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Am I Really a Christian?

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Are you really a Christian? You may think you are, but you may not be. After all, Jesus himself said that some people will do seemingly "Christian" things in his name but will not truly know him. Or maybe you know you are not a Christian and you wonder what it really means to be one. To be sure, however, there is clarity from God's perspective. He is not confused about who d Are you really a Christian? You may think you are, but you may not be. After all, Jesus himself said that some people will do seemingly "Christian" things in his name but will not truly know him. Or maybe you know you are not a Christian and you wonder what it really means to be one. To be sure, however, there is clarity from God's perspective. He is not confused about who does and does not know him. And though our self-awareness is certainly limited, we have been given biblical criteria to help us evaluate whether we are indeed followers of Christ. Mike McKinley shows us the importance of examining our standing with God and helps us to fearlessly ask the hard questions, ultimately allowing us to see whether we are in the faith and what exactly that entails.


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Are you really a Christian? You may think you are, but you may not be. After all, Jesus himself said that some people will do seemingly "Christian" things in his name but will not truly know him. Or maybe you know you are not a Christian and you wonder what it really means to be one. To be sure, however, there is clarity from God's perspective. He is not confused about who d Are you really a Christian? You may think you are, but you may not be. After all, Jesus himself said that some people will do seemingly "Christian" things in his name but will not truly know him. Or maybe you know you are not a Christian and you wonder what it really means to be one. To be sure, however, there is clarity from God's perspective. He is not confused about who does and does not know him. And though our self-awareness is certainly limited, we have been given biblical criteria to help us evaluate whether we are indeed followers of Christ. Mike McKinley shows us the importance of examining our standing with God and helps us to fearlessly ask the hard questions, ultimately allowing us to see whether we are in the faith and what exactly that entails.

30 review for Am I Really a Christian?

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eric Durso

    Get a stash to give away.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Bower MLIS (gladeslibrarian)

    If you don't want to be a Christian this book is not for you. Put it down. If you believe you are a Christian and are satisfied with your grasp of the doctrine of salvation, the role of faith in salvation, personal assurance of salvation and the manner in which your life lines up with your belief system, this book has nothing to offer you. Walk away. There is danger, however, in thinking you are past the point of need for self-examination or for peer-accountability regarding the direction of you If you don't want to be a Christian this book is not for you. Put it down. If you believe you are a Christian and are satisfied with your grasp of the doctrine of salvation, the role of faith in salvation, personal assurance of salvation and the manner in which your life lines up with your belief system, this book has nothing to offer you. Walk away. There is danger, however, in thinking you are past the point of need for self-examination or for peer-accountability regarding the direction of your life. Since your eternal destination hangs in the balance, the subject matter should be worth your consideration. With these statements Mike McKinley, the pastor of a Baptist congregation, pinpoints the intended audience of "Am I really a Christian: the most important question you're not asking" (Crossway, 2011). Christian jargon can bring more confusion than clarity. McKinley's perspective of "born again" is one of regeneration. The regenerating love and mercy of God is the cause of salvation while the fruit of the believer's life is the result or effect of salvation. Being a "Christian" goes beyond respect for Jesus to belief and faith in him. "Am I really a Christian?" is scripture rich. McKinley relies heavily on passages of scripture and points readers to them by providing direct quotations within the text. Like John Piper's Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Crossway, 2010), McKinley compels readers to look past feelings and common Christian expressions to contemplate questions like the following: What do I believe? Do I agree? Does scripture bear out his arguments? How should I respond in light of these truths? McKinley's message is to the church. He speaks as a fellow sojourner wanting to guide, encourage and strengthen the faith of believers. He takes care to reassure Christians with sensitive consciences. His pastoral gifting rings true. The author continually brings to the forefront the need for believers to be surrounded by brothers and sisters that can be trusted to come alongside to encourage and guide them as they walk out their faith. As the body of Christ, the goal should be self-evaluation in consultation with trusted mentors in order to seek and find evidence that the cause of our salvation (God's regenerating love and mercy) has taken root and our lives are beginning to reveal the fruit (effect) of that salvation. To aid in this process, McKinley recommends the formation of year-long one-on-one mentoring relationships. The format for each chapter is text followed by a How to Respond section containing four points: reflect, repent, remember, and report. The book contains three appendices: Notes, containing sources for in-text references divided by chapter; Subject Index and Scripture Index. "Am I Really a Christian?" can be useful to individuals apart from a group environment. Its best and most complete use will come in the form of small groups of believers within the body of a local congregation. If you are willing to put quality time into self-evaluation in consultation with trusted friends at your local congregation, "Am I Really a Christian?" is worth your time and attention. NOTE: I requested and received a copy of this title via NetGalley.com but made no commitment to review it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Reena Jacobs

