Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude really cuts to the chase in his epistle, and for good reason: the church in his day was embattled by false believers and false teachers who had crept in unnoticed, perverting the grace of God into sensuality and denying the Lord (Jude 4). That's a pretty serious charge, but also a very familiar one.
Pastors, authors, bloggers, you name it--there are so many who seem to start well, but somewhere along the line swerve from the truth and take a great number of people with them. Just as in Jude's day, the 21st century church is under attack from within. And just like Jude's audience, Christians today are called to contend; to counter false beliefs and teaching with all our might, upholding the message entrusted to us without compromise. But sometimes that's easier said than done. How do we determine what to contend for, whom to contend against and, at the most basic level, figure out what contending really even means?
That's where Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World comes in. Written by Aaron Armstrong, the most recent book from Cruciform Press (of which I am a co-founder) looks at what it means to fulfill Jude's command in a day when the next generation--put off by the squishiness of the seeker churches and the cold rigidity of fundamentalism--finds it easier to ask, "Can't we all just get along?"
While some authors approach contending with a bit more of a militaristic feel, Contend takes a different approach, focusing on Jude's plea to show mercy. In fact, Aaron argues that this is fundamental to understanding the call to contend: “Contending must be understood and exercised as an act of mercy toward those who doubt and those who have been deceived, regardless of whether they claim faith in Christ.”
While the early reviews are only just starting to appear, the endorsements for this book from (among others) Owen Strachan, Dr. Peter Jones, and David Murray are very encouraging. David writes:
Contend is a fine combination of concise biblical exposition, down-to-earth examples, contemporary illustrations, and challenging practical application... It's not only an ideal book for discipling a new believer, but also for shaking the more mature out of dangerous complacency and passivity.
Contend is available now from Cruciform Press (starting for as low as $3.99) and is bound to be a benefit to the believer seeking to defend the faith in a Christ-exalting manner. And don't forget to pick up a copy of Aaron's first book, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty, which is temporarily on sale for the Kindle for $0.99.