In this book, Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton explains why a number of the statements Christians regard as “the gospel truth” are really only half true at best. They are:
*Everything happens for a reason
*God helps those who help themselves
*God won’t give you more than you can handle
*God said it, I believe it, that settles it
*Love the sinner, hate the sin
I agree with many of Pastor Hamilton’s conclusions. For example, these platitudes are often used in ways that are not helpful or comforting. They attempt to reduce difficult theological issues to a slogan. They are not actually in the Bible and should not be given the same weight as Scripture. However, I have serious disagreements with the theology he uses to support his opinions (as would most conservative Lutherans — and conservatives in some other denominations as well).
One issue concerns the doctrine of predestination Lutherans stand with the Calvinists here, at least in the matter of salvation. We believe that God choses us, we do not choose Him.
Another problematic area is the inerrancy of Scripture. Pastor Hamilton rejects this concept, preferring to take the Bible “seriously.”
In both of these cases, the author offers an overly simplified version of the opposing view and sometimes selects examples from Scripture that would not be used by those who adhere to those views. In fairness, his presentation is intended to educate the laity, and is not an academic treatise. However, in my opinion, he gives an incomplete explanation of the doctrines he doesn’t accept. He is correct is saying we all interpret the Scripture, but conservatives and liberals disagree on the “how” that interpretation works.
VERDICT: 2 STARS. I would not recommend this book for Lutherans to use for a group study, but it may be helpful in understanding the belief system of more liberal Christians,
For more information on predestination see: