Sunday, October 16, 2011

Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, by Jerry Bridges


A decent, unobjectionable little book.  The book opens with a clear presentation of the gospel, and all the sins discusses are viewed through the lens of that gospel.  Bridges addresses thirteen different types of "respectable" sin, and with that many topics to cover, the chapters are quite short and easily digestible.  Indeed, I often found myself wishing the book contained a more thorough exposition of the various sins and more advice on how to address them in my own life.  I suspect, too, that I mistook Bridges' purpose in writing this book.  To my mind, the reader of a book entitled Respectable Sins is already in agreement that such sins are prevalent in the church and that they should not be.  But Bridges takes several pages in the opening chapters to convince his readers that respectable sins exist, that they matter, and that they should be eradicated.  He seems to think that his readers not only recognize these sins as "respectable" but are quite content to continue tolerating them, whereas I tend to think that his audience will necessarily be largely made up of those who wish to excise these respectable sins from their own lives.  And this theme was repeated in the chapters on each particular respectable sin--Bridges would take time to persuade the reader, from Scripture, that the behavior or attitude he addressed was actually sin.  Which is by no means a bad thing, but with chapters so concise as to be bordering on brusque, I wasn't sure it was the best use of Bridges' time and space, as it further limited his discussion of the nature of and solution to the sin at issue. ("X sin is bad.  Scripture says so.  That means you should not do it. The end.")

Still, he was spot on in most of his discussion of the various sins.  As far as I could tell, he didn't say anything wrong--I just wish he'd said more.  And with a discussion of 14 separate respectable sins, plus several opening chapters dedicated to the presentation of the gospel and a concluding chapter, Bridges would have been perfectly justified in expanding this book beyond its slender 181 pages.  Then again, no one can claim that this book is too intimidating or too complex to be read and understood.  So there's that.

Bottom line:  Solid book, just not quite as helpful as I was hoping it would be.

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