Subscribe now

The Lost Message of Paul: Why has the Church misunderstood the Apostle Paul?

By Steve Chalke
May 2020 | Review by Dave Cox
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-0-28107-940-7
  • Pages: 256
  • Price: £9.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

Steve Chalke’s latest book is well-written and engaging, full of quotes from Scripture, theologians, creeds, and church history. And that’s what makes it so dangerous for evangelicals.

He argues that mainstream Protestant Christianity has seriously misread the Apostle Paul. What Paul was actually saying (Chalke says) is that there is no original sin, God isn’t angry at sin, no-one is justified by their faith, justification is not a courtroom term, there will be no final judgement, and in the end everyone will be saved. That list could have been much longer: pretty much every key New Testament term gets a makeover using quotes from liberal scholars.

The author says he wants to ‘start a conversation’ (p.1), but there isn’t much new here. It’s clear that he has drunk deeply from the well of liberal theology, but is portraying it as something fresh and full of new insights.

The biggest weakness of the book is that Chalke doesn’t engage with his critics. His material isn’t breaking any new ground and the arguments he presents have been well critiqued — but you wouldn’t know it from reading the book. Instead he knocks down straw men. For example, he presents the Protestant view of faith as ‘the ability to hold to an intellectual set of propositions’ (p.79), and ‘something you are born with…or not’ (p.84) — which is neither the Protestant nor the Bible’s definition of faith!

These are not minor differences between fellow evangelicals. Steve Chalke is openly presenting a God, a Paul, and a gospel that have been remoulded to suit twenty-first century liberal thinking. Nothing less than the gospel is at stake.

Dave Cox

Nelson, South Wales

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
If I Could Speak: Letters from the Womb
Mark Jones

Abortion statistics for the UK are eye-watering and outrageous. There are about 220,000 abortions per year. That is 25 every hour, of every day. At least one baby will have been murdered in the time taken to read this short…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle
Alistair Begg

Of the making of books on prayer there seems to be no end. That fact probably reflects the need that almost of all of us feel for more help in this vitally important area of our Christian lives The problem,…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
FILM REVIEW: Matthew Henry — The life and times of the Bible commentator
Dan Pugh

Although the name of Matthew Henry has become synonymous with the whole-Bible commentary which he authored in the early 18th century, there is also much to learn from his remarkable life and the tumultuous times through which he lived. This…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Ephesians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary)
Darrell L Bock

Whenever a new commentary is published from the conservative viewpoint on a book of the Bible which is already well covered, there ought to be few issues of concern because there is so much literature with which to compare it.…