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We know about the ‘serious’ sins we should avoid, we even know about the ‘respectable’ sins we should be tackling, but what about the ‘imperceptible’ sins? Could it be that we’ve become so assimilated to the culture around us that we’ve become deaf to God’s Word – taking on habits and desires that are unhelpful for us and damaging to our witness?
In Different, author David Martin calls us to live out a radically different and courageous Christianity within our Western culture. He pictures a Christianity that is vitally alive, attractive, and that stands out so much from the world around it that outsiders are drawn in. Be challenged to break free from the subtle undercurrent of our secular society and embrace the call to stand out and live for Jesus boldly and publicly.
What if our indulgence in a certain thing or ideology was really only making us less happy and more dull? Insightful and to-the-point, Martin diagnoses some root causes of our spiritual anemia. You may be surprised, alarmed, or annoyed to see yourself illustrated in the pages of this book. But not to worry - the author delivers the remedy we all need. Take up and read! ~ Gloria Furman, author of Missional Motherhood and Labor with Hope
David Martin writes engagingly and with humility but he unflinchingly points out some of our blindspots, the areas where we might be absorbing the values of our culture instead of challenging its accepted norms. ~ Cara Fitzpatrick, housewife and trainer for Precept Ministries Ireland
This book is the equivalent of a literary defibrillator that will reignite our hearts to beat and long for all that eternity will afford. David Martin has penned a spiritual alarm clock that will stop us sleepwalking distractedly into eternity with our gaze consumed by temporal nothingness. This book exhorts us to be different, this book is brilliantly written and ubiquitously needed. ~ Jonathan Gemmell, The Proclamation Trust
In this pithy and punchy book, David Martin helps us look at our world and at ourselves and to seek to be more godly. It's worth reading prayerfully. ~ Peter Jensen, Former Archbishop of Sydney
David Martin fearlessly puts his finger on many of the prevailing faults in our contemporary Christian lifestyles and calls Christians to dare to be different to the prevailing culture. ~ Jeremy Marshall, businessman and evangelist
David both challenges and encourages us to be in every way true disciples of Jesus in a world and indeed a church that needs men and women to step into this calling. I found this book a real challenge and encouragement in my own call to be a disciple of Jesus. An excellent book and a real gift to the church at this time. ~ David McClay, Rector of Willowfield Church, Belfast, Archdeacon of Diocese of Down and Leader and Chairperson of New Wine Ireland
This hard-hitting book is a timely and powerful reminder of the truth that we are a new creation in Christ, created to be shockingly, beautifully, starkly different from the world around us. Be challenged, encouraged and rebuked - before turning your face in joy and thanksgiving to Christ and his powerful work to redeem his people even despite his people! ~ Steve Timmis, CEO Acts 29
Different is a short book (only 80 pages!) aiming to bring to the forefront the sins that we may not notice in our churches. The ‘nothings’ that the Western world are prone to in our time in history. Well what are they? They are: materialism, careerism, sentimentalism, and nationalism. David Martin does not call these out for no reason. No, he wants us to realise that they are there, and that they affect our witness to the outside world. The book is written in an engaging and witty way. I was able to read the whole book in one go. Now, it does poke where it hurts, but not in a mean or holier-than-thou way. For myself, the challenge of what you do with free time (‘Caravans and the Exodus’) struck home massively. The book also feels very personal. It was clear that the pointers had come directly from David’s own experience. Instead of feeling beaten up and left alone, the author reaches out his arm, and wants to work together with you to solve the issues. The examples used also hit very close to home. In fact, I laughed out loud at one point imagining a man fitting a large TV into a small car. I have seen this happen many times. This caused my wife to ask what I was doing, and to having a good conversation about the topic! I think that every member of a local church will find this book immensely useful and challenging. Read it through thoughtfully and prayerfully. It may not be that each chapter is as challenging for everyone, but across a church family I believe each chapter will find someone to confront. I recommend buying a few copies, and sharing them liberally around your church. It will be good for your brothers and sisters, and good for their outreach. Big thanks to 10ofthose for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book through their Blog Review Program.
Different is a short book, but boy does it pack a punch! David Martin identifies four sins that are rife in our churches and that can seriously damage our witness of Jesus. The book is only 75 pages long, but the impact that it will have on you will be much bigger. Martin challenges and encourages Christians to think through their attitudes, their lives and how distinct they are for the cause of the gospel. As you read this book you will see your own sinfulness come to light and you will see an accurate diagnosis of the modern Western church. But you will also be constantly pointed to the glorious truths of the gospel that will encourage you and build you up. One of the many things that I loved about this book is how serious Martin takes the local church and its identity. “The church is not simply a social cub that meets the interests of a select few in any particular community. Neither is the church the property of any small group of people with membership cards and voting rights. It is not an alternative source of entertainment, a platform for a political party of person, or a hobby for a few enthusiasts and a take–it–or–leave–it option for your average Christian. The church is the clearest sign to the world that Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead and that all who truly trust in him are destined for glory…. If your relationship with your church and with the people in your church has no claim on you, your resources and your time, then something is wrong somewhere.” Take a moment to re–read that quote and let it sink in. As Christians our greatest desire should be to live for, to submit to and to glorify God… we are called to be different. To do this we need to know and love Jesus, we need to talk to and learn from older saints and their walk with the Lord and we need to actively be living examples of what it means to be a follower of Jesus to the watching world. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Although this is a short, easy read, it is certainly not a comfortable one! As the subheading ‘our witness and the sins that work against it’ suggests, this book is aimed at challenging the privileged, western subsection of the church that is potentially blind to the ways we have let surrounding culture impact our lives, having a detrimental impact not only on our spiritual growth but on our witness to those around us. The author speaks specifically to what he passionately feels are key areas where the church in the west is failing to shine as a witness to Jesus, instead letting itself be shaped by cultural norms and prioritising comfortable lives over holy living. He covers the influence of materialism, careerism, sentimentalism and nationalism, asking if our watching non Christian neighbours, colleagues, family and friends see any difference in our lives other than a belief in God and some spirituality added onto lives that otherwise look just like theirs. The reader is challenged to ask – are we aware of blind spots that stop us following Jesus wholeheartedly and do we have integrity and courage in our witness to a watching, often critical and ultimately needy world? David Martin asks: ‘could anyone say that you are different from the accepted norms of the world you currently inhabit simply because you are a Christian?’. This quote has stayed with me, and caused me to ask God to show me areas of my own life where I have chosen comfort and conformity to cultural norms over living under the lordship of Christ. I would recommend it to others – you may not agree 100% with the authors diagnosis, and there may be different areas that you need to be challenged on than those covered in this book, but you will certainly be provoked to consider what authentic Christian life and witness could look like in todays world.
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