I was intrigued by the title of the book as one who identifies as an evangelical Christian. I know some of the stereotypes that are associated with people like myself and truthfully, we may deserve some of them. This book is not about confronting these stereotypes, but rather it is about changing our perspective. It is the notion that the lifestyles we are living do not match up with the words that we are speaking. We confess with our mouths that these things should not be this way, but we continue to do nothing about it. Lance Ford seeks to encourage us to change this.
Ford describes nine different things in our lives that must change if we want to identify as a “revangelical.” Among those topics are issues such as a recommitment to the idea that the Kingdom of God cannot be found in any political system, to reconcile with our neighbors and decide to live alongside them and not judging them, and to reunite the idea that we ought to be peacemakers. These ideas are found in Scripture, but have been lost in American Christianity. Ford argues that this division ought not be a part of our lives. Instead, we ought to see to fulfill the words of Jesus just as He said.
I have to admit, I did not want to hear a lot of what Ford wrote. It flies against a lot of what I had been taught growing up as a Christian in the Bible belt of the south. For whatever reason, we believe in Jesus and like to repeat His words, but as a Southerner, we do not like to take His words literally. Instead, we give lip service to the commands of Christ on a Sunday morning and live like we have amnesia as soon as we walk out the door.
Although I may not be ready to embrace everything Ford writes throughout the book, it has not left me without making me question my perspective. I know that I live as one of the richest people in the world, but the task of feeding every hungry person in the world seems overwhelming. In fact, I know it is, but it does not excuse my lack of action that I can take, regardless of how small it may seem. If I can make someone’s life better for even a split second, why do I not do it?
If I had to be critical of anything that Ford writes it is that he does not encourage sharing the Gospel with people. It is one thing to meet a physical need, but we must always be mindful of meeting their spiritual need as well. I am confident that Ford would agree with me, even if he did not spell it out in the book. Outside of that complaint, at some points it gets a little dry and I struggled to finish some chapters. I did like that Ford was attentive enough to tell stories of people living out these ideas as they helped to nail home the point he was trying to make.
Overall I would rank this as three out of five stars. I rank it low not because the topic is improperly represented, but rather because I feel like it could have been cut in half. Rather than being over two hundred pages, everything Ford had to say could have been condensed to just over one hundred, in my opinion. I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.