Untangling Emotions – J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith (2019)

emotionsJ. Alasdair Groves & Winston T. Smith, Untangling Emotions (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 225 pp.

Most people have experienced the frustration of trying to untangle the laces on a pair of tennis shoes. Frustration only escalates as the knot tightens which leads to a sense of heightened angst. This normal occurrence vividly depicts how many people approach their emotional lives. People approach emotions in different ways: Some deny their emotions; others allow their emotions to dictate their lives.

Untangling Emotions by J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith helps clear the fog about this confusing matter. The authors seek to nurture the emotional lives of their readers and ultimately point them to the Savior.

The book is arranged in three sections. The first section, understanding emotions, is a candid look at the way we live our lives. One of the most helpful aspects of this section is that emotions turn us Godward: “Every emotion you ever feel reflects your loves, or what you worship.” The authors examine the emotional life of Jesus and reveal how he lived to God’s glory. Real change is found in submitting our emotional lives to God.

Section two, engaging emotions, explores how we engage with God. “Engaging emotions” according to the authors, “without engaging God is a recipe for disaster.” The authors stress the importance of evaluating our hearts (which is a summary of our emotional lives): “Changing your feelings is not your biggest goal. Instead, we want to let our evaluation of our emotions drive us to act in ways that will actually have an impact on the deep loves and treasures of hour hearts.”

The final section, engaging the hardest emotions, tackles some common issues that people battle, namely – fear, anger, grief, guilt, and shame. I found the third section very helpful and touched a nerve in me. The above emotions are discussed candidly and subjected to the light of biblical revelation.

The truly encouraging aspect of this book is wrapped up in the reality and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ: “The end of the story really is radical, complete comfort. No more tears. Every earthly pain a ‘light momentary affliction’ compared with the glory of heaven. And yet the trials we’ve been through and the sins we’ve committed are exactly the things that now make our souls hunger and thirst for redemption and God’s restoring all things. Our tears whet our appetite for heaven.”

Untangling Emotions is a deeply meaningful book. The writing is plain, but also penetrating. It carries the full weight of biblical authority but never comes across in judgmental tones. There is much wisdom to be gleaned here – so much that I will certainly revisit these pages in the days to come.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


Maturity: Growing Up and Going on in the Christian Life – Sinclair Ferguson

matSinclair B. Ferguson, Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2019), 231 pp.

In a style that Christians have grown fond of, Sinclair Ferguson gifts the church with Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life. Originally penned in 1980 and distributed with the title, Add to Your Faith, and in 1981 as Taking the Christian Life Seriously in the United States. To refer to this short work as a treasure would be an understatement as Dr. Ferguson presents the high points of the Christian life.

The high points are set forth in five sections, namely, growing up, standing firm, facing difficulties, pressing on, and maturity. At the heart of Ferguson’s work is the Pauline mandate for Christ-followers to be mature in Christ: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28). Ferguson adds, “The mature Christian has been finely shaped by the Holy Spirit and has been ‘filled out’ in a character which showed the fruit of the Spirit. Mature Christians possess the qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, because he alone has exhibited them perfectly. This is maturity.” As such, we are not only “bound to the example of Christ, we are under the lordship of Christ.”

Each of the five sections assumes that readers desire to grow in Christian maturity. With the divine standard in place, the author carefully explains how maturity develops throughout the course of our lives. The various themes that emerge in these sections are deeply biblical and profoundly practical. Christians at all stages of maturity will benefit from Ferguson’s sound exegesis and practical application.

Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life truly lives up to its calling and invites readers to press and continue the sanctification process that was initiated at the point of conversion.

Highly recommended.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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A Company of Heroes: Portraits From the Gospel’s Global Advance – Tim Keesee (2019)

keeseeTim Keesee, A Company of Heroes: Portraits From the Gospel’s Global Cause (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 286 pp.

