Rebuilding Your Broken World. By Gordon MacDonald. Nashville: Oliver-Nelson Publishers, 1988. 224 pp. Cloth, $12.95.
Gordon MacDonald’s previous major work, Ordering Your Private World, presented the idea that each believer has an inner “garden,” a relationship with God that must be cultivated daily through devotions and discipline. If this “private world” is not consistently maintained, disaster can result. To those familiar with MacDonald’s private life over the past few years, it is apparent that the author did not heed his own warnings.
Now, after confession, church discipline, and restoration, MacDonald has returned with: Rebuilding Your Broken World. His new thesis is that the Bible offers Christians who have fallen into major sin a way back to forgiveness and useful service. This road is tough and narrow-and MacDonald has traveled it.
Briefly using David and Peter as examples, MacDonald draws a series of principles from Scripture and common sense about why Christians fail, how to rebuild a life broken by sin, how to help a fellow believer who has fallen, and most useful of all, how to heed the warning signs of defection and never fail to begin with.
As in his earlier work, MacDonald’s primary audience is Christian men, specifically Christian leaders. As such, it is valuable to those in ministry, who are especially vulnerable to temptation and public disgrace.
In light of recent overly-publicized evangelical moral scandals, some people might be suspicious or cynical about a book such as this. Why did MacDonald publish so soon after his restoration? Why a book that appears to cash in on his and his family’s personal tragedy? Is it even appropriate for such a person to ask for our ear once again or to presume to teach us after such a failure? Unfortunately, MacDonald does not address these kinds of questions.
Granting, however, that the author’s motives are sincere, Rebuilding Your Private World is probably not penance or profiteering. It is an attempt at a modern-day Psalm 51. At the very least MacDonald is to be commended for not even once titillating our depraved curiosity by giving any specifics of his sin.
Of special interest to readers of JOTGES, this is a book about grace, God’s grace in action, down on the gut/rut level where Christian men and leaders live, stumble, and sometimes fall. It wrestles with things certain Christians don’t like to admit, much less talk about openly. To those who have fallen, this is a beacon of hope, an affirmation that God’s grace really is greater than all our sin. Forgiveness and restoration are truly as possible today as they were for David and Peter.
Harvester Ministries, Inc.