Book Review: ‘Thinking. Loving. Doing.’
Thinking. Loving. Doing. is an engaging and deep thinking selection of essays by big names in the reformed evangelical world who were all contributors to the 2010 Desiring God conference: Rick Warren, Francis Chan, John Piper, R.C Sproul, Albert Mohler and Thabiti Anyabwile.
Picking up on a perceived bias in the reformed world towards ‘thinking”, they issue a clarion call to Christians to be thinkers, feelers and doers. These three aspects of faith cannot and should not be separated as we seek to engage minds, hearts and hands for the sake of the Gospel.
Rick Warren focusses on ‘The Battle for Your Mind’ and how we can take every thought captive to obey Christ. Warren is clear, concise and challenging. He understands the devil’s tactics and urges us to too. I was particularly struck by his statement that “We only believe the parts of the Bible that we actually do.” (p.40) It’s no good believing in tithing or evangelism if we are not prepared to actually do it.
R. Albert Mohler contrasts the way the world thinks with the way Christians should think. Expounding Romans 1, Mohler gets us to ‘think about thinking’, challenging our intellectual pride and getting us to understand how our thoughts have been corrupted by the fall.
R.C. Sproul gives us a lesson in pagan philosophy and uses it to help us understand how Paul engaged with such philosophies in Athens (Acts 17). Sproul ends by arguing that “We will never find an explanation for being, for life, or for motion if we try to find it outside the being and character of God” (p.79).
Thabiti Anyabwile is a Baptist minister who was formally a Muslim. Anyabwile helps us to appreciate Islamic beliefs, good and bad pluralism, and, in particular, the problems with the “naive pluralism” prevalent in the Western world today that is incompatible with sharia law. Anyabwile’s chapter is not just an academic pursuit, but ends with ways to respond to Islam: remembering the Gospel, engaging with the world, repenting of fear, and losing our lives in order to find them.
Expounding 1 Corinthians 8 and food offered to idols, Francis Chan’s chapter is a passionate plea for genuine love in the church, and particularly (but certainly not exclusively!) for those in leadership roles. I was challenged to the point of tears in parts of this chapter as Chan repeatedly calls for our lives to look like Jesus’s.
John Piper draws the threads together in the conclusion, ending with a prayer for love through thinking. Overall, the book is a stretching, thought provoking and worthwhile read. The chapters don’t link together as well as they might, but all of the contributions are rooted in and soaked with Scripture. Every chapter ends with prayer. The contributors share many years worth of wisdom and this is undoubtedly a book I will return to again and again.
Thinking. Loving. Doing. is published by IVP and priced at £8.99.