Truly, Deeply Valuable

Bob Hostetler

4 Stars

September 22, 2012

Dr. Larry Crabb's book, The Pressure's Off (Breaking Free from Rules and Performance) was first published in 2002. I wonder how I would have received it if I had read it back then.

I might have resisted or argued with the book's premise--that The New Way, the way of Jesus, has abolished "the moral Law of Linearity" (that is, that doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things is the way to blessing and satisfaction in life). But that was then. This is now.

Crabb's book is dead on in claiming that most Christians and church-goers today live our lives in a no-man's land between legalism and grace. We know we are saved by grace, but we try to live--and pray--by the law of cause and effect (i.e., "if I do this, God will bless me" or, conversely, "I've tried so hard to do the right things, and my marriage/family/business/health/etc. STILL broke down!"). We seek the blessings of God as first things rather than seeking first The First Thing--God himself. And our poor theology makes for lives that are much poorer than what our hearts long for and what God wants for us.

I highly recommend this book, but not without a few small reservations. First, not every heart or mind will be ready to receive its message (as I suggested above, I doubt that I would have really grasped it ten years ago). Second, I think the book is two or three times longer than it has to be; I think it would have been more powerful in a shorter presentation (though maybe if I needed more convincing I would have not found it so repetitive). And, finally, the "how to" element could have been much stronger and more informative; I imagine many readers who have not already encountered God in his fulness, in prayer, in silence, in deep communion, may be inspired by Crabb's teaching but then left at a loss as to where to go from here.

That said, I nonetheless hope everyone reads this book. It is important and truly, deeply valuable.


(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”)