November 26th, 2008
Mahaney, C.J. Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 191 pp. $12.99.
C.J. Mahaney has become one of the most beloved charismatics of our time. I say that tongue-in-cheek and as one who has greatly benefited from his ministry. This book illustrates why everyone runs to Mahaney to see what living a cross-centered life looks like in today’s marginalized Christianity. He does not disappoint with this little volume.
Mahaney is joined by Craig Cabaniss, Bob Kauflin, Dave Harvey, and Jeff Purswell in exhorting the believer to flee worldliness. C.J. introduces the book with a chapter that looks hard at how often we disregard certain verses in the Bible. He compares this to Thomas Jefferson who removed everything in his “bible” that conflicted with his own thinking. How much more do we do that today and not even realize it? If we are to believe the Bible to be God’s Word, then we must adhere to all of it and not just what we agree with.
The proceeding four chapters in the book are all titled “God, my Heart, and _______.” They include the media (television and computer), music, stuff, and clothing. In each of these four chapters, the reader will be shaking his head as if to say “Yes, that was me once” or “Wait a minute that is worldliness?” You will be both challenged and comforted in reading these pages.
The final chapter explains how to love the world without losing focus of Who we worship. Jeff Purswell shows, in essence, how to be in the world and not of the world as so many Christians claim they do. What many will see is that they are in fact living for the world rather than living for the glory of Christ.
There are two appendices that are worth reading. Both are directed at women and dressing modestly (something that seems to be foreign even in our churches today) daily, and perhaps more importantly, on her wedding day. Even though they are directed at women, husbands, fathers, and young men would do well to read them and use them as a guide when shopping with a daughter, wife or wife-to-be.
We all struggle from time to time with what kind of music we listen to or what media we allow in to our homes or how much stuff we own. We would all do well to heed the call to flee worldliness and to live a more Christ-centered and God-glorifying lives. This volume shows what that looks like and offers the encouragement to “go all in for Christ.”
Ligon Duncan offers this statement in his blurb on the back of the book: “I now know the first book I am going to reach for when a Christian is wrestling with worldliness—or isn’t but should be!” I include this statement because it best sums up my recommendation. This will be a book that you will want to purchase multiple copies of to loan out to those needing counsel on worldliness.