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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Gospel Assurance and Warnings" (Paul Washer)

TITLE: Gospel Assurance and Warnings (Recovering the Gospel)
AUTHOR: Paul Washer
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014, (288 pages).

This book is part of a series of about recovering the greatest treasure on earth: the gospel for all. The primary reason for the writing of this book is the concern that the gospel has been grossly neglected. We are creating a generation of people ignorant of the gospel, reducing the gospel by various means, and failing to grow the body of Christ through solid biblical teaching. The biggest concern is how the lack of gospel conviction leads to the lack of missions and evangelism in a world that sorely needs the gospel to be preached to them.

Written in two parts, the first part aims to bring about the distinctions between true biblical assurance and false assurance. He blames preachers for failing to preach the gospel and instead choosing to dish out pragmatic tools, and marketing strategies that deal with “souls in a superficial manner.” They are not even guarding the purity of the gospel. Salvation is based on the lordship of Christ, not the clever advice over the pulpit. This requires self-examination for professing Christians; obedience to God’s revelation; keeping of God’s commandments; imitating Christ; to be loving believers; to walk in the light; to confess our sins; to grow in conformity to God’s will; and various other aspects of what it means to be living under the lordship of Christ. This will be evidenced through obedience to God; love for neighbours; and working out of good fruits and righteousness in the name of Christ.

Part Two comprises of warnings targeted at “empty confessors.” Walker criticizes people who give right answers to wrong questions. For example, the question, “Are you a sinner?” essentially tries to insert some righteousness into people when they had none. Or the question of “Do you want to go to heaven?” does not reflect the true condition of the heart, only some desire that is hard to see until the fruits of salvation can be evidenced. He suggests that people who answer ‘yes’ to the destination of heaven have ideas contrary to the biblical image of heaven. For the question is not whether one desires to go to a place but whether one desires God! Other wrong questions includes “Do you want to pray?” which again invites people without the right heart to offer the right answers. The way to know the right path is to enter by the small gate where one can focus on the Promise of Christ instead of the highway of worldly expectations. The narrow way is the path of obedience in contrast to the other paths of self-driven needs and wants. This narrow way is a tough one, even one that may require suffering. By our fruits, we will know of our inward reality.

Plainly written, this book aims for the heart. For those who have Christ in their hearts, the message will resonate with a desire to obey. For those who do not have Christ in their hearts, they can be easily offended with a desire to defend their existing way of life. For those who are not sure, perhaps these series of gospel assurances and warnings will help them distinguish the small and narrow way of Christ, versus the highway of hell. If this book can nudge you a little closer toward the way of Christ, it would have worth every penny.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Reformation Heritage Books and Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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