Book Review – Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach (Poythress)

When I first received the book, I was extremely eager to jump right into it. I’m currently majoring in Sociology and the concepts of studying people, cultures, and relationships are extremely enticing to me — as they likely are for many Christians. One of the issues I run into, however, when it comes to Sociological study of people groups, cultures, etc. is the inclination to explain why things are happening in a particular context apart from the word of God.

This book combats that very viewpoint.

As I opened it up with the above perspective in mind, I was looking at the book in a sort of analytical way, sort of “testing the waters” of sorts. The book makes it very clear from the outset that all things absolutely MUST begin with God [and continue filtering through this perspective as we advance onward].

The book opens up with an examination of why the study of relationships are important, then is broken down into 6 parts:

  • God’s involvement with relationships
  • Relationships in the context of history
  • Interpreting human relationships
  • Smaller wholes within a societies
  • Applications
  • Interaction with other approaches to society and relationships

One thing I was extremely pleased with in reading this book was the precision in with Poythress wielded scripture. He was extremely detailed in his unpacking of concepts and was sure to not make assumptions in and of himself, but rather constantly refer back to scripture as the filter for which all his ideas, points, and direction was made.

Another source of encouragement for this book is how very comprehensive it is. When it comes to the field of Sociology, especially when it comes to books regarding Sociology, it is easy to get focused upon a particular aspect–be it micro-sociology looking at communities, cliques, people groups, sporting associations, etc.; macro-sociology seeking to examine institutional structures, systems, or structural integration; or social behavior–but the author was careful to remain thorough in examining how God must intersect our examinations in all levels; this not only leaves us with tools to see in each scenario, but also application to walk away with.

This book was extremely encouraging to me, is extremely applicable in terms of relationships, why relationships are significant, and the importance of viewing relationships and sociological study through a biblical framework. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the study of relationships, the field of Sociology, or anyone who would like a deeper understanding of the significance of relationships and why people act and are the way they are–and what role God is having in all of it.

Biggest take-away: we can study and be fluent in an entire field of study (eg. Sociology), yet if God is not at the center of it [and the beginning, middle, and end], it will be eternally worthless.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by Crossway Publishing. I was not required to post a positive review and the views expressed in this review are my own.

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