Most young people aspire to be like someone. The people they emulate are athletes, rock stars, and actors. These people serve as heroes to the upcoming generation. But Tim Keesee has a different set of heroes in mind. Keesee is thinking about heroes who embrace biblical values, live according to a Christian worldview, and keep eternity in their range of sight. The kingdom of God is at the forefront of their minds.

In A Company of Heroes: Portraits From the Gospel’s Global Cause, Keesee presents a series of journal entries that he has written over the past several years. The entries tell the tale of a cadre of Christians who value the kingdom of God and strive to share the gospel with the nations.

The book is comprised of seventeen chapters that chronicle stories of God’s grace in the lives of His people. The brave warriors surveyed in this volume come from different backgrounds and serve in different parts of the world – from London to Leningrad and from Afghanistan to Armenia. Yet each hero has a common goal. Each hero has a passion to spread the supremacy of Jesus to every ethnos for the glory of God!

One sentence sums up the whole book as Keesee refers to some missionaries faithfully gave their lives for the sake of the gospel. Here’s the glorious sentence:

When I first visited, these missionaries were blazing trails both linguistically and literally as they traveled as far as the road would take them – and then walked on in order to spread the fame of Jesus to every corner of this remote borderland.

This sentence may as well appear on every page of the book. For the gospel pulsates on every page. Jesus is exalted in every story. Resurrection hope permeates this volume.

A Company of Heroes should be devoured by Christians who cherish the gospel and have a passion for the nations. This book will help shape readers’ passion for evangelism and world missions. It will inspire, encourage, and may even convict a few people.

The gospel’s global cause is growing and the mighty work of the Holy Spirit cannot be stopped. So let the nations be glad!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards – Owen Strachan (2018)

owenOwen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands: Day By Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2018), 415 pp.

I don’t usually get too excited about devotional books. They are typically too short and far too shallow. Such books gain a wide readership, which only adds fuel to my frustration. But when I learned about Dr. Owen Strachan’s new book, Always in God’s Hands: Day By Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards, I eagerly secured a copy to review.

The book contains a short devotional for each day of the year. Readers are greeted by a short citation by America’s greatest intellectual and pastor, Jonathan Edwards. Strachan follows with an insightful devotion which is laced with Bible-centered wisdom and practical lessons that apply to the Christian life. Topics include the doctrine of the Trinity, justification, sanctification, battling temptation and worldliness, work ethic, faith, biblical authority, and many more. Each devotion concludes with a short Scripture that relates to the daily content.

Observant readers will notice several things about Strachan’s work. First, it is not short and it is not shallow. These are meaty, soul-stirring devotionals that ignite the affections and draw the attention of readers to the triune God. For instance, listen to how the author describes the promise of a Redeemer:

“It was foretold that Jesus would come as a holy warrior to face down his foe. Genesis 3:15 charts what the New Testament Gospels show us. Christ, Jonathan Edwards says, ‘went before us.’ He suffered ‘execution,’ dying to honor the justice of God, represented so vividly as a ‘sword,’ a great and terrible weapon. But the way of Christ is not a way of defeat. In dying, the Son of God crushed the serpent’s head. He rose from the dead. For believers, ‘there is no sword now,’ and eternal life awaits. The conquering hero will one day welcome us home, a liberated nation and a set-apart people.”

Second, it is a stellar introduction to the Christ-saturated worldview of Jonathan Edwards (approximately 30,000 words from the pen of Edwards are presented in this volume). Too many people unfairly caricature Edwards as a fire-breathing preacher, preoccupied with judgment and damnation. Edwards does indeed warn people to flee from the wrath to come. But this is not his only focus. The Puritan divine is fixated on the glory of God. He is consumed with the supremacy of Christ. His writing is saturated with gospel-centered joy.

Third, it provides practical help for believers at different maturity levels. This volume is certainly a great encouragement to seasoned believers. But it will also help strengthen the faith of believers who are just getting started. After completing Always in His Hands, I ordered an additional copy for my sixteen-year-old son. Inscribed in the opening pages are these words – from a father to his son:

“Jonathan Edwards life and writing have deeply shaped my views of God, the gospel, and the Christian life. No other writer outside of sacred Scripture has influenced me more. When you get to know this man, you get better acquainted with his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And his Savior is our Savior!”