    Expect my full review August 22, 2011 on Ramblings of an Amateur Writer: http://wp.me/pPz8s-1C7 One thing I want to emphasize is this book is not aimed at non-Christians. It’s not meant to convert the non-believer or convince the non-believer that Christianity is the only way. Instead, it focuses on individuals who claim to be Christian and helps those individuals examine their lives, so they don’t miss the boat. Much of what Mr. McKinley said, I knew to be true. It’s clearly laid out in the bible Expect my full review August 22, 2011 on Ramblings of an Amateur Writer: http://wp.me/pPz8s-1C7 One thing I want to emphasize is this book is not aimed at non-Christians. It’s not meant to convert the non-believer or convince the non-believer that Christianity is the only way. Instead, it focuses on individuals who claim to be Christian and helps those individuals examine their lives, so they don’t miss the boat. Much of what Mr. McKinley said, I knew to be true. It’s clearly laid out in the bible. I don’t know who has a ticket and who doesn’t, but I do know the bible says something to the effect of the gate is small and the road is narrow and few will find it. So logically, it makes sense to me that not everyone who boasts to be a Christian is going to find the path. Especially when considering upwards of 60,70, 80% of Americans believe they’re Christians. Who knows the figures in other countries. Few doesn’t equal the majority. So the question is: if one truly believes the information in the bible, wouldn’t he/she want to be sure to be on the right track rather than one of the many who think they’re walking down the right path, only to find too late they’re on the broad road? Am I Really a Christian? is like stopping and asking for directions. In the end, some might receive a wake up call, but also might find hope and an opportunity to step on the road they’d meant to travel. I loved that this book doesn’t focus on hells fire and damnation. It doesn’t try to scare folks into becoming a Christian or scare people who claim to be a Christian into behaving right. Instead, it identifies markers which might suggest one is or isn’t a Christian. Not by way of finger pointing, which can be so easy (That person’s not a Christian. That person isn’t. That person is.) No. None of that. It isn’t about whether others want to classify a person as a goat or a sheep. Rather it helps a person examine his/her walk with the help of those in the Christian community. Even though this is a work tailored toward those who believe they’re Christian, I still think it’s a great read for non-Christians. Why? Because I believe the worldview on Christianity is tainted by those who profess to be Christian but act in non-Christian ways in the name of Christianity. Am I Really a Christian? is truly insightful. I received this work from the publisher in exchange for a review

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Klimek

    An excellent resource to work through with new believers and those struggling with assurance. It has been a blessing for our Foundation's Ministry. An excellent resource to work through with new believers and those struggling with assurance. It has been a blessing for our Foundation's Ministry.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alissagraham

    Earlier this summer I was in a mall in Worcester, Massachusetts when I saw a shocking advertisement from a health care facility. It said “Pride kills thousands of men each year.” I can attest to that statement. At my dad’s funeral, someone came up to me and told me that my dad might have been suffering from a risky medical condition but that he did not want to get treated or tell anyone of the situation. It was due to pride. He ended up dying alone, separated from his family and any friends he mi Earlier this summer I was in a mall in Worcester, Massachusetts when I saw a shocking advertisement from a health care facility. It said “Pride kills thousands of men each year.” I can attest to that statement. At my dad’s funeral, someone came up to me and told me that my dad might have been suffering from a risky medical condition but that he did not want to get treated or tell anyone of the situation. It was due to pride. He ended up dying alone, separated from his family and any friends he might have still had. Those stories told simply to say that we need to humble ourselves and seek truth and help. “Am I Really a Christian” by Mike McKinley is a book that encourages Christians and those that want to be Christians to humbly “go to the doctor’s appointment,” and take any measures necessary for spiritual heath. Author Mike McKinley does a great job of examining scripture to look for solid truths on what it means to be a Christian and then teaching us to look for evidences of God’s mighty saving work in our lives. While some could take this book as provocative, it asks an eternally important question in a simple, gospel driven, and straight forward way. Jesus himself says there are many who will get to the end and expect to walk through the pearly gates, only to hear, “I never even knew you,” from God himself. (Matthew 25). The purpose of the book is to explore such things deeply, before it is too late. The book is laid out in nine chapters, each addressing what it means and does not mean to be a Christian. Each chapter goes to scripture to discuss what it clearly says in regards to being born again. At the end of each chapter there is a response section in which the author thoughtfully calls us to reflect, repent, remember, and report through different questions and scripture references. McKinley does a great job at addressing how self deceived and comically limited our own self awareness is by showing us that being a Christian doesn’t mean checking a box once, or just claiming that we are. It requires a change of heart, a change of team. McKinley takes on popular misconceptions of what a Christian is. He goes head on against the idea that you are a Christian simply because you love Jesus. He also challenges our hearts by showing us that we are not Christians if we continually abide in sin, deliberately keep in it, and happily make it a practice. I appreciated the chapters on loving others and not loving our stuff. He again, goes to scripture to show us that being a Christian means we will have a heart that loves others, dying to ourselves, and putting our hope in Christ instead of worldly goods. I really appreciated how it also talks about the goodness of God. God delights to save his people and he is not some swindler trying to trick us into losing the race. Graciously God has given us some guidance on who belongs to himself. “You shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20). Essentially, we need to prayerfully take heed to Jesus’ warnings and cling to his promises. The book repeats the gospel often, and helps us to see that “human beings are not spiritually wounded, we are spiritually dead.” Many people who claim to be Christians are just working on fixing themselves up, but “self improvement is not the solution to these kinds of problems. A radical overhaul is.” Chapter two dives in to what it looks like to be born again and what it means to essentially have a total alteration of your cosmic allegiances. He tackles the question “how can you tell that you are born again,” and shows us five basic things that all Christians have. (Belief in true doctrine, hatred for sin in your life, perseverance over time, love for other people, freedom from love of the world.) I loved that involvement in a local church is stressed as an essential help to our faith. This book explains that when we are around others, they can help us locate our blind spots. Also, being immersed in good biblical teaching can help us align our values and measurements with God’s. Time and time again the reminder sounded that I need to place my trust in Christ for my salvation, and not in a resume of religious works. This book is a helpful instrument for anyone. It will help you peel back your heart layers and look for the evidence that God has done a mighty saving work in our lives. Even as someone who has grown up in and around Christian culture, claiming the gospel for myself at a young age, this book presented a much needed assessment. also posted on www.alissamgraham.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mandy J. Hoffman

