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A Review of Charles Stanley's Book
This is an excerpt of a review from the Spring 1991 issue of the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (pp.69-71).
No one who reads Eternal Security can doubt for a moment the writer's deep conviction that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. For example, Stanley writes: "Look at that verse [John 3:18] and answer this question: According to Jesus, what must a person do to keep from being judged for sin? Must he stop doing something? Must he promise to stop doing something? Must he have never done something? The answer is so simple that many stumble all over it without ever seeing it. All Jesus requires is that the individual 'believe in' Him" (p. 67). It would be hard to put it more plainly than that!. . .
Among the most impressive sections in the book is the chapter entitled, "For Those Who Stop Believing" (chapter 8). Here Stanley clearly says some things which should have often been said before. For example, he writes: "The Bible clearly teaches that God's love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand" (p. 74). This is beautifully put. Equally lucid is the striking paragraph: "Faith is simply the way we say yes to God's free gift of eternal life. Faith and salvation are not one and the same anymore than a gift and the hand that receives it are the same. Salvation or justification or adoption- whatever you wish to call it-stands independently of faith. Consequently, God does not require a constant attitude of faith in order to be saved-only an act of faith" (p. 80). A little later, Stanley also writes: "You and I are not saved because we have an enduring faith. We are saved because at a moment in time we expressed faith in our enduring Lord" (p. 80)...
But just as this author is unmistakably clear in his doctrine of salvation, he is equally clear in another widely neglected area: the doctrine of rewards! Few (if any!) contemporary writers are more insistent on the role that this doctrine should play as a motivation for godly Christian living. This reviewer particularly enjoyed this crisp paragraph: "Does our behavior matter once we are assured of our salvation? You bet it does. Are there any eternal consequences when a believer sins? Absolutely. Will eternity be the same for those who follow Christ faithfully and those who live for themselves? Not a chance" (p. 118). Shortly afterwards he states: "Keep in mind we are not talking about heaven and hell. That is a different issue all together. Our works have nothing to do with where we spend eternity. But they have a lot to do with what we can expect once we get there" (p. 118). The GES reader is urged to study Dr. Stanley's entire discussion of this subject in chapters 12-14. These chapters are an effective response to the tired old argument that if we are secure, we no longer have reasons for living a godly life...
This book's message is crisp, clear, and uncompromisingly scriptural. It is precisely
such a book as is urgently needed in our day and time...
*Nashville: Oliver Nelson, 1990.195 pp. Cloth, $14.95.
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