I’m looking forward to reading these short devotions together. Each is inspired by Jonathan Edwards but the real joy will be treasuring the Lord Jesus and finding our satisfaction in him. As John Piper says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him.”

Always in His Hands: Day By Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards is a landmark book. It is a captivating introduction to America’s greatest thinker and invites readers to biblical spirituality that is truly unmatched. I highly recommend this work and trust that it will receive a wide reading in the evangelical world. Always in His Hands is among the best books of 2018!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


Lewis On the Christian Life – Joe Rigney

lewisJoe Rigney, Lewis on the Christian Life: Becoming Truly Human in the Presence of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 310 pp.

He is the author of several best selling children’s books that guide young readers into the land of Narnia. He is the novelist from the United Kingdom and popular professor at both Cambridge and Oxford who single-handedly captured the hearts and minds of thousands (if not millions) of people around the globe.

Clives Staples Lewis is the subject of the most recent offering of Crossway’s Theologians of the Christian Life series, edited by Justin Taylor and Stephen Nicole. This book, penned by Joe Rigney is an excellent overview of the worldview and intellectual contributions of C.S. Lewis.

Rigney writes as an unashamed Lewis bibliophile and liberally dispenses praise for his hero’s accomplishments. While the work alerts readers to the highpoints of Lewis’s’ life, the majority of the book is devoted to major themes that emerge in his life. Topics include the gospel, prayer, the problem of evil, the devil, the church, and hell, to name a few.

Most refreshing is Rigney’s transparency concerning some of the weakness in C.S. Lewis’s theological framework – especially his view of the atonement. Rigney is able to disagree with deep respect but still offer a critique that is helpful and God-honoring.

I have read several books which tap into the genius of C.S. Lewis. Rigney’s work is among the best of them. It is a solid contribution to the Crossway series – one that will be celebrated by many in the years to come.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life – Jason Meyer

jonesJason Meyer, Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life Wheaton: Cross, 2018, 265 pp. $14.91

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones could very well be the most influential preacher of the twentieth century. If there is any doubt that the Doctor carries such a weighty influence, Jason Meyer skillfully recants such a notion in his work, Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life.

The subtitle of Meyer’s book nicely captures the central theme – “Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire.” The author accurately captures the essence of Lloyd-Jones’s ministry: “Doctrine should start in the head, catch fire in the heart, and create a life aflame with true obedience in the will.” This notion which once dominated the evangelical landscape is presently eclipsed by experientialism, pragmatism, and theological liberalism. Such a notion would have been unacceptable to the Doctor and in his mind would have led to a weakened church.

The ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is presented in four movements as outlined below:

Part One – “The Doctor,” which includes some important biographical highlights.

Part Two – The Doctor’s Doctrine

Part Three – The Christian Life

Part Four – The Doctor’s Legacy

Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life is a powerful portrait of a godly man who left a legacy of prayer and preaching that continues to impact pastors to this day. My hope is that God will see fit to use this helpful book to shape and sharpen the lives of the next generation of Christian leaders.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


Reset: Living a Grace-Paced LIfe in a Burnout Culture (2017)

resetDavid Murray, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2017, 208 pp. $10.86

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step into the ring with Sugar Ray Leonard or Ray “Boom Boom Mancini? David Murray may be a self-described soccer player but in his most recent book, Reset: Living a Grace Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, the pastor/theologian puts on the boxing gloves and dishes out a series of blows. The unsuspecting reader would expect these “jabs” to result in pain and dejection. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Each “punch” in Murray’s book is unleashed with a motivation of biblical instruction and grace. While the “jabs” may sting initially, thoughtful readers will come to terms with the author’s overall strategy, which is to encourage Christian men to slow down and drink in the pure waters of free grace.

