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A Messed Up Church

Darrin Yeager has written a practical commentary on the book of 1 Corinthians for his readers. There are a number of problems with the work but I will first mention the positive contributions of the book.

Yeager seems to understand the direct connection between the vitality of the individual members of the body of Christ and the church as a whole. He writes, "The church needs all the gifts, and all should be in operation. But man places more importance on some over others, not God" (38). The Corinthian church was riddled with self seeking members looking after their own best interest. Yeager is right to point to the cummulative effect that pride has upon an individual member of the church in pulling them away from using their gifts for the edification of others.

In looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 8 Yeager focuses on the message of grace over against the message of legalism. Yeager writes, "Living by grace requires more effort than living by law, which explains why some abadon grace for law" (90). This truth is more evident as Christians seek to bear with weaker and stronger brothers and sisters in Christ. Living by grace certainly takes great patience for the believer and is not liable to include quick fixes for foundational problems. Pointing at the end of the chapter to love and not legalism, Yeager points his readers to a different way of living that ultimately brings glory to God.

Yeager's work is similar to a practical commentary in trying to bring the situation the Corinthian church was facing with the situation of the church today. The advantage of this approach is that the biblical text provides a foundational response to some of the sins and moral errors we fall into. Another positive of the text is that Yeager provides the actual text of the Scripture he is commenting throughout each chapter.

In looking at the positive contributions at the book, there are also some glaring weaknesses. One, the author repeatedly quotes his own website and blog as references for support. Not only is this not very helpful, but it shows the lack of preparation to find sources and commentaries that deal with the perennial academic and theological questions in 1 Corinthians. Taking into consideration the best scholarship on 1 Corinthians only bolsters one's case for any one specific point he would make.

Secondly, there were a number of times where I found myself scratching my head. In one instance, Yeager says, "Pride kills your spiritual life. That's why you should never tell anyone they did a great job, but rather acknowledge the talent comes from God" (38-39). He sort of qualifies this with a 'we all need encouragement' but the fact is his statement previous just isn't right. For one, if someone does a good job they are to be commendned for their concentration, effort, and hard work. Giving somone encouragement isn't the problem, I would even say that we are too often quick to give criticism than to see the good things done.

Overall, this book was more a practical commentary dealing with the book of 1 Corithians. I think it will affect some people who want to know a little about the book.

Thanks to Book Crash for the review copy of this book.


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