Well, if youâ€™ve read the first two books, then there isnâ€™t much for me to say. You will probably order this book long before reading this. Not that I blame you, of course. The books are great. As before, I enjoyed this book. I thought the statement about how Christians should interact with the world was well done. Isolationism is wrong, but so is the idea of acting like the world to win the world. Remaining distinctive while loving them to salvation is the appropriate balance.
To take this concept of interacting with the world a bit further, letâ€™s consider several things. First, Christ taught that we should love our enemies. We cannot do that if we live in isolation from those enemies. Paul re-affirmed our need to interact with the world when he wrote that we should not come out of the world. But, we are also taught that we should be holy as God is holy. The holiness of God dictates that He exists separate from sin. Therefore, Christians must live separated from sin. This is a tightrope over the Niagara Falls. How do you live separated from sin and live distinctly from a world that is characterized by sin without leaving the world or losing your interaction with the world? That is the topic of many books and not one that can be answered simply. If it is possible to simplify this, then it would follow like this: love the Lord your God supremely (which means that you obey His commands and act like Him) and then love others (treat others) the same way that you love yourself.
Today, it seems that broader evangelical Christianity dumps any and all forms of separation for â€œinteraction with the cultureâ€? in hopes to win the world. While that is a noble goal, becoming like the world to win the world removes the distinctive nature of Christianity â€“ it makes Christianity impotent. The â€œFundamentalistsâ€? and those on the extreme right struggle with the opposite side of the tightrope. They struggle with excessive dissociation with society around them. Neither extreme is correct, but I have to argue that if you are going to fail, then the separation side of the rope is the best side on which to fall. And I argue that for one simple reason: The greatest commandment is not about loving those around us, but instead about loving God. So if you are going to fail, then at least fail because you were avoiding sin and consequently people, not because you were committing sin by staying with the people you were evangelizing. God desires holiness first, evangelism second.
On a second note, I am amazed by the brilliance of Ted Dekker. I know someone who has some interaction with Dekker and this friend commented that Dekker has so many ideas in his head that he struggles to find the time to get them out of his head and onto paper. I believe it. Every book/series by Dekker is vastly different from the others. The only theme that ties the books together is the obvious effort on his part to teach some truth. To demonstrate this brilliance, one need only look at the covers of the Circle Trilogy. Each cover is completely symbolic. I canâ€™t understand how someone could develop that let alone all of the fascinating works that Dekker writes. This is an author to watch and read.