Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Review: CrossTalk by Michael R. Emlet

Understanding what the Bible says and means can at times be a daunting task. Properly applying that to our lives in our modern setting only adds to the difficulty. Enter Michael R. Emlet with his utterly practical CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet.

After reading for yourself, it is easy to see why there is so much buzz surrounding this book. CrossTalk is half hermeneutic lesson/half Christian counseling session and it is Gospel-centered from page one. As Emlet himself describes his trajectory: "It is appropriate to call the approach of this book 'redemptive-historical' or 'gospel-centered' application. It is an approach that takes the narrative (storied) nature of the Bible seriously in order to make wise connections with the narratives of our lives."

A proper understanding of what the Bible is places us in the best position to apply it to an individual life. And since Jesus saw all of the Old Testament scriptures as about him (and clearly the New Testament is equally so), a proper understanding of the Bible centers around Christ and our redemptive history in him.

After a couple chapters on Gospel-centered hermeneutics, Emlet shifts gears to application within a counseling setting. He is insightful in emphasizing the fact that every Christian, in any given situation, is to varying degrees a sufferer, a sinner, and a saint. While Emlet is clearly writing for an audience of Christian professionals (whether pastors or counselors), I found these chapters equally compelling in my own sort of self-counseling session. While the last few chapters get pretty involved as he walks us through two hypothetical sessions using his methods, there is more than enough in the first several chapters to highly recommend this book to every Christian.

Often I read to gain new information. But CrossTalk was a perfect example of another reason I read: to get a new articulation. Though many ideas in the book may be familiar ones to anyone well-read, you will be hard pressed to find a better and clearer communication of them. Additionally, this book will be among the first I recommend to those for whom this is new information. Either way, an excellent addition to the library of every Christian professional and layman alike.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Every Christian, but especially anyone positioned to counsel or teach other Christians

This book was a free review copy provided by New Growth Press.

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