Over the last two years, I've come to this conclusion: If Plough Publishing House is going to publish a book, I want to read it.
I was delighted when I received my copy of "Everyone Belongs to God," with an invitation to share my honest opinion.
So, here it is: This book is common sense wisdom, from a father to his son-in-law, and each page is richly infused with the steady love of God.
There's a more modern book by Leonard Sweet, called "Nudge- Awakening People to the God Who's Already There." Mr. Sweet wanted to remind everyone that it's not our job to 'bring people to God,' because every one of us already lives and moves and has our being in the presence of God, under his hand and receiving his touch. Mr. Sweet suggested the best evangelism is the kind that wakes us up to the good news that God has provided, the truth that surrounds you even in your unbelief. His book was viewed as a revolutionary new concept breaking into Evangelical evangelism.
Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt's book proves that these idea have been around for quite a while.
Mr. Blumhardt wrote his words over one hundred years ago, in personal letters to his son-in-law, a missionary to China.
Mr. Blumhardt challenges his son to live among the common people as neighbors and friends, to gain their trust by being a decent human being.
He challenges him to keep an eye out for everything true and good and beautiful in the culture around him, and to accept it and build upon it as a foundation for displaying Christ's ultimate glory.
He encourages him to trust God's heart for these people, even if no standard conversions are forthcoming.
He begs him to work for the Kingdom, pushing towards justice and peace and grace, even if the "gains" seem small to a human eye.
In other words, this man gave suggestions that apply in every time and every place. He asked his son-in-law to cling tightly to the Gospel of reconciliation and redemption, and to hold "Christian" forms and traditions loosely.
I can see where, in my small New England town in the internet-age, there's a lot for me to learn from this little book. If I'm serious about wrapping my life in the glorious Gospel, and trying to give people what God in Christ has given me, then I'd better return to this volume a few times in the coming years.