Christian Book Previews Home
Christian Book Previews
Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
192 pages
Sep 2005

Provocative Faith: Walking Away from Ordinary

by Matthew Paul Turner

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Matthew Paul Turner, former editor of CCM Magazine, describes a faith that challenges the status quo and thrives in the joy of knowing Jesus in Provocative Faith. Seven years ago, a close encounter with God revolutionized Turner’s faith, turning it from a monotonous daily chore to a vibrant lifestyle. In this book, he describes the journey God led him on and the truths about provocative faith that he discovered. Although sometimes controversial in his statements, Turner writes about his failures and successes with brutal honesty.

Provocative Faith is part biography, part testimony, and part user’s guide to revamping a stagnant faith. Turner takes his personal journey and mixes in anecdotal stories, short interviews, pop culture references, and insights into what he has come to describe as a “provocative, controversial, stimulating, and confrontational” Christian faith.

Before his faith-altering encounter with God, Turner was a perfect cookie-cutter Christian. He went to church regularly, sang praise and worship songs in the he-must-be-feeling-the-spirit-of-God position (eyes closed, hands raised, feet apart), and knew all the answers to the questions. However, Turner says, “Part of me was spiritually dying. I felt like my faith had been beaten up, bruised, and left for dead in a pew somewhere in Maryland. I was tired of playing church. I was sick of the rhetoric. I wanted more out of my faith.”

After a wild sinning spree, followed by hardcore conviction and almost a week of the silent treatment from God, Turner began discovering a faith that was free, passionate, and fully reliant on knowing, trusting, and following God. Freedom is a quality that Turner stresses throughout the book. “Freedom is no doubt the most important ingredient in living an extraordinary life of faith…. Freedom is the very essence of our faith. We aren’t able to fully love, be humble, and pursue evangelism without being free.”

Turner doesn’t play it safe. He comments on issues like pornography and homosexuality. He also addresses problems in the church, such as pride, rejection of people who don’t fit into a specific church’s lifestyle, and using the church’s “politics and theology…to define our faith.” However, he makes it clear that his point isn’t “to slam the church.” He simply states his concern that some things in the church can prevent Christians from having a fulfilling relationship with Christ.

Provocative Faith is written for the twenty- and thirty-somethings who realize that they’re missing something in their faith life. Turner’s casual, conversational tone makes it easy to keep turning the pages, and his honest, self-kicking comments remind readers that he’s far from being the best Christian ever. If you’re looking for a book that will challenge, encourage, and amuse you, pick up Provocative Faith. -- Kathryn Stine, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

Is your faith provocative?

It may seem like an unusual way to describe faith. But faith, done Jesus style, isn't usual. It causes you to grate against the norm. It blows past others' expectations and seeks what God desires for you. It's characterized by freedom, joy, humility, and community. Provocative faith is living passionately and loving relentlessly, yet being willing to come in last.

This book will inspire you on your journey toward deeper faith. In these pages, Matthew Paul Turner shares a fresh concept of grace that will give you a better understanding of God's goodness. His story-and those of others like you-will inspire you to break out of the ordinary and actively respond to Jesus's teachings. His relevant and influential voice for God will encourage you to pursue a more passionate faith for yourself.

When your life reflects what Jesus intends, the result is passionate, stimulating, controversial, and challenging-in a word, provocative.