I recently discovered that Thomas Nelson Publishing company has a program for bloggers to do book reviews. I love to read and I love to blog, so I thought it would be perfect! About a month ago I got my first book, Free Book by Brian Tome.
Tome is a pastor who has a passion for Christians to live in the freedom that Christ promises. As he says on the cover, he doesn’t want people to think “that getting close to God means more rules and restrictions.” He also admits that he is angry (though he uses much harsher language to state it) about Christians freedom being squashed by religion. It is this premise and this emotion set the tone for the entire book.
It’s unfortunate, to me, that Tome had to come at this with anger. His anger, though it is finally somewhat tempered, is what kept me from finishing the book. I believe in “righteous anger” — as Jesus had when He cleared the temple — and that may be exactly what Tome is experiencing. But as I read the book, it seemed that he was trying to get me angry with him rather than push me into walking in freedom.
This book was a chore for me to read. I read through about half, then finally had to give it up. I wasn’t being challenged. I didn’t find myself drawn towards God. If he had begun with the Scripture and let his thoughts and feelings overflow from that, it would have been far better. Instead it comes across that he has an idea and then he uses the Bible to prove it. His ideas are not completely inaccurate, but they’re not his ideas. It would be better if he made it clear that these are God’s plans for believers and that he is just spreading the message. I also feel that his message of freedom is not balanced with God’s parallel message that we are to live righteous lives. God’s freedom isn’t offered to us to live licentious lives. While legalism is certainly a problem, the solution is balance, not swinging too far the other direction.
Now that I’ve told you how I didn’t really care for the book, let me give a positive. I love how personal he gets! He is unafraid to use his personal failures and victories as examples of the truths he is sharing. Few authors are so willing to share such intimate details. I appreciate that he is willing to get real with his audience.