A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments by John Dickson
Minister, teacher, and public commentator for the veracity of the Christian faith, including its Scripture, John Dickson has given us a wonderful book on the Ten Commandments called A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. From their inception, the Ten Commandments have been an ever present reality in art, film, literature, and culture. We often believe that these commandments have changed our life, but John explores this words as also providing a path for the good life.
One of the central affirmations of John’s look into the Ten Commandments comes in the beginning of his book when he writes, “So what are the key motivations for ethics in the Bible? One of the central inspirations for pursuing the Good is pretty much the inverse of fear of punishment or hope of reward. It is the knowledge that you are already loved and redeemed by the Almighty (28).” Written in the prologue of the commandment passage in Exodus 20 is the reminder that God brought the people out of the land in Egypt, out of the house of slavery. This reminder points them to a gracious God who had already done something mighty for them and was giving them now a way to live before Him. Dickson points out that Moses’ words were pretty simple, the truth was that God was already there before Israel had a chance to obey (30).
Another of the more focused and encouraging parts of the book was John’s look at the fifth commandment. He writes, “To “honour” parents once you have left home means to support them (111).” This support will come in material needs, emotional needs, but also in a support that comes from being present in their lives. John goes onto make this important connection, “…members of the church who don’t care for their own parents (or grandparents) are worse than those who have no faith (113).” Drawing on 1 Timothy 5:3-4, Paul’s words could not be more pronounced. There have been significant systems of support and care for the poor both in Austrailia and in the United States, but much of this care has been done outside the church. The church as a body of believers has the responsibility to care for it members and families with dignity and compassion.
This is both of book for those interested in what the Ten Commandments have to say and for those who doubt their importance. John is both writer and apologist in these pages and I know many will find a healthy dose of encouragement here. Further, John connects the figures of Moses and Jesus in a way that helps see a connection between the story of the Bible and our lives.
Thanks to Zondervan and BookLook Bloggers for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.