I have just finished reading this book by Shayne Wheeler, a Pressie minister from the USA. He is a church planter with the Presbyterian Church in America. He writes of his experience of planting a church in an area where many have been hurt by the church. The title is all about what it means to follow Jesus in the thorny areas of life. He wrestles with being faithful to Scripture and loving your neighbour. He pushes us as evangelical Christians to step out of our comfort zones.
In the Briarpatch Gospel, Shayne challenges us to stop leading safe, sanitized Christian lives and to step out into the real world – the briarpatch – and to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
Shayne encourages us to build transparent relationships with people who look, think, and believe differently than we do. He reassures us that we don’t have to have all of the answers to the questions people might ask us about suffering, about life, and about faith – it’s okay for us to grapple with the tough questions just like everyone else.
He reminds us that we’re not here to judge others – we’re here to love others, even as we stand firm in biblical truth.
I highly recommend this book. Read it if you want to think through the issues of how to lovingly proclaim the gospel in a world that needs to hear of the gospel of grace.