Monday, April 29, 2013

Bound Together : How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by Chris Brauns

Chris Brauns. Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Brauns’ goal is to persuade readers of Bound Together  “to investigate carefully the reality that we are deeply connected to one another… and that the decisions of one person affect the future of other persons, as though they are figuratively roped together…. We must think more like Christians and less like Americans.”

Bound Together explores the “truth that is fundamental to all joy, however dark it may seem at the beginning. Without the truth that we are bout together, there is no joy…. Our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and action of other people.”

This is the solidarity seen often in the Bible.  In the great flood,  God destroyed all the people on the earth except the family of Noah. That “everyone” included infants and children. Young children died in the flood because they were “roped together with their parents and their culture.” God was not dealing with individuals; he was “treating them as people corporately accountable to him.”

The ultimate negative example of the principle of the rope, the simple fact that we are not strictly autonomous, but bound together in our choices is the Doctrine of Original Sin.

Brauns builds his case one story and one mandate at a time, showing that we as human beings are corporately bound with Adam and Eve as they are sent from the garden. The rope may chafe and be uncomfortable, but it is only possible to partake in solidarity with Christ, to receive salvation we must be bound to Him. Braun builds his case one story, one example at a time, leading his readers to the cusp of the biblical command to be joyful. Joy that can only come when we are bound by the principle of the rope in solidarity with Christ.

Accessible to any reader, the unpacking of the doctrines of Original Sin and Union with Christ, helps us understand how we are bound together not only to scripture, but to the failings of our own families. It brings the reader to an understanding that the “individualism” of our culture is contrary to biblical truth that every choice we make can affect others.

Image of Chris BraunsWhen all is said and done, our salvation through Christ is stronger than our condemnation with Adam.

Brauns is the pastor at the Red Brick Congregational Church of Stillman Valley, IL. He leans strongly to the Calvinist reformed tradition in the books and articles included in his end notes and choices for further reading.

I thank Zondervan and Cross Focused Reviews for providing a free copy for my unbiased review.

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