Home > Uncategorized > A Book Review: The Whole Life Offering

A Book Review: The Whole Life Offering

A consistent struggle for Christianity has been the connecting point between Biblical theology and practical living.  Historically, the church has done a disservice to Christianity in this area.  Often the motivation for a pragmatic Christian life was borne from a motivation that flies under the Christian flag but knows not the Gospel. Eric Foley’s The Whole Life Offering: Christianity as Philanthropy offers lucid arguments for a gospel motivated life that will help both pastors and laymen alike discover how the deep principles of Christianity are displayed in everyday life.

Foley emphasizes both the scriptures use of the word “philanthropy” and God’s demonstration of philanthropy to mankind. Further, Foley defines philanthropy to cover more than has been historically implied when using the word. As a result of God’s salvation, Christians are to display God’s philanthropy to mankind.  Though Foley gives concrete examples and theological implications for Christian philanthropy (i.e. home hospitality, giving food, gospel proclamation, social justice, etc.), he is clear that as a believer one needs to improve in all areas of philanthropic Christianity. If one specializes in a practical aspect at the expense of the others, it may be a sign that the individual does not know the true philanthropic God.

Foley’s work is well founded by the Bible as he contextualizes his arguments with careful exegesis from the Greek text. And as this book is properly holistic, it can stretch “philanthropy” to cover areas and take on definitions that have been reserved for “the gospel.” Foley obviously sees “philanthropy” as something akin to the gospel. However, in this work “philanthropy” operates a bit as a generic word under which the author can pick and choose items to place under it. Nonetheless, Foley’s work on practical Christianity is thorough and helpful for Christians looking for a small group discussion or personal enrichment.

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