As American Christians, we regularly are challenged to move out of our comfort zones in order to be effective ministers of the Gospel of Christ. Unless we are willing to boldly take some risks, we cannot truly grow ourselves nor can we reach this lost world.
This is the general idea put forth by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch in their book The Faith of Leap. Their intention in this effort was to create an academic work on this concept, referring to it as the “theology of risk.”
Their idea is good. Throughout Scripture we find examples of Biblical heroes who are instructed by God to step out in faith, taking risks that would be destructive without the guarantee of success at God’s hand.
The foundation Frost and Hirsch build to support their idea, however, concerns me. In a single paragraph early in the book, the authors introduce the topic of open theism. After this very brief introduction and incomplete, minimal explanation, there is no further discussion of open theism. But, the suggestion remains that this is the foundation for their theology of risk. This is primarily contemplated in the idea that God Himself takes risk, an idea that robs God of His omniscience and omnipotence. Laying this foundational mentality left me very uneasy with the remainder of their argument.
I was further concerned by the sources used to support the theology of risk. A wide variety of wonderful authors were cited, but Bible usage was proportionally very weak. While I understand that an academic work does tend to rely heavily on the previous work of other experts, I cannot feel comfortable with an academic work of theology that lacks heavy reference to Scripture itself. An author runs the risk of creating a theology based on men’s understanding and ideas rather than Scriptural truth when he does not support every aspect of his theology with contextual Scripture.
Bottom line: The idea is a valid one. The examples and stories are interesting and emotionally stirring. The excerpts and quotes are thought-provoking. If The Faith of Leap is read as the thoughts and ideas of two men, it can be inspiring. But, readers must be careful when adopting a theology based simply on the thoughts and ideas of two men. As for my household, we tend to find much more motivation to live a life of risk when we read and truly study the Word of God together as a family. We find much encouragement and many ideas when we read the biographies of men and women who have lived lives of risk themselves.
This book was sent to me in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in discovering for yourself Frost and Hirsch’s arguments for their theology of risk, I have a giveaway copy! Just leave a comment on this blog before midnight next Thursday night, October 6.