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You Were Made for More Than Safety
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Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Book Title
Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome
Thomas Nelson
Release Date
December 3, 2013
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Exodus tells us that God saved Israel that it might "serve/worship" (avodah) him (Ex. 7:16; 8:1; 9:1). Contrary to what we might think, the Israelites weren't set "free" to go off, settle in, and have a safe, pleasant life according to their own whims. God had particular, sometimes difficult, purposes for them. God's redemption aimed at creating a people to boldly worship, serve, and represent him before the nations (Ex. 19:5-6). In Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Do Something Awesome, Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College and executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), revives this message for a modern Christian audience. Framing our situation with Jesus' parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), he invites us to do more than accept life in a fallen world, hoping not to screw up too badly before the master returns.

Instead of living "safe," miserly lives as the wicked servant did, we are called to go out, fulfill the creation mandate, and "take dominion" of the world (Gen. 1:26-30)—in other words, "build something awesome." For this, we'll need a willingness to take up our crosses and risk discomfort, failure, and pain in order to boldly do great things for the glory of God.

Sadly, instead of bold worshippers, Strachan sees a landscape filled with Christians who are tired, scared, defeated, and satisfied with small, pointless pursuits; we're living our "stressed life now." To use Andy Crouch's language of "gestures" and "postures" (Culture Making, pp. 90-96), Christians have been flinching, slouching, and playing it safe for so long, we've developed a sort of scoliosis of the soul. In other words, we're stuck. Stuck in weak prayer lives. Stuck in our parents' basement. Stuck in suburban monotony. Stuck in marriages we're scared to actually try at and are tempted to bail on. Stuck trying to merely hunker down and survive the Christian life. Well, as a good doctor would, Strachan endeavors to apply the medicine of the gospel to straighten our spines, and walk with the upright boldness of people who know the trustworthiness of God.

'Gospel Risk'

Strachan's solution is to remind believers of the Trinitarian grounds of their gospel-centered life of faith: God our Father is big and sovereign, holding us securely in his hands. Having been justified through Christ's sin-bearing death and life-giving resurrection, Satan's accusations are dispelled as our old self with its fears and flaws has been put to death. Finally, in Christ we've been given the power of the Spirit who enables grace-driven effort to obey Christ's call. Strachan sums up this message in one sentence: "God's awesomeness should propel our faithfulness." In this sense, risking for God isn't really a risk at all, because in him you have everything and lose nothing.

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You Were Made for More Than Safety