What Matters Most - Leonard Sweet

Price: $15.99

Format: Trade Paperback

ISBN: 9780307730572

Release: 3.13.2012

Religion - Christian Life

Blogger's Website

Read Review on Blogger's Site

Review on Retailer Site

Read Chapter 1

About Leonard Sweet

Leonard Sweet on Facebook


Share This
2.5 Stars
Find Retailers on Google

What Matters Most by Leonard Sweet

by Christina Page
August 11, 2012
2.5 Stars
0 other readers have rated Christina's review.

Why do you need my email?
Close Window

In order to rank this review we require your email address as proof that, A) You’re a real person (and not a bot) and B) It ensures that only one person can rank a review one time (and protects from bloggers that might try to “pad” their rankings). Your email address will only be used for review rankings as part of the Blogging for Books program and will not be sold to 3rd parties or used by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers in any way. That said, if you check the box that says “Send me updates on the latest Christian books,” you’ll receive the WaterBrook Multnomah Bookends eNewsletter (sent monthly). You can always unsubscribe to this newsletter at any time.

Christina's overall score for this review: 0
Christina's average score for this review: 0.0
Close Window

Each review can be ranked and given 1 to 5 stars. Each star is worth one point. If a review is ranked 10 times and each time is given 5 stars, the overall score would be 50 points. For more on scoring visit the FAQ page. For why scoring matters visit the support page.

In his book, What Matters Most, Leonard Sweet challenges Christians to focus on a relationship with Jesus. He challenges the idea that faith is simply intellectual assent, and defines true faith as pursuing and active relationship with Jesus, and following Him. The major strength of the book is its call away from complacency and into active faith. He rightly asserts that belief in Jesus requires a life of relationship and action. When Christians are largely indistinguishable from non-Christians in how they live and think, there is no longer a startling freshness to the proclamation of biblical truth when it is presented as principles and propositions. How a person lives speaks much more loudly than what he or she asserts, now as always. And with Christians nearly identical to all others in the culture, what they say loses impact. (34) This call to action is the strongest part of the book; Sweet is right to challenge his readers away from complacency. Another highlight of the book is his challenge to readers to engage deeply with scripture, allowing God's Story to shape our lives. Later in the book, he writes of the need to live life in community, imitating Jesus in our fellowship and community. Of course, we know how much Jesus disliked eating alone. Can the same be said of the church? (142). After initially defining this relationship, the remainder of the book focuses on: 1. Our relationship with God. 2. Our relationship with God's Story. 3. Our relationship with other people of faith. 4. Our relationship with those outside the faith. 5. Our relationship with God's creation. 6. Our relationship with symbols, artifacts, and things and 7. Our relationship with the spiritual world. Though the book begins with a promising premise, the book has several significant weaknesses. The first, and perhaps most significant weakness is the false dichotomy between intellectual belief and action. Though believing right doctrine without action is certainly not enough, right action typically flows out of right belief. The biblical challenge to love God with our hearts, soul, mind and strength implies a unity of thought and action. While Sweet is right to correct the error of intellectual belief without action, he makes the opposite error in undermining the value of right living that flows out of belief. Another weak part of the book is Sweet's interpretation and discussion of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 24. He relies on rabbinic interpretations, and concludes that the passage describes a weak moment in Abraham's relationship with God, rather than a demonstration of his faith. He writes, Abraham's silence in the face of an outrageous command from God signals a failure of relationship on his part. If you give up the struggle of discernment and hearing, you are not in a right relationship with God. (64). Again, with this interpretation and the subsequent dialogue, Sweet creates a false dichotomy between obedience and relationship. Our relationship with God is not that of two equal beings; while God graciously allows us to dialogue with him, there are also times when a love relationship requires faithful obedience without complete understanding. Similarly, later on in the book Sweet repeats a similar false dichotomy, writing, Sin is not a breaking of commands; sin is a breaking of relationships (151). This statement does not allow for the both to be true, when in fact disobedience to a command is a reflection of the relationship; a person in right relationship with God obeys His commands. Though the overall premise of the book, that a real, living relationship with God is essential to living the Christian life is true and helpful, Sweet's book overall is weak. In his attempt to correct propositional belief without right living, Sweet creates false dichotomies and makes the opposite error.

**I received a complementary review copy of this book by Waterbrook Publishers

Most Active Bloggers (This Month)

Most Active Bloggers (This Year)

Tastebook_General_200x165.jpg

This content requires the Flash Player. Please Download and install it here.