…which was just shipped today. I hope the advertisement Concordia Publishing House has placed in “Outreach” magazine (see here for the pic) is effective – and I hope as many evangelical Christian read Jonathan Fisk’s Broken as possible. Confessional Lutherans have very few people who are as gifted communicators as he is, bolstered by his knowledge and critical appraisal of popular American culture – as well as of history and philosophy. Ever creative and insightful – nothing can be boring in his hands! – Fisk’s book will be full of relevant analogies, anecdotes and antidotes. Especially for those who sense evangelicalism’s weaknesses and errors, his message will benefit them greatly. No doubt, Pastor Fisk has succeeded more than any person in my age group (thirtysomethings) to consciously promote Confessional Lutheranism to the wider public. For this reason alone, I must promote the book and lend my support! I hope it is wildly successful.
If you’d like a taste of what the book contains – and the shining start that is Pastor Fisk (note: he will hate that line and promptly direct you to Jesus) – you can check out the series Issues ETC. has done interviewing the author. See here, here, and finally, here (also see this)
That said, as a serious Lutheran who hopes to catechize his youth with Fisk, here are some of the thoughts (minor concerns) I had as I heard him speak (I have not read the book):
- To say that the devil convinced Adam and Eve that what God called good (namely them) was not quite “good enough” certainly rings true (they were right where God wanted them to be!), but at the same time, I think Lutherans have historically believed that they were to ultimately become better, meaning more mature (i.e., being not able to sin was and is the goal), albeit only through God’s giving even this to them.
- While it is certainly true that “Christ for you” is the primary message we preach to fallen man, “Christ in you” – put in the proper context – is a very important topic to discuss as well. Living from our justification (“Christ for you”), God certainly would have us delight to grow in our sanctification as well (“Christ in us”) – to increase in righteousness with Him and to increasingly will, from the heart, to run the way of His commandments – and not only to will but to do. Again, talking sanctification here, not justification! (Hebrews 10:14)
- The philosophical system known as “pragmatism” is indeed evil, but of course being practical is not! God, like earthly parents, has certain goals for His children, such as keeping them in the true faith, increasing their love for the neighbor, protecting them from evil – and that they would come to deeply know how much He desires that all persons come to repentance and faith in His Son. While God never redefines His ultimate goals – and chooses to meet them through His Word and Sacrament – the Church can certainly resist His goals also when it involves resisting changes that are both valid and necessary (i.e. “more than one way to skin a cat”) - as I think Fisk himself argues in his interview (#3). Of course, the reality of the predestination of the elect need not be incompatible with such thoughts.
- From the interview here: “…when it comes down to it, I don’t matter, and you don’t matter. Jesus matters, and because of him, you and I are free, redeemed, and able to see each other in the foreshadowing light of the world to come.” Yes, we make ourselves worthless (Rom. 1), but we speak of “love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be” – because we all matter to God!
I offer this as constructive feedback for Pastor Fisk, my brother in Christ. May he prosper (rightly!)! With some of my points I do not doubt he would agree. In any case, I do not wish to debate any of these issues at this time – I will be too busy reading the book when I get my hands on it (that doesn’t mean I won’t read any comments with interest).
I am confident that reading Broken will be well worth your time. I’ll be reading. Go to this website just launched today to see more on the book and order it.