Gospel assurances and warnings
Reformation Heritage Books
252 pages, £11.89
Star Rating : 4
Some books have enticing titles and eye-catching covers, only for the content to be disappointing. This book is the opposite; the nondescript cover and title belie the excellent content within.
This is the third book in a series called ‘Recovering the gospel’. In the preface, Washer explains what drove him to write: ‘The essential themes that make up the very core of the gospel — the justice of God, the radical depravity of man, the blood atonement, the nature of true conversion and the biblical basis of assurance — are absent from too many pulpits’.
The book surveys the broad, evangelical scene from the perspective of 1 John. Reading a chapter is like listening to the preached Word. Indeed, the chapters are reworked sermons. There is some repetitiveness, but then again repetition is a feature of many a good sermon.
Part one constitutes the major portion of the book and deals with biblical assurance, using the tests given by 1 John. The aim is both positive (encouraging fearful believers to be assured that they are in the faith) and negative (warning of the dangers of falsely assuming to be in the faith).
The tests include confessing sin, keeping God’s commandments, loving Christians and, finally, rejecting and overcoming the world. Repeatedly, Washer thunders against the shallow gospel which tells folk they are Christians if they once prayed a prayer of decision, notwithstanding a lifestyle no different from the rest of the world.
Part two is shorter, focussing on warning signs of a false profession. This expands on themes covered in part one, but is good reading and ensures that we get the message.
Washer writes from an American perspective, but his warnings apply to the UK. Long ago, the apostle Paul told Timothy to ‘Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you’ (2 Timothy 1:14). Today, Paul Washer is exhorting us all to do the same.