What is the biggest problem facing the Church today? And how should we as Christians respond to that challenge? While we all have different answers to that question, odds are that your answers place you roughly within several streams of Christians: the courageous, the compassionate, or the commissioned. As Hansen says on page 18, “You and I have been conditioned by our various cultures and experiences to hear certain aspects of the gospel more clearly than others.”
Hansen sees these differing emphases as a good thing: the body is made up of many members with different roles and gifts, after all, and these three groups roughly correspond to Christ’s heart (compassion), head (courageous), and hands (commissioned). But they stop being a good thing when we isolate ourselves from each other. That’s where the blind spots come in. Every group has a tendency to ignore or not see as clearly certain aspects of the gospel without help and encouragement from others.
The compassionate struggle to empathize with their critics.
The courageous don’t like truth that makes them look bad.
And commissioned Christians don’t always enjoy the mission when it jeopardizes their lifestyle and preconceived notions about the way of the world. (p. 35)
Blind Spots is a short but powerful reminder that the important thing is not focusing on how other Christians are getting it “wrong” but on focusing on how we can better follow Jesus together. It is not overly academic or technical and is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive look at the issues. Rather, it is a short appeal to examine ourselves instead of tearing apart or ignoring others. “I wrote this book,” Hansen explains, “so you might learn to compare yourself more to Christ than to other Christians. When you and I compare ourselves to Christ, we get unity because we see our sin and forgive one another as God forgave us…[and] your differences will primarily help me test whether I’m missing anything about the character of Jesus.”
I was encouraged and challenged by this book and thankful for the reminder that, as Tim Keller says in his foreword to the book, “it becomes clear that these [courage, compassion, and commission] should be strands in a single cord. Each group goes bad to the degree it distances itself from the others.” Amen. May we bind ourselves closer together and help each other avoid our blind spots instead of distancing ourselves and struggling alone.
Collin Hansen, Blind Spots: Becoming A Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church. Wheaton: Crossway, April 2015. 128 pp. Paperback, $12.99.
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Thanks to Crossway for the review copy!