No Turning Back
E. A. Johnston
Paperback, 120pp. Published by Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. Price £7.50, ISBN 1-897117-22-1.
This book may not be the last word on the subject of discipleship, but it may well be a good place to start – or restart. While it betrays its American provenance, it challenges the reader to face honestly some of the basic reasons why twenty-first century Christian witness in Western society is not having the impact which we would like it to have. The author reviews the scene: ‘the “joy-boys” of American tele-evangelism’, ‘purpose-driven’, ‘man centred’, ‘feel good’, ‘humanism wrapped in sermons’, are some of the phrases he uses. He makes the point very strongly that, for believers, our lifestyle is at odds with the claims which we make.
The way forward? The author takes us first to the cross and then on to God’s four requirements: obedience, holiness, yieldedness, and fruitfulness. He deals with gossip and then with what he terms ‘The Deadly Trio’: criticism; lying; and pride. His final chapter is entitled, ‘The Narrow Way’ and in it he endeavours to focus the reader’s attention on some of the realities of discipleship.
While some may demur about his use of the term ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ and a rather ambiguous reference to ‘a peculiar people’, this should not allow us to miss the genuine concern of the author to move our churches away from shallow Christianity and conformity to modern culture and back to true discipleship.
[Our thanks to Ed Hotchin, Hucknall, Nottingham, for this review]