Pure Joy – Rediscover your conscience
208 pages, £9.99
Star Rating: 4
I have on my bookshelves, still unread it has to be said, a copy of Hallesby’s book entitled Conscience, published back in 1933, but I know of no other book devoted to this important yet complex subject other than Christopher Ash’s recent and welcome contribution.
Stimulated by his own study of Romans 14 and 15, Ash discovered that this was a subject almost totally neglected by contemporary and recent authors and yet one that is integral to a healthy Christian life and so set about righting that particular wrong.
He examines what we mean by ‘conscience’ and looks at how it is both reliable and unreliable. He asks what we can learn from our conscience, especially when it convicts us.
At the heart of the book is a glorious explanation and application of the gospel. This is his response to the question we all face — how we should respond to a guilty conscience. In his own words this is ‘by a long chalk the most important (chapter) in the whole book. Read and re-read it!’ (p35)
Finally the author examines how a Christian lives with and responds to their conscience.
Ash works his way through an impressively wide range of scriptural passages, carefully exegeting and then applying them in a way that is immensely practical and pastoral. I found his treatment of Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8, for example, among the clearest and most helpful I have ever encountered and will certainly make these sections required reading for students of those texts.
In a short appendix Ash provides four ‘snapshots’, briefly revealing how the subject has been viewed by different Christians and writers down through the centuries, from the Middle Ages, to Luther, the Puritans and Sigmund Freud.
I would wholeheartedly commend this book. It is thoroughly biblical, highly practical and immensely pastoral. It would also make a good book to be studied collaboratively and includes a number of questions for study or discussion at the end of each chapter.