The Strait Gate and the Narrow Way: Bible Studies on the Doctrine of Salvation and Repentance. By Eddie R. Galyean. Np: np, nd.128 pages. Paper. Np.
While helping a friend organize his bookshelf, I came across this book. Intrigued by the title, as repentance based salvation always gets my attention, I began skimming through the chapters. I was extremely surprised to find that I agreed with most of what had been written.
Galyean, a Southern Baptist preacher, is against the teaching of Lordship Salvation. He has a good understanding of the freeness of eternal salvation, and relays that truth in a way that is easy enough for a child to understand, but writes with an intensity and passion that would keep any theologian interested in what he has to say.
The Straight Gate and the Narrow Way, for the most part, is consistent with the teachings of Free Grace. For example, Galyean states, “A gift is something that is given with no stipulations or requirements. A gift is free. The bible says Heaven is a free gift”. He remains consistent with this teaching, even while explaining tough texts, such as James 2:14-26. His understanding of this text is that James is explaining how to have fellowship with God, and that works are the only thing that can justify saved people before men. Of this passage, he writes, “A person’s works have absolutely nothing to do with his getting to heaven. Although it is important to be justified in God’s sight, it is also important to be justified in man’s sight. The only way to be justified in man’s sight is by works.” On Philippians 2:12 he writes, “Becoming a Christian and becoming a good Christian do not happen at the same time, but it takes time and practice to become a good Christian. Being a good Christian takes work. For this reason, God said, ‘Work out your salvation…’”.
While remaining consistent along most points, Galyean sounds a bit less clear when he speaks about what he calls the “plan of salvation.” While he repeatedly states that the sole condition for eternal life is simple belief, he never really clearly explains what it means to believe in Jesus for that eternal life. For instance, there are several times that he equates belief with phrases such as “asking Jesus into your heart,” “deciding to trust Him,” and “asking Jesus to save you” (pp. 61-62, 111-112).
The Straight Gate and the Narrow Way is, overall, very informative, enjoyable, and biblically sound. I would recommend this book.
Jason Scott Hyde
East Texas Baptist University