Book Review: Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas

A Swift Kick in the Pants to Get in Shape for God’s Glory

 On the positive side – Thomas has written a compelling book for Christians to take care of their bodies for the right reasons. He elaborates on the wrong reasons and the right reasons in the book. If we take care of our bodies by eating better, and exercising we have more energy to work, serve, minister, and maximize our relationships by using all of our gifts and talents for God’s glory. Thomas puts it this way, “By God’s design, we are a people with souls who desperately yearn for intimacy with God – people whose souls reside in bodies that can hinder or help this pursuit. Which will it be?”

Thomas does a good job throughout the book in balancing the convicting aspects that lead to poor health (e.g., laziness & gluttony) and highlighting the positive aspects that result from good health – there are many. He makes an excellent case for how freeing taking care of God’s temple (your body) can be, and gives numerous real life examples and Scriptures to back this up. Gluttony and laziness have proven in many churches to be “acceptable” sins. I am glad that Thomas calls a spade a spade!

I have two BIG theological pet peeves that really bothered me in this book:

In chapter two Thomas writes in a confusing manner, when he writes of “mind and spirit” and “soul and body.” In this chapter he exchanges the word “spirit” for “heart.” I wish he would have defined his terms and defended his trichotomist position better (he really doesn’t define any of these terms). I think this is very unfortunate, because it’s very easy to derive bad theology when you do not make clear distinctions in addressing the soul/spirit and body. I happen to be a dichotomist (of which the vast majority of theologians throughout history and today are and have been), which is neither here nor there in this review, but if you are writing a book for the masses, it would have been nice if Thomas had done more work in this area to make his position more clear, and less vague.

Thomas makes this statement in chapter 3, “the enemy can disrupt and disable our lives through sickness, which thwarts God’s purposes for us in the world.” If he means by this that we reap what we sow – that’s one thing – case in point well taken. However, nothing can thwart the purposes of God – when Satan attacked Job physically he still had to ask permission from God, and God’s purposes aren’t necessarily clear, but nobody and nothing can ever thwart the purposes of a sovereign, omnipotent, and all wise God.

Overall, I appreciate the message of this book. It’s really a kick in the pants for Christians to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, and to control and be responsible over the choices we can make. It’s not about what we can’t do, but what we can do with the bodies God has entrusted to us in order to serve Him well for as long as we can – and we can serve Him much better if we take care of our temples for His glory.

I would hesitate to give this book to new or weak brothers and sisters in Christ because of the overemphasis on man’s responsibility and what I would consider a weak view of God’s sovereignty. It is subtle, and I don’t know if Thomas intended this or not (I hope not). The book comes with questions for discussion and I think can be beneficial for small groups. I would definitely make certain that my small group leaders have a good God-centered theology before letting them loose with this book.  I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars for good ideas, but for weak theological underpinnings.

Author: lifecoach4God

I am the Lead Pastor of Valley Baptist Church (Bay Area), born and raised in Huntington Beach, Ca., and currently living in Novato, California. I am married to my best friend of 29 years - Dana - and have five adult children; and seven grand children. I have been a Teaching Pastor for over thirty years. I was privileged to study at Multnomah University (B.S. - 1988); Talbot School of Theology (M.Div. - 1991); Westminster Theological Seminary & Northwest Graduate School (D. Min. - 2003). I founded Vertical Living Ministries in 2008 with the goal of encouraging Christian Disciples and Leaders to be more intentionally Christ-Centered in how they live by bringing glory to God in nine key areas of life: (1) Intimacy with God, (2) marriage, (3) family, (4) friendship, (5) vocationally/ministry , (6) emotional and physical health, (7) stewardship of resources, (8) discipleship, and (9) mentoring.

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