Anyone who has ever heard the good news of the gospel is sooner or later confronted, perhaps in a moment of trepidation, with the question—How do I know if I am really saved? The question itself can be alarming, if not paralyzing. And even the most stalwart leaders throughout church history are not exempt from such doubts.
Which is precisely what makes my friend and pastor J.D. Greear’s latest volume so universal in scope and application. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart successfully tackles the topic of conversion and the concept of assurance for the human heart.
As with Gospel, Greear is keenly averse to empty religion, often evidenced by formulaic prayers and ritualistic processes. Behind this sensitivity lies a pastor’s genuine concern for the souls of his flock. It’s obvious that Greear doesn’t want anyone to substitute a mechanical decision for a real encounter with the person of Jesus. Thus, the premise of the text is simple—a call for readers to stop asking Jesus into their hearts, coupled with an open invitation to start resting in the finished work of Christ (11).
Greear exudes pastoral incisiveness. Knowing firsthand the nebulous nature of spiritual conversations, his explanations are clear, compelling, and downright refreshing. In fact, one of the strengths of Stop Asking Jesus is Greear’s ability to supply gospel-fueled motivation. Those once dazed and disarmed by a cultural Christianity are confronted with a clear view of the love of God displayed in the gospel and prompted to act.
Of particular importance is Greear’s mantra of “once saved, forever following” (87). Herein lies the gem—one’s present posture is far more significant than a past moment. Cultural Christianity, especially in Greear’s southern homeland, has a tendency to cling to a previous decision as the basis for confidence and assurance. Greear appropriately concludes that one’s present posture towards Jesus is what truly yields lasting assurance.
My one critique of Greear would be the individualistic implications of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart. While he remains biblically faithful in every respect, the battle for biblical assurance is not one to be fought in isolation. Scripture is replete with exhortations to speak the truths of God to one another regularly. Some acknowledgement and application for the Christian in community would have been helpful.
Nevertheless, as a pastor, I found the text personally engaging and theologically enriching. Greear’s explanations of belief and repentance shaped how I now articulate such terms. Further, the appendices serve as practical and appropriate answers to tangential theological issues.
The truths presented in Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart are a timely message for Christ-followers today. I fully expect this text to be an influential resource for shaping more lifelong disciples of Christ in our generation.