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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: J.D. Greear - Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

I really enjoyed this book. I believe the title will probably throw a lot of people but I totally understand where he is coming from.

Many of us who grew up in church remember getting saved every week. Even if we knew we were saved, we just wanted to be sure.That experience is what this book is all about.

What is assurance of salvation?How can we have it?What is repentance?

These and many other questions are answered in this small but informative book.

Greear starts the book showing us what salvation is and how Jesus was a substitute for our sin. If we do not start here, the rest is useless. Salvation is from God. He accomplished it all. We can not add anything to the cross. We are to rest in what Christ accomplished.

From there he spends the rest of the book explaining what repentance is and is not. Repentance is a changing of direction. Belief and repentance go hand in hand. We can not truly have one without the other.

He then moves to show that just because God calls us to good works does not mean we can be perfect in this life. We are to strive to be as godly as we can.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from B&H Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.



3 comments:

  1. Your blog is ostensibly a place where Reformed books are reviewed. Where did you get the idea that J.D. Greear is Reformed or that this book is a work extolling Reformed doctrine? I would point you to Greear's own words when asked about Calvinism, here:--
    http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2012/10/pastor-j-d-are-you-a-calvinist.html
    He does a skillful job dodging a true answer. He is clearly NOT an unabashed Reformed teacher. He concludes with this statement: "The strange thing is, the more people I share Christ with, the more people seem to keep getting elected" which is either meant as a tongue-in-cheek type joke OR he believes in corporate election OR he simply doesn't understand Reformed theology. Either way I'm uncomfortable with him at this point.

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  2. I am a 5-point Reformed Baptist myself. I am Reformed, but not every book I read is reformed - as you can see from earlier posts on my blog. The teaching in this particular book does not go against the reformed teaching of salvation. He did not delve into regeneration "before" or "after" faith, predestination, the extent of the atonement, etc. If he had, I would have stated my disagreement with any divergence.

    I would consider Mark Dever as a great Reformed Baptist and here is what he said about this book:

    “A sensitive conscience can be a curse from Satan or a blessing
    from God. Does your conscience drive you from God, or to Him? In
    this book, J.D. Greear gets the gospel right. And the gospel is the way
    from conviction to salvation. This book should help you know how
    to place your conscience in the Lord’s hands, where it can be a tool
    greatly used by God, as it was in Augustine’s life, or Martin Luther’s.”
    —Dr. Mark Dever, pastor
    and author of 9 Marks of the Healthy Church

    Joshua Harris is also reformed (Sovereign Grace Ministries) and he said this:

    “Outstanding! This is a truly useful book. It’s readable, engaging
    and packed with scriptural insight. It not only gives hope to
    Christians struggling with assurance of salvation, it will equip any
    Christian to better share the gospel and guide others toward genuine
    repentance and faith in Jesus.”
    —Joshua Harris, pastor and author of Humble Orthodoxy

    I could have added a couple others but both of these men are Reformed and have had conferences with Sproul, C.J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, etc.

    Even so, I believe there are some good things we can gleam from others we disagree with. I read apologetic books from those who are not reformed, and the same goes with books on creationism. I read John MacArthur and agree with him on salvation but not Dispensationalism. I read R.C. Sproul, but disagree with him on Baptism.

    I rated this book according to the content that I read in the book itself. This is no reflection on anything he might of said elsewhere. I honestly let the book stand or fall on it's own merits and did not look him up to see where he stood on other issues. He admitted that people think he sounds Calvinist and in this book he does. After seeing a handful of Reformed preachers extolling the book, I assumed he was. Nothing in the book lead me to believe otherwise.

    I apologize if I lead anyone to believe that this is a book written about the 5 points. I think many non-Calvinists borrow from the reformed faith when they refer to the substitutionary atonement or Jesus paying the price for our sin. His view of assurance fits with a few Reformed books I have read from Gerstner, Sproul and others.

    Thanks for the comment. I am glad to see someone who is fervent for the Faith!

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  3. 1. The Bible is not inerrant. It contains many, many errors, contradictions, and deliberate alterations and additions by the scribes who copied it. The originals are lost, therefore we have no idea what "God" originally" said. Yes, its true---Christians can give "harmonizations" for every alleged error and contradiction, but so can the Muslims for errors in the Koran, and Mormons for errors in the Book of Mormon. One can harmonize anything if you allow for the supernatural.

    2. How do we know that the New Testament is the Word of God? Did Jesus leave us a list of inspired books? Did the Apostles? Paul? The answer is, no. The books of the New Testament were added to the canon over several hundred years. Second Peter was not officially accepted into the canon until almost the FIFTH century! So why do all Christians accept every book of the New Testament as the word of God and reject every non-canonical "gospel"? Answer: the ancient (catholic) Church voted these books into your Bible. Period.

    There is nowhere in the OT or the NT where God gives men the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word. If Second Peter was really God's Word, the entire Church should have known so in the first century.

    3. Who wrote the Gospels? We have NO idea! The belief that they were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is based on hearsay and assumptions---catholic tradition. Protestants denounce most of the traditions of the Catholic Church but have retained two of the most blatant, evidence-lacking traditions which have no basis in historical fact or in the Bible: the canon of the NT and the authorship of the Gospels.

    The only shred of evidence that Christians use to support the traditional authorship of the Gospels is one brief statement by a guy named Papias in 130 AD that someone told him that John Mark had written a gospel. That's it! Papias did not even identify this "gospel". Yet in 180 AD, Irenaeus, a bishop in FRANCE, declares to the world that the apostles Matthew and John and the associates of Peter and Paul---Mark and Luke---wrote the Gospels. But Irenaeus gives ZERO evidence for his assignment of authorship to these four books. It is well known to historians that it was a common practice at that time for anonymously written books to be ascribed to famous people to give them more authority. For all we know, this is what Irenaeus did in the case of the Gospels.

    The foundation of the Christian Faith is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If the story of the Resurrection comes from four anonymous books, three of which borrow heavily from the first, often word for word, how do we know that the unheard of, fantastically supernatural story of the re-animation of a first century dead man, actually happened??

    Maybe the first book written, "Mark", was written for the same purpose that most books were written in that time period---for the benefit of one wealthy benefactor, and maybe it was written simply as an historical novel, like Homer's Iliad; not meant to be 100% factual in every detail, but a mix of true historical events as a background, with a real messiah pretender in Palestine, Jesus, but with myth and fiction added to embellish the story and help sell the book! We just do not know for what purpose these books were written!

    I slowly came to realize that there is zero verifiable evidence for the Resurrection, and, the Bible is not a reliable document. After four months of desperate attempts to save my faith, I came to the sad conclusion that my faith was based on an ancient superstition; a superstition not based on lies, but based on the sincere but false beliefs of uneducated, superstitious, first century peasants.

    You can pray to ask Jesus into your heart 10,000 times, but if there is no evidence for his Resurrection, then odds are that he is dead. And if he is dead, he can't hear your prayers. Sad, but the truth.

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