I have at least finished one of the books from my summer reading list, and it was a good one! (I finished the one about rotary cutting also, but I’m guessing fewer people care about that one.)
Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges
Chapters 1-3 discusses the way Christians are called to be “set apart,” to “act in a manner befitting of a Christ-follower,” but both the world and Christians have stopped considering sin as sin– as serious, dangerous, and malignant evil against God. It specifically targets sins acceptable within the church.
Chapters 4-6 talk about the remedy for sins being the gospel, our need for reliance on the Holy Spirit, and specific directions for dealing with sins. The next 14 chapters are on specific sins. I don’t want to list all the sins, both to keep you intrigued, and because he expands on several beyond what might be your first definition. The final chapter is a last exhortation to humble yourself (to the point of even asking someone close to you what sins from the list they think you struggle with), and confessing, repenting, and fighting the sins.
This paragraph is something of a list of bullets, but oh well. This book is universally applicable in the sins it talks about. With each sin, Bridges gives specific ideas on combating that particular sin. He also is faithful in stressing the gospel—that all our righteousness before God is from Christ’s work, and our good deeds are by God’s grace. I appreciated the research he did in developing and paring down his list of tolerated sins, and I identified with his personal experiences with several of them. He’s an older guy from a conservative background, but he clearly has battled sin seriously his whole life, and he does a good job tackling Biblical sins while not imposing his personal convictions on everyone.
The way the book is written (six chapters before the actual description of the sins) makes you want to skip to the sins right away. I actually can’t remember ever finishing the sixth chapter, because I got too impatient. Please don’t totally negate my review now, haha!
This isn’t a negative of the book itself, and the author tries to stress NOT doing this, but it’s the only thing I could think of. It’s easy to read quickly through this book and agree with what Bridges says, and not reflect on your own culpability and repent of your sin. However, even a cursory read will make you more aware when you commit the respectable sins and remind you that they ARE sin, not just personality quirks, etc.
I thought this was a great book, and I’d recommend it to every Christian and non-Christians curious about Christianity. If you are a Christian, it will encourage you to take even the common sins seriously, and remind you of the good news of the gospel. If you’re not a Christian, and you want an overview of the gospel and the way Christians are supposed to live, this is a good book to read. I myself may try to review it every year or two because it hits on sins I don’t take as seriously, but need to.
Let me know if you read it!