Murray identifies the latent legalist that resides in every follower of Christ, that part that desires credit for a job well done, points for faithfulness in ministry, or adulation for efforts expended in the kingdom of God. The solution, of course, is grace.

Grace runs through of the remaining chapters that focus on everything from leading with humility in the home and the local church to practical things like spiritual disciplines, time management, diet, and exercise.

Several features captured my attention and as a result moved my affections.


First, and foremost, Murray’s work is biblical. Anyone familiar with his ministry will not be shocked by this revelation. The wisdom of sacred Scripture saturates the principles presented and drives an agenda that is uniquely God-centered.


The author does not write from an ivory tower. Rather, he walks with fellow pilgrims as a man who struggles with indwelling sin and faces daily challenges that require carefully formulated and biblical responses. Murray’s transparency is one of the great strengths of the books and will no doubt convince his readers to follow his lead.


Third, Reset is practical. Murray offers a host of timeless principles that encourage robust Christian living and not only help recalibrate weary soldiers but also revitalize the most burned out Christian leaders.

Gospel-Centered and Grace-Saturated

Finally, Rest is God-centered. I poured over this book in one day and was encouraged and uplifted. Yes, at times I felt the sting of the “punch.” But each blow that Murray delivers is laced with grace and seasoned with the love and wisdom of a seasoned shepherd.

There is so much to commend here. My hope is that many men will be built up and emboldened to continue the Christian race with passion, power, and conviction.


12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You – Tony Reinke

iphoneTony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2017, 224 pp. $11.51

12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You is the title of Tony Reinke’s latest book. Anyone who owns a smartphone understands the power and productivity of such a device. But along with these gains come several shortcomings that Reinke addresses in his book.

After initially reviewing the table of contents, I automatically assumed that Reinke would encourage users to ditch their smartphones. The author writes, “Our joy in God is at stake. In our vanity, we feed on digital junk food, and our palates are reprogrammed and our affections atrophy.” But Reinke is merely alerting his readers to the implicit dangers of smartphones. Like anything else, a smartphone may be used for the glory of God or may be used for evil purposes.

Much of the book is devoted to surfacing idols of the heart and making necessary adjustments. For instance, the author challenges his readers to carefully evaluate every tweet and post online:

  • Will this ultimately glorify God?
  • Will this stir or muffle healthy affections for Christ?
  • Will this merely document that I know something that others don’t?
  • Will this misrepresent me or is it authentic?
  • Will this potentially breed jealousy in others?
  • Will this fortify unity or stir up unnecessary division?
  • Will this build up or tear down?
  • Will this heap guilt or relieve it?
  • Will this fuel lust for sin or warn against it?
  • Will this overpromise and instill false hopes in others?

The heart must be ruthlessly and relentlessly evaluated or the smartphone may render a given user a fool. Unfortunately, this clever device has made idolatrous inroads into the hearts of many people and the result is nothing less than tragic: “Submission to a created thing, such as a smartphone, is idolatry when that created tool or device determines the ends of our lives.”

Reinke encourages careful contemplation as well as disciplined restraint:

“So as Christians, we push back our phones in the morning – in order to protect our solitude so that we can know God and so that we can reflect him as his children. And we push back our phones during the day – in order to build authentic eye-to-eye trust with the people in our lives and in order to be sharpened by hard relationships …”

In the final analysis, Reinke neither condemns or condones smartphone use: “It is just as idolatrous to blaspheme a phone as it is to worship a phone,” writes the author. “The solution is for us to wisely enjoy the smartphone – imaginatively, transcendentally, as something that should deepen wonder.”

At the end of the day, we face a two-fold challenge in the digital world. Reinke asks readers to consider:

  1. On the external front: Are we safeguarding ourselves and practicing smartphone self-denial?
  2. On the internal front: Are we simultaneously seeking to satisfy our hearts with divine glory that is, for now, largely invisible?

