Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity, by Jeff Shinabarger


An excerpt of a review recently posted on Schaeffer's Ghost:
Fourth, Shinabarger’s analysis of generosity is secular—by which I mean: a compassionate Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan, or atheist could agree with … everything in this book. I find this troubling. While it is certainly true that those outside the faith can be generous and do good things, Christians’ lives should be pervaded by the Gospel such that it is impossible for us to really explain why we do any good thing without reference to Christ the Source of All Good. Christ is the reason we can do good things, He is the reason our sinful hearts want to do good things, and His is the power that enables us to do good things. Yet Shinabarger’s exploration of generosity seemed to be, well, largely secular. Faith lifts right out without disturbing the substance of his points. 
For these reasons, I would argue that Shinabarger’s book, while practically useful, is not actually a Christian book. So if you’re looking to simplify, make do with less, or give more, then by all means read this book. Even better, read it with a friend and engage with the material. Open your Bible and see where Shinabarger is right, and where he’s wrong. What does the Bible have to say about generosity? What sins in your life keep you from obeying those commands, and how can you fight those sins? How does the Gospel inform our attitude toward our possessions, our food, our clothes, and our time? How can Christians spur one another on to love and good deeds in these areas? These questions, and many more, are well worth asking. Shinabarger doesn’t ask them, but I appreciate him at least starting the conversation.
Full review available here.

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