Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

September 24, 2004

Authentic Faith

Been reading a book called Authentic Faith: the Power of a Fire-Tested Faith, by Gary L. Thomas. Thomas seeks to act as a kind of correcting influence on what is sometimes called "feel-good-Christianity." The book is sub-titled, "What if life isn't meant to be perfect but we are meant to trust the One who is?" I think that line is quite wonderful.

Each chapter deals with a "discipline" that is often painful, often not something we would willingly choose, but which is an essential part of our growth in holiness. These disciplines are

  • Selflessness

  • Waiting

  • Suffering

  • Persecution

  • Social Mercy

  • Forgiveness

  • Mourning

  • Contentment

  • Sacrifice

  • Hope and Fear

  • Thomas calls these "Fire-testing Seasons from a Loving Father." Here's a sample quote, chosen more or less at random, from his chapter on mourning (p.155):
    The time will come when all of us will be done mourning--but that time is nopt now; that time doesn't exist on this earth. We need to mourn. Mourning invites us to a deeper life. It takes us beyond the surface to give us a glimpse of the world as God sees it. Biblically speaking, living life without some degree of mourning is worse than naive; it betrays a lack of wisdom. "For with much wisdom come much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief," Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:18
    Thomas has written a stimulating and I think important book. I highly recommend it.


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