I was personally moved and challenged by Reinke’s book and commend it to others to read and absorb.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.



In 1859, Charles Darwin published his work, On the Origin of Species.  Before his book was released, Christian thinkers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield maintained the Christian faith alone formed the only coherent and satisfying worldview.

Darwin promoted what we might refer to as the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.  With a few strokes a pen, his worldview eliminated God and his invisible hand of Providence in the public square.  Wherever Darwin’s worldview gained a foothold, randomness reigned.

Whenever God is removed or marginalized in culture, it is important to admit three monumental consequences.  First, there is no basis for knowledge.  Second, there is no basis for morality.  And third, there is no basis for meaning.  It is no wonder that so many people turn to idols in order to satisfy the deepest longing of their hearts.  Instead of living a life of faith that relies upon Christ, who is the all-sufficient fountain, they turn to leaky idols; idols that Jeremiah refers to as “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).

Joseph was a man who consciously turned away from idolatry.  He was a man of faith.  His worldview was diametrically opposed to what we find in Darwin.  God was at the center of his life and thinking which helped shape a robust life of faith.  Exactly what enabled Joseph to be such a man?  In order to answer this important question, notice three important pillars in the next three posts.  First, the drama.  Here, we will survey the story from Genesis 31 – 50 and highlight the God-centered faith of Joseph.  Second, notice the doctrine.  We will vividly see that a strong theological framework contributed to Joseph’s life of faith.  Finally, we will look at the direct application, which will demonstrate the importance of having a right view of God.


The drama begins to unfold in Genesis 31 when Joseph’s dad, Jacob moves his family from Haran to Canaan when he is six years old.  The story concludes with Joseph’s death at the ripe old age of 110.  What we see in Joseph’s life is a series of pits and pinnacles – times of adversity and times of prosperity.  Our task: How did Joseph respond to the highs and lows of his life?


In Genesis 37, we find Joseph who is about seventeen years of age working his father’s land with his brothers.  Jacob had a propensity to play favorites and loved Joseph more than his other brothers (Gen. 37:4) which made his brothers furious.  They hated Joseph!

The narrative in Genesis 37:25-28 describe a terrible episode in the life of Joseph.  His brothers grow so jealous that they decide to dump him in a pit.  The Midianite traders notice Joseph in the pit and sell him into slavery for twenty shekels of silver and Joseph finds himself in Egypt.


In Genesis 39, Joseph moves from the pit to the pinnacle:

Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. ” (Genesis 39:1–4, ESV)

So Joseph, wins the heart of Pharaoh (which is a miracle in and of itself) and he rises to a prominent leadership position in Egypt.  Joseph makes his ascent to the pinnacle.


The pinnacle, however, is short-lived.  In Genesis 39:6-14, Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph.  His response in verse 9 is a God-centered response: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” He makes the right decision.  Joseph’s response honors the Lord.  But the story is far from over:

But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.” ” (Genesis 39:11–18, ESV)

Joseph is betrayed again, this time by Potiphar’s wife.  He is unjustly thrown into prison. But Providentially,  he again rises to a position of authority.  Joseph is called upon to interpret the dreams of a cupbearer and the chief baker.  The dreams come to pass in such a way that the chief baker is hanged and the cupbearer is restored to his previous position with Pharaoh (Gen. 39:20-22).

One would think that the cupbearer would put a good word in for Joseph.  But verse 23 tells us the opposite: “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”  However, all is not lost.  Pharaoh begins to have troubling dreams that his cronies cannot interpret.  All of the sudden, the chief cupbearer has a quick burst of memory.  He refers Joseph to Pharaoh who is released from prison and immediately interprets Pharoah’s dreams.


Joseph returns to Pharaoh’s court and rises again to a prominent leadership position.  He is given governing authority over the land of Egypt (Gen. 41:41).  Pharaoh even goes so far to say to Joseph, “I am Pharoah, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” (v. 44).  Again, Joseph ascends from the pit to the pinnacle.

