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Review of “The Unlikely Disciple”
Posted: Jul 12, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

 

I have just finished reading a great book.  A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our daughter to Barnes and Noble.  During this trip, we happened to realize that we locked both sets of keys in our car.  While waiting for a good friend (Mark Betzen) to come and help us with our predicament, I began to browse the latest titles in the Religion section.  I came across a book called “The Unlikely Disciple,” by a guy named Kevin Roose.  Kevin is a young man who is a student at Brown University.  Kevin is sophomore journalism major at Brown and is not a follower of Christ.  He decides that he wants to get an undercover look at what a real evangelical life truly likes like so he decides to enroll at Liberty University in Virginia.  If you don’t know a whole lot about Liberty, it is a Christian college founded by the late Jerry Falwell.  Liberty is considered a right wing fundamentalist school especially from those outside of a faith in Christ.  Jerry Falwell himself dubbed Liberty as “Bible boot camp.”  Comparing Liberty to Brown is like comparing South Beach to the North Pole.  Kevin wanted a behind the scenes look at what this “Christian thing,” was all about so he enrolls for a semester at Liberty.  His objective was simple.  Go to Liberty.  Pretend to be a Christian and write down his thoughts on things that he has learned.  I think it is safe to say that Kevin had some pre-conceived ideas about what Christianity was all about.  I think it is safe to say that we as Christians have some pretty strong convictions about some things that mainline American’s simply do not.  I also think that Kevin does a great job of helping people realize that all Christians don’t have to be white, middle class republicans. 

Like it or not, we as Christians are living in a new day.  I respect Kevin’s book because I think it is a fair and balanced view at what the non-Christians think of us.  The Bible says that we are to be salt and light to the world.  We are not called to hold protest rallies and bash government and condemn to Hell all of those who don’t agree with our viewpoints.  Jesus was very likeable.  He didn’t candy coat the gospel.  He told it like it was.  Yet sinners were mesmerized by his teachings and drawn to Him everywhere He went.  The Bible says that when we as Christians have the spirit of Jesus Himself living inside of us.  Our lives should be giant arrows pointing people towards Him. 

There were times during reading this book that I cringed as there were “Christians” at Liberty portrayed as living a lifestyle that is far from one that I believe would make Jesus proud.  There were also people portrayed who lived as modern day Pharisees.  That is their actions didn’t back up the beliefs that they said they had.  Some gave Christians a black eye in the way they failed to show the love of Christ towards those who lived alternative lifestyles.  Yet I was encouraged that the writer did get a glimpse of true Christianity from most of the students that he came in contact with at Liberty.  

I don’t want to give away what happens in the book but I think one of the clear messages in this book is that Christians and non Christians have a lot that we can learn from one another if we would simply let go of our preconceived ideas of how people different than us live.  I certainly don’t share Kevin’s viewpoints on a lot of his “core” beliefs.  But I respect his willingness to give Christianity a fair shake by doing something that was very clearly not easy.  We as Christians are admonished to be in the world but not of the world.  While we should be separate in our convictions, we should also reach out with the compassion of Christ to a world that is clearly starving for truth.  Jesus himself said it best when He said, “I am the way.  I am the truth.  And I am the life.”  God wants to impact this world through you.  One thing is clear to me more now than ever.  The world is watching us as Christians.  They are studying us.  They want to know if our beliefs are backed up by our actions.  They want to know if Jesus really can change lives like we claim He can.  They want to know if the Bible really truly does answer life’s most difficult questions.  They want to know if there really is a personal God that created us and wants to have an intimate relationship with us despite the wickedness that lies deep within us.  Most people won’t pick up a Bible to read for themselves.  For most people, the only Bible they will ever read is the one that is being portrayed by your life.  Are you sending the right message?  Are you being salt and light to a lost and dying world?  Is your life painting the right picture of what a true Christian is supposed to look like? 

Let me clarify that this book was written by someone who is not a Christian therefore some of the language that is used  may come across as offensive if you aren’t ready for it.  I think you will find that the language the Christians in the book use is far worse anyway.  I strongly recommend the read.  It’s a great reminder for us that there are lot’s of Kevin Roose’s out there that are looking and searching for the question of, “Who really is this Jesus and what can He do for me.” 

Go buy it and read it. 

With Expectancy! 

Corey 

corey@firstassemblywest.com

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