    MY REVIEW: Convicting. Encouraging. Challenging. I always approach books on this topic with a bit of anxiety - wondering if I will walk away with more questions than when I begun. However, this book ranks first in the several I have read on this topic because it not only answered all my questions, but did so with great clarity. McKinley does not beat around the bush and present pages of lengthy explanation, rather he takes you back to Scripture for the answers. This book is a 140 page handbook for MY REVIEW: Convicting. Encouraging. Challenging. I always approach books on this topic with a bit of anxiety - wondering if I will walk away with more questions than when I begun. However, this book ranks first in the several I have read on this topic because it not only answered all my questions, but did so with great clarity. McKinley does not beat around the bush and present pages of lengthy explanation, rather he takes you back to Scripture for the answers. This book is a 140 page handbook for those who are willing to ask themselves the hard question of: "Am I really a Christian?". Despite the sober subject and deep content, Mike helps ease the tension with his sprinkling of humor throughout the book. At first this may seem out of place, but as you read you feel as if you are having a personal conversation with a trusted mentor. He also provides great word pictures that take some difficult concepts and make them so much easier to understand. The book is also hands-on and interactive due to the "How To Respond" section at the end of each chapter. It is a good blend of book and Bible study combined into one cover and is suitable for individual or group use as well as appropriate for both teens and adults. I was convicted and encouraged by this book. It helped me see some weak areas of my life and direct me to passages in the Bible that helped me determine my answer to the question: Am I Really a Christian? Whether you can answer that question without thinking about it or not, I highly recommend this book. Anyone who reads it will walk away benefiting from it...it's just that they may not benefit from it as they first expected. It's short, it's easy to read, founded on the Bible, and Christ centered. It is a great stand-alone read or a fabulous follow-up read to Because He Loves my, or Living the Cross Centered Life, or books of like kind. Am I Really a Christian? is more than what meets the eye at first glance. This is a "really should read" book that packs quite a punch. BOOK OVERVIEW: Wheaton IL¬—Some stats indicate that nearly 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Mike McKinley has noticed a concerning trend: There are far too many people who think that they are Christians, but aren’t actually in Christ. He likens it to people who claim to be “huge Yankees fans” but don’t watch games, don’t know the lineup, or the stats, and only ride the team’s glory around playoff time for the exciting World Series victory. In Am I Really a Christian?, McKinley argues that there is much at stake in the decision to follow Christ, and it is crucial to know where you stand and what it means for your life. McKinley writes with a genuine love and concern for those in the church. He asks tough questions in order to plead with readers who may not be running the race marked out in God’s Word to change course. Emphasizing the importance that Jesus and Paul placed on this issue, McKinley guides readers through Scripture to show what the Bible says about genuine faith. * * * * * The review copies were courtesy of Crossway and Amazon.com. The opinion expressed is strictly my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pascal Denault

