Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 23:45 (Autumn 2010)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Spiritual Maturity: The Road to Wonderland. By Bruce Baker. Larkspur, CO: Grace Acres Press, 2009. 376 pp. Paper, $27.95.

Prior to each of the seven parts of the book, there appears a fictional story highlighting struggles faced by Christians today, serving to illustrate concepts presented in the book. And prior to each chapter, we find a one to two-page excerpt from a Lewis Carroll work (either Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found There), presented to connect the reader with the opening of the chapter. The book concludes with a glossary, endnotes (few in number), Scripture index, and an extensive index of terms found within the discussion.

The intent of the book appears to be three-fold: 1) to present to the reader the three kinds of people, in spiritual terms (the natural man [unbeliever], the carnal [immature] Christian, and the mature believer in Christ); 2) to show how to obtain spiritual maturity; and 3) to present what spiritual maturity looks like.

One of the strengths of the book is to recognize there are at least three types of people in the spiritual realm: unbelievers, carnal Christians, and mature believers (though some might posit another type—an apostatized believer). Those in the GES camp will appreciate that approach as it is consistent with a Free Grace understanding of the message of eternal life. However, this seems to be where the association with a consistent Free Grace theology ends. Let’s look at some examples.

For example, Baker states as the gospel that “a sinner places his faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.” Many JOTGES readers would object to this presentation, as the issue in the Gospel of John (the one book of the Bible written to show readers how to receive

eternal life) is believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life, not faith in the cross (p. 102). But the author does not seem to be satisfied with the addition of the cross, as he later mentions, “I’m sure the essential facts required for salvation would fit within the pages of an average magazine” (p. 202)! One wonders how long it would take to present the gospel if there are that many “essential facts required for salvation”!

Yet, for JOTGES readers, there is further room to be dismayed at the author’s comments on the gospel. For example, Baker states that “before there can be saving faith, an intellectual awareness must take place” (p. 262); then “there must be an acceptance of that body of knowledge as true” (p. 262). In addition, he claims “there must be a trust or reliance upon the knowledge k...

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