Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart

“If there were a Guinness Book of World Records record for ‘amount of times having asked Jesus into your heart,’ I’m pretty sure I would hold it. By the time I reached the age of eighteen I had probably ‘asked Jesus into my heart’ five thousand times…” So begins Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by J.D. Greear. I can certainly identify with this statement. As a young college student, I was perplexed by an evangelist who came to the church I attended and preached repeatedly that one’s assurance of salvation was based upon his recollection of the time that he asked Jesus into his heart as Savior. If any of us could not remember, we were encouraged by this evangelist to rush to the front of the church when the altar call began, ask Jesus into our hearts, and then record the date in the front of our Bibles. If doubts should ever again arise, we were to turn to the recorded date and the doubts would quickly disappear. If, in fact, we were actually saved to begin with, the activity would not hurt anything. No harm, no foul – and the evangelist would get to add us to his growing number of decisions for which was responsible. I suspect that many people raised in fundamentalist churches can testify to similar experiences.

Greear reminds us that this kind of thinking moves the basis of assurance from what Christ accomplished for us to some accomplishment on our part. Scripture teaches us that the basis of our salvation is firmly fixed on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He describes salvation as “a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off your own righteousness and onto the finished work of Jesus Christ.” This “present posture” of repentance and faith is “better proof [of a point in time decision] that a past memory.”

Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart is a great resource for those who may have been exposed to irresponsible teaching in the name of evangelistic zeal. It is also a helpful reminder for those who struggle with the idea of an eternal salvation (aka eternal security) in the very real context of those who appear to fall away. At less than 125 pages, it is a quick, but profitable read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Library Thing as part of their Early Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

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