Say Yes! How to Renew Your Spiritual Passion. By Luis Palau. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1991. 172 pp. Paper, $8.95.
Say Yes! is a call to repentance to the Church-an appeal to wake up and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. God desires to fill our lives with His victory, power, and joy. Instead of presenting a mechanical methodology of discipleship training as done by some writers, Palau makes a personal appeal to individuals, speaking straight to the heart. The tone is serious, convicting, and gentle-without accusing, negative, or critical overtones. The example of Christ washing the disciples’ feet is not only a central theme of the book, but the spirit of the writer as well.
Palau starts off with a candid personal account of his own testimony. Like many Christians who grew up going to church, he struggled intensely to find fulfillment and joy by involvement in church activities, reading the Bible, attending prayer meetings, and witnessing and preaching to the lost. Yet with all this activity and earnest desire to please God, Palau became more frustrated and unhappy. Then he discovered four important spiritual principles which changed the whole course of his life. The book centers around these principles.
Palau next lays the groundwork for the four truths by discussing spiritual warfare and the Christian’s victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Holiness is stressed as he illustrates how various sins not considered serious (or gross) today are nevertheless causing much damage and hindrance. An unthankful spirit, resentment, and a critical, unloving attitude are examples of the long list of “sins of the flesh” which must be pinpointed and confessed.
In his chapter on “The Cleansed Life” Palau explains that Jesus’ example of footwashing must be followed in a spiritual form. Christians need to learn to gently “wash each others’ feet” from the defilement of the world. This means that sins must be lovingly confronted and confessed. This is perhaps the hardest of the four principles to apply since it involves confession and repentance on the part of the offender, as well as courage, love, and obedience on the part of the “footwasher.” Palau recounts that in a church in Colombia a man stood up in the middle of his sermon and confessed his sins. Soon there was a lot of “footwashing” going on, and revival came to that church.
The second principle is consecration, involving the dedicating of one’s life to follow Christ in obedience. Here the believer must offer himself (or herself) as a living sacrifice totally consumed by God, with nothing held back.
Third, there is the Christ-centered life expressed by Paul in Gal 2:20. As we yield to Christ, He produces in us a strong faith and victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The final and fourth spiritual principle is concern, or a “passion,” for the lost. When Christians reach this stage they gain a deep concern for unbelievers’ souls. Once this is obtained, witnessing will begin automatically and supernaturally.
Although Say Yes! has many positive points, the Gospel message is unclear in at least one place where Palau describes his conversion. While Luis was a boy at camp, his counselor presented to him a condition for his obtaining eternal salvation-confession with his mouth that Christ is Lord-based on a view of Rom 10:9–10 that contrasts with simply “believing in Christ.” Palau does not clarify in Say Yes! whether or not he believes that verbal confession is really a condition for salvation.
Nevertheless, Palau’s book is well worth reading.
Mark J. Farstad
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society