. I did not really learn anything new by reading it. Obviously, the book was a good reminder and the Lord used it to convict me in different areas, but there is not deep theology in the book. Also, I think the lack of application - which I already said I liked - will probably be seen as a weakness by some.
Overall, I do like this book. It is especially helpful to new believers, or someone looking for an introduction to what the Lordship of Christ looks like.