Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Review: The Child's Book on Repentance

Book Review Disclaimer: When I finish reading a book, I'll write my opinion of the book. This is not a formal book review. When I read reviews according to publishing standards, it's pretty clear everyone tries to stay within convention. I don't care about those rules, so don't be surprised if the review is too long or short, and I will not necessarily try to give at least one positive and one negative point (pardon me, give constructive criticism). Many reviews have a contrived point because they must flesh out the template. I may or may not give a summary of the content, so if you feel something's lacking, I'm sure there are plenty of real book reviews that will satisfy your curiosities. Naturally, I'll be way behind the times, reviewing old books. I read the occasional new blockbuster, but I'm spending a lot of time catching up. If you have that same desire, to catch up a little, then perhaps these reviews can be of some help.

Stop whatever you're doing to read Thomas Gallaudet's little book, The Child's Book on Repentance. Rev. Gallaudet was a Puritan writer, so a beautiful thing about this book is that it's in the public domain. One place to read the book for free is at Google Books [book it here], which works in your browser as well as many other devices.

He hints at this in his subtitle, but the title could really drop the word 'Child'. I do not think most Christian adults understand the true fullness of repentance. Repentance is intimately linked to belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ [Matt 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 13:5, Acts 2:38]. You have not actually believed anything Jesus has said unless you've repented.

The first half of the book is devoted to showing types of false repentance. Too many fool themselves with insincere religion--there is no real change of heart--and a person's type of repentance is a good measuring stick to test the genuineness of their faith. Most types of false repentance revolve around selfishness with an appearance of repentance, but the true motive is simply to pursue personal benefit or escape punishment (sometimes only temporarily).

The book improves as it progresses, and the last four chapters are fantastic. Gallaudet shows how true repentance is seen by a mourning over sin since it's against a holy and perfect God, a heart of consistent repentance, a trust in Jesus Christ as Savior as the hope for repentance and the Holy Spirit as the means of repentance. The whole concept is wrapped up exactly where it belongs--in the gospel. You cannot have the gospel without repentance, and you cannot have repentance without the gospel.

You'll adapt to the language after a couple of chapters, and it should really start speaking to you. It's a short book, but it's profound. Get this book and read it to your family. If you're a pastor, buy a copy of the book for every member in your congregation, and exhort them to read it.

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