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Salvation Is More Complicated Than You Think

By Alan Stanley
June 2009 | Review by William Horsburgh

Synopsis

In looking at the complex but important topic of what it takes to truly be saved, Alan Stanley asserts that contrary to what so many church-going Christians believe today, there is more to salvation. He argues that today's notion of salvation as a decision tantamount to 'accepting Jesus in your heart' falls short of what Jesus and the rest of the Bible teaches. Furthermore, he shows that for the first eighteen hundred years of the church, orthodox men like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley understood and taught a more well-rounded view of salvation as do most scholars today. But Stanley feels this message is not always clearly communicated. With a genuine heart of concern, Stanley inspects the Scriptures to see how Jesus describes those who are saved. The reader will discover what it really means to be a Christian. The goal is not perfection but a personal relationship – to know and love Christ. The reader will also discover that God's grace is greater than what they perhaps had ever imagined.

  • Publisher: Authentic Media
  • ISBN: 978-1934068021
  • Pages: 211
  • Price: £26.87
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Book Review

Alan Stanley lectures in Old and New Testament at Mueller College of Ministries, Brisbane, Australia, and is an associate pastor of Buderim Gospel Chapel, Sunshine Coast. His doctoral thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary (2003) was published as a scholarly monograph entitled: ‘Did Jesus teach salvation by works? The role of works in salvation in the Synoptic Gospels’. In the present volume he has, he says, revisited his previous thoughts and made them as clear as possible for a wider readership.

He informs the reader that his purpose in writing is thoroughly pastoral – born of a concern for those within the sphere of gospel churches, who have made a profession of faith and assume that their profession is sufficient to guarantee everlasting life – or as he describes it: ‘once saved, always saved’.

His book is well worth reading. The style is warm and easy to follow, and his explanation of what Jesus teaches about salvation is quite searching – even for those who already embrace the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.

This book could be valuable material for personal devotions – you’ll be challenged by the Word of God as Mr Stanley addresses questions like: Just who will be saved; Grace and works;  Faith and salvation; Bearing fruit; Loving others; Wealth; Perseverance; and God’s judgement. There is a final chapter of ‘Pastoral reflections’.

Those of us called to preach and teach will find here a valuable resource for the practical application of the Gospels. It could also have great potential for use in Bible study groups.

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