Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: Key Words of the Christian Life

Key Words of the Christian Life. Warren W. Wiersbe. 2002. Baker Books. 130 pages. [Source: Bought]

I like the idea or premise behind this one. I like the fact that Wiersbe is taking some of the most common theological terms and unpacking them or explaining them to readers.
Some Christians say, “Don’t bother me with doctrine; just give me the beautiful devotional thoughts of the Bible.” But if devotion is not based upon correct doctrine, it is not going to accomplish anything. It is merely shallow sentiment. In this first chapter I would like to explain why it is important for us to understand these key words of the Christian life. The reason is very simple: When we understand these words, we are able to live what they teach. When we understand these key words of the Christian life, then we know what a Christian is, what God has done for us, and what God wants to do for us.
The key words discussed in this one include: justification, adoption, regeneration, propitiation, imputation, sanctification, reconciliation, redemption, intercession, mediation, predestination, and glorification. (Some words get more than one chapter.)

The opening chapters build a foundation. They focus on the why. Why is it important to know the Bible, to understand the words of the Bible, the doctrines of the Bible? The rest of the book then focuses on specific words and doctrines. There is some overlap, perhaps, in doctrines covered, which is not a bad thing!

The book gives readers a general introduction to the essentials. Overall, I liked this one. I thought the book did a good job. That being said, I found myself disagreeing at times with how some of these doctrines were explained. In particular, I disagreed with a few things in his chapter on regeneration.
The reality of the new birth is that you can change; God will change you when you trust Christ.
Still this is one I'd recommend.

Similar books include Kendell Easley's 52 Words Every Christian Should Know and C. Michael Patton's Now That I'm A Christian.

Justification is the gracious act of God in declaring righteous the sinner who believes on Jesus Christ. You should memorize this definition because it is important. Notice, please, that justification is an act, not a process. No Christian is more justified than any other Christian.
Propitiation is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross by which He satisfied God’s holiness so God could extend mercy to lost sinners. If you look up the word propitiation in an English dictionary, you will find it defined as “appeasing someone’s anger.” Some people think God the Father is angry at lost sinners. They think He is sitting in heaven waiting to throw thunderbolts upon people who have disobeyed Him. Then God the Son comes up and says, “Now, Father, please don’t be angry! I will go and die for these sinners, and this will appease Your wrath.” Nothing could be further from the truth. To begin with, Jesus Christ and His Father and the Holy Spirit work together in this great plan of salvation. It is not that one wants to condemn and the other wants to forgive. When Jesus went to the cross of Calvary, the Father was there. It is true the Father forsook His Son when His Son was made sin, but that was just for a brief moment when our Savior cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit worked together in the plan of salvation. Propitiation does not mean that Jesus Christ came to appease God’s anger because the Father doesn’t love us. Some people have the idea that, because of His death on the cross, our Lord turned God’s wrath into love. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Our God is a God of judgment. We want to be very clear about that. Throughout the Bible you find the revelation of the wrath of God as well as the mercy of God. There are almost twenty Hebrew words in the Old Testament translated “wrath.” There are more than five hundred references to wrath and judgment just in the Old Testament. Our Father in heaven is a loving Father, but He is also a holy Father. He is love (see 1 John 4:8), but He is also light (see 1:5). God’s anger does not turn into love, because this would mean that God is changing, and God does not change. Propitiation does not mean appeasing God’s unloving anger; propitiation does not mean turning God’s wrath into love. His wrath is a holy wrath; His judgment is a holy judgment. Because He loves holiness and hates sin, He has to be a God of judgment. Propitiation means that Christ satisfied the holiness of God so that God is able to extend grace and mercy to lost sinners. God is a free God, and because He is holy, sin has to be punished. God cannot break His own Law. If for one instant God broke His Law, the universe would fall apart. All of God’s attributes are consistent. His wisdom does not fight against His power. His power does not fight against His grace. His grace does not fight against His holiness. There is a cooperation, a consistency, a unity about the character of God. God’s attributes are consistent and unified, and so there is no need for Him to lay one aside for the other. God’s holiness demands that sin be punished. God cannot lie; God cannot break His own Law. His love moves Him to save the sinner, but His love is a holy love, and this is where propitiation comes in.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: