Friday, September 15, 2017

Forbearance: A Theological Ethic for a Disagreeable Church by James Calvin Davis



This is a timely book in an age where church splits over certain issues have become prevalent.

Chapter by chapter, the author expounds on how Christians can come together to respectfully disagree and still be in community.

In one chapter, he advises that leaving a church is not necessarily the wisest thing to do and provides ample reasons for it.

I purchased this book as I have been conflicted about whether I ought to stay in the current church I am in. As a gay Christian, I am sometimes very uncomfortable when pastors at the pulpit make dismissive remarks about the LGBT community, of which I am a part of. After reading this book, I have decided to choose to actively seek to dialogue with the leadership instead of just running away. (So I sent a copy of Nate Collins' "All but Invisible" to my senior pastor earlier this week, hoping that it would help).

Even though the author doesn't propose solutions for controversial issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and women's ordination, he provides a helpful framework for the reader to see these issues in a new light. In the chapter titled "Humility", we learn that it would be useful to know that we do not have a monopoly on what is considered the "right" viewpoint on the abovementioned issues and that it would be good to seek out perspectives different from one's own.

I especially enjoyed the chapters "Friendship" and "Truth" for they outline the fact that even though we might not agree, we are still brothers and sisters belonging to the family of Christ and also that truth need not be compromised even as we practice forbearance.

I would recommend this book to every Christian because it is only a matter of time before you encounter a view diametrically opposed to yours and as part of the body of Christ, it is important to know how to respond, not with righteousness, but with a spirit of humility, showing grace to the other.