The Answer by Randy Pope — Book Review

I was asked to review this book for our Fanning the Flame team.  Here are my conclusions.

In his book, The Answer, Pastor Randy Pope attacks the question that most concerns all humans – “How can I find lasting satisfaction?”

According to Pastor Pope, the answer can be found by unpacking the meaning of three small words: glory, grace and truth.

The Answer: Putting an End to the Search for Life Satisfaction by [Pope, Randy]

Most people are familiar with the word glory when it refers to either the glory of God, or giving glory to God. However, glory also comes from God and is given to those who are prepared to receive it. The essence of this glory is satisfaction. Humankind was designed with full glory, fell from glory and now searches for glory in all the wrong places. The many objects we pursue (career success, popularity, the right spouse, material possessions, etc.) are counterfeits of the real glory and fail to satisfy. Satisfaction comes only when we begin to recognize and renounce these counterfeit glories and place our hope for satisfaction in God alone. On earth, life remains broken and we can never experience full glory. We can be satisfied with Christ, but we cannot be satisfied with life, in and of itself. In death, this changes. When Christ returns and raises us from the dead, we will experience glorification. This will be so wonderful, that as the apostle Paul writes,

The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to compare to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

 Glory becomes real to us through the second word– grace. Grace is the favor ascribed to us by what God has done for us. Pastor Pope calls this, “the great swap.” Jesus took upon Himself the sins of His people, and in exchange, gave them perfect righteousness. This doesn’t mean we will stop sinning, but it does mean that God sees us as forgiven. Many people distort the Gospel, creating a religion of performance. This creates the sense that there is something we need to do. The true Gospel teaches that the work is already done—completed with the death of Christ on the cross.

The final word is truth. We will only experience authentic glory to the degree that we embrace God’s absolute truth. Throughout history, Christians have held the belief that God has chosen to reveal His truth to us through His Word. However, today, most people believe that truth is relative. Only 22% of adults believe in absolute moral truth, and the percentage is even lower for those 36 and under. If truth is relative, and a matter of individual preference, there is no foundation for life, no markers to guide us. This leads to depression and a pattern of thinking that reflects a negative view of ourselves, God and the world. The good news is that when false reason encounters the truth, it doesn’t have a chance. Depression can be countered by “thinking on the truth” of God’s Word.

Pastor Pope concludes:

  1. Glory takes us to Christ
  2. Grace takes us to the Cross
  3. Truth takes us to the Word of God

 I think this book would be an excellent resource to explain the basics of the faith to young people and new believers. Pastor Pope includes many diagrams which would be helpful in a classroom setting.

P.S. You can get this as a Kindle book from Amazon for only $1.99!

A Joyful Direction

The quote below comes from a sermon preached by John Donne in the early 17th century, during a time of plague.  It reminds us that our ultimate, joyful destination is an expansion and continuation of the joy we experience in Christ right now.

“Howling is the noise of hell; singing the voice of heaven. Sadness the damp of hell; rejoicing the serenity of heaven. And he that hath not this joy here lacks one of the best pieces of his evidence for the joys of heaven, and hath neglected or refused that earnest by which God uses to bind his bargain, that true joy in this world shall flow into the joy of heaven as a river flows into the sea. This joy shall not be put out in death and a new joy kindled in me in heaven. But as my soul, as soon as it is out of my body, is in heaven, and does not stay for the possession of heaven nor for the fruition of the sight of God till it be ascended through air, and fire, and moon, and sun, and planets, and firmament to that place which we conceive to be heaven, but without the thousandth part of a minute’s stop, as soon as it issues, is in a glorious light, which is heaven…The true joy of a good soul in this world is the very joy of heaven. And we go thither, not that being without joy we might have joy infused into us, but that, as Christ says, ‘our joy might be full’ (John 16:24), perfected, sealed with an everlastingness. For as he promises that ‘no man shall take our joy from us’ (v. 22), so neither shall Death itself take it away, nor so much as interrupt it or discontinue it. But as in the face of Death, when he lays hold upon me, and in the face of the devil, when he attempts me, I shall see the face of God (for everything shall be a glass, to reflect God upon me), so in the agonies of death, in the anguish of that dissolution, in the sorrows of that valediction, in the irreversibleness of that transmigration, I shall have a joy which shall no more evaporate than my soul shall evaporate—a joy that shall pass up and put on a more glorious garment above and be joy super-invested in glory. Amen.”7