I recently finished reading Free Book by Brian Tome. As I read the first page of the book, I thought I was going to be hooked. I mean, Tome used the word “pissed” in the second paragraph. He also said he was going to “[come] at you hard”. (3). So I was expecting a lot from this book. That feeling quickly disappeared when I turned the page and saw: “We don’t need another book about the cross. As offensive as that statement might sound, it’s true.” (4) It might be offensive…because it is! I paused for a moment after reading this quote. This statement is where I think Tome misses the point. Christian freedom is entirely about and dependent on the cross. It is the death and resurrection of Christ that sets us free from the power of sin, death, and the Devil. To discount the cross is to discount the freedom that we receive in Christ.
In chapter two, Tome states, “Somewhere along the way, the message and reputation of the Bible (and therefore man’s idea of God) got reversed. Instead of people recognizing it was a message about total freedom and perfect love, the Bible unjustly earned a reputation of being a book of restrictions.” (15) He goes on to say, “[T]he overall theme of the Bible and Christ-following life is freedom.” (16) Again, I disagree. The overall theme of the Bible is God. The Bible is about God’s salvific acts that culminated in the death and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. But this is not something we hear from Tome until chapter three!
Another thing that kind of left me scratching my head was how does Tome define freedom. In talking about freedom, specifically Christian freedom, a definition would be helpful, although Tome does say it’s not about a “life without boundaries” (24) and it does “require a decision to follow someone” (26) , we never actually get a definition of Christian freedom.
There were times that I felt Tome was heavy on works. Tome writes, “Getting free relies on God’s power…” (127) No problem there. But then he continues, “[B]ut it also almost always requires some work or persistence on our part.” (127) What happened to justification by grace through faith alone? Granted, faith without works is dead (James3:14-26) but those works stem from our faith. We do good works because we are justified. To think otherwise is, as Martin Luther put it, “the height of folly and the ignorance of Christian life and faith.”
I give this book 1 out of 5 stars.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”