Gospel Assurance & Warnings is the third book in the Recovering the Gospel series by Paul Washer. Each chapter is a written form of a sermon. In this series, Washer seeks to lay out the gospel clearly to a culture (and brand of evangelicalism) that is prone to a gospel-reductionism.
From the outset of the series, Washer explains that it does, “not represent an entirely systematic presentation of the gospel, it does address most of the essential elements, especially those that are most neglected in contemporary Christianity” (xi). This book rather clarifies two essential elements of the gospel in an non-exhaustive way; the elements of assurance and warnings.
There are errors on both sides of the assurance idea: some who are genuinely converted are uncertain that they are saved, and they need assurance. There are also some who have a false assurance that they are saved when indeed they are not. We need to assure the converted of their salvation and warn the unconverted of the pending judgment due to them unless they repent.
This volume helpfully provides assurance to true believers by walking through several passages in 1 John to describe characteristics of a true child of God before shifting to describing several warning passages in the New Testament (mainly from Matthew 7) directed at those who think they are converted but are not. Washer makes it very clear throughout that the idea of ‘carnal’ Christians, that is, Christians who are ‘saved’ but haven’t yet made Jesus their Lord by obedience, is unbiblical and leads to gross error. Another thing commonly struck down is the idea that you can “ask Jesus into your heart” by praying the sinner’s prayer.
Washer handles this vital truth with a surgeon’s precision: detailing popular errors, describing their consequences, and providing the remedy in the truth of the gospel. His entire presentation is seeped in Scripture and only occasionally references or quotes other preachers or writers. Some of the elements I found to be most helpful were Washer’s description of the errors of legalism and antinomianism, the continual call for self-examination, and the practical wisdom provided for pastors and evangelists.
While some parts seemed a little repetitive, I think Gospel Assurance & Warnings will help many Christian leaders to identify and assure true converts and likewise use Scripture’s warnings to warn those who may not be soundly saved. For people in the business of winning and shepherding souls, I don’t know of many topics that have more eternal significance.
Title: Gospel Assurance & Warnings
Author: Paul Washer
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.