B21 Book Review: J.D. Greear’s “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart”

Review by Aaron Lumpkin


Greear, J.D. Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013, xiv+128p., $12.99, hardback.


Have you asked Jesus into your heart? J.D. Greear has. A lot. In fact, he believes he may hold the world record for doing this. In Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart, he provides a retelling of his own journey in answering this question. If you don’t know J.D., you should, not simply because of the warm recommendations in the beginning of the book but because of his honest and forward approach to handling difficult questions that speak truth into the lives of his readers.


J.D. serves as pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of Breaking the Islam Code: Understanding the Soul Questions of Every Muslim (Harvest House 2010) and Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (B&H 2011).


In this book, J.D. argues that the phrase “once saved, always saved” is incomplete. Assurance comes not from a prayer but from a lifestyle characterized by belief and repentance. He believes that until you and I have assurance of our salvation, our spiritual lives will not “take off.” For this reason, the issues at hand become all the more important.


J.D. founds his understanding of assurance on God and the gospel. Our salvation is from God alone. Our belief in God’s commitment to us directly affects our ability to commit to him. God’s commitment to us is most evident in the gospel – he gives us his Son. J.D. explains what it means to believe the gospel and to act on this belief. In fact, “Repentance and belief are, biblically speaking, parts of the same whole” (40). Belief is more than an ascent to facts. It involves volition. It is trust in the work of Christ that brings about a “new posture” towards his Lordship over your life. Repentance is a part of this belief. It is belief in action that leads to a change of action because of Christ’s Lordship in your life. J.D. provides practical comparisons and contrasts to help us understand the differences, and he challenges us with the implications for our lives today. Overall, he contends that “salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward Christ that you adopt at your conversion and maintain for a lifetime” (87).


J.D. does not hide from difficult matters either. He explores tough passages like Hebrews 6:4-6, which has caused many Christians to think they can lose their salvation. He provides an excellent response to this issue that leaves us encouraged and ready to finish the race God has set before us. In addition, he explores evidences of salvation, summarized as love for God and love for people. J.D. also challenges those who struggle with continual doubt to keep believing the gospel. All of our spiritual troubles in this life are answered by believing the gospel. He also provides two short appendices on baptism and on justification that are full of wisdom as well.


This book comes at a much needed time in today’s church. I wish that I had read this years ago when I struggled with knowing if I was saved because I, like J.D., have asked Jesus into my heart more times than I can count. Maybe you have, too, or maybe you know someone who has. This book is an extraordinary resource. It will bring you many laughs as he recounts much of his own life story, and it will bring you many challenges as you examine yourself and consider the great God of our salvation who brings us from death to life. I highly recommend this book to all!




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Nathan Akin

Nathan Akin is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the Liaison to the Churches for SEBTS. In addition, he serves as the College Director at Open Door Baptist Church. Nathan has a BS in Political Science and a Social Sciences teaching degree from Murray State University, where he also played basketball (Go Racers– The 30th best basketball program since ’85 according to espn.com).

5 thoughts on “B21 Book Review: J.D. Greear’s “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart”

  1. Funny, I was reading about a pastor whose daughter, a child of 4-7 years, I think, had told her father that Jesus had approached her several times. That she had not wanted Him in her life. Then one day she told her daddy that she had received Jesus into her heart. The father reported in the response to a blog on some other subject, that his daughter was now 25 and active in child evangelism, a faithful and active and committed Christian. It sort of reminds me of folks who said Rev.3:30 should not be used as an evangelistic verse for witnessing, but I have a whole book of sermons on the text to that effect by the famous Puritan, John Flavel. I also have a single sermon by another Puritan, David Clarkson, on the same text bearing the title, “Christ’s Gracious Invitation to Sinners.” Having been an Atheist who was converted by a vision or was it a hallucination of Jesus standing knocking at a door, I have come to the conclusion that our Lord uses whatever means He pleases to reach His chosen children whom He intends to adopt, etc.

  2. nothing of the ontological sttaus of “the truth” or “the principle.” We may for that reason call this the epistemological interpretation. The more ambitious, and also for some the more appealing, interpretation attempts, on the other hand, to give an existential priority to “the truth” or “the principle”: it is no longer a mere epistemological condition, but a truly ontological entity (permit me to use this troublesome word) which in some way infuses the potential knower, so as to make him capable of knowing the truth. Not only an ontological entity: but also a self-conscious and self enacting one. Otherwise we can very well fancy that it were nothing but Energy. Some prefer calling it God, some prefer calling it Geist: the name matters not. At the heart of this ontological interpretation of the proposed view seems to be an urge to see the self as part of a larger self: the self is “enabled” to know not because of some past training or experience (all which seems to point back to the self–its will in particular–as the ultimate cause), but because of a prior self, a larger self, that has realized its inherent capability to know in this particular instance, viz. through this particular self. On the first interpretation, the self need not submit to anything; but on the present one, it is already (in a sense) in submission to that larger self. Karl Barth, inspired by a reading of St. Anselm, came to recognize that the ontological must be prior to the epistemological. God is, and man can only start thinking about God by putting himself already in God. Yet in a way his impassioned arguments in the Church Dogmatics for this point seems to intimate little more than the common observation that “If you believe, you believe; if not, no one can lead you thereto by arguments.”Of course, the broader thought that the capacity to know always presupposes (or requires) something prior has long been a major theme in philosophy. The Holy Trinity of Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger all play with this thought in one way or another. The hard part is, nevertheless, to describe clearly and meaningfully what that “prior” is (so for instance, what is Sittlichkeit? or Horizon? or Sein?) What, moreover, is the relationship between my little self and that “prior,” and how am I to “know myself” in relationship thereto, and live in the light, or pale, of it?If 倉海君 meant to favor the ontological interpretation (and I think he did), echoed in zeke’s allusion to the notion of Emanation in antiquity, it may be proper to say, then, that they take the injunction “Know Thyself” not as an injunction to know the peculiarities of the little self, as are frequently and meticulously investigated by psychological tests in pop magazines; but as an injunction to look beyond the self and to see it–to recognize it–in the light or pale of that larger self. To know thyself becomes to know the limits of an isolated, unencumbered self (to adopt Sandel’s nice phrase against Rawls): to know that there is more to know, and more urgently to be known, than the vagaries of this I. On a day to day level, this may point to one’s friends and relatives, communities, etc.; more elevatedly, it may point to transcendence, the desire to reconnect oneself to the Beyond and the Before, and the aspiration to look back, from that position, at this humble little self. Some say that this desire is deeply rooted in the complicated neural network of human beings, the complexity allowing them to enter trance experiences, the remnant–or recollection–of which well sedimented as the desire of transcendence in certain moments of everyday life. But for the present discussion, let me go no further into this controversial subject.

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