About the book
A parent's challenge in living between his own Catholic heritage, and his children's embrace of Evangelicalism. The timing of Challenged to Grow could not be more timely. Recently there has been a growth in openness between Evangelicals and Catholics to enter into conversations. Challenged to Grow sums up for readers the stumbling blocks on the road to mutual understanding, educating Catholics and Evangelicals alike concerning the key points of view in their respective churches. The author is dealing with difficult beliefs that lie at the core of his Catholic faith concerning the sacraments, and human freedom and grace, but discusses them in a language that makes them accessible.
Richard Akins’ Challenged to Grow is just the right kind of ecumenism, a fervent call to Christian unity with as much respect for the truth as for the dignity of all Christians who would seek to follow Christ and spread his Good News throughout the world. Full of thoughtful analyses and helpful metaphors, the author’s own long and rich experience with both Evangelical and Catholic traditions and practices bring this book to life. I enjoyed and profited from Challenged to Grow. I gladly challenge others to read and grow from it too.
The passion for Christian unity shines out of the pages of this book and a charity for the people with whom he sometimes shared a pew and other times a kneeler. Reformed Christians will find permission via Challenged to Grow to rediscover the wider Christian world as a larger family of God. This is Good News.
This is most assuredly a helpful book. But it is also an unusual book. Rick Akins challenges us to grow into deeper unity inside the body of Christ. This challenge is not unique. What is unique is that Rick lived inside the congregational life of a large evangelical church for some years while he remained faithfully Catholic. As Rick wrestled with his faith, and thus with different understandings of Christian doctrine, he learned to better understand evangelicals. As a result of this lived experience he did not embrace an argumentative or condemning spirit but rather a deep and transforming love. I heartily recommend Challenged to Grow because Rick's story will help both Catholics and evangelicals truly love one another.
Author, Costly Love: The Way to True Unity for All the Followers of Jesus
Regarding Richard Akins’ book, Challenged to Grow, I can enthusiastically recommend its publication. Part spiritual memoir, part manual for ecumenical dialogue, this book gives the reader a unique perspective on Catholic-Protestant relations, and follows the author’s devotional and intellectual journey through many of the major points of contention between traditional Catholicism and conservative Protestantism. Akins is reclaiming the concept of fundamental Christianity, rescuing it from a narrowly unchristian application, and applying it to the universal Church for the sake of Christian unity. This book should see the light of day, and will prove eye-opening and edifying for those who read it.