Book of the Month
“Feelings and Faith – Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life.” By Brian S. Borgman Recently, Kim and I attended a Biblical counseling conference entitled, “The Gospel and Mental Illness.” This 3-â€day conference provided timely resources for us to address the growing trend in our community (Christian and non-â€Christian) who are medically diagnosed with mental disorders or suffering from emotional stresses. One of the books promoted at the conference piqued by interest – “Feelings and Faith – Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life.” by Brian S. Borgman (Crossway Publications). The author provides a solid description and overview of the far-â€ranging emotions all men possess that reflect the image of God. The book is outlined into four major parts – Part 1 -â€ A Biblical-â€theological Foundation for Understanding Our Emotions. Part 2 -â€ Biblical Sanctification and Our Emotions. Part 3 -â€ Mortifying Ungodly Emotions. Part 4 -â€ Cultivating Godly Emotions. Within each section, the author probes deeper in understanding the nature of emotions and the consequences of ungodly emotions that often besets us due to sin. He concludes by citing Biblical means as well as practical applications for cultivating godly emotions. One of the reasons why this book intrigued me was seeing the dangers within the Christian community of siding with one of two extremes – either 1) living by one’s emotions devoid of Biblical and sound wisdom; or 2) living life pragmatically under the guise of reason devoid of emotions. The author notes, “We do a grave disservice to God when we say His love has nothing to do with feelings or the emotions. We diminish the dignity of God’s person when we unwittingly relegate love to mere actions of goodwill or self-â€sacrifice.” I appreciate Brian’s assessment as he cites various sources that “Emotions are more than feelings, they tell us about what we value and what we believe, producing desires and inclinations that affect our behavior. Emotions were given in order to energize behavior and were intended by God to be a catalyst for action.” And “God gives emotions for a specific purpose. They are necessary for us properly to know and relate to and glorify God.” This book is particularly helpful to understand both the nature of God and how it should intersect with our emotions. As he cites Jonathan Edwards, the famous Puritan pastor, “the nature of true religion consists in holy affections.” In other words, good Biblical theology when applied with day-â€to-â€day living produces a love for Christ and one another that the unbelieving world historically calls these people “Christian” (belonging to Christ). I recommend this Feelings and Faith because the author provides rich insight on how our personal holiness and its outward manifestation are often directly related to our emotions. I share the author’s belief that the cultivation (or lack thereof) of godly emotions will either enhance (or deter) our worship in all aspects of our lives. May the reading of this book promote our affections and adoration of our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ.