Love the Ones Who Drive You Crazy

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Author: Jamie Dunlop

Subtitle:

Eight Truths for Pursuing Unity in Your Church

Loving Those at Church Who Are Hard to Love

Churches are full of differences. Those differences might be rooted in culture or personality or even musical style. In recent years, differences over political and social issues have frayed the unity of many churches. Yet if a church is centered on Christ alone, then unity at church will sometimes require building genuine friendships that bridge across all those differences. How can Christians navigate those relationships? Can they really love people at church who sometimes drive them crazy?  

This practical guide explores 8 truths from Romans 12–15 that show us how to find God-exalting unity at church with those we struggle to love. Love the Ones Who Drive You Crazy is a roadmap to finding joy in Christ through the many differences we have with fellow believers, a joy that powerfully declares the glory of God. Because easy love rarely shows off gospel power.

  • Rooted in Scripture: Examines Paul’s teaching to the churches in Rome who, like us, were struggling to find unity in Christ amidst their own differences of background, priorities, and convictions
  • Reflective: With questions to enhance discussion or reflection, this book helps readers diagnose their own struggles with others at church. Perfect for personal meditation or small-group study 
  • Widely Applicable: Addresses a great variety of conflicts within a church, not merely how to navigate specific issues 
  • Practical: Teaches readers how to love those who drive them crazy, not just why

Table of Contents

Series Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction: So This Is What “Christ Alone” Means?
 
Chapter 1: Why Did God Put Difficult People in My Church?
Truth 1: Insistence on Unity Displays the Glory of God
Chapter 2: How Can I Love “Those” People?
Truth 2: Impossible Love Flows from Impossible Mercy
Chapter 3: What If I Don’t Want to Love “Them”?
Truth 3: Disunity at Church Lies about Jesus
Chapter 4: Wouldn’t We Be Better Off without “Them”?
Truth 4: You Belong Together
Chapter 5: How Can I Be Friends with “Those” People?
Truth 5: Hope in God Creates Affection for Others
Chapter 6: How Can I Really Forgive “Those” People?
Truth 6: Divine Justice Empowers Full Forgiveness
Chapter 7: How Can I Stop Judging and Despising “Those” People?
Truth 7: People You Dislike Often Act in Faith
Chapter 8: How Can I Love “Those” People When They’re Wrong?
Truth 8: We Will Answer to God

Afterword: Under the Surface of a “Christ Alone” Church
A Few Words about Church Structure
General Index
Scripture Index

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About the author:

Jamie Dunlop serves as an associate pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. He is the coauthor (with Mark Dever) of The Compelling Community and author of Budgeting for a Healthy Church. Jamie and his wife Joan have three school-aged children and live on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Endorsements:

“One of my favorite pastimes is reading the sermons of preachers who have long since gone to their reward. And one of my least favorite realizations along the way has been that few of the churches these preachers once led so well survived much longer. In fact, some of the churches I have attended in my own lifetime—some of the churches where I was once taught so well—have already decayed and been disbanded. In so many cases, it was not false doctrine or false teachers that undermined the church but a simple failure to love—to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It’s for this reason I’m so grateful for this book and for Jamie Dunlop’s clarion call for you—yes, you!—to pursue unity in your local church. May God use it to convict his people and protect his church.”  ~Tim Challies, author, Seasons of Sorrow

“Needed! Yes, that’s what I thought through reading each chapter in Jamie Dunlop’s Love the Ones Who Drive You Crazy. I needed this book during four decades of pastoring. I need it now as a church member. Dunlop takes difficult situations we face in the local church and helps us see the power of Christ alone to truly love one another in Christ’s body. I highly recommend this book!”  ~Phil A. Newton, Director of Pastoral Care and Mentoring, Pillar Network; author, 40 Questions about Pastoral Ministry and Shepherding the Pastor

“You don’t have to be a member of a local church for many Sundays before you discover that the people in the pews around you can be challenging. Their social media posts make you cringe, their parenting choices make you concerned, and their personalities sometimes just rub you the wrong way. (Of course, you almost certainly do the same to them!) Jamie Dunlop’s book is a lifeline for those days when you question whether you’re in the right place on Sunday morning. As I read, I was both encouraged and convicted that loving the people in my local church just might be the most radical testimony of Christ that I could make in this world. Whether you are a church member or a church leader, Dunlop’s robust theology, practical application, and warm tone will help you push beyond personal comfort toward displaying the glorious name of Jesus. I highly commend it.”  ~Megan Hill, pastor’s wife; author, A Place to Belong; Managing Editor, The Gospel Coalition