Disclaimer: the post that follows is a recent book review that I did for a Christian publisher. As such, I was mainly critiquing the author’s work.
The main title for this review borrows a quote from the book’s author, Mark Yarhouse. He details a disparaging story (as most of his eventually are) of a man who, in his view, mishandled the Scripture in a public meeting regarding gender identity issues. This story and its following commentary left Yarhouse saying that he and the speaker had one thing in common – their high regard for Scripture. As I did not generally disagree that the public speaker had misinterpreted the Scripture in this instance, what left me excited was that the author of this book was almost immediately labeling himself as one with a high regard for Scripture. What followed was nothing of the sort. Page by wearying page I began to see that, if true at all, Mark Yarhouse had chosen to leave his high regard for Scripture out of this work. It is my singular negative opinion of the work in total.
Mostly this work is a cold and academic treatise. One is allowed to write in this way. I just found it odd in that his book dedication says, “To the church, the Body of Christ…”
Having said all that, I do believe there is value here. Most of what he says is not unscriptural. I do believe he does an excellent job defining the key terms in and around this discussion. For that alone, from an academic viewpoint, the book may be worth the read. I also find it painfully valuable to hear story after story of churches and leaders who damaged the name of Jesus by their dismissive (often worse) handling of this sensitive issue.
His lack of biblical connectivity should also compel us to approach the whole of Scripture to seek what it has to say to these types of difficult issues. So my biggest negative here could turn out to be the greatest unintentional takeaway from this book. How do the Scriptures, both by direct address to humanness and indirect principles flowing through its pages, speak to issues of which most of academia believe them to be silent?
He does give some solid general biblical concepts as final suggestions, though the Scriptures are never mentioned as the source for these great ideas.
As the crushing tide of public opinion continues to rush the shores of biblical Christianity, compassionate conservatism cannot simply be a political moniker used in news bites. Through the sacred pages of Scripture flows the strongest of tides – the redemptive love of Jesus. It is for that reason and because of that message that our starting and ending places must be its holy pages. May we continue to hold back the darkness with the light of Christ, revealed to us in His Word.