Unmasked! Recognizing and Dealing with Imposters in the Church. By O.S. Hawkins. Chicago: Moody Press, 1989. 99 pp. Paper, $5.95.
I have mixed emotions after reading this book. On the one hand, I am very much in agreement with the author on the dreadful spread of liberalism in conservative churches, schools, and denominations. It’s important that we maintain doctrinal purity. The foundations of our faith must not be destroyed.
On the other hand, I disagree with the author’s claim that “a truly born-again person cannot become an apostate” (p. 36). Passages like 1 Tim 1:19-20 and 2 Tim 2:16-18 show that a true Christian can become an apostate.
I also can’t agree when Hawkins suggests that all true believers have peace, are loving, and are productive (pp. 26-29). This logically leads to assurance by works, even though the author is discussing the issue of how to discern if others are truly saved or not.
Most JOTGES readers will be disappointed with his treatment of passages like Luke 8:13 (he says that the stony-ground people don’t truly believe in Christ, p. 36), 2 Pet 2:21-22 (he concludes that the dupes weren’t true believers, p. 23), and Jude 24-25 (he indicates that no true believer will fall and that all true believers will be presented faultless, pp. 91-99).
This book is a helpful warning against the danger of apostasy. It is not helpful, however, in its exegesis or in its conclusions regarding believers and apostasy.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society