Our daughter is in college now. We have taught her part of ministry is keeping up with current issues in the world. Whether you have a strong opinion on an issue or not, you need to understand how both sides feel. Many of the issues spill over into the views people have of God, Christianity or Christians. It may not be fair, but it’s just a fact of life.
I was interested when offered to review the book Befriend by Scott Sauls. Billed as a book to “create belonging in an age of judgment, isolation and fear”, I think it has a slightly different value for Christian parents of older kids and teens.
Sales uses the book to make the case for “befriending” everyone from ourselves to “prodigals and pharisees” and everyone in between. What he actually does is examine a lot of the people issues creating stumbling blocks to faith for many non-Christians and Christians today. In each chapter, he mixes scriptures and stories – many personal – to both lay out the issue and then make the case for how he believes God would want us to interact with each.
If you are a Christian parent, you should be discussing these issues with your older children and teens on a regular basis. This book can be a great catalyst for conversations and Bible study with your kids. It can also point out issues your children will face and of which you may not even currently be aware.
A book like this must be difficult to write. Even Christians are often divided on some of these issues. If I had to characterize his conclusions, I would say he is a moderate on the conservative/liberal Christian spectrum. Having said that, I did find a few relatively minor errors (For example, he says the Apostle Paul was an example of a “single” elder. I see nothing in scripture that says Paul was an elder of any congregation – plus he moved around too much to be one. Not to mention the qualifications in scripture make it clear an elder is to “be the husband of one wife”.) Outside of those few errors, I personally feel he was mostly correct in how he interpreted and used scripture to make his points.
I love that at the end of each chapter, he includes a summary, another scripture and some questions to consider. While you would probably need to add more questions and scriptures to make it a Bible study, he does provide the basics. Visually, the book is not attractive and is printed on rather cheap paper. It’s not really a distraction, but may not make the book jump off the page as something you might want to read. I think the content is worth it, I just wish, that as with many books today, they had put a little more effort into the graphics and printing aspects.
Ultimately, whether you think scripture agrees with him or not, this book is important for you as a Christian parent. You need to be prepared and to prepare your kids to have these sometimes difficult conversations. You need to prepare them to live their faith by serving others and sharing their faith -with everyone. I believe this book can be a good tool for you to use.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.