    Every chapter is introduced by an illustration. The content of the 9 chapters is always outlined in a easy to grasp manner. The doctrine is faithful to the Scripture and presented in a practical way. I recommend it

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andy Huette

    This is an easy-to-read book, with great illustrations and no-nonsense teaching about the marks of being a Christian. It helpfully explained key passages about examining the fruit of one's faith and is a helpful exhortation for believers as well as a bible-filled rubric for non-believers to consider what true faith looks like. My only request would be that slightly more time be spent in chapter 8 on assurance of salvation. After the first seven chapters, just about anyone could be doubting the v This is an easy-to-read book, with great illustrations and no-nonsense teaching about the marks of being a Christian. It helpfully explained key passages about examining the fruit of one's faith and is a helpful exhortation for believers as well as a bible-filled rubric for non-believers to consider what true faith looks like. My only request would be that slightly more time be spent in chapter 8 on assurance of salvation. After the first seven chapters, just about anyone could be doubting the veracity of his or her faith, so it would be helpful to beef up the ending with some more explanation of assurance.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    Every job or hobby has a foundation that has to be built to do the job or hobby, or to be learned before moving to a more advanced skill set. The Christian walk is the same way. There is some foundational truths that we need to be reminded of regularly to mature as believers. This book is a back to basics kind of book. It is a spiritual “spring training” that reminds us, as Christians, what it means at the foundational level to be a Christian. Read it; on your own, with your spouse, in a group, Every job or hobby has a foundation that has to be built to do the job or hobby, or to be learned before moving to a more advanced skill set. The Christian walk is the same way. There is some foundational truths that we need to be reminded of regularly to mature as believers. This book is a back to basics kind of book. It is a spiritual “spring training” that reminds us, as Christians, what it means at the foundational level to be a Christian. Read it; on your own, with your spouse, in a group, just grab a copy so you can be challenged by the title question, “Am I really a Christian?” “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” Lamentations‬ ‭3:40‬ ‭ESV

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    Grab a friend and read together. This book was convicting, challenging, and encouraging for me. The reflection questions and truths at the end of every chapter are so good for the soul. This helpfully outlines the heart a Christian must have, and finishes off in classic 9Marks style by wrapping up the book with the importance that attending a gospel-preaching local church has to do with being a Christian! Would highly recommend for anyone questioning their faith or anyone sure of it as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Helpful framework to think through Mike McKinley walks the reader through five ways a person can know whether or not they are a Christian. I found it helpful and challenging. Recommended to anyone wanting to learn more about what it truly means to be a Christian.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott Morrison

    A lot to think on, self analysis. It's ok to have doubt, go deeper, let go. The questions and "tasks" at the end of each chapter are great, simple suggestions to understand yourself better, and improve your walk! A lot to think on, self analysis. It's ok to have doubt, go deeper, let go. The questions and "tasks" at the end of each chapter are great, simple suggestions to understand yourself better, and improve your walk!

