Book Notice: Brent Crowe’s “Chasing Elephants”

You’ve been served notice: SEBTS student Brent Crowe (vice president of Student Leadership University) has recently published Chasing Elephants: Wrestling With the Gray Areas of Life (NavPress, 2010). This creative and helpful text is an examination of the biblical subject of freedom in Christ and seeks to build a theology by which Christians can evaluate and make moral decisions in the gray areas of life. Crowe states, “While some of these gray issues might seem trivial, they often become the elephant in the room-that big attention-catching behemoth that no one wants to tackle or deal with, so everyone pretends not to see it.” To chase elephants, then, is to seek how one ought to believe about these gray areas so that one can make moral choices that honor God.

In Chasing Elephants, Crowe first investigates four key passages on freedom in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 14:1-15:3; 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1; and Galatians 5. The first four chapters of the book are dedicated to laying a biblical foundation for the chasing of elephants later in the book. To do so, chapter 5 extracts the findings from these passages and places them in a “how to believe” grid comprised of 16 questions one can asked when faced with “the elephant in the room.” Chapters 6-10 then examine five “elephants”: homosexuality, the cyber world, social drinking, entertainment, and humanitarian efforts.

Applying the “how to believe” grid to the question of entertainment, for instance, Crowe asks the following: Are my entertainment choices within the explicit will of God? Are my entertainment choices being made under the control of the flesh or the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:13-26)? Will this entertainment choice have a positive spiritual impact on me (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23-24)? Do my entertainment choices addict or enslave (1 Cor. 6:12)? Will this entertainment choice have a positive spiritual impact on fellow believers and the community (Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 10:23-24; Gal. 6:1-10)? Does this entertainment choice go against conscience (Rom. 14:14)? Can the entertainment choice be imitated by others who understand their freedom (1 Cor. 10:33-11:1)?

The goal of this book is not to outline the right rules, but to get at transformation of the Christian by God’s grace. Asking oneself these questions is a thoughtful way to get at this goal. For Crowe, “the more you understand your freedom, the more insignificant and small the elephants become” (167). This is a good read for inquiring Christians of all ages but especially high school and college students.

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