In an age when we are as connected as we are contentious, an astounding number of opportunities exist that might compel us into an attitude of Us versus Them. In fact, Christians are getting the reputation of being "against" just about everything. But is this the best way to bear witness to the love of God before an unbelieving world? Or does it simply serve to push others further and further away from the life-giving power of Jesus?
Story-driven and biblically based, No Fear in Love encourages readers to trade condemnation for compassion. Author Andy Braner challenges us to love others the way God loves usunconditionally, brokenness and alland to trust that God is truly in control.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Andy Braner is the founder of Ahava Ministries, a nonprofit youth ministry that teaches teens and college students to think about the world through a Jesus paradigm. A popular blogger, he speaks to over 100,000 students, parents, and teachers every year at church, conferences, and personal tours. He has appeared on CBN, FoxNews, and various other media outlets, and lives in Colorado.
Table of Contents
Introduction: No Fear in Love 9
Section 1 What Are We So Afraid Of?
1 The Most Fearful Time in My Life 23
2 As I Watched Fear Take Over 35
3 A Fearless Heart of Understanding 57
4 Learning to Love from a Place of Common Thought 71
5 Eliminating Fear by Following Jesus 89
Section 2 When Worldviews Collide
6 On One Side There's a Mormon and on the Other Side There's a Jehovah's Witness… 101
7 Dinner with Ronald McDonald and a Sunni Muslim 113
8 My Prayer in the Mosque 123
9 Inviting Muslim Teenagers to My Home 137
Section 3 Overcoming Fear of Culture
10 Christians, Abortion, and Fear 149
11 Fear of the "Other" 161
12 Fear in a "New Normal" 173
About the Author 189
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
No Fear in Love is taken from one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” – 1 John 4:18 As I read through this book, I had a couple of thoughts. First of all, I thought it was really interesting and I agreed with almost everything he had to say. The idea is that we love others instead of being scared of them. Everyone is in the same boat, no matter their religion, lifestyle, or ethnicity. We, as Christians, should love on others to show Christ to them. With that, I am 100% on board. I completely agree. When I am faced with someone that doesn’t believe in God, I absolutely believe that religion and lifestyle are non-issues. Showing them Jesus is way more important than trying to change anything about them. Where I feel it got a little cloudy is when dealing with Christians. It is not our job to referee for God. I get that. But, at the same time, the Bible does outline how to deal with Christians that aren’t living the way that God wants them to. I would never suggest cruelty or judgement, but I would suggest that the Bible is clear. We are to help each other when we stumble. Now, I will say that I don’t know exactly what his intention with the believer is. It wasn’t exactly clear. He also says in the book, “We are not embracing a soft message of the gospel as so many of my evangelical friends fear, but rather we’re going on a spiritual expedition of sorts.” There are numerous times he states that he doesn’t budge on where he stands with God. Of course, there were also a couple of places where I felt like maybe he had. Overall, if you read this as a book saying to love on others instead of it being your mission to convert them, it’s a wonderful read. For someone that is already questioning the Bible and whether or not society has better rules, I would say it would be taken the wrong way. Thank you, Baker and netgalley, for this great read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!
Half-way through this book, Any Braner quotes his friend Bob. Bob's thoughts were an affirmation of everything that Andy was learning, and they could be a reorientation for the evangelical church. Bob said "Andy, the key to growing in your own spiritual formation is to encounter Jesus in the fear and pain your life has served. We all have specific moments in our lives that change our trajectory, and most of us just try to hide it and move on. But what happens is that point of fear becomes the place we make every life decision." We all fear things. The question is, what will we do with that fear? Specific to the topic of this book, what do we do with the fear of the Other and the Unknown that we encounter as Christians journeying in the Wide World? How do we translate all the evangelism training and the carefully taught apologetics into our daily life with the unconverted- whom we meet down the street and across the world? Now, Andy Braner admits that this book has a target audience. He's aiming for the American Evangelical, who knows how to move within the church culture and how to talk to their fellow Christians, but who isn't sure what to do with the Rest of the World. How do we move into true understanding of other people, without turning into some kind of Universalist? How do we give others what matters so much to us (the Gospel) unless we have common ground to stand on? "No Fear in Love" is a short, story-driven, powerful read that takes us back to one point, again and again. God calls us to love, He gives us His love, and love casts out fear. Whether you're dealing with a hot-button political issue, or talking to a person who practices a very different religion, there is a way to handle it with grace for everyone's good and God's glory. That's what Andy says. "These issues aren't impossible. They do take a bit more thought and action than we usually see. They take time. They take a heart of caring for another human being, a heart that is at the core of our faith tradition." ~Andy Braner I thank Baker books for providing me with a review copy.
Summary/Review: Andy Braner, in No Fear In Love, is writing to Christians who respond to those of other religions primarily as enemies of the gospel who need to be converted. In his own Christian background, he was taught to view adherents of other religions with fear and suspicion. The understanding of dialogue or of learning from them was frowned on. Hence, he feels many Christians have fears about the pluralism of our world and the shrinking influence of Christianity in the midst of it. He writes to demonstrate what an engagement in love across cultural and religious differences looks like. His approach in our modern multicultural world is desperately needed. - M.L. Codman-Wilson, Ph.D., 5/28/15 Reactions Years ago Milton Rokeach wrote The Open and Closed Mind (Basic Books 1960). He described a closed mind as one dominated by fears people have of ideas that are outside their boundaries of accepted values, norms and beliefs. I ran into that issue when I did my Master’s Thesis on Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (G-ETS, 1989). Many evangelical Christians thought I had become a syncretist and left the Christian faith. Now, fifty-five years later, with religious pluralism a central issue in our global village, Andy Braner’s book confronts those issues of fear and closed-mindedness. His book is timely, especially due to the escalation of fear in America since the Muslim terrorist attacks of 9/11. Braner believes many evangelical Christians approach religious pluralism with an “us” vs. “them” mentality. Their emphasis is to convert people of other religions through a dogmatic, apologetic approach. Braner says: “I started my faith journey thinking if I could only out-argue the critics, there would be more people who couldn’t help but fall in love with the God of the universe. Boy, was I wrong!...The problem in thinking through the absolute truth argument is you leave an entire culture in the wake of your black and white thinking…If we simply stand on the pinnacle of truth without any regard for anyone else’s way of thinking, we will continue to isolate our tradition. We’ll start drawing lines of right and wrong so definitively that we’ll leave the other 6 billion people on the planet lost in the wake of our preaching methodology…Fear doesn’t allow us to engage in new environments with people who think differently than we do” (pp. 112, 87). Braner’s book is needed today because he advocates connecting with people of other religions first as friends – not foes. Through his experience with Muslims in the Middle East, he models how to develop those friendships and build trust. The book is readable, practical and thought provoking. It would have been helpful, however, if the book title had included more specific reference to his central issue of religious pluralism. Loving Others the Way God Loves Us is extremely generic and does not prepare the reader to face the serious issue of intolerance and closed-mindedness many Christians still hold towards those of other religions. The message of his book would have been conveyed better with the subtitle: Loving Others from Other Religions the Way God Loves Us. I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers for the purpose of an honest review.