Drinking Deeply

Friday, March 30, 2007 at 2:29 PM

Book Review: One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven

One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill is a book seeking to encourage Christians to be bolder about evangelizing and sharing their faith. Within it, he dealt with many basic questions and fears that people had (being rejected, poor presentation, don't know what to say, etc.) and emphasized the importance and need for us to be continual evangelists. The book is sprinkled with stories of how he's shared his faith and different result is has had as he did it. The book as a whole was fairly informative and encouraging. He gave basic answers to a number of typical questions that are directed at Christians, and questions that we as Christians can (and should!) ask non-believers. There was no shying away from the difficult reality of the exclusive truth, sin, and the need for repentance. Lots of good there.

Those things said, I did have a number of issues with the book. One of them major, other two not so much.

1) The emphasis on libertarian freewill - Throughout the book, people are assumed to be spiritually able to turn to righteousness, to hear the Gospel and simply accept it. Of course, I do agree that people do turn and repent when they hear the Gospel, but I think especially in examining evangelism, it's necessary to acknowledge and recognize the sovereign work of God in transforming hearts and bringing people to their knees. I wish it could be more complete, but this doesn't cripple the book. It's funny because he quotes liberally from Calvinists (Spurgeon, A.W. Pink, Machen are ones I caught, I'm sure there are more).

2) Anti-intellectualism - This is probably the worst aspect of the book. Throughout the book the emphasis is upon making converts and not upon making disciples. He makes the repeated point that we all can share the Gospel because we all have been converted. This of course, is true in a sense. If we're a true Christian, regenerated by God's grace, we do have a sense for how we got there. We know about our sin, about God's holiness and God's grace. But unfortunately, most of us actually don't know the Gospel. And the continual impression I had was that not knowing all the answers is "a ok!" which is correct but very incomplete. And an incomplete truth posing as a whole truth is false. The need for Christians is always to know God more and better. This deepens our worship (which is the most important thing in this life and the life to come, not evangelism in this life and worship in the life to come as he claims), improves our apologetic, reveals the mind of Christ, and makes for a clearer and more comprehensive Gospel presentation.

3) Making converts and not disciples - This isn't a major point, but the whole book seems to emphasize the need for cold evangelism and I'm not entirely convinced that that's the right way to go. I wish the need for discipleship and church was mentioned. No one remembers the thing that Jesus built and died for anymore! We are so ... American!

All in all, an interesting read. Informative, but not amazing.

My recommendation: Could do better. Good at accomplishing the intent (motivating evangelism), but enough stuff I didn't like that I wouldn't recommend to new believers.

Maybe read this instead.

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Blogger Evan said...

I'm sorry to see that you were disappointed with the book in these ways.  

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