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Collier

    A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a conference where Mike McKinley was one of the speakers. I enjoyed his presentations and sermons immensely and was fortunate enough to meet him and trade a few emails. I committed at that conference to buy both the books he has written and review them for you. Am I Really a Christian? (2011, Crossway) is really the second of his books. I will post a review of the other in a few weeks. I am more conflicted over this book than I have been ove A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a conference where Mike McKinley was one of the speakers. I enjoyed his presentations and sermons immensely and was fortunate enough to meet him and trade a few emails. I committed at that conference to buy both the books he has written and review them for you. Am I Really a Christian? (2011, Crossway) is really the second of his books. I will post a review of the other in a few weeks. I am more conflicted over this book than I have been over a book in a long time. First let me say, it is a really good book. Further, it addresses a real issue in the church: people who think they are Christians but are not. But how do you know who is and who is not really a Christian? It is less important for me or you to identify who is or is not; it is vitally important for me to be able to identify whether I am or not. and that is what McKinley tries to help us answer. This book does not seem to be a direct reply to the doctrines of “Free Grace Theology” – inasmuch as it does not directly reference those belief systems or their proponents. Instead, it is a prophetic voice to a Christian subculture that often elevates professions and image above a genuine relationship with the God of the universe through the salvation that comes only in Jesus Christ. In Am I Really a Christian?, McKinley identifies seven traits or characteristics which he thinks out to help an individual determine whether or not he is a Christian; he then writes a chapter based on each of these characteristics from the negative perspective. The chapter titles all begin: “You Are Not a Christian …”: * Just Because You Say That You Are * If You Haven’t Been Born Again * Just Because You Like Jesus * If You Enjoy Sin * If You Do Not Endure to the End * If You Don’t Love Other People * If You Love Your Stuff McKinley’s writing is conversational and easy to follow. Most importantly, it is rooted in the scripture. And this is a good place to address why I am conflicted over this book. I appreciate that it uses the truth of the Gospel as the foundation. The problem is that I disagree with some of his interpretation. Don’t get me wrong; most of it is spot-on. He could not be more right. The problem is where I think he gets it wrong, he gets it very wrong. This is most true of Chapter 5: “You Are Not a Christian If You Do Not Endure to the End”. When I ordered the book, I was fully aware of McKinley’s Calvinist or Reformed beliefs; and I have an appreciation for them. The chapter about enduring did not surprise me. It is the depth of my reaction that surprised me. The other surprise was my response to the scriptures he used to support his Calvinst position. I would use pretty much the same passages to support my Reformation Arminian position. It really is a matter of interpretation! I don’t want to be uncharitable. I count Mike McKinley as a bother and co-laborer in ministry. He desires to desires to associate and work alongside brothers and sisters who do not share his Calvinist soteriology, as do I. He closes the book with a chapter where he asks then tries to answer the question: Can I ever really know if I am a Christian? followed by a chapter stressing the importance of membership in the local church. The chapter on church membership is perhaps the best in the book. My hope is that he will soon write an entire book on that topic. Am I Really a Christian? is really quite a good book. That being said, as a reader you must go in with your eyes wide open. McKinley definitely approaches the subject through the lens of his deeply held Reformed theology, as he should. This is a book I would recommend to pastors and teachers, along with those who are confident enough in their understanding of scripture to prevent being unduly influenced by the areas where I think McKinley just gets it wrong. I am hesitant to recommend it to individuals who struggle with assurance because the chapter on perseverance breeds the very false assurance McKinley tries to guard against. The book would also make a great general outline for a preaching or teaching series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    When I saw the book’s title “Am I Really a Christian?”, my first reaction was “I am really sure of my salvation, so this book is not really for me”. However, choosing among the titles, I ended up picking this one with the thought “this will be an easy read because I’m sure it all talks about basic Christianity” in mind. However, now, after reading the book, I am enrichly blessed and I’ve been a Christian for 6 years and I am still continually amazed at how God shows He loves me. He always, alw When I saw the book’s title “Am I Really a Christian?”, my first reaction was “I am really sure of my salvation, so this book is not really for me”. However, choosing among the titles, I ended up picking this one with the thought “this will be an easy read because I’m sure it all talks about basic Christianity” in mind. However, now, after reading the book, I am enrichly blessed and I’ve been a Christian for 6 years and I am still continually amazed at how God shows He loves me. He always, always, remind me of things I thought I already learned by heart. I grew up in a Christian environment and learned Bible stories,lessons, characters and verses. Still, wherever angle I read each verse and each lesson, it goes to me differently, that’s how mysterious and great the Holy Spirit works. So, anyway, back to the book. Am I Really a Christian? helped me reexamine my life and it made me more sure and more confident that I am a genuine Christian. This book is perfect not only for those who doubt their “being a Christian”, but also to ALL Christians. I agree with Pastor Mike (the author) that many Christians today tend to be so complacent about their “being a Christian” that they fail to see if they really are Christians. Hence, the nominal Christians-Christians only by name, not by life. This book does not intend to condemn people that “oh you think you’re a Christian but you’re not!” and doubt their salvation, but this book is just a heartily reminder for us to constantly check ourselves, and as one family, we ought to check each other. Being a Christian is not a simple walk on the road, and the book reminded me that we must count the cost, and in our Christian life, we need to persevere until we finish the race. What struck me most in the book is found in chapter 5 where the nature of the salvation Jesus secured to us, His people, was enumerated, and the question “Can you see why a true believer, who has genuinely experienced Christ’s forgiveness, will remain in the faith until the end?” and I was like nodding and was so touched and said “This is the reason!”... The five things that characterizes genuine faith in Christ: (1. Belief in the true doctrine 2. Hatred for sin in your life 3. Perseverance over time 4. Love for other people 5. Freedom from love of the world) are explained thoroughly but briefly with each chapter, and each chapter ends with a series of challenges to reflect, repent, remember, and report to another person. The author included lots and lots of examples and stories to make us understand each topic well. The humor in the stories and the casual but with a touch of serious tone of how the book was written didn’t bore me, and I guarantee you will not bore you too, instead it will make you think of things in your life...At the end of the book, you will indeed pray and be touched. :) Do I recommend this book? Yes I do! If the book will be available already, I will surely share it to my friends. At the meantime, i will share my learnings to my churchmates, and of course to you, the reader of this review. God bless.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Are you really a Christian? If you believe you are, you might be bothered that anyone would even ask. I mean, of course you are, right? How dare anyone question that? So it’s likely to be a little off-putting to some when Mike McKinley begins the introduction to his book, Am I Really a Christian? by making this statement: “This is a book aimed at convincing you that you may not be a Christian” (he even acknowledges he’s kind of a jerk…). McKinley has looked out over the landscape of Christianity Are you really a Christian? If you believe you are, you might be bothered that anyone would even ask. I mean, of course you are, right? How dare anyone question that? So it’s likely to be a little off-putting to some when Mike McKinley begins the introduction to his book, Am I Really a Christian? by making this statement: “This is a book aimed at convincing you that you may not be a Christian” (he even acknowledges he’s kind of a jerk…). McKinley has looked out over the landscape of Christianity (along with numerous biblical warnings) and concluded that there are many people who believe they are Christians but will hear Jesus say these dreaded words one day: “Depart from me; I never knew you.” So despite the uncomfortable nature of the topic, McKinley’s pastor’s heart causes him to dive in to many of the ways people have been deceived (or deceived themselves) into wrongly believing they are Christians. After all, this is vitally important, and the bible gives numerous warnings to professing believers to examine themselves to see if they really are true believers. Using the analogy of a race, McKinley says that if you had a group of people running a race where finishing meant salvation, but many of them were just standing along the road in their nice running clothes and shoes but not actually running, it would be cruel not to tell them they will never finish the race that way. Their eternal destiny depends on actually running and finishing. In each chapter, McKinley tackles a misconception about what it means to be a Christian. One of my favorite chapters was “You Are Not a Christian If You Enjoy Sin.” I thought McKinley did a great job here of balancing the truth of salvation by faith through grace alone with our new orientation as believers towards sin. He gets the balance right, guarding against works-salvation on one hand and indifference towards sin on the other. The other aspect of the book I really liked was the emphasis on the importance of the local church. McKinley pleads with people to get plugged into a good church and not to walk alone, for multiple reasons. Some who are weak in their faith might be discouraged by their doubts and failures and give up, feeling like they don’t measure up in the faith. They need people alongside them to encourage them and point out evidence of God’s work in their lives. Others are prone to pride and performance-based salvation and they need brothers and sisters to call them to repentance and convict them of sin and (sometimes) even question their faith if there is truly no fruit of repentance. First and foremost, McKinley writes here as a pastor concerned for lost sheep who believe they are on the right path when they aren’t. It’s not always pleasant, but all of us need to examine ourselves to see if our faith is real. God commanded us to do so. In an age when many are content to collect “decisions for Christ” and let them go on their way, it’s nice to see someone calling us to “count the count” of following Jesus and not presume to be in the faith. Our salvation was far too costly to count it that lightly.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    For this review I would like to give a tad bit of history of myself so that way you can better understand the reason I chose this book to review. When I saw this book through NetGalley it really caught my eye. Since the age of 10 when I was adopted by my parents, I have been hearing that for you to become a Christian you must accept Christ into your heart and save you. Nearly 23 years later I decided to ask Christ into my heart. The reason being, I was in Sunday school and we were talking about h For this review I would like to give a tad bit of history of myself so that way you can better understand the reason I chose this book to review. When I saw this book through NetGalley it really caught my eye. Since the age of 10 when I was adopted by my parents, I have been hearing that for you to become a Christian you must accept Christ into your heart and save you. Nearly 23 years later I decided to ask Christ into my heart. The reason being, I was in Sunday school and we were talking about how Saul had God's hand taken away from him because he would not follow God's rules. I got extremely scared. Not 7 moths prior I woke up from a 10 hour surgery paralyzed from the waist down, and my arms and hands doing whatever they wanted no matter what I tried. I was thinking that is what happened to me, God taking his hand of protection off of me. I asked my Sunday school teacher to stay after class and he helped me to accept Jesus into my heart. That day I never felt anything like this before. If I could put it into words if felt, joy, peace, like a burden was lifted off of me, like I was on top of a cloud and no one could touch me. Fast forward almost 4 years later and I feel nothing like I did 4 yrs. ago. Some of that is because I was a victim of a most heinous crime, and I felt God could have saved me from this crime. So, when I saw this book I decided to read it and maybe learn a thing or two. Right from the get go I was drawn into the book. The way that Mike McKinley wrote the book was like he was speaking directly to me. I am so thankful for getting the Kindle for my birthday; I was able to highlight some pretty amazing things while reading. Since, I got this as an E-Book this was the best thing ever. While Mike McKinley writes he does not look down upon you. His writing is there to help and encourage you while learning the ins and outs on whether or not you are a Christian. He poses questions within the chapters that way you can keep a notebook and see how your Christian walk is going. Where you might need extra help; he does recommend doing this with another member of your church family, I am still looking for a church family since I just recently moved to where we are. I feel that if I had someone, besides my husband, to have accountability with I feel that the book would have been a blessing to both me and my accountability partner. If you are wondering if you have a personal walk with Jesus, then this is the book for you. Like I said Mike McKinley does not talk down to you at all, he writes like a loving father would. You can tell that Mike McKinley really cares about the people that read his book. He cares about the souls of the people out there. This would be a great book if you wanted to do it in a small group setting or just with 1 on 1.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Radtke

