Tempted and Tried Paperback – 15 Apr 2011
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About the Author
Russell Moore (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called "vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Onward, The Kingdom of Christ, Adopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried, and he blogs regularly at RussellMoore.com and tweets at @drmoore. He and his wife, Maria, have five sons.
Top Customer Reviews
Sin by its very nature is subtle and deceptive. It creeps into our lives and often catches us unawares. Sometimes, before we know it, we have reached a point of habitually sinning without actually realising the treacherous ground upon which we are at that time treading. In fact, as I write this review I am currently being tempted by a sultry Gwyneth Paltrow who is dancing seductively in her recent appearance on hit TV show Glee (TV remote- press Off!) This just goes to show the ever-present nature of sin and temptation in 21st century living. We are bombarded on our TV screens, on our laptops, mobile phones and magazines. Sin and Temptation are everywhere. Sin is destructive....it destroys relationships, ruins lives and can leave us feeling trapped. Whatever hope do we have in this battle against sin and temptation?! How is it possible to defeat this prowling lion that never leaves our side....how do we finally bury the rotten corpse of our old sinful nature that clings to us like a parasite, often sucking the joy out of our Christian lives?! In Tempted and Tried Dr. Moore has written a practical, Scripture-saturated, Gospel-centred and easily accessible book on why Christians are tempted and how they are to overcome temptation.
Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Seminary, reminds us that we "will be tempted exactly as Jesus was, because Jesus was being tempted exactly as we are".Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
That's why I was so happy to get Russell Moore's new book, Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ. This book was insightful, poetic, convicting, and inspiring to read. Moore has an ability (a la Tim Keller) to be able to take familiar passages in the Bible and connect them in poetic and powerful prose that communicates God's truth to people in a fresh way. There were multiple times reading this book when I simply had to stop and take a breath from what I had just read (either from conviction or being moved by the truth of the gospel).
Moore begins with a personal anecdote to illustrate the insidiousness of sin and the seriousness with which we should encounter temptation. Then, he uses the analogy of a slaughterhouse to show how many Christians are literally walking to their own destruction willingly, not realizing the danger around them. The metaphor here was striking. These introductory chapters set the stage perfectly for encountering the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the desert. These chapters delve deeply into Jesus' temptation for bread ("Starving to Death: Why We'd Rather Be Fed Than Fathered"), the temptation for self-vindication ("Free Falling: Why We'd Rather Be Right Than Rescued"), and the temptation for self-glorification ("Desert Reign: Why We'd Rather Be Magnified Than Crucified").
These chapters are simply bathed in Scripture, with Moore pulling themes and passages together to paint a beautiful tapestry of the big picture of the Bible, all culminating in the cross of Christ. The themes in each chapter lend themselves well to related discussions about modern evangelicalism that were powerful commentaries in themselves. For example, in commenting on the commonplace occurrence of Christians lampooning caricatures of those who disagree with Christianity, Moore states, "The end result is a self-referential Christian rhetoric that not only fails to persuade outsiders but also fails to protect our own children and grandchildren from what we're afraid of exposing them to in the first place. That leaves us with what amounts to, in the words of one secularist critic, little more than "a perpetual outrage machine" (p. 123). This statement, in the context of Christ's temptation to self-vindication, was very convicting for me.
After moving through what we can learn from the three different temptations, Moore's chapter on some of the more practical ways to fight and resist temptation is simply brilliant. He uses the example of a friend who doubted his faith because of the things he was tempted to do. As Moore explains, the temptation itself is not sin, nor are you unique because you are tempted by it. Becoming a Christian doesn't eliminate temptation. In fact, it may actually increase it. But we can learn to fight the same way Christ did, through faith in His Father's character and promises in scripture. If we learn to balance humility and confidence in our faith, we succumb to neither pride nor discouragement as we look to Christ's finished work on the cross that frees us from Satan's condemnation and God's wrath. We are free to fight, and many times, walk in obedience.
Struggling Saints everywhere need to read this book. Modern Evangelicals tend to appear to have everything together as we fear being exposed as not what we say we are (and mostly want to be). We feel isolated. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, this cycle causes us to turn further and further inward into hiding, away from people and more importantly, away from our Father. This book will help you fight those urges. It will help you begin to take steps to walk in the Light. It will encourage you to see yourself rightly in relationship to God through Christ. I believe John Owen would be very happy with Russell Moore's work here, and I'm thankful for men like them who understand the gospel so well and can articulate the themes and passages to help struggling sinners like me.
Dr. Moore teaches that temptation deals with a question of one's identity. Many believers struggle with their identity in Christ for a variety of reasons whether because they were raised in a dysfunctional home or because they are addicted to pornography. Throughout the book, Dr. Moore challenges his readers to understand their identity in Christ by understanding who Christ is and what He has done. This book has helped me to better understand my identity in Christ and the assault that my identity in Him is under.
