About Chris Brauns

I am  privileged to be the Pastor at The Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley, IL (near Rockford, IL). As a pastor, I enjoy working with all ages. It is a special blessing to see so many youth and children at our church each week.

I am the author of:

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds (Crossway),

When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search (Believer’s Lifesystem) (Moody),

Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices (Zondervan), see also the site www.pastorsearchresources.com.

Bound Together (Zondervan) by Chris Brauns comes out in 2013.My education includes a BA in chemistry from Central College (Pella, IA) and an MBA from the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA).  In a former life I worked in product development in medical diagnostics for Bayer.  After leaving the corporate world, I graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree.

I later received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary having completed the preaching track under Haddon Robinson.  My doctoral thesis led to my book When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search.

I grew up on a farm in the Great State of Iowa near Keosauqua. You can read why I call my blog, “A Brick in the Valley,” here.My wife, Jamie, and I have  four children (Allison, Christopher, Benjamin, and Mary Beth).

To subscribe to this blog by e-mail, click Subscribe to A Brick in the Valley by Email

A sample of other articles I have written include:

Packing Unforgiveness,

Be Visibly Devoted to Be Pastorally Placed,

Churches Looking for a Pastor Should Watch for More than the Splash,

For Financial Advice: Look to the Ladies of the Red Brick Church

And reviews of:

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,

Totally Forgiving God

Preaching Christ in Ecclesiastes 

Contact Chris Brauns

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30 responses to About Chris Brauns

  1. Just to let you know that my family and I are thinking of you often and praying for you regularly.

    I am staying clean and sober and my marriage is getting stronger every day. The guilt from the dissapointment I caused last November is subsiding but still there. More than anything though, I miss the times of laughter and 1980’s reflection we share. I have a lot of hope and am looking forward to re-building the relationship with you that was going strong about a year ago.

    Please continue to pray for me and mine and our AWANA family.

    Here to serve,
    Tom E.

  2. Chris,

    I noticed some of your comments over at Justin Taylor’s blog. Are you writing a book on ethics or on the psalms or bitterness? I am not sure I caught the point of the book you are working on.


    James Grant

  3. Thanks for the question!

    My book is, Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers to Complex Problems and Deep Wounds.

    So, the central topic is forgiveness. Of course, I must deal with the related topics of whether or not forgiveness is conditional, bitterness, and at least indirectly the Imprecatory Psalms.

    My thesis is only the Word of God can unpack forgiveness. The problems are too complex and the wounds are otherwise too deep.

    This book will present the beauty of God’s grace and the necessity of forgiveness. But, it will also teach the reader that forgiveness must take place in a way that is consistent with justice. We must move beyond a “feel-good doctrine of automatic forgiveness.”

  4. Chris, thanks for the comment on my blog. I never thought anybody read it! I have enjoyed reading yours before – I think Justin Taylor linked to it (??) – and the post was excellent. I think it was on forgiveness and it was quite biblical and convicting.

    Thanks for the encouragement in the Lord!


  5. Thanks Britt. I subscribe to your feed – – RSS feed is the way to go – – I use Google Reader. So, I read every post that comes up on your blog. I even think of you when I come across the title for your blog in Scripture.

  6. Hey Chris!
    Just checking in. I hope you’re doing well! =]

  7. Chris,

    Just for fun….a “light-hearted” tribute to gnosticism’s latest turn to “Idol Speculation”:

    “That Golden Calf? …. It’s Nothing”
    (…and to Nothing will we bow…)

    Scientism’s reached consensus…
    We know Nothing brought us here!
    It’s the truth that Science teaches;
    We know Nothing’s there to fear!

    We are smart and getting smarter,
    As our wisdom so expands!
    Truth’s advancing…..fast approaching.
    Nothing’s what we understand! …….

    Yes, you see, we’ve come to Nothing,
    So, to Nothing will we bow…
    Here we proudly stand proclaiming,
    “Golden Calves are Nothing now!”

    continued here: http://www.tomgraffagnino.com/tidying-up/

    God bless,
    Tom Graffagnino

  8. I have been searching for any blog or pastor or counselor that may have specifically written about how to forgive a husband after he has hit you… a repentant husband…
    but forgiving someone you do not have to live with is much different than being able to trust someone who has crossed the line like that, or hit your children….

    I have several friends in this situation… I know it is way more common than is talked about… do you have any suggestions or links?

    It is very difficult for someone to get full custody of children, even if there has been some violence in the home… so many many people cannot fully get away from someone who has hit them or their kid(s)

    Sometimes, if the person is repentant, it seems like it is best to try and forgive but forgetting and being able to have joy is a totally different story….

    some of the women in the 12 step group at church seem to have learned a dispassionate way to distance themselves from abusers… but that is not the same as forgiving and finding joy with that spouse again….

    Do you know of a book or blog or link about that?

  9. N,

    I don’t know of anyone who has written specifically about that. I do think that my book on forgiveness would be easy to apply to that area because one of the goals I really pursue is trying to show that too many Christians speak naively about situations where the wounds are very deep.

    Theologically the key must be to focus on the Gospel. It must be lived out in relationships as well.

    Practically, what is needed to be in community in a local church where the Word is central. That is the key step. Often when I speak with people about what to do next, the answer is to be in a church and to know a pastor that can counsel and shepherd you.

    One thing that you might also do is listen to some of the sermons from the National Peacemakers Conference – – see this link http://www.peacemakerconference.net/schedule/

  10. What do you mean when you say “But, it will also teach the reader that forgiveness must take place in a way that is consistent with justice”?

    What if the evil-doer never gets punished by the law? My mum and dad are still in a marriage (my dad cheated on a many times and also has another family – a son and another “Wife”).

    I’m Chinese (Asian) – And in chinese tradition, sometimes, it is tolerated when a man is polygamous (my grandfather had 2 wives).

    My dad and mum still talk to each other. My mum let things slide and stayed in the marriage even though he was unfaithful because she did not want us to grow up without a father figure. (It has definitely done more harm than good).

    When advising her to divorce my dad, (because she is obviously not happy), she said she does not want give up the official status of being the legal wife to “The other woman” – I told her that is wrong straight off.

    BTW – my parents met in church, in the youth group.

  11. First, I am sorry to hear of your parents awful situation.

    Without trying to rewrite my book in a post, the biblical point is that in situations like the one you describe, it is not consistent with the Bible to simply say that your mum should automatically forgive and just continue to accept this sinful behavior.

  12. I am a UK church leader who has felt let down by people around me in church and was heading for confrontation in a big way. I am so grateful for your book Unpacking Forgiveness which gave invaluable guidance and allowed me to reconcile with those who I was so annoyed with, and made me take. Real good look at myself. Thank you so much. Now in my second read of the book.

  13. Les, praise the Lord! That is wonderful to hear. Please stop by from time to time.

  14. Hi there, after reading this awesome article i am also glad to share my know-how here with mates.

  15. Chris,
    I’m sitting in the waiting room, awaiting my wife’s return from a biopsy. I’ve been enjoying reading some of your blogs as I wait. I also had the privilege of being your sister, Mary Dawn’s pastor for a period of time when she lived in Kansas. I baptized her late husband, John. My wife and I fell in love with their family. We have some precious memories of those days.
    Blessings on your ministry.

    L. Fox
    Springfield, Mo.

  16. Lex,

    I’ve heard about you many times! We are thankful for the role you played in John and Mary Dawn’s lives.

    I am sorry to hear about a biopsy – – but pray it will be good news.

    Mary Dawn is now a big shot elementary principal!


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