    This book has been calling to me from my bookshelf ever since it came in the mail from LIFE. I think putting it in the list of reading had it come out at the perfect time. It's so wonderful when God does those things for us. When I picked up the book I saw the small print that there's a foreword by Kirk Cameron. Does anyone else still see his teen poster hanging on your wall when you hear his name, or is it just me? Looking at the Table of Contents really made it a wonderful follow up to Reason to This book has been calling to me from my bookshelf ever since it came in the mail from LIFE. I think putting it in the list of reading had it come out at the perfect time. It's so wonderful when God does those things for us. When I picked up the book I saw the small print that there's a foreword by Kirk Cameron. Does anyone else still see his teen poster hanging on your wall when you hear his name, or is it just me? Looking at the Table of Contents really made it a wonderful follow up to Reason to Believe. 1. You are not a Christian just because you say that you are. 2. You are not a Christian if you haven't been born again. 3. You are not a Christian just because you like Jesus. 4. You are not a Christian if you enjoy sin. 5. You are not a Christian if you do not endure to the end. 6. You are not a Christian if you don't love other people. 7. You are not a Christian if you love your stuff. I have to say that Mike McKinley was a much more entertaining writer than R. C. Sproul. I loved his personal stories that started each chapter to give you a new way to look at each topic. I also really enjoyed how he wrote the book so that you can use it as a group study. He actually urges you to read this book that way in the introduction. At the end of each chapter he has some Reflection questions, Repent statements, Remember verses, and a Report statement. The How to Respond section did a really good job of summing up the chapter in those statements, verses, and questions. It also gave you something to take with you and chew on. The last two chapters sum up the book and give you hope and a path to walk on. He concludes with the idea that being a Christian isn't a one-time thing; it's a daily choice...sometimes even moment choice. He also says that it's up to us to come back if we walk away. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely suggest it to anyone. I would enjoy working through it with a group and get some discussion going on those questions. I find it disturbing when I argue or debate with myself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ This is THE scariest passage in the Bible. These people are doing big things and yet they Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ This is THE scariest passage in the Bible. These people are doing big things and yet they aren’t Christians! This poses the question, “How do I know if I am saved, or if I am one of these people?” That is what Mike McKinley tries to answer in his book, “Am I Really A Christian?” He calls for self-examination. Don’t get comfortable in your walk with God. We should constantly be assessing whether or not we are acting like a child of God. McKinley makes seven assumptions: You are not a Christian… 1) Just because you say you are. 2) If you haven’t been born again. 3) Just because you like Jesus. 4) If you enjoy sin. 5) If you do not endure to the end. 6) If you don’t love other people. 7) If you love your stuff. Our world is full of people who think Jesus was a great guy, who claim to be Christians, who are “nice”, and who give to the poor. But doing these things does not make a person a Christian. McKinley does a good job of getting into the basic beliefs of every Christian. But what about doubts? At one time or another everyone has had their doubts about their faith. Does that make me not a Christian? This question is answered in the end of the book. I highly recommend this book for any Christian who is struggling with doubting their faith. The point of this book is not to scare believers into thinking that they are going to hell. The point is to encourage all of us to examine ourselves to see if there is fruit in our lives. John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth J.

