Moving in the right circles
IVP, 192 pages, £7.99, ISBN: 978-1-84474-503-6
This book aims to be an antidote to pious ‘church-ianity’ — understanding Christianity to be passively attending church meetings without any engagement with the world around us.
The author passionately pleads that Christians should be constantly maturing as ‘apprentices of Jesus’ and lifelong ‘agents of transformation’.
The book covers three main ‘circles’ in which Christians move — in Christ (through his cross and resurrection), in the church (pursuing discipleship, prayer, meditation, study, fasting and the Lord’s Supper), and in the world (especially at work).
In the light of Christ’s return to renew all creation, the book’s conclusion encourages the church to continue transforming the world through evangelism and social action.
Those looking for meticulous theology and clear scriptural support for each point will be disappointed. Moreover, the author overstates some points (e.g. ‘God is defined by love’) without being careful to give equal weight to complementary truths. Some readers will also dislike his cursory dismissal of premillennialism.
Elements of the book are nonetheless incisive. For example, we must fight the temptation towards: discipleship ceasing at the point of becoming a church member; focusing on preaching at people instead of helping people to learn and obey; viewing conformity to our church culture (dress, jargon, or even commitment to church activities) as the gauge of Christian maturity.
Yuill writes with a lively style, suitable for most readers, and the book has numerous illuminating paragraphs of testimony from Christians and non-Christians about various aspects of church life.
Additionally, each chapter has concluding questions designed for reflection in a small group. Despite some shortcomings, this book conveys a delightful zeal for compassionate mission and cross-carrying discipleship.