Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 12:2 (Autumn 1999)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Absolutely Sure. By Steven J. Lawson. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1999. 190 pp. Paper, $12.99.

This could have been a shorter book. Lawson (author and pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, AL) early on states that “the assurance of our salvation rests upon the impregnable rock of God’s Word. Our confidence about heaven is based solely upon what God says in Scripture regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is on this basis alone that we may be absolutely sure that we belong to Him” (p. 23). After this sound statement, he spends the rest of the book contradicting himself.

It soon becomes apparent why. His gospel is that of Lordship Salvation and includes turning from sins, abandoning one’s life to Christ, humbling oneself, and submitting or committing one’s life to Christ as Savior and Lord. He promotes Lordship to the point of sounding polemical, a sure clue that he is aware of the controversy and is declaring his stand. But as many Lordship advocates have a habit of doing, he also blithely promotes faith alone in Christ alone, saying “Not relying upon your own goodness, you have put your faith in Christ alone to save you” (p. 26); and “Salvation comes as we rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross—and so does assurance” (p. 29).

But such statements are washed away by the flood of subjectivity spouted in the rest of the book, which is a sermonic commentary on First John. Of course, his interpretation views the epistle as a list of tests to see if one is truly saved. He finds nine “vital signs”: 1) Communion with Christ (1:1–4), 2) Confession of sin (1:5–2:2), 3) Commitment to God’s Word (2:3–6), 4) Compassion for believers (2:7–11; 3:14–18; 4:7–21), 5) Change of affection (2:12–17), 6) Comprehension of truth (2:18–3:10), 7) Conformity to Christlikeness (2:28–3:10), 8) Conflict with the world (3:11–13), and 9) Confidence in prayer (3:19–24; 5:141$).

At least his list is shorter than that of John MacArthur, Jr. (who writes one of the forwards along with Adrian Rogers) who has eleven tests from First John in his book Saved Without a Doubt: How to B...

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