Book Review by
There have been numerous points of contention among Southern Baptists over the past three centuries; but the eternal destination of human beings who die without accepting Christ has never been one of them. Understanding the necessity of salvation, however, is much different than having absolute assurance of being saved.
In his new book, “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved,” J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., tackles issues of assurance of salvation, issues he says are an “epidemic” within today’s church.
Greear places problems of assurance of salvation within two categories: lack of assurance and false assurance – the former affecting those who are saved but struggle with doubting their faith and the latter categorizing those who have not yet accepted Christ but falsely believe they have.
The author cedes that the book’s title is a loaded one and explains his reasoning behind it. Greear writes there is no inherent harm in what he calls the “gospel cliché,” the “evangelical shorthand” used by many evangelicals when they call for unbelievers to make an immediate decision for Christ and “ask Jesus into their hearts” in order to be saved. He says that it is neither heretical to “ask Jesus into your heart” or to press for a decision when sharing Christ with nonbelievers. The problem with the shorthand in reality, Greear writes, is that so many people, even those witnessing, rely more on the “Protestant ritual” of asking Christ into one’s heart, rather than the more biblical concept of gaining salvation through a “posture of repentance and faith that you begin in a moment and maintain for the rest of your life.”
Through eight chapters (and two appendixes), Greear aims to make the argument that assurance of salvation is not simply a luxury given to a select few, but an essential element of one’s salvation and personal relationship with Christ.
Greear states his goal for the reader at the end of the first chapter, writing, “My prayer is that by the time we’re done, you’ll know exactly where you stand with God.”