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In the Christian world, we can swing from a highly emotion-driven Christianity to a strict Christianity devoid of any emotions. And as mental health becomes more and more common we tend to ascribe our emotional sins to our mental health, absolving ourselves of the responsibility for the sin.
It is precisely because of these common views that this book by Brian Borgman is incredibly helpful. In it, he addresses our feelings as neither a god to be worshipped or an evil to be shunned. Instead, they are presented as God-given but flawed. They are tainted by sin, not sin in and of themselves. And so, the approach we must seek is not one of giving ourselves over to our flawed emotions, nor one of supressing all emotion. Instead, the approach is to seek sanctified emotions.
Throughout the second half of the books Brian addresses how to seek sanctification to sinful emotions. His answer is to look to the heart issues – what truth are you believing when you are bitter, sinfully angry, depressed or fearful? And what truth does God present in His Word that you need to believe.
Thoroughly saturated in scripture, this book felt like a wonderfully crafted string of Bible verses, explanation, examples and quotes. It really is well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
My favourite section was the last section on Cultivating Godly Emotions. In particular, I highly recommend reading the chapters on The Emotions and Worship, Preaching and Faith-building Relationships.
I would note one thing with this book and that is that Brian presents the view that God has emotions. This is a topic being discussed by theologians today and, as such, Brian addresses the discussion in an appendix called “Divine Impassibility: Is God Really without Passions?”. I would encourage you to read several views on the topic of Divine Impassibility before adopting a view. The majority of Feelings and Faith does not deal with this topic and I suspect proponents of both sides of the discussion would agree with most of what is written apart from chapter 1 and the appendix.
As my wife wrote in her review of this book “This is a hopeful book that will transform people, relationships, homes and churches… I recommend this to all members in churches.”
Review by Thomas Eglinton