Greear. J.D. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure you are Saved. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2013. 132 pp. $12.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.
J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He has also written Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his website where a study guide for this work can be downloaded for free.
At 128 pages and 8 chapters, this is a short and concise work that moves at a fairly quick pace. The introduction by Paige Patterson quickly dispels the idea that J.D. is out to ruffle feathers for the sake of ruffling feathers. Instead, J.D. shares how he was baptized four times and would have been baptized more all because he was never sure of his salvation. Chapter two explains that God does want us to have assurance with chapter three offering the hope of Jesus taking our punishment for us.
Four and five look at what true belief and repentance really means while chapter six looks at the doctrine of eternal security and why the Bible warns against losing one’s salvation. The work concludes with a couple chapters on how you can truly know you are saved of Christ. The first way is to continue to honestly look at the fruit in your life. Regardless, J.D. knows that many will struggle with doubt and finishes the book with a chapter on what that person should continue to do.
The two appendices look at the importance of baptism and assurance based upon justification by faith alone.
Pastor Greear hits the nail squarely on the head in this work. I love that Paige Patterson, an evangelist if there ever was one, wrote the foreward to this work and stated plainly that he “dislike[d] the title of this book” and then proceeds to explain why you need to read it. J.D. offers extremely sound evidence from Scripture as to why it is not a matter of how we ask for forgiveness but that we have repented of our sin based upon the work of Christ on the cross.
I wish that B&H, as opposed to B&H Academic would have published this work for the reason that some may think it is above the “lay level” because of the academic tag. Regardless, the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention’s printing arm has published this work is both encouraging and interesting. It is the SBC, and many of the preachers/pastors therein, that have lead the charge of asking Jesus into your heart. Gratefully, the conversation is now wide open for discussion and Pastor Greear has graciously set the boundaries between ignorant, though passionate, rhetoric and what the Bible clearly teaches on salvation and assurance.
I found much to love about this work. As one who doubts his salvation more than I’d like to admit, there was much comfort in these pages. For any who have called on Christ as Lord and Savior, I highly recommend this resource. For any who are curious as to what the Bible does teach about salvation (i.e., the gospel) then I recommend this work to you as well.