The plot thickens when Jacob decides to send his sons to Egypt in order to purchase grain.  The Scripture tells us that Joseph recognized his brothers as he sat in a position of authority.  But his brothers did not recognize him (Gen. 42:7-8).

Stop for a moment and ask, “How would I respond to a group of treasonous brothers?”  Would you use your authority to punish these men?  Would you kick them out of the country?  Would you send them to the gallows?  Notice Joseph’s amazing response:

But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’ ” ” (Genesis 43:3–5, ESV)

In the final encounter, Joseph once again demonstrates an astounding faith in God.  His brothers have figured out what they’re up against.  They seem certain that the outcome will result in punishment at best.  But look at how Joseph responds to these betraying brothers:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. ” (Genesis 50:20, ESV)

Now try to get in the shoes of Joseph.  All of his troubles begin with his wicked brothers.  They threw him in the pit which led to a life of slavery, which led to more betrayal and acts of wickedness.  There is a sense in which all of his adversity could be logically connected to his brothers.  Yet he refuses to hold their sin against them.  He refuses to play the blame game.  He refuses to punish them.  What does he do?  Joseph acknowledges their wicked act which they freely committed.  But he admits, “God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today?”

Joseph responded to betrayal, false accusation, and free acts of wickedness with a gigantic heart of God-centered faith!  But the next question is an important one.  How did he do it?  What enabled Joseph to respond rightly?  What prompted Joseph to respond in a God-glorifying way?  What is the secret to his faith?  The answer:  Joseph understood the divine perspective; a theological perspective that under-girded his actions and attitudes.  It is this theological perspective that will be the focus of our next post.


BOOK REVIEWS · Discipleship

THE WALK: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Jesus – Stephen Smallman (2009)

When I coached tennis in college I placed a tremendous amount of stress on fundamentals.  My players were filled with chagrin when I told them to leave their racquets at home.  The reason: We would devote ourselves to fundamentals of good tennis before we ever stepped onto the court.

Understanding the fundamentals are important in any endeavor including the Christian life.    Stephen Smallman concentrates on the fundamentals of Christianity in his book, The Walk.


In part one, Smallman generally defines a disciple as “one who is devoted to learning the ways and following the example of a teacher or master.”  However, he specifically states, “A disciple of Jesus is one who has heard the call of Jesus and has responded by repenting, believing the gospel, and following Jesus.”  He rightly describes true conversion as “faith and repentance” (or two sides of the same coin).

The author boldly promotes the notion that there is “no distinction between a disciple and a Christian.”  How often have you heard someone say, “My buddy is a Christian but he is not yet a disciple.”  Or, “My uncle has not made Jesus, lord of his life.”  Smallman repudiates these erroneous beliefs with clear, gracious language and biblical arguments.

The big story of Scripture is explained, namely, Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation.  Additionally, the author includes a helpful discussion on the authority of Scripture and the importance it plays in the life of a disciple.


Part two includes four important components of discipleship:

  • Know the gospel itself
  • Know how you came to believe the gospel
  • Know the benefits of believing the gospel, i.e. doctrine
  • Live a life that flows from the gospel, i.e. gospel obedience


The book concludes with a practical section on disciples making disciples.  The author continues to drive home the point concerning discipleship, that is, “The call to salvation is also a call to follow Jesus as his disciple … Discipleship involves a total surrender to become ‘living sacrifices’ … Following Jesus on his mission also means that his disciples are now participating in the plan of God to bring all nations into the light of the gospel.”

Justin Taylor rightly remarks, “Stephen Smallman has given us a great gift with this book.”  The book is written with new believers in mind.  It is simple without being simplistic.  It is relentless in its presentation of the gospel.  All the arguments are linked to the cross of Christ.

This book includes helpful and practical assignments at the end of each chapter.  Use The Walk with new believers and those in need of renewal.  It is sure to be a valuable discipleship tool for years to come.

4 stars