Edward T. Welch
Reviewed by: Allen D. Curry
Date posted: 10/16/2016
Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love, by Edward T. Welch. Crossway, 2015. Paperback, 171 pages, list price 14.99. Reviewed by OP minister Allen D. Curry.
Christians generally like straightforward, practical advice rooted in sound biblical and theological principles. Ed Welch provides this in Side by Side.
He tells us we all need other people and that we are equipped to help others.
In making his point, he addresses such matters as the difficulty of living in a sin-filled world where we need God and at least one other person.
Welch rightly points out that our hearts need to have a loving relationship with God, but that we may think we are too busy. After reviewing a number of psalms, he suggests that we live our own psalm by laying difficulties before God, remembering his promises to us, resting in the Lord Jesus, and declaring to all the source of our comfort.
The author does not skirt the matter of sin. He tells us in a straightforward manner that it is the original malady that we need to share with God and others.
God responds to the prayers of his people. In addition, we can be helped by going to others and asking them to pray for us.
In dealing with the requirement that we recognize our need, Welch does not avoid one of the hardest matters, namely our unwillingness to see our need of others. In doing so, the author is transparent: “For me, being needy is a sign of weakness, and, given a choice, I prefer to appear strong or at least competent” (p. 12).
Welch continues his thesis by delineating how we can help others. He roots this section of the book in the fact that the Holy Spirit enables and equips us to aid others.
The author sets out examples of how we connect, converse, and enjoy others. He does not avoid the difficult subjects. He explains how to help others deal with sin. Welch warns: “Help will not be easy on these occasions, but it is help we can all give” (p. 152). In all of this, we are reminded to keep the gospel at the center of both our struggles and the help we provide for others.
The author presents and defends his point of view well. Few will go away from the book without seriously considering their own need for others and believing that they can help others.
As with any book of this nature, there are many questions a reviewer would like to ask the author. But to press them would be unfair. This book is short on purpose. It is accessible to the average reader and gives useful guidance to those more schooled on the topics.
Leaders will find useful suggestions about how to encourage openness to our need for others. In addition, they will see examples of how to point people to genuine engagement in the needs of their brothers and sisters.
Many readers of New Horizons will find good advice in this book. In fact, I can see small groups discussing this book and gaining greater insight into themselves and others.