David N. Jones
96 pages, £4.99
Star rating: 4
This book contains the four addresses delivered by the author at the 2011 Evangelical Movement of Wales conference at Aberystwyth. Wonderfully, they seem to have lost little of their pace and power in the switch from pulpit to print.
In his addresses, Mr Jones deals with some of the most hotly debated chapters in the New Testament. However, it is refreshing to see that the author does not write in order to enforce his favoured interpretation, but to make clear and apply pastorally what the apostle Paul is teaching.
As he points out: ‘Some people come to these chapters spoiling for a fight; but that is not the spirit in which Paul writes. He is not looking for an argument; he is agonising over his own flesh and blood. His own people have rejected their Messiah, and that disturbs him very deeply indeed’ (p.15). The result is an encouraging yet challenging book.
Having demonstrated how Paul grieves over his fellow Jews, the author says, ‘Let me ask you this. When you think of your nearest and dearest, those closest to you who do not believe in Jesus, does it break your heart?’ (p.14).
What follows, shows the reader why his heart should break for the unbeliever and what his responsibilities are for the unbeliever within the sovereignty of God.
In the closing chapter, drawing on the material in Romans 15:14-33, David Jones shows that it is the biblically informed Christian who ought to be most active in evangelism. He does this under the headings Proclaiming, Pioneering, Partnership and Praying. He uses lots of helpful illustrations to support his argument that the message of Romans will encourage evangelism.
Earlier in the book, the author makes it clear that he expects a restoration of Israel — not a political, but a spiritual restoration (revival) of Israel; that ‘what is being promised is a “turning to the Lord” on an unprecedented scale’ (p.66).
He points out that Paul, though an apostle to the Gentiles, never lost hope for his fellow Jews and was always ‘knocking on synagogue doors’ (p.58). Paul’s position was, ‘If God can save me, he can save anybody (p.58).
The author’s application is that, even though the possibility of your relatives and neighbours ever being saved looks remote, you must remember that, ‘if he can do it for you, he can do it for anyone, can’t he?’ (p.59).
Buy this book. It is an easy read, though I guess it will not be so easy to make a faithful application of its message.