Subscribe now

Risking the Truth: Handling Error in the Church

By Martin Downes
September 2009 | Review by Graham Heaps
  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1845502843
  • Pages: 256
  • Price: £0.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

This is an unusual but helpful book on a neglected but vital subject. It consists of interviews with twenty leading evangelical pastors and seminary teachers on the issue of handling and refuting error in the local church.

Here pastors and church leaders will find practical insight on how to protect God’s people from the fashionable errors of the day. They will be shown when and how to help if false teaching begins to get hold of the lives of those under their care.

Some of the interviews explain and answer, at least in embryo, particular errors. These errors include deviations from the historical doctrines of justification by faith alone, penal substitution, hell and inerrancy.

Other chapters deal in general with protecting God’s people from error, by helping to explain the attraction of false doctrine and by giving fresh commendation to tried and tested remedies. These remedies include listening to the positive exposition of Scripture, focusing on the adoration and service of God, and valuing the Reformed confessions of faith.

This reviewer did not find all the chapters equally helpful. Some seemed over-brief; others too dominated by the American scene. However, I did find it a wholesome read, full of godly concern and wisdom.

I occasionally found the interview format wearing, but the end result is a valuable compendium of wisdom on a practically difficult issue.

All in all, this unusual volume provides wise, godly and eminently pastoral advice that will help church leaders protect the flocks under their care. I commend it warmly to men in church leadership.

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Why Should I Trust the Bible?

We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Who Am I? Human Identity and the Gospel in a Confusing World
Thomas Fretwell

In today’s secular society, religion is often regarded as without rational or scientific basis, and therefore irrelevant to life in the modern world and all areas of public engagement. If that is our social context, then it is no wonder…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Pastor’s Life: Practical Wisdom from the Puritans
Matthew D Haste & Shane W Parker

This book highlights ‘some of the many lessons that today’s pastors can learn from the Puritans’ (p.151). As such it is aimed at pastors, but the lessons are really for anyone who is a Christian leader. The opening chapter provides…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
5 Minutes in Church History: An Introduction to the Stories of God’s Faithfulness in the History of the Church
Stephen J Nichols

What a breath of fresh air this book is! Stephen Nichols has given us 40 vignettes from church history that are brief enough to be digested over a bowl of cereal. The book doesn’t aim to be a beginner’s guide…