My friend was doubting whether she was really a Christian. I was shocked, since I’d known her for years and had seen her serve with children and read her Bible. I didn’t know what to say, so I told her “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” and assured her that she was saved and she didn’t need to hear the enemy try to convince her otherwise. As the months progressed, her profession of faith continued to debilitate from blurry Christian to a complete denial of all things religious. I don’t blame myself for her falling away, but I do wish that prior to our conversation I had given more biblical counsel than misusing scripture to give her false assurance. In Gospel Assurance and Warnings, Paul Washer’s third book in his Recovering the Gospel series, one of my favorite preachers of all time has picked up the pen to aid in just that.
1 John 5:13 says “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” In Gospel Assurance and Warnings, Paul Washer spends a great amount of time going through the tests 1 John provides for discerning whether you are truly in Christ. I didn’t know how thoroughly one could explain how to discern whether you are a sheep or a goat, but Paul Washer blew me away with this almost exhausting volume. What I most appreciated about this book---and about Paul Washer’s teaching style in general---is that he takes scripture very seriously. Even what we would consider “obscure” passages in the Old Testament about the wrath of God are esteemed as truth that should teach us about God’s character today.
Gospel Assurance and Warnings is a sobering plea to professing Christians to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Paul Washer’s passion for the purity of the church---and more, the renown of Christ’s name---is what drove him to write this book, and I’d consider it a great gift to church leaders and laymen alike (though this work will probably be overwhelming for the average reader!) I’ve seen so many harmful responses from pastors to people who are struggling with assurance, and I think Gospel Assurance and Warnings will equip Christians for how to counsel others and how to struggle through this ourselves. What I appreciated most about this book is every page is full of footnotes citing Paul Washer’s sources---but probably at least 90% of them are purely scripture. On such a life-or-death subject as one’s own salvation he did not want to just take man’s word for it. I have never seen the whole counsel of scripture utilized as well as I did in this book. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
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Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today