The Fear of Man and the Fear of God

Ed Welch’s book, When People are Big and God is Small, looks at the culture of peer pressure and co-dependency. He points out a number of ways in which other people control us through our fears. In doing so he urges us to put God and our relationship with Him at the centre of our lives. Not so that God might make much of us but that we might make much of Him. Welch uses this model to deconstruct the ‘psychological needs’ approach to so much of modern living.

The book has many strong points such pointing us to a theocentric view of human existence- his chapter on fearing God is great. Also the chapter that looks at our relationships with others in the body of Christ is  very helpful. In short there is much to commend this book- even if you don’t think these are issues for you. You might be surprised.

The book however has one or two weaknesses. His historical perspective on the rise of modern psychological view of self  is a little too neatly packaged. Also there were times when I felt that his use of biblical material was stretched a bit too much in order to make his point. Nor was a I left with a clear idea of what his views on psychological needs is. Does he in fact deny that there is such a thing?

These reservations aside I think there is much to be gained from reading this book. You will find it helpful and challenging.

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