Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review

This review originally appeared at Alan's Eyes Ears:

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, by J. D. Greear.

 here has long been a fixation in American evangelical culture on the "decision," the act of leading someone into a relationship with Christ via an altar call, or reciting the "sinner's prayer." But discipleship is not a one-time event, and this focus on the "decision" leaves many potential believers confused and adrift.

On the other hand, the impulse among some Christians, in some congregations, is to "come to Jesus" over and over. The author puts himself in this camp, saying in the first chapter that by the time he had turned eighteen, "I had probably 'asked Jesus into my heart' five thousand times."

Using his own life experiences as a Christian, and his experiences as a pastor, Greear focuses on the tension between these two extreme positions, and how neither represents a healthy view of salvation. He walks through the dual theological issues of repentance and assurance. It is a short book and quite readable, but it manages to move through these difficult issues in a thorough manner.

I like Greear's contention that salvation cannot always be traced to a particular moment in time, and a discussion of what repentance is and (more importantly) what it is not. Also, his example of relationship with God to sitting in a chair in insightful: it doesn't matter whether or not one can remember when they first sat in the chair, the only thing that matters is that one is currently sitting in that chair.

Although I don't always agree with Greear's answers to some of the knotty theological problems presented here, I can heartily recommend this book. I was glad to read a book for laymen that addressed the issues, and there is much wisdom contained here.