Radical, Ordinary, and United

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Tony Reinke:

One of the very best books of 2016 is a much needed new book on union with Christ, written by pastor Rankin Wilbourne. It’s titled, Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God (David C. Cook). Tim Keller calls it “simply the best book” for lay readers on the topic. I agree.

Here’s one excerpt.

The call to be radical can make you exhausted, but the call to be ordinary can make you apathetic.

No one wants to pit these songs against each other, but how do we hold them together? Balance may not be the best word because it might suggest a 50/50 split; what we need is 100 percent of both. How can we hear both of these songs without compromising either? How can we sing both of these melodies full volume, in harmony, so that the resulting song is not a cacophony of competing strains, but a rich symphony?

This became my overriding question, both as a pastor and as a follower of Jesus. I knew both knobs needed to be turned all the way up, but I wasn’t sure how to do that. (69–70)

He found the answer in union.

Union with Christ is the song we need to recover and hear today as the heart of the gospel. The song of grace without union with Christ becomes impersonal, a cold calculus that can leave you cynical. The song of discipleship without union with Christ becomes joyless duty, a never-ending hill that can leave you exhausted. . . .

Union with Christ holds together what so many of us are struggling to hold together. It allows us to sing of a grace that asks nothing of us to love us — amazing grace — but at the same time, demands everything from us — my soul, my life, my all. (78)

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I am currently serving churches and colleges as a bible teacher, overseas and in the UK.

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