Title: Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World
Author: Barry C. Black
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Year Published: 2017
Number of Pages: 244
Reviewed by Elizabeth White for the Association for Mormon Letters
Most people would agree that our world is increasing in complexity, chaos and turbulence. It is increasingly difficult to live as a person of faith in an environment that seems determined to undermine and weaken that faith. Barry C. Black, author of “Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World,” has spent most of his professional years on the front lines, pushing back at the spiritual darkness that seems to be spreading into every part of life. Having served as a US Navy chaplain for twenty-seven years throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia and as chaplain of the United States Senate since 2003, Black is no stranger to taking courageous action and helping others to stand strong. He has a clear, strong, lovingly wise voice that instructs, clarifies, and encourages.
He outlines in his book “Nothing to Fear” seven principles of power that Jesus taught his disciples before sending them out into hostile and unknown situations. These same principles are as powerful and protective for us as they were centuries ago. They are simple to learn but will require a lifetime to master. Each one builds and strengthens faith and trust in Jesus and provides guidance and protection for daily challenges.
Each of the seven principles has its own section subdivided into additional supporting principles and concludes with a prayer to reaffirm our faith in our God and plead for His continued help and guidance. Black uses personal stories and abundant Biblical examples to illustrate and clarify his message. He brings freshness and insight into understanding the scriptures.
In one section, he emphasizes we are all children of God and need our own connection with Him by pointing out that God has no grandchildren, a concept that I never really thought about before. The main points of each principle are restated immediately before the concluding prayer, which makes it very easy to quickly review the chapter highlights. He also includes the promises that God has made to the faithful and the trying to be faithful.
There are several features of the book that make it easier to study and share. Every section has a title page with a dark edge, which makes it very easy to find a particular section. The study and discussion guide in the back divides the seven principles into four weeks for group discussions. This could be used in a weekly or monthly Bible study class or even a book group. Depending on available time and the group, I might consider discussing one principle a week with a final week for summarizing, using the book for an eight-week study program. There is certainly enough material to fill a study and discussion hour each week. The scriptural index in the back is extremely helpful for quick access to the stories and examples.
As I started to read this book, I agreed with the premise that we do live in a spiritually threatening world. I had been concerned with how to navigate through the increasingly dangerous waters. While reading, I came to agree with the purpose of this book. There is nothing to fear as we keep our focus on following Jesus by applying these seven principles. I found the book warm, encouraging and uplifting. It is enlightening, easy to read, reread, share, and use as a reference.