Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rev. Zwonitzer's Continuing Book Review of The Best is Yet to Come: Chapter 4

This is the fourth post in the series of Pastor Rodney E. Zwonitzer's book review of Pastor John Kieschnick's book The Best is Yet to Come: 7 Doors of Spiritual Growth.

Review of Chapter 4: Connections The Door of Encouragement

This is the longest chapter so far in sheer number of pages. I would surmise that Pastor Kieschnick preaches along these lines quite frequently. Relationships at church and among Christians are important, but it needs to put in the proper perspective of law and gospel, justification and sanctification, theology of cross, not theology of glory. We all have the need to interrelate to other humans and feel wanted and needed. To fulfill this need, Kieschnick sees three main groups: provers, pleasers and hiders. He had remedies for each, mixing Biblical verses along with advice from his experience and other Christian writers that he quotes, most of them non-Lutherans.

There is much to be gleaned from this effort, such as hints on how to be a better listener and the difference between being loved and being trusted. He advocates the best way for the church to do these relational things is through small groups. This yet shows again his tendency for CGM agenda. The biggest concern here, which he never addresses even minimally, is when relationships become tense over Scriptural meaning and application. It’s the old controversy over life versus doctrine. Luther said to focus on life at the expense of doctrine is a serious mistake. To date a concern for confessing the truth of God’s Word is never addressed to this point in the book. Who in these small groups will stand up for God’s truth when it is attacked? Even the great chapter of love which Kieschnick quotes from (1 Cor. 13) “always rejoices with the truth” (verse 6b) includes it when speaking of loving relationally.

One will capture a significant following when a preacher spends considerable time and energy focusing on relationships. But in what relationship to God’s truth needs to be asked? Does the truth take a back seat to love? This is the concern many of us have for the CGM and such advocates as Kieschnick with the tendencies we have commented on thus far.

Rich blessings in Christ!

Pastor Rod Zwonitzer

Click here to continue to the next part of Pastor Zwonitzer's review.

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