Recently I wrote a blog touting the value of writing reviews of books that you have read. See here.
A few days later, I went on Amazon to check and see the reviews of our books. I was encouraged to see that several of our books had fresh reviews.
While reading the reviews there, I was struck by the strong emotions expressed in some of the negative reviews. Those reviewers understood what I was talking about in my blog. They are conveying their theology and hoping to get people to read the sort of books they like and avoid books they do not like.
Here are some actual reviews that I found on Amazon today:
[A Gospel of Doubt by Bob Wilkin] Misleading and dangerous tripe. One star.
Sorry but preaching the message that the Holy Spirit produces a change in you at the point of salvation that causes you to serve God is NOT legalism. It is the whole point of the doctrine of spiritual regeneration. It is NOT by OUR WORKS. It IS by HIS WORK IN US that makes us the way HE INTENDED, which is to SERVE HIM. That is the farthest thing from legalism.i
[Romans: Deliverance from Wrath by Zane Hodges] Terrible Commentary, Not a Worthwhile Read. Two stars.
This is an awful treatment of one of the highest mountain ranges in the New Testament. Through careful sidesteps and strategic redefinition, Hodges has successfully avoided authorial intent in dozens of key places. He absolutely mutilates Romans 8!
I’m glad this work gets such slight notice;ii it is definitely worth skipping.
[Absolutely Free by Zane Hodges] Heresy masquerading as a defense of Grace. One star.
Absolutely Free is the worst book I have read on the nature of salvation by a professing evangelical. Hodges’ argument is God’s grace does not guarantee that a true believer will experience a changed life, and saving faith consists in nothing more than a belief (however temporary) in certain facts about the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how wicked one’s lifestyle may be, that lifestyle can provide no evidence whatsoever of salvation. Hodges advances six arguments in support of his views—all of which are utterly without merit…
[The Ten Most Misunderstood Words in the Bible] Do not be deceived! One star.
Be very careful about believing what Robert Wilkin teaches. He claims that saving faith is mere intellectual assent and that having once believed in Christ, it doesn’t matter how a person relates to Christ or lives his life, except perhaps with regard to rewards. This is not what the Bible teaches!
Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21-27 that he would reject many who call him “Lord” and have even prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles in his name. Jesus will reject them because they practiced sin…Similarly, the apostle Paul taught that those who practice sin will not inherit the kingdom of God…The apostle John taught the same thing…
You get the idea.
Some of the people who oppose Free Grace Theology view it as their duty to warn people against reading our books. I imagine their reviews do hurt sales. But we are not concerned about sales per se. Our aim is to get the message out. We want to reach as many people as we can with the Free Grace message.
My concern is that we encourage people to read books that clearly articulate the message of the free gift of everlasting life to the believer and the distinct message of earned eternal rewards for the faithful believer.
Thanks for taking the time to review GES books. It is a ministry that impacts people all over the U.S. and around the world.
i This same reviewer gave almost the identical review to Zane Hodges’s book Absolutely Free. Under the heading You Cannot Win an Argument by Misrepresenting the Other Side, he wrote: “He sets up a straw man by misrepresenting the other side. Preaching the message that the Holy Spirit produces a change in you at the point of salvation that causes you to serve God is NOT legalism. It is the whole point of the doctrine of spiritual regeneration. It is NOT by OUR WORKS. It IS by HIS WORK IN US that makes us the way HE INTENDED, which is to SERVE HIM. That is the farthest thing from legalism. This book is out of context tripe and false doctrine that denies the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 7. Hodges turned the grace of God into lasciviousness and promotes a form of godliness that denies the power thereof.” I do not recommend that practice of using the same review for multiple books. It undercuts what you have to say. Write fresh reviews for any and every book you review.
ii The reason he says it gets such slight notice is that there are only 27 ratings and 15 reviews.