Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ
Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ
Christian, meet your conscience.
What do you do when you disagree with other Christians? How do you determine which convictions are negotiable and which are not? How do you get along with people who have different personal standards?
All of these questions have to do with the conscience. Yet there is hardly a more neglected topic among Christians. In this much-needed book, a New Testament scholar and a cross-cultural missionary explore all thirty passages in the New Testament that deal with the conscience, showing how your conscience impacts virtually every aspect of life, ministry, and missions. As you come to see your conscience as a gift from God and learn how to calibrate it under the lordship of Jesus Christ, you will not only experience the freedom of a clear conscience but also discover how to lovingly interact with those who hold different convictions.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Conscience?
- How Do We Define Conscience from the New Testament?
- What Should You Do When Your Conscience Condemns You?
- How Should You Calibrate Your Conscience?
- How Should You Relate to Fellow Christians When Your Consciences Disagree?
- How Should You Relate to People in Other Cultures When Your Consciences Disagree?
- A Closing Prayer
Appendix A: Similarities between Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8–10
Appendix B: Conscience Exercises for Cross-Cultural Effectiveness
“I expected this book to be good but found it to be great. Conscience is a much-needed treatment of a vital yet neglected subject. Naselli and Crowley’s overview of the New Testament doctrine of conscience is superb. I was ready to say that that chapter was worth the price of the book, but in fact, I found every chapter to be worth the price of the book! Its treatment of how Christian consciences overlap yet differ and of why we need to calibrate our consciences was remarkable. This book is for everyone with an interest in cross-cultural ministry, as well as for those seeking to become all things to all people that they may win some. It’s also extremely helpful for those living in churches, marriages, and friendships where different convictions aren’t always as black-and-white as we imagine. Conscience would be great to study in a small group.”
Randy Alcorn, author, Heaven; If God Is Good; and Hand in Hand
“How should Christians navigate the complex world of disagreements with other Christians? Can we differentiate the scriptural non-negotiables, the things we just personally feel strongly about, and those to which we give scarcely a second thought? How can the church best model unity in both love and truth in these matters? Naselli and Crowley bring both cross-cultural experience and scriptural acumen to deftly deal with these issues in straightforward language that almost anyone can grasp. Warmly recommended.”
Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
“In our culture awash with instructions to follow our own hearts, we desperately need this book. On a personal note, next to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, the Bible’s teaching on the conscience has become to me a deeply encouraging motivation in my evangelism. In the last chapter in particular, Naselli and Crowley have given a great gift to cross-cultural workers everywhere!”
Gloria Furman, author, Missional Motherhood and The Pastor’s Wife
“It is rare to find a book that is both punchy and practical. It was a delight to read, and now it is a delight to recommend. I believe that the scriptural concept of the conscience has become so fuzzy or forgotten that all readers will find this little book illuminating for issues that touch upon all of life. All will find it life-giving. Some will find it life-changing.”
Jason C. Meyer, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis
“I have never read a better book on the conscience. Naselli and Crowley base their view of conscience on a careful reading of the Scriptures. At the same time, the book is full of practical wisdom. The biblical teaching on conscience is applied to numerous situations so that readers see how the Scriptures apply to everyday life. The reflections on how conscience should operate in missionary situations is alone worth the price of the book, but the entire book is a gem.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“There is, for too many of us, a casual, maybe even self-righteous, contentment with the current status of our consciences rather than an active cultivating of them so as to bring them more in line with God’s view of things. This book pushes us to that second, better choice. It is a thoughtful and provocative treatment of this hugely important and all too often insufficiently considered subject. I believe you will find it very helpful.”
Mike Bullmore, Senior Pastor, CrossWay Community Church, Bristol, Wisconsin
“Naselli and Crowley have produced a book of deep and broad practical relevance for living the Christian life. We are often far too little aware of the role of our consciences in our day-to-day lives, while the truth is, God has given us those faculties as part of the divinely designed means to keep us on the path of righteousness. I found their discussion of the recalibration of the conscience, and of how to deal with fellow Christians who have different senses of right and wrong, to be filled with biblical wisdom and enormous insight. Here is a book that promises great reward for those who will follow not only its clear discussion but also its biblical admonition.”
Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Naselli and Crowley have provided us with a practical, biblical work that cleans out the clutter in the closets of our consciences. There is gospel-centered perspective here that can bring about greater healing in our relationships, holiness in our lives, unity in our churches, and joy in our mission.”
Tim Keesee, Executive Director, Frontline Missions International; author, Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places
“In his kindness God has created each of us with a conscience to bear witness to his supreme authority. The problem for many of us is that our consciences have been subject to cultural, religious, and sinful influences that warp and distort our ability to make life choices. Naselli and Crowley have provided God’s people with a tremendous tool for understanding the Scriptures as they define the conscience, describe its role, and teach us to cleanse and calibrate it according to God’s authority alone. The church is indebted to these two authors for their careful scholarship and practical discussion of this most important topic.”
Dan Brooks, Pastor, Heritage Bible Church, Greer, South Carolina
“If you don’t know the state of your conscience, or if you have never done a serious study of the Bible’s teaching on the conscience, Christian freedom, and Christian unity, then I cannot commend enough Andy Naselli and J. D. Crowley’s book, Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ. I think it might be the most important book written in the last twenty years.”
Thabiti Anyabwile, Pastor, Anacostia River Church, Washington, DC; author, What Is a Healthy Church Member?