Theological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith

Posted On October 11, 2015

indexAimee Byrd, Theological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2015). 188pgs., ppb.

Co-host of the popular Mortification of Spin podcast (with Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt) and author of Housewife Theologian (P&R, 2013), Aimee Byrd employs the biblical metaphors of physical fitness—integrating them with her own love for being fit—into an expose of Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

Aimee is described as an “ordinary mom of three,” but she’s also been a martial arts student, coffee shop owner, and Bible study teacher. She also blogs at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelical’s webpage, Housewife Theologian (alliancenet.org). In the Foreword, Carl Trueman writes,

Aimee is not a theological brain on a stick. She is a wife and a mother. She is also a fitness fanatic, and in this book she uses the notion of fitness and physical training as a theme for exploring what it means to be a vibrant, theologically aware Christian.

The “fighting grace” that Aimee explores is one that frees us to hold fast to the confession of our hope.

Theological Fitness is a fast-paced, biblically-focused, and rather humorous plea to embrace a serious study of theology as part of our perseverance in the Christian life. To “hold fast,” as the Hebrews text states, implies our utmost strength and constant perseverance to cling to our confession of faith. As Aimee writes, “Theological fitness, then, refers to the persistent fight to exercise our faith by actively engaging in the gospel truth revealed in God’s Word” (pg. 16).

But before you think she’s advocating a legalistic, moralistic approach to perseverance, it’s important to note that the book is saturated by the gospel of grace. She explains, “Only Jesus had the fitness for the work of our salvation” (Pg. 17). It’s not “You can do it; God can help,” but “God has done it; you are freed.” While Jesus is certainly an example of patient endurance, he’s not only our example. He’s our Savior and Lord. She writes, “Quite clearly, none of us could even begin to run [the race of faith] if it were not for the author and finisher of our faith. Not one of us has the fitness required to bear the curse of the world’s sin on that tree” (pg. 80). In this vein, Mrs. Byrd ably shows the connection between theological health and a growing, persevering Christian life. They are inseparable.

The book breaks down Hebrews 10:23 into five parts, each with two chapters. As she unpacks each part, she’s careful not to read into the text her own presuppositions (as best as she is able). Rather, she intentionally supports her instruction and application from the text and the surrounding context. Helpfully, too, each chapter includes a set of discussion questions that can be used for either individual or group study.

Theological Fitness also offers an impressive breadth and depth of trusted pastoral insights, from both past and present voices. From the Reformers (e.g., John Calvin), to the Puritans (e.g., Jeremiah Burroughs, John Owen, Richard Sibbes, etc.), to nineteenth-century pastors (e.g., Charles Spurgeon) to modern-day teachers and scholars (e.g., A.W. Pink, Richard Phillips, Michael Horton, G.K. Beale, Mark Jones, Derek Thomas, Kevin DeYoung, Joel Beeke, etc.), Aimee shows that her exhortations haven’t just “come to her” in a dream. They are built upon the solid biblical exposition squarely within the Reformed tradition. [NOTE: She also doesn’t mind quoting from those outside of this stream (e.g., she opens the book with a quote by Bruce Lee!).]

Aimee’s main premise—“that what we know about God, our theology, affects our Christian walk” (pg. 92)—becomes increasingly clear as the reader moves through her exposition of the Hebrews text. If we desire a healthy Christian walk—as I’m sure we would all admit—then we need to avail ourselves to the discipline of study of God’s Word and the application of that study to every area of our lives. God is faithful to finish what he began (Phil. 1:6). His work in us is a work by him. We can embrace the hope of finishing the race not because of our goodness or righteousness, but because of his grace and effectual promises.

I commend Theological Fitness as a well-researched, helpful, and practical guide to persevere in the Christian life, “for he who promised is faithful.”

Related Posts

Omnipotence: Discovering the God of Unlimited Power

Omnipotence: Discovering the God of Unlimited Power

The divine mark of the omnipotent God is indelibly stamped upon the unspeakably vast expense of the universe, and all across the landscapes and oceans of the earth we live on. “The heavens,” wrote the Psalmist David, “declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows...

Guardrails and Coffee Shops

Guardrails and Coffee Shops

On Tuesdays, I confess my sins at a coffee shop. Every week, I meet with a group of four women to discuss Scripture and to share where I need help fighting my sin. This week was no exception. The coffee shop was fairly busy for a Tuesday lunch hour, and because it’s...

What About Me? Part 2

What About Me? Part 2

Join Shelbi and Kimberly for a four-part series on self: self-image, self-esteem, identity, and self-care. How we view God and the truths of Scripture will determine how we view ourselves.

His Glory and Your Joy

His Glory and Your Joy

Q: “What is the chief end of man?” A: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” This is the first question and answer in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Many saints have used this confession since the late 1700s when it was written. However,...

Guard Your Hearts

Guard Your Hearts

Hebrews 3:12, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” The first generation of Israelites that left Egypt hardened their hearts against the Lord and were not allowed to enter the...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekly Roundup 10/12/2015-10/17/2015 | Servants of Grace - […] Theological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith reviewed by Brian Cosby https://servantsofgrace.org/theological-fitness-why-we-need-a-fighting-faith/ […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share22
Reddit
Share
Email
Buffer