Book Review: Love or Die

Book by Alexander Strauch

Review by Garrett Glende

The first time I saw Alexander Strauch’s book, Love or Die, I was immediately intrigued by the title and went on to read about it on a few blogs. Its reviewers praised it tremendously and I quickly added it to the list of books I wanted to read. After Pastor John’s recent sermon bearing the same title, I was convinced that this was a mustread and after reading it now, I can whole-heartedly say that it lived up to my expectations.

In Love or Die, Strauch exposits Revelation 2:1-7, where Jesus speaks of the Ephesian church. While the church had many strong points, there was one aspect that it severely lacked in. Christ commends the Ephesians, saying, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” He also extols them for their perseverance and endurance for His sake. Strauch writes that “He praises this church because it had no tolerance for those who profess the Christian faith but justify an immoral lifestyle.” They were a church that sought to uphold sound doctrine and persevere through trials.

However, Christ’s heavy rebuke to the church resounds: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Their love for Christ and for one another was not the same as it was at the beginning. Strauch puts it this way:

Their love for Christ and for one another had once motivated all they did. It brought joy, creativity, freshness, spontaneity, and energy to their life and work. But now their energy source was depleted. Their work had become mundane, mechanical, and routine, and their lives the picture of self-satisfaction.

In light of this rebuke, Strauch writes six ways that the church can cultivate love. This section composes part two of the book. Each chapter is devoted to a separate topic on the development of love. He encourages the church to study, pray for, teach, model, guard, and practice true love. I found these chapters to be very practical and helpful, specifically the ones on praying for love and practicing love. Strauch’s words are insightful, yet not overly complicated, and concise, yet not lacking in depth. He gets to the heart of the issues and does not waste time with periphery issues.

The importance of Love or Die’s message cannot be overstated. In this short book, Alexander Strauch has reminded us of the supremacy of love in our lives. It is a message that should never drift far from our hearts and minds. Love or die!

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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