Benefits In God, by Fred Igbeare
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
It should go without saying that I am a frequent reader of various apologetic works that seek to encourage in readers a belief and confidence in God and a desire to worship Him . This book is a self-published effort in that genre that approaches the proclamation of the Gospel message as being akin to selling a new and improved vacuum cleaner, with each chapter adding to the benefits already enumerated by the author. Embedded in this approach is a belief that a reader of this book can freely choose to follow God’s ways based on a desire for the good things that the author promises to those who believe. There is no conception of the natural enmity of mankind against God’s ways that has closed off God to those whom God has not called and whose mind God has not opened. This book, therefore, has a faulty assumption that the mission of believers is to engage in soul winning—this is a common false assumption, it should be noted—and so the book itself resembles a sales pitch rather than the Bible’s approach. Some readers will likely be immensely turned off by this sort of spiritual advertising efforts.
In terms of its contents, this book has twenty-five chapters that give a great deal of insight into the emphasis of the author. Several of the chapters reference love, joy, confidence, and power. One of the chapters talks about the rest of God in the context of overcoming addictions—strangely, the chapter does not reference the Sabbath rest or Jesus Christ as Lord of the Sabbath promising a light and easy yoke. A few of the chapters refer to the way that a believer can overcome sin through an obedience to God’s will and God’s ways, but the references to commandments are few and far between, and the author spends much more time condemning the law of sin and death that believers are to overcome rather than discussing the details of God’s nature as expressed in His commandments that believers are to obey in love. Each chapter includes a short description of contents, contents that include quotations from supposed spiritual guides like Norman Geisler as well as a great many biblical citations, and a closing set of discussion questions for the reader to answer.
How is one to take this book? On the one hand, the book is easy to read, well-organized, ending in a passionate commentary on the new heavens and new earth, and full of sound biblical citations. If one wants to praise this book, there are plenty of materials worth praising. Given the author’s bluntness in speaking about salvation and his treatment of this book like an insistent altar call, though, there is a great deal to criticize in the book as well. One would wish the author would be more candid about his own background—the rudimentary nature of his English suggests that he belongs to a background from either Africa or the Caribbean or somewhere like that where knowledge of the English language is somewhat limited. This simplicity of tone will appeal to others and not appeal at all to others, but it would have been better for the author to have admitted his background, whatever it was, just as he discussed in great detail the background of a gangster who supposedly converted to Christianity after having devoted himself for many years to a life of violence. In the final analysis, this is a passionate work with an aim at saving the reader, and a somewhat superficial but enthusiastic understanding of the Bible itself and what it means to become more like God through a lifetime of obedience to His ways and a gradual reconciling with both God and with other believers.
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