There are a lot of good "one liners" in the books -- that is, sentences that easily stand alone to use as good quotes. Here are two:
- "You didn't start to sin because you hung around the wrong crowd; you were the wrong crowd."
- "The sinner's prayer is not a magic incantation or a recipe you follow to get a salvation cake."
I appreciate that the book tackles the often sacrosanct ideas of "asking Jesus into your heart" and "praying the sinner's prayer". At times Greear seems tentative in the matter, perhaps fearing to alienate a large Southern Baptist constituency (it is printed by Broadman & Holman, btw, and Greear is a rising star in the Convention). According to your viewpoint you may think J. D. Greear addressed the topic expertly (and tactfully) enough to gain the endorsement of Southern Baptist Calvinists and Traditionalists alike (see statements on unnumbered pages before the title page); or, that he deliberately compromised enough to do so. A "grace approach" should expect that he believes what he has written.
Though I agree with the premise, and broadly with much of what he has written, I found that book a little off-putting. Some of that I can dismiss as his style of communicating and our generational differences (one is the overuse of exaggeration to make points). But there were a few hurdles I couldn’t get over. Here are a few examples. At times he seems to confuse security and assurance (p. 19), which are not the same thing. He named himself as the participant in a story that actually is someone else’s (this is discovered by comparing a footnote, pp. 31,124). Preachers do this all too often, and while possibly acceptable in some fields of discourse, should not be acceptable among ministers of the gospel. He loved what a particular old hymn said so much that he conflates two completely different hymns as one? The words of Edward Mote's "The Solid Rock" and Robert Lowry's "Nothing But the Blood" are not the same hymn. Some might pass this by as a minor mistake, but that just seems off to me (pp.36,124).
Ultimately the book is about assurance rather than just these "man-made" phrases, as the subtitle "How to Know for Sure You are Saved" tells the reader. It is 5.2 X 7.3 inches in size and 144 pages in length, so it is a fairly quick read and is not overpriced. One could do much worse than reading it, but for the overall topic (not just assurance) I recommend Salvation...When? by Conrad Murrell. Though the author is not as well-known as Greear and the book not readily available (a major sticking point), I think the reader would be better served finding and choosing it if he or she could own only own of the two.
* I think the popularity of a book like Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart is often driven by the "celebrity factor". This is the readers' fault rather than the author's.