Friday, January 6, 2012

Am I Really A Christian by Mike McKinley

Some people are just good writers. Mike McKinley is one of them. He is clever, articulate, and witty. His illustrations are alive and inspiring. But most of all, his use of the Scriptures is insightful. Am I Really a Christian? is a helpful book for all Christians to read. Not just those who might be struggling with their assurance. It can (and should) be used as a tool to help evaluate a person's heart as to whether or not they are truly saved. After all, the Apostle Paul says that we should examine ourselves; that we should test ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith or are just deceiving ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5). This book will help with that.

Books like this could potentially lead someone to thinking they have to work for their salvation. That is not what he is saying. It could lead someone to think that it is impossible to know whether you are saved or not. That is not what he saying. It could lead someone to feel beaten up and condemned that they are not working hard enough on their sanctification. That is not what he is saying. He is simply saying that,
"It is possible for you to honestly believe that you are a follower of Christ, but not actually be one . . . Merely checking a box and calling yourself a Christian doesn't mean that you really are a Christian . . . It is true that we need to make a onetime decision to follow Jesus. But a true onetime decision is followed by the everyday decision to follow Jesus." (22-3)
He is just asking everyone to not trust themselves. We are prone to self-deceit. He is saying that we should trust the Scriptures and then trust our friends in our church to help us evaluate our lives.

I think one of the most helpful statements he makes in the book is really not that profound. I have heard it many times. I have even said it. But for some reason as I read this book, it figuratively leaped off the page for me. He said,
"Literally the word Christian means 'a follower of Christ.'" (29)
I just couldn't help but think this entire book could be summarized like that. When people struggle with assurance or with determining whether they are saved or not, maybe the question that needs to be asked is "are you following Christ?" 

The bulk of the book is simply broken down into several short chapters. At the end of each chapter are some very helpful questions to help you reflect about your life. It would make a great study to go through with a small group, as long as everyone was willing to honestly look at their own life. Here is the list of chapters:

You are not a Christian just because you say that you are
You are not a Christian if you haven't been born again
You are not a Christian just because you like Jesus
You are not a Christian if you enjoy sin
You are not a Christian if you do not endure to the end
You are not a Christian if you don't love other people
You are not a Christian if you love your stuff

I would highly recommend this book. Read it and use it to evaluate your heart. You might also like to check out their website, www.amireallyachristian.com, for some more helpful information.

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