Review of The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield

The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018, 240 pp.
I could provide a host of criticisms of this book (Including the author’s regular use of the term “image of God” without much of a definition of it, her apparent acceptance of the hypo-Calvinistic doctrine of the well-meant offer of the gospel (p. 56), and the stream-of-conscience writing and general lack of order in the book.)
But these criticisms are peripheral. The Gospel Comes with a House Key is a book for our time; a book needed right now that simply must be read. In this world of increasing “chronic loneliness” (p 34), hospitality is vital.
Author Rosaria Butterfield is best when telling stories. She does not shy away from the difficulties of reality, but draws you into her life just as she draws in many people into her house in real life.
She notes many ways the reader can get involved in “radically ordinary hospitality” even if one has a full-time career, is single, or has extensive family obligations. Her practical advice includes: live below your means (p. 12), hospitality can be done by guests as well as hosts (p. 12), hospitality does need to be elaborate but can be “practical, unfussy, and common” (p. 36), budget for extra groceries (p. 63), “start where you are” (p. 100), consider foster care or being a host for the SAFE Family Network (p. 112), single adults may be in a good position to foster a teenager (p. 112), and even if you’re not wealthy you can share what you do have (p. 217).
This book is likely a hard read for any cultural Christian, legal-moralist, or elitist. But I think true Christians will embrace the call to hospitality and do many great things in the Lord’s service being stimulated by this book.

3 thoughts on “Review of The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield”

  1. Doug, how well does this book stand alone? Does it depend on having read her first book?

    1. I think it could be profitably read on its own. Nevertheless, Butterfield’s “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert” is an important book to read. Her next book “Openness Unhindered” could be skipped.

  2. Thanks for your engagement and reviews Rev. Douma. Having listened to Rosaria (and read some of her first book) and those who I’ve noticed are most enthusiastic about her work like Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Horton, etc, my hunch is that having dialogues at home make the children and grandchildren of C. Van Til feel most comfortable. Van Til who most influenced WTS, mostly due to Das Machen’s early death, didn’t give his line too much fire power in apologetics it seems to me due to an unshakable anti-intellectualism he wittingly or unwittingly seemed to promote. I think a Clark disciple or even an evidentialist would feel more comfortable or at least try more at the water cooler, generally speaking, or when out somewhere for job training or whenever away from home in an alien place, though our house key is usually in most peoples’ pockets. I would be a sort of cultural Christian, though not a theonomist or federal vision guy and sometimes I’m not elitists :). I’m looking forward to reading all her books. Can’t afford them for now per da budget, though. Cheers to y’all, Beloved’s!!

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