A lot of us wonder what's wrong in our lives and what we can do to make it better. We wonder where we went wrong. We wonder How People Change. In this deeply theological yet eminently practical guide to the process of biblical change and the Christian maturation process, Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp explore these questions as pastors and counselors, providing answers that take into account the difficulties of daily life without using them as excuses for a lack of growth.
Instead of simply demonstrating how broken we are, Lane and Tripp focus on our completeness in Christ, and the importance of recognizing and living up to our status in Him. They identify the ultimate problem as a "gospel gap,"a misunderstanding of the Gospel and our place in it that leads to a crippling emphasis on the here and now rather than on past forgiveness and future hope. This here and now emphasis in turn leads to blindness concerning our true identity in Christ, God's provision, and God's process. The rest of the book deals with overcoming this blindness and replacing it with productive maturity.
The authors use a plethora of visceral images and real-life stories for illustration. Unlike many books of its kind, How People Change strikes an excellent balance between practical guidelines and doctrinal foundations, both of which are informed by the authors' own wide experience and plain common sense. Using a series of metaphors (heat, thorns, cross and fruit), Lane and Tripp lead readers through the stages of growth:understanding one's situation and weaknesses, recognizing our desires, knowing God's nature and our place in Him, and pursuing repentance and visible fruit.
There is an emphasis throughout on community. There are no people outside the human race, and there are no Christians outside the Church—change cannot be accomplished in a vacuum or entirely through an individual's efforts. Indeed, Christians can't grow through personal effort at all; they can and must strive toward maturity, but it is only through Christ's agency that goal is accomplished. It is this paradox the authors bring us to again and again as they demonstrate the nature of and path toward genuine spiritual growth and personal change.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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