Sunday, July 10, 2011

Am I Really a Christian - book review

Am I Really a Christian: The Most Important Question You’re not Asking.
From the introduction: “This is a book aimed at convincing you that you may not be a Christian.” That seems a pretty scary way to start a book, but for me it worked. And it worked because I’ve been asking the same questions, and thinking the same sorts of things – I know that probably means I’m judging, so I’m probably lacking some part of the Christian DNA.
But as McKinley works through his premise that there are a lot of people out there calling themselves Christians that may not be, I became more and more convinced that this books has been needed for a long time. As a pastor I get to talk to a captive audience most Sunday mornings; and one of the things that I frequently put forth is that in our attempt to make the Gospel more accessible, we’ve dummied it down so much that a lot of people in our churches think that once you’ve said the ‘sinner’s prayer” you’re free to go forth to sin happily ever after.
McKinley points out some of the common misconceptions about being a Christian, and backing up his thesis with the appropriate scriptures, he shows that it takes more than liking Jesus, or saying that you’re a Christian to make you one. He also points out some of the things that a lot of people do which makes it difficult for others to accept without question the idea that they’re Christians. Things like judging others, enjoying sin, and liking your stuff top that list.
This is not a book for the weak at heart. It was too easy to see myself painted in the pages of this book – oops I do that, oh-oh, I don’t do that – am I really a Christian? If you don’t get discouraged and stop reading, then you’ll get to the point where the author reminds us that feeling like a yo-yo is normal, but if you look closel,y you’ll see even as a yo-yo, the lows aren’t as low as they once were.
He finishes the book with a more positive slant, and shows us how we can know that we are a Christian, and if we’ve been living a lie, how to go about making it up. He also offers some useful tips on what the church can do to help us continue on the Christian walk.
Because this book forced me to look at myself, it was not a particularly easy book to read, although it was worth the effort. There is no way anyone can accuse McKinley of dummying down the Gospel, and that might be just what we need in today’s changing world.

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