Concordia Publishing House, 2012, 280 pp., $16.99
Do you want to be a rebel? Jonathan Fisk is going to give you lots of ammo to rage against the machine. In his book Broken: 7 Christian Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible, he unloads and unpacks seven worldviews that should be argued against. I’ll admit I wondered what I was getting myself into in the first chapter, as Fisk sounded more like an Old Testament prophet than a modernday writer—not that I have anything against Old Testament prophets. When God calls you to be a voice, you gotta listen; right? Jonathan varied between waxing poetic and bringing needed wisdom quite admirably. By the end of the first chapter I was two parts intrigued, one part fearful, but all parts ready to continue reading.
Each chapter has a subtitle that left me wondering which direction he was headed. His illustrations were thought out thoroughly, especially when he turned from prophet to fan boy and weaved a Star Wars comparison through an entire chapter. I have to confess that his distaste of Jar Jar Binks didn’t hurt his cause to win me to his side of thinking. Battling worldviews is not an easy thing to do, especially when they are ingrained in society from long before we are born or start to care about these matters; but this would be a good resource to begin the dialogue with younger people. These are important details we need to be talking about and discussing.
—Rick Nier, Pastor of Youth & Christian Education, Winona Lake Free Methodist Church, Winona Lake, Indiana
Author Jonathan Frisk in his soon to be released new book Broken: 7 Christian Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible comes out swinging. With no holding back, he takes seven hard jabs at contemporary Christianity and what the church has become. While at some moments bordering on sarcasm and at others downright disgust, the book does a spot-on job using humor and candor to takes on the 7 rules he lays out for us. The book addresses the growing philosophical confusions and various isms: mysticism, moralism, rationalism, materialism and spiritualism, then goes after the two more hidden religious mindsets of religious freedom and ecclesiological restoration. The final chapter finishes the book off well with a challenge for the church to return to her foundations of faith and the Person of Christ. This is not a book you will be handing off to your students, but it makes a great read for anyone leading in a church setting. It is challenging and a bit punch-in-the-gut for those of us who have been around the church for a while, but well worth a read and maybe a second. I appreciate Frisk and what he is trying accomplish in his knuckles-up approach.
—Dan Istvanik, middle/junior high youth pastor, Ohio; has been in youth ministry for about 18 years; shares his resources and “ran-dumb” thoughts on his blog; curriculum contributor for Stuff You Can Use.
Broken is is a good look into how easily the lies of the devil can sow seeds of doubt. It is something young and old people may struggle with in their lifetimes. The book is a good insight into how feelings rather than truth from the Word of God may create fake or weak Christians as they are deceived. What I found interesting were the explanations of how counterfeit versions of Christianity, or forms of religion, take the focus off Jesus. The various devices, all lies, the devil uses to deceive us into believing we are following God’s rules were helpful in looking at today’s culture. We bend the rules, make up our own rules to justify sin and so on. Essentially, all these things put the focus on self. Much of the church is broken because we have given too much attention to the lies and not enough attention to teaching people to love the Word of God. This book shows the need for turning from religion and back to Jesus and the Word of God. I would recommend this book to not only those working with youth, but to pastors and leaders for the good of the whole church. We don’t need counterfeit religions, more programming or new ways to grow the church. This book shows we need to make sure every thing we do from teaching and preaching to serving has Christ at its center—not religion or a form of religion.
—Rev. David C. Lannan, Youth Pastor, Speedway General Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana
The book itself is visually appealing and engaging; it contains unique drawings and fonts to emphasize points and engage the reader. The book focuses on the 7 ways the church is broken and talks about how certain viewpoints/worldviews have distorted what the Christian faith is truly about. Theologically, the author makes some strong points and connections. He comes from a modern (black/white, right/wrong) viewpoint, which shows up in many of his claims. This would be excellent for a small group study if geared for upper high school and young adults. The language would go over the heads of younger youth and those new to the Christian faith. This book will get readers thinking and using it in a discussion format to help the youth process it. It’s visually engaging, and the chapter lengths are pretty good. The material makes you think about certain worldviews and what affects they have on faith. However, at times it can be revisionist in terms of history. Modern viewpoints may clash too much with many post-modern thinkers (but this could be a good thing).
In Broken: 7 Christian Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible, Jonathan Fisk speaks a prophetic word to the church. In this word, he counters the primary philosophic underpinnings of our culture with the Word of God. These philosophical underpinnings not only have come to reign in Western culture in the secular sphere, but they also have slunk their way into the church. Fisk discusses moralism, mysticism, rationalism, prosperity, IfWeCanJust, Lawlessness and the idea that we can find God on our own. He declares that each one of these ideologies denies the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Word of God. Ultimately, each ideology claims that we can save ourselves. Of particular concern for youth ministry is the fact that these ideologies permeate youth culture and our practice of youth ministry. Yet, youth discover that none of these offer a truly satisfying answer. Therefore, many youth turn away from the church and never discover the fullness of God’s grace and subsequent salvation. Youth ministries need to take to heart much of what Fisk declares. Fisk writes in such a way that the abstract ideologies become accessible. Youth ministries should look to Fisk’s example in discussing these false paths and declare aloud the salvation that only comes through God’s gift of grace in Christ Jesus.