Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 30:59 (Autumn 2017)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

No Quick Fix: Where Higher Life Theology Came from, What It Is, and Why It’s Harmful. By Andrew David Naselli. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017. 123 pp. Paper, $17.99.

I came to faith and grew via the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. It taught a higher-life view of the Christian life, with two types of Christians. Then I was educated at Dallas Theological Seminary, which for the most part also taught a higher-life view, a Chaferian view, of justification and sanctification.

Over the years I found weaknesses in some aspects of the Keswick or Chaferian views. Yet I very strongly agree with the underlying point that there are two (or three!) types of Christians. So when I saw this title, I was drawn to the book.

Naselli does a good job of pointing out some of the weaknesses of higher-life teaching. Unfortunately, two of the major problems he sees are actually its strengths.

The author is right to warn that some versions of higher-life teaching promote “a form of perfectionism” (pp. 48, 77-81), “emphasize passivity, not activity” (pp. 48, 81-83), “use superficial formulas for instantaneous sanctification” (pp. 48, 91), “foster dependency on experiences at special holiness meetings” (pp. 48, 91-92), and “misinterpret personal experiences” (pp. 48, 95-97).

Unfortunately, Naselli goes too far. He rejects aspects of higher-life teaching that are foundational to both justification and sanctification.

Throughout the book, Naselli promotes Lordship Salvation (see esp. pp. 25-27). He finds the idea that there are some Christians who are spiritual and others who are carnal to be “the fundamental reason [why] higher life theology is harmful…It divides Christians into two distinct types. This is the lynchpin reason that higher life theology is wrong” (p. 49).

Naselli goes so far as to say that “All Christians are spiritual” (p. 55); “All Christians are Spirit-filled” (p. 62); and “All Christians abide in Christ” (p. 69). To be fair, he does qualify each of those assertions. He says, “All Christians are spiritual; none are permanently carnal” (p. 55, emphasis added); “All Christians are Spirit-filled to various degrees

(p. 62, emphasis added); and “All Christians abide in Christ to various degrees” (p. 69, emphasis added).

Concerning all Christians being spiritual, Naselli adds, “Believers may temporarily live in a fleshly way, but believers by definition live in a characteristically righteous way” (p. 59, emphasis his). I don’t see how he can squ...

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