June 23, 2014

Ten Reasons You Should Read Southern Fried Faith by Rob Tims

I just finished reading Southern Fried Faith: How the Bible Belt Confuses Christ and Culture by Rob Tims, and I would now like to offer my unqualified recommendation.

In order to whet your appetite, here are ten of the book's highlights:

  1. "There are few people groups that progressive liberals hold in contempt more than we who are fighting for America's soul in the South. We are heartbroken and angry at the loss of virtue we see taking place in our country. We are hard-working people who want the best for our children and grandchildren. We see the Bible and its Judeo-Christian ethic as foundational to a healthy society, and we are not about to simply let it slip away without a fight. This is an admirable thing, but the great threat to such churches is that they fall in love with the work they do for God in place of God Himself. And God has nothing to do with such churches. Indeed, God would just as soon let a church full of hard-working, truth-loving, culture warriors disappear if they loved being that way more than they loved Him." (p. 11)
  2. " . . . we fight harder for our earthly citizenship than our heavenly citizenship. We have fallen in love with the virtues that make our country great, treasuring them more than the gospel that brings them to bear. Love of country is biblical, but not at the expense of allegiance to the Kingdom of God." (p. 14)
  3. "A church void of conflict is void of the gospel." (p. 38)
  4. "Sometimes it's easier to believe that we are better than other people than it is to believe the gospel." (p. 47)
  5. "The major difference between doing what Jesus teaches and doing what we southerners think is polite is that Jesus' method gives all parties involved multiple opportunities to think about the gospel. Our southern fried methods only serve our self-interests." (p. 48)
  6. "A 'bless your heart' mindset may be polite and southern, but it is also very sinful. A message of grace and love mixed with an attitude of moral superiority is either rejected out of hand as the smugness it is or eagerly embraced by those who believe they, too, have much to be proud of. Either way, the end result is a church full of people who believe they are superior to the very community they are called to serve." (p. 62)
  7. "We fail to understand that if we primarily dig in and fight for American virtues, including liberty, we communicate that Jesus is less valuable than a free and virtuous America. It is a form of idolatry that is both seductive and destructive." (p. 89)
  8. "Whenever a group of people who are designed to primarily unite around one thing try to unite around something else, the result is devastating for all." (p. 91)
  9. "If our chief rallying cry is anything other than 'Christ crucified,' even something good and proper like 'God bless America,' we distort both the nature and message of God, and also divide the church." (p. 94)
  10. "We must be convicted that America is not God's chosen country, but that people from every tribe and language and people and nation are His chosen people (Revelation 5:9). We must labor for our faith to be understood not as a Western religion, but as the only true religion." (p. 104)

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