Oct 30, 2013

Clear Winter Nights - A Book Review

The older I get and the longer I am a Christian, the more I value reading and the importance of a good book.  I try to read a variety of books in order to be balanced.  One area that I like to read is good fiction.  Some pastors and Christians only read books on ministry, theology, and the Christian life. They view fiction as a waste of time. Some Christians only read fictional books, but never venture into good books on theology or the gospel because they see it as above their heads.  So, I was intrigued to see that Trevin Wax had recently written a fictional work that also was designed to teach deeper theological truths.  So, I was excited to pick up a copy of Clear Winter Nights: A Journey Into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After.  The book subtitles itself as "Theology in Story" and that is a very apt description.  I appreciate Trevin's gift of writing and his understanding of the gospel and its importance.  Trevin serves as the managing editor of LifeWay's new curriculum "The Gospel Project".

While Clear Winter Nights is a fictional work, it makes an important contribution to the current trend of gospel-centered writings that have been offered in recent years.  It's the story of a young man named Chris and the week that he spends with his elderly grandfather who is a retired pastor. The reader walks with Chris as he is going through a crisis of belief brought on by several factors: the challenges of his liberal religious professors, the recent ending of his engagement to the woman he loves, his grandmother's death, and the recent news that his earthly father wasn't the man that he thought.  These events have left Chris jaded, confused, angry, and resentful.  When his grandfather experiences his own health crisis, Chris steps in to help by staying with him a few days. As they reconnect, Chris' grandfather brings the depth of the gospel and the word of God to Chris' struggles.  He forces Chris to wrestle with questions and truths he had once blindly accepted, but has recently abandoned. This is the process of sanctification and growth.  It's the struggle of a young man actually learning to own his faith through trials and doubt. The author does a fantastic job helping the reader to see that faith is not just a personal belief in something. Ultimately it's a search for the truth, and truth is found in a person, Jesus Christ.

Clear Winter Nights is the kind of book that every Christian can read and appreciate.  The story is short - a mere 147 pages - but laced with important gospel truths. The storyline is very relevant and believable. The struggles of the lead character are relevant to many who have grown up in the Christian church but have struggles reconciling what they have been taught with an increasingly secularized culture that has abandoned objective truth for a more personal, subjective experience.  I commend Trevin for what he has brought to the table and highly recommend you read Clear Winter Nights and pass it on to your friends who may be struggling with doubt.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multinomah for review and publication on this blog. I was not required to write a positive review of this book or its authors.