I believe writing a short booklet for new believers is a great idea. Since I have been saved I have read through several of them, many include review questions at the end of each chapter for thoughtful reflection, this book does not. The book is softcover and the illustrations represent an excellent metaphor for the concept, “What’s New about You.” The cover includes illustrations of butterflies, the conclusion of metamorphosis. The author did include many excellent biblical truths. As a Christian I could understand the general truths she was referring to, but I tried to read the book as a new believer. So I did, but I am reviewing the book as a Christian familiar with the biblical truths written about.
I have written a critical review, and I do so with great respect for the author. Please note, reading through this book it is clear to me that the author and I maintain some major theological differences. However, there are things that needed to be addressed. And since the publishers expect an honest review, I am fulfilling their expectations. Please do not judge the author based upon my review. I am sure that she is a devout Christian who loves her Lord and wants to please Him by doing the best that she can.
Unfortunately, I was not that impressed with the content of the book. I found the book to be redundant, and at times, incoherent. The book includes some rather unusual explanations, one example,”God baited and trapped the devil by allowing him to kill Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ suffered the judgment of God!” (p. 12) I find this thought a little confusing. I appreciate the author’s passion for writing and sharing biblical truth, but I believe a little formal biblical education would have better prepared her to write the book. She listed many scriptures following her thoughts, unfortunately, there was no real exegesis and biblical exposition of the passages. I have no doubt that we interpret the baptism of the Spirit differently. However, what I have mentioned thus far is not my greatest concern.
In the epilogue at the conclusion of the book Karen wrote a brief biography, the conclusion of her biography is rather troubling. She writes about the day she received the baptism of the Spirit. She writes, “In a matter of minutes, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need for the baptism of the Holy Spirit in my life, and I could not wait for the invitation to receive the impartation of it. I never heard anyone speak in tongues, and I had never seen or known of anyone “falling under the power of the Spirit”, but that morning I experienced both for myself. That infilling of the Spirit changed my life. At that moment there is no way anyone could convince me that I was not “saved”. I KNEW (authors emphasis, not mine) I was, and I know I am! I was able to learn large passages of Scripture, pray in tongues, and understand Scripture that had no meaning to me before, I cried through church services for almost two years knowing how much God loved, accepted me, and forgave me.” (p. 55) My question is, why would anyone want to convince her that she is not saved? In this quote Karen is confirming the validity of her salvation based upon her experience of speaking in tongues. I do believe that our experiences can affirm our Salvation, but never confirm. The apostles considered God’s Word the best confirmation for salvation, not experience. We can be deceived by our experiences. I am not suggesting that Karen is not saved, please don’t misunderstand me. My concern, instead of the Bible she is using her experience as assurance of her salvation, but what happens if she backslides, or stops speaking in tongues, and can no longer memorize Scripture? Will that mean she is no longer saved? And at the same time, whether she realizes this or not, she is encouraging her readers to use experience as basis for validation and assurance of their salvation. What about the new believers who don’t speak in tongues, cannot understand Scripture, and don’t cry for two years? Are they saved? These points should raise concern and here’s why, does God want new believers to base their assurance of salvation on experience, or on God’s Word and God’s faithfulness?
In exchange for an honest review Olive Press Publisher has given me a copy of this book. I have written an honest review.