12 June 2014

Book Review: Why Sin Matters

I'm facing a conundrum. A friend of mine loaned me Why Sin Matters (2004) by Mark McMinn. I had forgotten it on my shelf for a while, but then I heard Larry Crabb mention it during a lecture he was giving and I took it down to read it.  The conundrum is that even though this is a borrowed book, it was so good I am going to have to buy my own copy and I wonder if that is a good use of resources.

McMinn is a board certified clinical psychologist who is currently on faculty at George Fox University, though in this book he worked to integrate psychology, theology, and spirituality and in my opinion, he did so admirably.

From the front cover, one might imagine this is a book about sin. It is that, but to me, it was much more a book about grace. Through the book, McMinn explores the relationship between sin and grace. He (I believe rightly) made the point that "understanding grace cannot be done without understanding sin."  Through real life examples as well as biblical reflections, particularly related to the story of the prodigal son, he helps the reader to see that we cannot minimize sin, nor can we minimize the awe of grace. 

One concept that he explored is that humans are "noble ruins".  We are God's image bearers, but we are infected by our sin. I suspect this is an idea that will continue to influence my thinking about personhood for some time to come. This is just one example of many wonderful things in this book. 

It is not too much for me to say that I loved this book.  I look forward to getting my own copy so that I can mark it up and think through sin and grace in more depth.  If you are a fan of Brennan Manning, Larry Crabb, John Piper, or Tim Keller, this may be a good book for you. If you are a pastor, a counselor, or a psychologist, this may be a good book for you.  If you are weary and downtrodden, this may be a great book for you too.  Buy it now before I purchase my copy!

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