"It should come as no surprise that misunderstandings about the gospel message and the nature of true conversion result in a problem with genuine assurance of salvation. A pseudo-gospel of “easy believism” has led many into careless presumption, and a poor understanding of salvation has abandoned tender consciences to near spiritual despair. In Gospel Assurance and Warnings, Paul Washer shines the light of gospel hope as he cautions against the dangers of making an empty profession of faith and carefully explains from Scripture the basis for establishing and maintaining a sound assurance of faith."
This book wraps up Paul Washer's "Recovering the Gospel" trilogy. The first book in the series is called "The Gospel's power and message", and the second is "The Gospel call and true conversion" (read my review of that here). Washer's message of gospel recovery spans three books because for much of evangelicalism the true gospel has been so diluted, so under preached, or so misrepresented that we have to start from square one. Like a modern day prophet, Washer is proclaiming an urgent and unpopular message to a unreceptive audience, the modern, evangelical church.
This book is divided into two sections, Part one, Biblical assurance, and Part Two, Gospel warnings, or warnings to empty confessors.
In part one, Washer does a great job in two ways. First, using 1 John as his primary text, over fourteen chapters he lays out various things that should assure us of our true faith in Christ. I found this to be helpful as often in our daily walks with Christ there is much to discourage us, sometimes to the point that we can question whether we are even truly saved. For the saint, this is a helpful and reassuring read, as Washer lays out how our spiritual nature determines our will and affections.
Secondly, for those who are not showing any of the fruits of true conversion, this book will be like a flamethrower burning through their straw house of false assurance and self-righteousness. For the "carnal" Christian (a false concept which Washer demolishes at the start of the book), for the goat, this will not be a comfortable read, because Washer aims a biblical broadside aimed to destroy any false hope they have, with the aim to bring them to true repentance and faith in Christ.
This is Paul Washer at his best, faithfully proclaiming the true gospel of Jesus Christ to an evangelical church that desperately needs to recover it.
Washer also uses this section to condemn the unbiblical practices so common in evangelicalism today, (many of which I am all too familiar with) that are used to "lead" sinners to Christ. Here is where any criticism I have of this book starts. Section one was fantastic and I think that would have made this book an important read by itself, but coming in at 288 pages, section two just seemed like a rehash of section one, made this seem like a long, long read, and just seemed redundant.
I think we may have been better served by providing the historical and theological origins of the modern evangelical gospel "invitations", fleshing out where these modern altar call practices came from, with some fleshing out why they are unbiblical, and why they are producing false converts, maybe as an appendix or something.
That being said, this is a helpful book, with a message that evangelicalism needs to hear, and hear loudly. Thank you brother Washer for bringing this message to us! Four stars.
For more of Paul Washer and his passion for reformation and revival check out his 10 indictments against the modern church, here. Excellent!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.