Book Review: Are You A Christian? By John C. Carroll
Click here to go to author's blog and purchase paperback or click here for Amazon Kindle.
Early in this work John Calvin Carroll suggests, "It may be easier for the pagan to give up lawlessness than it is for the religious to give up law." (Carroll, pg. 19) Perhaps, this sums up the plight of one or two in the Apostolic movement. In the work Are You A Christian? Carroll offers a concise and practical perspective on the beliefs and lifestyle of the believer.
In over 130 pages and eight chapters Carroll offers good answers for Apostolic beliefs and lifestyle. The author does not advocate redefining Christian doctrines. Rather, he challenges the way we think about them and what you or I might perceive as Apostolic doctrine.
This work contains a forward and includes such chapter titles as "What is a Christian?"; "The Christian Claim"; "Do You Worship Jesus Christ?"; "Secondary Labels"; "Defining Heresy"; "The Christian and Conscience"; "Law and the Traditions of Men" and "Moving Forward. In chapter one Carroll asks the question "What is a Christian?" Here he discusses what it means to "follow Christ" and where we follow Christ. Carroll notes, "The Christian follows Christ away from, through and to anywhere He leads. He trusts in Christ’s love and direction for his life. To truly follow Christ one must forsake, follow and finish." (Carroll, pg. 16)
In chapter two "The Christian Claim" is examined. Christians do not claim to have it all figured out and nor do they claim to be perfect. As Carroll notes, "we are frail and flawed, yet all the while confessing that there is hope in Jesus Christ." (Carroll, pg. 22) Hope in humanity is often misplaced but hope in the Creator is a safe place.
In chapter three Carroll asks the poignant question "Do You Worship Jesus Christ?" Of all the things it may mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ it does include that we worship Him. He is not just a good man, or a prophet who got it right. John 5:23 indicates that "all men" are to honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. Therefore, how we honor the Father is just how we honor the Son which includes worship of the Son as God.
Chapter four is entitled "Secondary Labels" and here the author warns against teaching things as Apostolic that are not, after all, Apostolic. He also discusses how we are to determine what is Apostolic to avoid this and continue teaching sound Apostolic doctrine. Carroll notes, "As leaders and fathers we should be more concerned with presenting our followers and families to Christ than we are with presenting them to our friends." (pg. 51)