Monday, October 20, 2008

Guest Blog: Jennifer at Quiverfull Family's Review of "He Loves Me", written by Wayne Jacobsen

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Here's a STELLAR review from my blogging pal, Jennifer at Quiverfull Family!

Have you ever fallen into a performance trap? Felt like God only loved you if you were performing to His standards? Doubted His love for you during hard times? Wayne Jacobsen has penned He Loves Me! to offer warm, personal encouragement for Christians who feel removed from the love of their Father.

Jacobsen writes strongly, sharing his conviction and personal experience of God’s unfailing love. Revisiting familiar parables and scenes from throughout the New Testament as well as the Old Testament, Jacobsen builds a case for God’s ongoing desire to enter into relationships with each and every one of us.

He Loves Me! keeps a tight focus on God’s love. Jacobsen repeatedly turns the readers eye away from themselves and places their sights upon the Heavenly Father. Rather than exploring the message of salvation, Jacobsen’s work is written for those who have already entered into relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but who may not feel confident in His love.

While an excellent resource for new Christians who seek to understand the basis of their new position in Christ, He Loves Me! also offers a healing balm for those wounded by works-based religious belief systems. A theme that occurs repeatedly throughout Jacobsen’s works is that Christianity is not a religion, a set of rules that Christians must follow in order to please God. Rather, it is God’s invitation to enter into a relationship with Him each day through the death of His son on the cross. It is refreshing to read a work from a man who is so clearly grounded in this truth and who proclaims it loudly.

Jacobsen reassures us that we will never be good enough for God, we will never be able to please Him with our own efforts at righteousness. Our status with Him is dependent entirely upon Jesus’ work on the cross. Our position in Christ rests not upon our striving to fulfill the laws’ commands, but rather the holiness that knowing Jesus will produce in our lives as we let His love fill us full to overflowing. I went into Jacobsen’s body of work with a degree of skepticism, being unfamiliar with his teachings. I wondered if I’d encounter claims of universal salvation, the dismissal of sin or a philosophy of ‘easy-believism’. Thankfully none of these were present, only a rallying cry to return to the foundations of faith – knowing Jesus and following Him.

However, there are some weak points present in Jacobsen’s work. Few scriptures are provided to back up his points, and single verses at times serve as the foundation for suppositions that are widely divergent from those held by the majority of the body of Christ. For instance, he posits that believers no longer need to fear God, but a brief survey of the word ‘fear’ as used throughout the New Testament would display that the matter of fearing God is not as one-sided as presented here. Scripture speaks to the fear of God in a believer’s life, as well as fear not being present in perfect love. All instances of the term ‘fear’ need to be taken into account to form a balanced view of God’s thoughts on the matter. Jacobsen’s beliefs regarding sin should also be closely compared with scripture; it seems that they may ultimately lead to the doctrine of complete sanctification within this life when followed to their logical conclusion. Readers will need to proceed with discernment, eating the meat and spitting out the bones.

If you’ve been entrenched in a struggle to trust in Christ’s work on the cross on your behalf, these teachings regarding God’s love may take some time to sink in. Jacobsen acknowledges that tuning in to God’s love and experiencing Him daily takes time, patience, and trust. With each chapter Jacobsen provides points for personal application, as well as questions that can be explored in a group discussion setting. Seeking God in prayer that focuses upon the suggestions offered, and discussing these teachings with others will serve to deepen understanding and belief.

For myself, I’m inspired to read through the New Testament once again, seeking to understand the love of God through His word as I seek to draw near to Him. I am confident that He Loves Me! will reach many believers who are seeking to regain an authentic, personal walk with Christ as they emerge from works based expectations.

Thanks for letting me share, Jennifer!

Happy Reading!

Deena

1 comment:

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

Thanks Deena for sharing my review with your readers!!

Don't forget to submit one of yours for the Christian Book Carnival tomorrow!