Book Review: Side by Side by Edward T. Welch

UnknownBeing that most of my job revolves around discipleship, I try to keep up with what's new in that area. Ed Welch's book Side by Side (get it here or here) came out last year and it's unique. It's not simply a call to disciple, nor does it bash what a bad job most of us do at it. As the book claims with its 2 main sections, we are both needy AND needed.

What I liked

For me chapter 4 is worth the price of the book. Welch starts that chapter by saying, "Suffering feels like our biggest problem and avoiding it like our greatest need - but we know that there is something more. Sin is actually our biggest problem, and rescue from it is our greatest need." (pg. 43). This is in the first section of the book on understanding that we all are needy. It's in this neediness that we have to understand our own sin and how the gospel applies to it. Until we can do that, we really have no business attempting to help others. It is through this process that we grow in reliance on God and his Word. It's as God works on our neediness that we are better prepared to be used by him to help others see their neediness and walk with them through it.

Where I struggled

The book stressed the importance of involving others in the process of dealing with our sin. I struggled here because it's never easy and it's rarely handled well. There is fear of judgment and condemnation that comes along with that kind of venerability. Welch reminds readers this is one of the primary functions of gospel community.

Believers need to be willing to risk this kind of openness for 2 reasons. First, we need the eyes of others to see our sin more clearly. Secondly, we need the eyes of others to apply the gospel more specifically. Without these things, working in tandem, we don't experience growth, let alone the joy and peace that the gospel promises.

Conclusion

This is not a pastoral book (although pastors would benefit from reading it). This is a book for ALL believers. Anyone can disciple. God uses all his people in this process in some way. I highly recommend this book.

(The above quote was taken from Side by Side by Edward T. Welch @2015 published by Crossway.)

Vacation 2016

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