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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Clear Winter Nights

Theology in Story

What an amazing concept for a work of fiction!

Our church began using The Gospel Project as our Sunday School curriculum last year and I love it!  So, when he Blogging for Books program (Waterbrook Multnomah) offered Clear Winter Nights:  A Journey Into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After by Trevin Wax for review, I jumped at the opportunity!

A little about Trevin from The Gospel Coalition website:
My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children, Timothy (9) and Julia (5).
Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture.
I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Theology from Emanuel University of Oradea in the country of Romania, where I was involved in mission work in several village churches from 2000-05. I received a Masters of Divinity at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. I spent several years serving the wonderful people of First Baptist Church in Shelbyville, TN as Associate Pastor.
Trevin's books include:
  • Holy Subversion:  Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals
  • Counterfeit Gospels:  Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope
  •  Gospel-Centered Teaching:  Showing Christ in all the Scripture
Snyopsis of Clear Winter Nights:
Searching for real faith - or no faith at all...
Chris Walker has everything.  A career, a beautiful fiancee, a promising ministry opportunity, and a faith instilled in him from a young age.  But when a revelation about his family comes to light at his grandmother's funeral, Chris finds himself facing questions he didn't even know he had about...well, everything.
Fighting a battle within and without from those who don't understand his sudden doubts, Chris seeks refuge in a weekend with his grandfather to ask the rough questions and sort through the issues where faith meets life and disillusionment collides with truth.

My Thoughts:
At only 157 pages, Clear Winter Nights is a mighty powerful little book.  Wax employs engaging dialogue between a grandfather and his grandson to give his reader a lesson in theology - Theology 101 if you will.  In these conversations, Chris (the grandson) and his grandfather Gil discuss everything from what makes Christianity distinct among all the other world religions, does settling on truth really matter, the relevance of truth in a world where things change daily, forgiveness, evangelism and the power of forgiveness in living out the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While I appreciated the rich conversation between Chris and Gil, I felt the overall book was lacking in story.  I think if expanded a little more in sharing Chris's background (years growing up, the divorce between his mother and father, his dating/engagement to Ashley etc.) and filling in a little more on the things that lead him to his crisis of faith, the book would have more draw. 
The message in this book is very much needed.  Many people come to a place in their life where they maybe begin to question faith, much like Chris finds himself doing, and the last thing they want to do is pick up another Bible study or maybe even the Bible.  But they might read a novel.  The concept behind Clear Winter Nights is exceptional and I'm so glad Trevin Wax has written this book.  The book includes an engaging discussion guide - perfect for use with someone who may be beginning to question their faith or with someone who is exploring the Christian faith for the first time.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waerbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.