Nothing But The Blood. By Bailey E. Smith. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987. 212 pp. Paper, $6.95.
Nothing But The Blood is a book of good news and bad news. First, the good news.
This book is a lot of fun to read. It is filled with excellent illustrations. Dr. Smith’s preaching, as it is recorded in this book, is exciting, personal, and interactive. This reviewer found himself getting excited with the author as he related encounters in his ministry and reflected on the Scriptures. Smith exudes a genuine heart for the lost. And therein lies the sadness of the bad news.
The bad news are the obvious, and sometimes even confusing, contradictions in the author’s theology as it relates to the Gospel and assurance. On the one hand, Smith will affirm the sufficiency of the cross, and he leads one to believe that faith in Christ’s work is enough. Yet, then, without missing a beat, he interjects a Lordship/perseverance emphasis. He appears, as many do, not even to notice the tension. A few examples will help.
On p. 32, Smith writes, “All you need to know is: He paid the price for your iniquity. He is your Redeemer, and when He died upon that cross, He did away with the guilt of all your sins.” Then, across the page, Smith tells the reader that to get on the road to heaven, you must “commit your life to Himand what He did upon the Cross …”(italics added).
The author gives a telling exchange between himself and an inquirer after one of his messages. The concern was over the “automatic stuff” involved in salvation. When asked if he really believed that it was true that forgiveness was automatic when it was asked for, Smith replied, “Yes, I believe it because it’s true-you are automatically forgiven when you repent and turn from your sins” (p. 155, emphasis added). While something of believing may have been mentioned, it is never recorded.
One final example comes from Smith’s closing chapter, entitled “Bearing the cross.” The author uses an electric chair as a modern substitute for the idea of a cross. He paraphrases Jesus with these words, “If you are not willing to pick up your electric chair and follow Me, I do not want you to be one of Mine. You must be willing to be executed in order to be a follower of Mine” (p. 202, italics added).
The author mixes the concept of discipleship with that of being a Christian. He mixes following Christ with believing. He either attempts to redefine faith or add conditions to it. In so doing, Smith takes his readers on a journey that heads to Rome. That trip is bad news indeed!
Tabernacle Baptist Church