Being A Christian – A Review
Being A Christian, How Jesus Redeems All of Life, by Jason K. Allen, B&H Books, 2018.
I had been seeing a lot of chatter in the various Christian circles on social media in which I meander regarding Jason K. Allen’s book, Being A Christian, in the months and weeks leading up to its release. From everything I could tell, it was a book that I would desire to read. Add on that I graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where the author currently serves as President, and I was sold. However, I must be honest, I already had too many books, so I didn’t preorder it, or order it really. Then, it was with great excitement, the opportunity to review the book came about, and I jumped at the opportunity to do so…
The first thing that really stuck out at me regarding this book was the fact that upon going through and reading the table of contents, it immediately brought another book to mind, one recommended to me by my preaching field supervisor during seminary. That book is The Pastor’s Primer, by O.S Hawkins, (which you can find HERE in PDF format). In The Pastors Primer, O.S. Hawkins covers a breadth of topics, from purpose and preaching, pastoral care and politics, through possessions and pay. And he does this in regard to how they relate and should be handled by a pastor. More than an instructional manual, it is a series of positions regarding the various topics. In the same vein, Jason K. Allen writes, “This is not a how-to book because Christianity is not a how-to religion. It certainly isn’t a must-do book, because Christianity isn’t a must-do religion. The point of this book is not so much what you must do for Christ, but what Christ has done for you.” (p.7-8). His aim is not to the pastor, but to all Christians, a category in which pastors do find themselves. Just as Hawkins writes towards items and topics which pastors can often wrestle with personally, Allen writes to the average Christian and what they may struggle with. From marriage to family, time to money, all the way to your past and to you, Jason K. Allen strikes a chord, a Biblical chord, with most anyone and everyone who reads the words he has written in Being A Christian.
There are many chapters throughout this book that caused me to cringe as I realized my failings and shortcomings in how I live my life and handle myself. While I am not living in sin in such areas, I now know that I can be doing a much better job than I have been. While chapters like “The Gospel & Your Money” and “The Gospel & Your Mind” really struck home, the chapter “The Gospel & Your Past” is one that really punched me in the gut. As many often find themselves, I catch myself reminiscing in the past, most of negative experiences and things that I have done, which really being me down. Some of them are in the time before I was a Christian, and others occurred after God saved me. Regardless of when things occurred in your life, there is one thing that Dr. Allen wrote that really encouraged me and has stuck with me: “Do not see your past as an embarrassing prologue to be buried, but as a glorious story to be leveraged for the kingdom.” (p.29).
I have really enjoyed reading Being A Christian and it is a book that I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone seeking to glorify God in all that they do (1 Corinthians 10:31). This book could almost be called “The Christian’s Primer” to help guide Christians, both mature and immature, through their lives in this crazy world. For the layperson: Read this book and pray over it, chapter by chapter with all the verses therein. For the pastor: Do the same things, as it will undoubtably help your life, but also help you minister to those that God has given you stewardship over in His church. I highly recommend Being A Christian to everyone. Go get it!