I recently was given a pre-publication copy of David Murray’s The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World. Dr. Murray is professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and pastor of the Free Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is the author of Christians Get Depressed Too. He says in his introduction to his new book that he thought of calling it, Christians Can Be Happy Too!
Dr. Murray’s expressed intent in writing The Happy Christian, soon to be published by Thomas Nelson, was “to help you live a powerfully optimistic and meaningful life in an increasingly pessimistic culture.” I think he succeeded.
This book arrived at a providentially good time. I’ve just begun preaching through Job which focuses on perspectives for sufferers. It’s a book that is needful yet sobering to study and to preach. In addition, circumstances around me and in my family were weighing heavily. I lost sight of the joy of which Scripture so often speaks. Dr. Murray’s book is like cool water on an August day in Georgia.
Let me be clear, Dr. Murray has no patience with a prosperity gospel approach. This is not Pollyanna Christianity. This is realistic optimism rooted in God’s truth. His premise is “Christian happiness is a God-centered, God-glorifying, and God-given sense of God’s love that is produced by a right relationship to God in Christ and that produces loving service to God and others.”
What Dr. Murray offers is true practical theology. This is a book that teaches Biblical truth and draws from the common grace insights of others. He does a great job of making the case for happy Christians with a sound theological approach for how we can get there.
At the risk of over the top hyperbole, I will say this is one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read. I recommend it highly. I plan to encourage all of our church family at Houston Lake Presbyterian Church to read and discuss this book. It’s that good.
I encourage you to go to www.happychristian.net . There you’ll be able to pre-order your own copy if you wish with bonus content offered if you order by February 24th. You can also find a link to an app (The “Happy App”) that is designed to point you toward daily resources for our joy in Christ. I already have it on my phone!
Paul Bankson is the Senior Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Warner Robins, GA. He and his wife, Connie, have three sons. A native of...