I want to let you know about Unpacking Forgiveness (Crossway), a new book that I like so much I am using it in my soteriology class. The author, Chris Brauns, was two years ahead of me when we were students at GRTS, and so I’ve always looked up to him as sort of an older brother.
Chris is a fun, down to earth guy with a streaky jump shot, who is also an exceptional shepherd and leader. He puts more effort into researching his sermons and he prays more diligently than anyone I know. If Chris says that he is praying for you, you’re good to go. Most important for this book, Chris has experienced some bumps along the way in ministry, so his wisdom on forgiveness was forged from painful experience.
What I like most about Chris’s book is how it combines theological depth with practical counsel. Some books, such as Gregory Jones, Embodying Forgiveness, bore so deep into their subject that they are of little practical use, while others are so therapeutic that they lack sufficient biblical and theological foundation.
I won’t blog through the entire book, because I don’t want to ruin your joy of reading, but I will drop one tantalizing point to entice you to read the whole thing. Chris provocatively says that there are times when it is wrong for us to forgive those who have sinned against us.
When I first read that I was sure that Chris was wrong, but his exegetical and theological arguments brought me around to agree with him. I’m guessing that many of you now disagree with both of us, but I invite you to get the book and hear Chris out before you decide.
I’d say more, but I really want you to read the book for yourself. Forgiveness is an arduous journey that every pastor must lead his people through, and I know of no better guide than my friend, Chris. If you’re a pastor, you owe it to your people to read this book.