Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A review of The gospel call & true conversion by Paul Washer

The Gospel call & true conversion by Paul Washer:

Publisher's description:

The apostle Paul gave the gospel the first place in his preaching, endeavored with all his might to proclaim it clearly, and even went so far as to pronounce a curse upon all those who would pervert its truth. Yet how sad it is that many, even among those considering themselves evangelicals, have reduced the gospel message to a few trite statements to be repeated, and view conversion as a mere human decision. In The Gospel Call and True Conversion, Paul Washer challenges such easy believism as he examines the real meaning of things like faith, repentance, and receiving Christ. He also deals extensively with the effects of saving grace that God promises in the new covenant; namely, the creation of new hearts and new people.

In this book, Paul Washer goes right to the heart of Christianity by asking what is the gospel, how does it relate to our call to faith, and what true conversion is.  These are vitally important questions, because true Christian faith and practice are built upon this foundation.

I recently reviewed Prepared by grace for grace by Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley, a book that deals with the Puritan views on conversion and how God prepares are hearts for conversion, so this topic was still fresh in my mind as I began to read the gospel call.  As I mentioned in that earlier review, the whole doctrine of true conversion is of huge interest to me.  Growing up in modern American evangelicalism, my conversion never fit in with the "normal" conversion story so popular in our day, which only increased my struggles over the years as I didn't really understand what true conversion or the gospel really were.

So for the second time in a few weeks, here is another book that biblically and thoroughly addresses this topic.  Is this book needed?  Absolutely, it is!  A serious issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that our churches are filled with unregenerate men and women who have not repented of their sins and truly been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.  Years of easy believism, seeker sensitive churches, pastoral failure to preach law and gospel, and the sinners prayer have done their work and the church has been seriously weakened because of it.  If you want to explore this more in depth and better understand Paul Washer's work in this area, I recommend watching his video entitled 10 indictments against the church.

This book is divided into three parts:

PART ONE: THE GOSPEL CALL.  Here Washer deals with the call to faith and repentance, and what it really means to hear the gospel call.  A call initiated by the Holy Spirit, not the methodologies and manipulations of men.

PART TWO: NEW HEARTS AND THE NATURE OF TRUE CONVERSION.  Here Washer describes true conversion as God saves for His sake and His glory, according to His good pleasure, creating new hearts within us and and slowly conforming us to His image as we mortify the old man.  No doctrine of the "carnal Christian" here.  True conversion produces gospel fruit.  To quote Washer here "our understanding of regeneration will determine both our view of conversion and our methodology in evangelism".  This is a doctrine with eternal consequences.

PART THREE: NEW PEOPLE AND THE NATURE OF TRUE CONVERSION.  Here Washer describes what a truly converted person is and does, describes how this ties into the Church as the people of God, and describes the fruits that come from true conversion.

I really appreciated the care Washer took to not give his own opinions but grounded everything in Scripture.  At the bottom of each page he included his footnoted biblical references, so this book is a perfect tool for digging deeper into the Scriptures to study this further.

This book delivers a message that is timely and desperately needed.  My prayer is that this book will be widely read and circulated, for it is a message that many need to hear.  Thank you Paul Washer for telling the Church what it needs to hear, not what it wants to hear.  Five stars!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

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