Today’s Book is the next in the Recovering the Gospel series by Paul Washer. The book is published by Reformation Heritage Books and was provided through Cross-Focused Reviews. No requirement for a favorable review was made. This review first appeared at my personal blog and the opinions are entirely my own.
The term “Gospel” is everywhere in modern Christian writings. This brings us a great question: “What is ‘the Gospel,’ then?” Paul Washer’s Recovering the Gospel Series is intended to answer that question. Gospel Assurance and Warnings is the third volume in the set, dealing with the implications of the Gospel in a person’s life.
Rather than even attempt to treat with Washer’s theological writing here, I’ll offer just a few thoughts on the text in general. Certainly, you can see a few other reviews that deal with the in-depth issues.
First, you should know that Washer approaches theology from a Reformed point of view. This is, after all, published by Reformation Heritage Books. If you come from a different view of Christian theology, I would suggest starting with the first volume, The Gospel’s Power and Message. That volume provides a better explanation of Washer’s viewpoint.
Second, Washer’s writing style is dense. There’s not any diversionary words or topics here. You’re going to encounter big words and heavy theological structures. You’re also going to need a Bible to clear the references.
Third, Washer is very direct. If you have never encountered Washer as a preacher, you may not realize this. It’s not that he’s wrong. He’s just not fluffy. Washer’s writing in Gospel Assurance and Warnings matches that characteristic behavior.
Now, subject matter:
Washer is concerned here with the same concepts that Dietrich Bonhoeffer dealt with in Discipleship and others have in other works. When salvation is by grace, there is a risk that people may misuse that grace. What does that tell us?
Are those people truly saved?
What of those who struggle, as we learn the Word of God? We learn more and more of our sinfulness. Can we be certain of our salvation?
Washer explains his answers to these two questions. The first is that those who abuse grace are not partakers in it. The second is that grace is our assurance, and the power of God our certainty.
Of course, you really need a bit more explanation. That’s what the book is for.
I wouldn’t suggest handing this book off to just anyone. The reading is challenging, and the assumptions require a prior grasp of Christianity and the Bible. However, as you are digging deeper into theology, this is a useful book on the shelf.