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Inalienable

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Member Reviews

Every once in a while, a book comes along that is like a breathe of fresh air. Inalienable is like an emergency oxygen mask to resuscitate the Church. It hits hard like a defibrillator to deadened hearts. However, even more precious than simply being a hard-hitting wake up call is that Inalienable also somehow manages to be a beautifully hopeful book. Eric Constanzo, Daniel Yang, and Matthew Soerens, at the beginning of their book, write that “While we’re uninterested in simply resuscitating a damaged religious brand, we believe–because we have seen it–that God is still at work in the American church, and we want to be a part of restoring her gospel witness. To do so, we’re going to need to learn to listen…”. Constanzo, Yang, and Soerens have very admirably and excellently accomplished what they set out to do. “Speaking the truth in love,” as Ephesians 4:15 exhorts us to do, is already difficult in and of itself. Costanzo, Yang and Soerens, however, not only manage to do it but, they also manage to do it with joyful hopefulness, open listening ears, and deep humility.

As a minister of the gospel living abroad, I have witnessed the sad reality that “American Christians have far too often made the mistake of viewing Christians from other parts of the world as our ‘little brothers and sisters,’ as if they are less equipped by the Holy Spirit because they have fewer resources and smaller theological libraries.” Inalienable makes some very good steps to remedy that by not only including but, highlighting hidden voices of wisdom, the voices of theologians, refugees, and believers from all across the nations, and setting them alongside the voices of Jonathan Edwards, N.T. Wright, and etc… The willingness and intentionality of Constanzo, Yang, and Soerens to not just talk about listening but, actually listen and include those voices sets Inalienable apart.

On a more personal note, each of the three authors briefly offer a bit of their background early in the book. Being American-born Taiwanese and having grown up in a Chinese Taiwanese American church, Daniel Yang’s testimony struck me very deeply. Yang shares, “Some might say God sent refugees like us to the United States so that Americans could reach them with the gospel. Others might say we were socialized into a version of American civil religion. I am starting to wonder if God sent some refugees like us to shake up American civil religion, and to reach Americans with the gospel.” The courage to write that perspective, one that I myself have long considered but, been too afraid to articulate, pierces my heart. Inalienable is a courageous book desperately needed for the church in this hour.


This review is based on NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. Thanks go to NetGalley and IVP for providing the ARC.
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I have not lived in the United States for the past eleven years, but I think this is an important book for the North American church to read. Published by InterVarsity, and written primarily for an evangelical Christian audience, the three authors share about their deep love for the church— but also the deep brokenness they see. This book is their call for the American church to rediscover the good news of the Kingdom of God, recognize idolatry in the church and repent from it, and humbly learn from brothers and sisters around the world. 

While the term “Inalienable” is often associated in American minds with ones’ rights as a citizen (“inalienable rights to liberty, justice, etc…), this book challenges the reader to take a look at what should be inalienable for followers of Christ. I highly recommend this book, especially those in the USA.
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