Reviewed by Dale Lewis
Seven : The Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes
"...creatively links the seven deadly sins with the [eight] beatitudes in a manner I hadn’t seen or experienced."
I’m 95% confident that most people could name the seven deadly sins
and even boast of not being tempted by at least three of them. Recalling
the eight Beatitudes alone without any explanation would be an entirely
different story . . . even in the foyer of a church. Jeff Cook, in Seven:
The Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes, creatively links the seven deadly sins
with the [eight] beatitudes in a manner I hadn’t seen or experienced.
He has a non-academic approach and yet he doesn’t dumb down the depth
of his theological insights to make his point.
Seven is build around this premise, "The deadly sins and the Beatitudes are two realities, each vying for our affection. The Beatitudes reveal the tenor of heaven; the deadly sins are the methods of hell. Both call us to serve them, to eat their fruit, to enjoy, and believe. But only one draws us into reality. Only one promotes life. And only one will make us happy."
This philosophy professor's first book sheds a light on the blessings that fill our souls and the ways we’re emptied by the big seven deadly sins. His writing style is relaxed while informed. His thoughts are easily understood by the less-scholarly minded reader. The pull quotes are solid and the stories shared are exceptional! It is certainly a book bathed in scripture.
Summing up the deadly sins he writes, "Jesus showed in his teachings and parables, those who serve pride will be left alone. Those who serve the fires of lust and wrath will burn up in their flames. Those who serve envy and sloth will experience a dark exile. Those who serve greed will lose their very lives. And those who serve gluttony will starve for the only life there is. In each case, the fruit of sin is spoken of by Jesus as fire and darkness, death and solitude. Those committed to the nothingness to the nothingness go."
His concluding chapter, “The Story God Loves,” ties up all the loose ends sweetly and solidifies his premise for writing Seven: The Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes. It is filled with both with encouragement and exhortation.
“ Notes, Discussion and Resources” at the end of the book is a worthy section for the reader to dive in deeper if so desired. This is information you shouldn’t skim through with a quick glance. Study questions are provided in the back of the book.
I’d highly recommend this book for individual reading as well as small group study, whether in a church or college setting.