No Greater Savior. By Richard Lee and Ed Hindson. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995. 294 pp. Cloth, $16.99.
Combining Scripture and a knowledge of history with logical deduction and imagination, Lee and Hindson offer their personalized portrayal of various episodes in the life of Christ. In some ways they do this very well. Tracing events from before Jesus’ incarnation till after His resurrection, the authors give some fascinating glimpses of the Savior and many who came in contact with Him.
Their book is divided into four parts, each having fifteen brief chapters which would seem to be intended for use as a daily devotional. The writers are not content simply to restate history, but often delve into what they perceive may have been some of the thoughts and motives of individuals. Insights are offered as to how they feel various encounters with the Savior might apply to us. “Let the Hammers Ring!” contains a heart-wrenching description of the awfulness of crucifixion. We can’t imagine what the Lord went through for us.
“Each chapter in the pages ahead is a verbal picture of the Savior,” write the authors in the preface. Though gifted at painting these historical “verbal pictures,” the writers are not clear on the Gospel. Indeed, one could open the book to various places and get three different messages on how to be saved (i.e., Lordship Salvation, Free Grace, and confusion). The following quotations will illustrate this:
The poor in spirit are the opposite of the proud, the arrogant, the self-righteous. They are, in fact, spiritual “beggars.” They have acknowledged their need for God’s grace and have accepted His salvation as a free gift. Therefore, they will inherit the kingdom of heaven (p. 82).
Unfortunately, there are those who say that the message of the gospel is simply “believe.” Repentance is a “work” they insist. They reason that since the Bible speaks against a gospel of works, repentance must not be part of the gospel (p. 100).
Take a few minutes to reflect on your commitment to Him. Ask yourself: “If Jesus’ commitment to me were based on my commitment to Him, where would I be in eternity?” Then ask yourself, “What would I do differently today?” (p. 102).
The book has other perplexing statements. For example, on p. 120, in a chapter on the lordship of Christ, we read, “In fact, the Bible never says one word about making Jesus Lord of our lives!” Then on the next page near the beginning of a discussion of various aspects of His lordship we find: “The real question is not: Have you made Jesus Lord of your life? The real question is: Have you bowed your heart in submission to His lordship?” A little farther, on p. 122 we read, “The only real question that remains, then, is this: Is He Lord of your life?” And three paragraphs later on p. 123:
The Bible calls upon us to trust Jesus Christ with our lives and our eternal destiny. It makes no distinction between receiving Him as Savior and Lord. He is both and He is to be received as both. You don’t get half of Jesus at one point in your life and wait to receive the other half at a later time.
There is confusion in this work. Sometimes the reader may get the impression that the writers are Free Grace. And although the question, “Have I really believed on Him alone to save me?” (p. 115), is asked, the book actually seems to be a not so subtle endorsement of Lordship Salvation theology. Outright Lordship Salvation statements from John MacArthur, Jr. (p. 94) and A. W. Tozer (p. 102), apparently quoted with approval, give insight as to the bent of the writers as well. Though seeming to warn against judging the salvation of others (p. 98), the book has vague and fuzzy statements on self-examination (pp. 98, 102, 106) where it is unclear whether or not the authors feel this should be done to determine if one has eternal life. Of course it should be realized that any who set up a standard of personal behavior by which to “check” for one’s salvation and who believe themselves to be saved are, in effect, claiming to indeed measure up. God’s standard is the one that counts, though. And to admit to not measuring up to that could drive such a person to despair, excuses, or to Free Grace. May it be the last named!
It’s too bad that these two writers could not have used their considerable talent to consistently present the clear Gospel message of eternal salvation through faith alone in Christ alone and to encourage believers to look not to themselves for assurance but to the One who does the saving, the author of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Port Byron, IL