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Posted July 31, 2013
The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.
What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:
1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth.
This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth.
2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will result in fruit in the life of believers. Washer is presenting the view that the truly saved will act out a pattern of behavior reflective of God’s holiness, though salvation is by grace, the evidence of salvation is demonstrable in works.
3. Washer is absolutely after theological precision. One cannot read this book and not see where he stands on the issues of salvation, grace, and conversion.
That being said, I think it should be clear what his position is. Washer is a strong advocate of a Calvinistic view of Scripture and salvation. That is, he sees Scripture clearly supporting the idea that Jesus died for a certain group of people, the elect. These are known by God and the only ones capable of responding to the “Gospel Call.” This view highlights the sovereignty of God above other attributes or issues in salvation.
The Gospel Call and True Conversion approaches theology as if this way, and only this way, of seeing salvation is right. If you are of a more Arminian or Wesleyan view, you will likely take offense at his certainty.
The other issue I would take with The Gospel Call and True Conversion is Washer’s assertion that the “Gospel” has been lost. While I can see the issues that exist, I would personally suggest that losing the Gospel would be synonymous to the gates of Hell prevailing against the church, which is explicitly rejected in Scripture. The issue I see here is a bit of harshness expressed in the communication of truth.
While I agree there are times to be direct, I am not certain that the direct approach throughout is effective. Sometimes, hammering is critical. Other times, a hammer only hurts.
In all, while I would not circulate The Gospel Call and True Conversion for a Sunday School class, I do think it adds depth to theological study. Not the most critical text on theology available, but certainly of value.
I received this book free through Cross Focused Reviews. Free book, and I write a review. That’s about it.