What do I think of Michael Wittmer’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
How on Earth can you be a worldly saint? Why would you want to be one? You are not to love the world nor the things of this world. Right? You could think that, until you also see that Scripture says God gives us everything richly for our enjoyment (1 Tim. 6:17) and the whole debate on eating meat offered to idols was about if you could enjoy the meat without thinking you are wronging God, and the fact that our Bibles have Song of Songs in them, a book about the delight of sexuality in marriage.
Wittmer writes to deal with these kinds of issues with the idea of not only should you enjoy your life, you can only really love God if you do love the things of this world. The writing in 1 John about the things of this world refers to what he says earlier, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. It does not refer to what many of us might think.
Wittmer writes about how he knew an old preacher who used to talk about how we didn’t care about our worldly matters. Well, except we all did. Wittmer would go out and play whiffle ball with friends and family and watch some of their favorite TV shows like Dukes of Hazzard, but not Dallas because, well, they weren’t that worldly. We can try to deny it, but all of us have aspects of this world we enjoy, and that is not a bad thing.
The unique aspect of Wittmer’s book is he gives a big picture perspective. He points to the purpose of the kingdom and the future consummation of all things. In doing this, he argues that we can further the kingdom by bringing people into the delight of God, including the delight of this world. We can enjoy our lives which will also show people a kind of life they want to live. Honestly, think about the people you have met who are Christians and seem to have no interest in anything else. How many of you want to be like those people?
Wittmer gives such an example. He talks about a well-known evangelist he picked up at an airport for a conference once. He asked him about his experience with leading people to Christ and the man went on and on with story after story and after awhile, Wittmer realized this guy didn’t care about him at all, the person who gave of himself to pick him up and wondered how many people the man had led to Christ were coming to Christ just to get him to be quiet.
While I find this book helpful, I did point out it was a big picture perspective which leads to one weakness. I would have liked more on the whole practical level such as general guidelines to follow. Of course, the difficulty is that it can lead to a kind of legalism. Perhaps we should more often realize that if we are concerned, perhaps we don’t need to be? If we were Christians not giving ourselves to God and seeking Him, we wouldn’t be asking the question.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)