Do you believe Christ's words that the gates of Hell will not prevail? If so, you won't believe that Christianity is going to die unless something radical happens. There's still plenty to worry about, though—second- and third-generation Christians are leaving church in droves, and those who stay often see their faith as simply a cultural inheritance from parents or grandparents.
Author and pastor Daniel Darling experienced that struggle himself. The son of Christians and a lifelong believer, he knows the issues plaguing kids who grow up Christian. Real: Owning Your Christian Faith isn't sentimental, a guilt trip, or a how-to manual that'll solve your problems, but it is an impassioned call for second-generation Christians to make faith their own.
Darling says Moses called parents to preach God's salvation to their children so often because it's inherently difficult to pass faith to the next generation; he encouraged the Israelites to guard against too little effort. The main difficulty is that we typically see whatever our parents pass on to us as what we must accept whether we want to or not.
But the Christian faith isn't like skin color or ethnicity: it's about submitting to Christ's will, believing in His salvation, and trusting in Him for new life and desires. It isn't passed by blood, but by preaching God's Word and accepting the message of redemption through repentance. This is what we must teach our children, Darling argues, and identifies a number of ways to do so.
Real is witty, easy to read, and brief. For parents, church leaders, and children, each chapter focuses on one topic (why do Christian kids still sin? what is safe Christianity, and why is it bad? how do we put on the mind of Christ?) and ends with an interview between Darling and a contemporary Christian "superstar" like Tom Blackaby or Tullian Tchividjian.
There are no Christian superstars, of course. Darling stresses that everyone comes to Christ because God calls them, not because their parents were believers, because they've attended church all their life, or because they embrace a form of legalism. The way to make Christ real is to love and serve Him. This is Darling's bottom line, and it should be ours as well.
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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