Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'Am I Really a Christian?' - Book reivew

Am I Really a Christian falls into the 'tough discipling' category. The only thing to overlook, after chuckling that Kirk Cameron wrote the foreword are the occasional extended (American) illustration. (This is probably a burden of blame the editor needs to share.)

In a way Am I Really a Christian is an extended argument against superficial Christianity, the "cheap grace" Bonhoeffer famously condemned. There's also nothing quite like being reminded, as a Christian, of the gospel. McKinely emphasizes the importance of a loving and committed to the truth Church around you as you struggle with sin and doubt. " ... it involves things that are much more difficult to evaluate: the attitudes of the heart and the attitudes of your soul. This is the reason why the Christian life should be lived out with other brothers and sisters in a faithful local church." (p72) I was both convicted and encouraged by his description of perseverance. He also pulls no punches, there's lots of provocative stuff, for example in describing why someone might not preserve until the end: "Someone who continues to disobey and rebel simply has not been saved, because salvation among other things, is salvation from that." (p80) His description of breaking the trajectory of sin was also really helpful: "But don't be deceived - a true Christian cannot continue in an unbroken trajectory of sin. There must be evidence of genuine revulsion, repentance and reproof." (p71) Finally there's a great chapter about the characteristics of a Christian. "Thus, the important question is not, "have I professed faith in Christ in the past?" but rather, "Am I trusting Christ right now for my salvation?" (p128)