Bold as Love by Bob Roberts, Jr.
Bold as Love: What can happen when we see people the God does by Bob Roberts, Jr.
Conversion and Christianity have for years between synonyms for a world religion that has at its heart the desire for all people to follow Christ. Yet, in our desire in evangelism we have lost sight of loving our neighbors, treating them more like boxes on an assembly line waiting to be shipped out of the warehouse. Pastor Bob Roberts Jr, no less a Southern Baptist, challenges readers in his new book entitled Bold as Love to meet Jesus’ challenge to love our neighbors head on. Rather than operating with a conversion mentality, Pastor Roberts says that the Roman Road of salvation method will not do in our global culture, but a posture of listening, engaging and building relationships is the way through (13-14). The challenge is all the more worthwhile when the founder of Saudi Arabia’s modern intelligence service, Prince Turki Al-Faisal pushes y
ou to build relationships with Muslims in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much is that it dealt head on with the fears people, including I think of we ponder multi-faith conversations and events. Roberts goes on to explore how fear plays out its hand through our preoccupation surrounding physical harm, hostility from enemies, losing one’s faith, hostility from friends, and fear itself (32-43). It is only in the invitation by Christians to join with Muslims did the parishioners at Bob’s church begin to boldly love those of different faiths. We often want to be painted in the best light by our friends, and hanging around Muslims and Jews scares the heck out of many people. Yet, only in relationship can we begin to love our neighbors, for it is impossible to love someone without knowing who they are. One interesting part in this section was Bob’s mention that his faith was strengthened on account of his relationship with Muslims. Why? Because, as her grew in closeness with others, the fundamental differences came out between the two faiths and there was room to let opposing views be heard, without vitriol, anger or violence.
In the section on Serving with All My Might, Pastor Roberts begins to question how best to minister to the Pashtuns of Afghanistan. After mulling it around a bit, he decided that through the building of schools and the mutual reading of the Bible and the Quran, he would develop more constant relationships. Roberts points out that we have got it wrong if we start to minister to others through our lips rather than by the sweat of our brow. Mutually coming alongside somebody in their work breaks down the barriers and allows us to love our neighbors in more meaningful ways. Conversations are more fluid when we are able to pick up a shovel and work with those whom we live around. Roberts also gives some advice to churches wanting to reach out by specifically indicating the types of needs that cities and countries need; namely, the different domains of a culture including education, agriculture, medicine, and trades (89). This type of global thinking ultimately leads to long term change, not the type of change you would have in a five day mission trip.
This book was an amazing look into the right way to love our neighbors, allay our fears, and begin to share the love of Christ to those we might. I was challenged in some very real ways by reading this book. This book deserves to be read by anyone wanting to take serious the call to love our neighbors.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy of this book in exchange for review.