On page 171 Dr. Moore explains that one of the first ways you can tell you are moving beyond temptation into a pattern of sin is if you find yourself in a time of prayerlessness. He rightly identifies this as a gospel issue. Knowing the right things about God, the Bible, and Jesus is all well and good but they ought to lead to action. One of the ways our convictions are revealed is in how the believer fights against temptation when it arises. In the past several years this fighting against temptation and specifically apathy is where I have grown the most in my walk with God. In growing in these areas, I have learned to recognize my identity as rooted in the finished work of Christ and in the importance of prayerfulness.
Tempted and Tried by Dr. Moore is a book that every Christian should read in order to better understand why one is tempted and how to deal with temptation. Reading this book will challenge you and at times confront misconceptions you may have about temptation. I encourage you to allow the work of the Word of God by the Spirit of God to the glory of God to do its work in you as you read this book, so that through you God may bring forth much fruit for His name and fame. Reading this book will help you grow in the Gospel and in turn help you to be a fruitful Gospel Christian.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The book is full of bold statements:
.."to lose control of your appetities is to lose control of the Gospel itself"
.."pornography is occultism" (pg.83)
.."I'm prideful, and so are you." (pg.130)
Chapter 5, DESERT REIGN is beyond brilliant and will take your breath away. It's easily the best chapter in the book.
This is a must read for anyone who wants to better understand how temptation works and how the only sinless person who's ever lived completely defeated the tempter.
Early in the book, readers will discover that the author is a very real person who has experienced very real, very down-to-earth temptations. Unlike the many authors who remain aloof from the reader, Moore gets right into his reader's living rooms. He shares our experiences. He does not pretend to be better than us. Moore simply tells the truth with the Scripture, with his own life stories, and with extremely well-chosen illustrations.
As Moore looks at the episodes of Christ's desert temptations, he sees a pattern of how the devil attacks Christians today. Whether we are tempted to doubt God's love for us, his provision for us, his understanding of our desires, his plan for our future, or whatever doubts might enter our minds in myriad forms, those temptations were all present in the tactics of the enemy that Christ faced. Moore does well to bring Jesus' first century temptations into our twenty-first century lives.
The focus of this book, regardless of the temptation faced, is the gospel of Christ. Moore does not make this little book a how-to or accountability-group manual. Instead, the author takes his readers to the cross. It is when we understand what Jesus accomplished on our behalf and what the gospel is all about that we will better face down our temptations.
A final positive I will mention about this book, though there are many, is that this is a Crossway book. I love the fact that, when I got this book, I also had a free PDF copy available to me for use on my computer or another electronic reading device. Simply put, I love what Crossway is doing.
The biggest negative that I have toward this book has to do with its structure. Call me particular, but I just do not like reading thirty-page chapters. I would rather have seen this book broken down into shorter chapters that kept the flow of thought more simple.
I will also add that this book is very real in speaking of sin. Moore never crosses any line into impropriety, but he is honest about the ways in which temptations can manifest themselves in the lives of real people living in a real, fallen world. Readers need to be aware that Moore is not going to pull punches or pretend that the worst temptation we face is to have a second slice of pie at the church social.
Russell Moore has given us a sweet little book in Tempted and Tried. We all have temptations. Moore has helped to show us what those temptations are like and how Christ, who has identified himself with us through his suffering, is familiar with the kinds of struggles we face. Pastors, small groups, Sunday School classes, and individuals will benefit by reading this work.
The fact is, the book contains some real substance but is marred by several things. First of all, the chapters are way too long. Furthermore, they were not divided up into manageable reading chunks. Some kind of discernible outline for each chapter would have been helpful. It made it difficult to wade through page after page with no break. Secondly and related to the first point, the organization of the book did not seem well thought out. I realize that it is supposed to be an exposition of sorts of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. However, the themes Moore covered meandered throughout the book so that it was hard to keep track of where he was going. Much of the content was haphazard and it was often unclear what his point was. Once you begin to start seeing what a particular point was then he suddenly seemed to shift gears without driving the point home. Thirdly, much of what he says seemed obtuse and esoteric. It was simply unclear what it is he was trying to say. I found myself reading many paragraphs 3 or 4 times before I think I understood what he was trying to say. I also found it hard to connect many of his illustrations to the point he was making. I am an avid reader of all sorts of literature including dense theological volumes, but I had trouble getting through this book and so did everyone in our men's group.
Having said all that, occasionally Moore said some brilliant things with real clarity and power. For several pages he writes with simplicity, pointedness and passion unfortunately only to be followed by more fogginess a few pages later. The book contains some real gems that challenge one's thinking and encourages the believer in dealing with sin and temptation. His focus on the centrality of the gospel is commendable when there is so much clap-trap from Christian writers these days. When his points were clear there was nothing I disagreed with. He obviously has tried to remain faithful to the truth of Scripture and that was important in my decision to choose this book for our men's group.
Unfortunately, while others have clearly profited from this book, aside from places here and there, I found it a rather frustrating reading experience. This is not a book I will probably read again and I think there are other books on sin and temptation that are more profitable for the believer.