Living The Tension Between Grace And Truth: A Review Of Messy Grace By Caleb Kaltenbach

I want to begin by saying that I am a reviewing an uncorrected proof copy that was provided by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of review. I received it through the Blogging For Books website. You can purchase the book HERE. There is actually a website for the book HERE.

A friend suggested this book to me after receiving an advance reading copy. Caleb Kaltenbach currently serves as lead pastor of Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California. I had heard of Caleb prior to this and was intrigued by his story. I knew this book was coming out and I knew that he was going to discuss homosexuality from a biblical viewpoint and I was curious to see how someone with gay parents would approach the subject.

In this relatively short book, Caleb shares how he was brought up fully immersed in gay culture. He tells of going to gay nightclubs, gay parties, and even marching in gay parades when he was just a child. He also shares how his early impression of Christians was tarnished by the hateful and sickening behavior of those he encountered. I typically don’t throw the word miracle around but given his upbringing that may the best word to use when you look at where he is today.

Caleb’s writing style is simple and to the point. He makes extensive use of Scripture and does a noble job of keeping things in context. I especially appreciated the running theme of “messy grace” for which the book is named. Caleb explains that “messy grace” is another name for true Christian love. That love is found, he says, in the tension between truth and grace. Christians have always said that we “hate the sin and love the sinner” but as Caleb points out, we often fail miserably at living that way. Jesus is the example we should follow. He was able to develop relationships with “messy” people without compromising truth or condoning their behaviors. This book attempts to reinforce that way of thinking.

Overall I believe Caleb achieved his goal. I do believe that this is a book a gay man or lesbian could read without feeling hated or judged. The biblical view that homosexuality is wrong is not watered down but is presented in such a way that the reader understands that it is being shared out of love. I found that the questions provided at the end of each chapter reinforced the purpose of the book. They are great for personal reflection but would be wonderful in a small group setting as well. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is wondering how a believer might respond to our ever-changing culture in such a way that those he wishes to reach aren’t completely turned away.

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