    I gave this a "3" because it is a very faithfully presented explanation of Lordship Salvation. I don't agree with it, and feel that the application of its principles will result in a very unhealthy, though perhaps externally moral, life, but does not provide any means of assurance of salvation that is not provided through simple belief in the Bible's assurances. My understanding of eternal life is that it is indeed eternal, which includes the certainty that once one gains it it not only cannot b I gave this a "3" because it is a very faithfully presented explanation of Lordship Salvation. I don't agree with it, and feel that the application of its principles will result in a very unhealthy, though perhaps externally moral, life, but does not provide any means of assurance of salvation that is not provided through simple belief in the Bible's assurances. My understanding of eternal life is that it is indeed eternal, which includes the certainty that once one gains it it not only cannot be lost, but can be absolutely counted on as being gained. If my children expressed as much angst over whether or not they were "really" members of my family, and truly belonged to me (as their father), I would be heartbroken. This book presents a God who allows his children to wonder if they are really members of the family, based on everything from good/bad behavior to the adherence to different doctrinal points that are not really foundational to the gospel itself. This book proceeds on the assumption that one may think one is a Christian, but in actuality not be one, because one does not truly/really/sincerely believe, and has not lived an obedient-enough life to gain such assurance. The author loves the Lord, the gospel, and has a deep desire for the Bride of Christ to be faithful and obedient to her Groom. Unfortunately, he seeks to compel such behavior through threats and fear, and not through a steadfast trust in the faithfulness of the Groom.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Ooh, this was a toughie. I can't even give it a star rating...it was just too challenging for that. Going into it, I had the thought that my answer to the book's title would be no, and I was right. :-\ I go to church, support charities, volunteer my time, and I have faith in God, but the Jesus question is tougher for me. I simply have lots of question and my faith is shaky, but to be honest it's never been really tested. I just don't know that I'm a true Christian believer, and it's tough to bas Ooh, this was a toughie. I can't even give it a star rating...it was just too challenging for that. Going into it, I had the thought that my answer to the book's title would be no, and I was right. :-\ I go to church, support charities, volunteer my time, and I have faith in God, but the Jesus question is tougher for me. I simply have lots of question and my faith is shaky, but to be honest it's never been really tested. I just don't know that I'm a true Christian believer, and it's tough to basically be called out by this author, not in a "You're going to HELL!" way (McKinley was actually pretty...I don't know...friendly? in his approach, very factual) but just in a "This is what the bible says about these things, and how do you stack up?" way. I appreciate him breaking it down to the basics like that. I mean, the book was upsetting (although not surprising), but I can't fake my faith and be all rah rah about it in hopes that I'll be rewarded in the afterlife. I just have to keep doing my thing and hoping that things will be revealed to me in due time. Seriously, though, it must be nice to have all the answers.

