Monday, October 8, 2012

Unsatisfied & Disappointed - Book Review by Marcus

  I just finished reviewing Understanding Theology in 15 minutes a Day by Daryl Aaron, and I am unsatisfied and disappointed.  I must first say that there are good things in this book.  Chapters on topics like "How Do We Know the Bible Is the Word of God?" and "Did God Really Make Everything?" along with a lot of others were really good.  I am a pastor, so I have to be careful when I hand a book to a new convert.  And I had hoped when I first received the book that this would be a good one to give to people who had questions about Christianity, but when I began to read, I found out differently.
   The author said at the beginning that he hoped to keep his own personal view from coming through, but when you read through the various chapters of the book, you find that he not only shared his own personal view.  It is his book, therefore he is entitled to write what he wants.  And for the most part, this is an excellent book.  The author is a very good writer, and very accurately gives both sides of every argument.  There were just  few reasons why I couldn't recommend this to those in my church.
   I am unashamedly Wesleyan-Armenian in doctrine.  From reading this book, I conclude that the author is Calvinist.  We are both Christians.  We just have differing viewpoints.  He points that out in the book, but then in these few instances to try and prove why Calvinist are right.  That's my fault.  I would highly recommend this book had he given both sides of the argument and then let the reader decide which they felt was better, but in these few instances, he didn't.  So this isn't a slam against Daryl Aaron, just an honest review. 
   Just a few of the faults I find in this book are things like "Christians are still sinful." p. 130  Romans 6:16-18 says that whoever you choose to obey is who's servant you are.  Then Paul gives two choices, choosing to sin or choosing to live a life of righteousness.  He continued by saying that you once were a slave to sin, but you have been delivered from that bondage, and "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."  So I'm not sure how a slave to righteousness, who Paul says has been delivered from and is free of sin, can be a sinful Christian, yet the chapter points out that Christians are sinful.
   On p. 154, the author talks about the sower and the seeds.  He specifically points out the seeds that fell on rocky ground, saying they never had been saved.  But Jesus said in Luke 8:13 "But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away."  Paul said to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved."  Jesus said these people believed for a while, but they didn't finish the race.  They allowed the temptations of the world lure them back into a life of sin, thus losing their salvation.
   The last problem that I point out is the chapter on the ability to lose your salvation.  The author does give both sides of the argument   For the one side he quotes text like John 15:1-6 where Jesus said any branch that any branch that does not bear fruit is removed from the vine and burned.  Jesus said, He is the vine, those who have been saved are the branches.  Therefore, if He cast them away, then they are indeed losing their salvation.
   He also points out Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
   On the other side, he gives John 10:28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."
   But then the author, in what he calls a Heartfelt Attempt To Persuade, tries to convince the reader that you cannot lose your salvation.  He actually gives a much stronger argument for losing your salvation than he does for not being able to lose it, but yet he pushes those scriptures aside and tries to convince the reader to believe like him.
   I do not know this author.  I have all the respect in the world for him.  I have no doubt that he is a good Christian man that I will meet in Heaven, but I cannot recommend this book simply because of the bad theology.
   No one can make me accept Jesus as my Savior, and no one can take away my salvation.  Only I can do that.  It's my choice, my decision.  And if I choose to turn my back on God, I can.  And to be honest and truthful, if I took this theology and preached it, then my people could accept Jesus as their Savior, and then go out and kill someone that they hate, and then kill themselves and still go to Heaven.  It just doesn't make sense.  Therefore, I cannot recommend this book.
   Please take this review as simply my opinion on a theology, not a personal criticism of the author.  I did receive this book free in exchange for my HONEST review.  They in way influenced my review.

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