Last month I decided something needed to be done about my book buying habit. Although most of my fiction books come from the library, the nonfiction books I am interested in reading are not typically available through the ebook app my library offers.
Something had to be done! So, I decided to sign up for a few book review programs. Free books in exchange for reviews. So far, seems like a good deal to me.
To be honest, I have doubts as to whether the books I am interested in will also be of interest to readers of this blog. Most of them do not have much of anything to do with chronic pain or illness or any of the others things I typically talk about here. But the bank account wins!
Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ is a short book written by Andrew David Naselli and J. D. Crowley that I can highly recommend.
Before reading this book, I had not spent much time considering my conscience beyond assessing that unpleasant feeling my conscience gives me when I’m not sure if I should or should not be doing something.
However, after reading this book, I was better able to think through some of the questions that arose after transitioning from the conservative Presbyterian churches I attended growing up to the definitely-not-Presbyterian, less conservative church I currently attend.
Does the Bible teach infant baptism or baptism of adults?
What does it mean, exactly, to keep the Sabbath holy?
How do I respond to those people who believe things that are offensive to my conscience?
Has my conscience become seared when it comes to watching current TV shows that seem to become more sexualized and violent every month?
I can’t say I have solid answers to these questions after reading the book, but Conscience definitely helped me sort out how these questions relate to my conscience and how I can move forward as I live with individuals whose consciences may be different than mine.
Conscience begins by going through every passage in Scripture that talks about our conscience. The second chapter ends up defining our conscience as “your conscienceness [or awareness] of what you believe is right or wrong.”
God has written his law on the hearts of all people. This is why both Christians and non-Christians alike have at least some awareness of what is right and what is wrong. For example, we all have an intuitive sense that murder is wrong. How are we born simply knowing this? The answer it that God’s law is written on our hearts, our consciences giving us a sense of how he calls us to live.
Although we all have a conscience, our consciences can be damaged by either becoming over-sensitive so that we construct laws that are not truly commanded in Scripture, or by becoming seared so that we feel comfortable disobeying God’s law. Conscience explains the process that Christians can go through to calibrate their consciences to align with Scripture and what God desires from his people.
One of the most helpful sections of the book was the description of how differences in conscience between believers is the reason for most conflicts within the church. This becomes especially apparent when Christians of various cultures are worshiping together. Conscience explains how different cultures emphasize and de-emphasize certain values and morals, sometimes turning God’s law into an option and other times equating cultural values with God’s law.
In the end, there was much application to be drawn from Conscience, but the main question I was left with and that I continue to contemplate is the following.
Of the things that I believe, which are morals that Scripture instructs me to follow, and which are areas of wisdom that Christians can live out in different ways and still be within the bounds of what God calls us to?
I highly recommend this book without reservation!
This book was provided to me from Crossway free of cost in exchange for an honest book review.
Check out Life in Slow Motion’s newest book, But God Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy, on Amazon.com.