  21. 5 out of 5

    J.S. Park

    With a strong, sure, often humorous voice, Mike McKinley surgically cuts into the heart of being a Christian. My concern for books like this one is guilt-driven legalism or morbid introspection. But McKinley, while veering close to this sometimes, gives a bittersweet conviction that should actually free many Christians to fully realizing their identity. Many of us have an incomplete picture of Christ and therefore assume our security: McKinley's goal is to shake us out of our reverie and drive u With a strong, sure, often humorous voice, Mike McKinley surgically cuts into the heart of being a Christian. My concern for books like this one is guilt-driven legalism or morbid introspection. But McKinley, while veering close to this sometimes, gives a bittersweet conviction that should actually free many Christians to fully realizing their identity. Many of us have an incomplete picture of Christ and therefore assume our security: McKinley's goal is to shake us out of our reverie and drive us into what drives us. His litmus test is based on what I'll put in five words: Belief, Perseverance, Love, Freedom, and Repentance. It is mostly a solid test, always going back to the Gospel instead of our performance. It's nearly impossible to write a book like this without some hint of performance or religion, but McKinley acquits himself well when he always reminds us that our basis is Christ. Reading this with 1 John will definitely get you reflecting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    The introduction to this book says alot. Mike has a way of putting things in simple understandable terms. He uses humor and down to earth situations to help. This book is for those who believe they are Christians. It is backed up with scripture. Not just a verse here or there to fit what he says but paragraphs to show what God is saying to us. It is not a comfortable book. He makes you think about where you are, if you are a true believer or just going through the motions. It is a book of convict The introduction to this book says alot. Mike has a way of putting things in simple understandable terms. He uses humor and down to earth situations to help. This book is for those who believe they are Christians. It is backed up with scripture. Not just a verse here or there to fit what he says but paragraphs to show what God is saying to us. It is not a comfortable book. He makes you think about where you are, if you are a true believer or just going through the motions. It is a book of conviction. Christian has become a common word in some ways without the powerful meaning behind it. It is popular to say your a Christian but that is not the same as living as one. I recommend this book to all who may be wondering where they stand in their faith, those who are floundering and even those who think they are in perfect condition. Received through NetGalley for review

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Stiles

    God knows his own. Just saying we’re a Christian doesn’t make it so. God sees “us clearly, we don’t see ourselves clearly.” I loved to Willy Wonka and how God makes it clear what we have to do to be a Christian. There are no “hidden clauses.” He uses many analogies. “Our life is destroyed by sin, not damaged by it. He used a rotted closet to represent our sinful lives. We can’t patch it up. Christ must replace every bit of the rot with his love and grace,( see page 35). Just “liking” Jesus doesn God knows his own. Just saying we’re a Christian doesn’t make it so. God sees “us clearly, we don’t see ourselves clearly.” I loved to Willy Wonka and how God makes it clear what we have to do to be a Christian. There are no “hidden clauses.” He uses many analogies. “Our life is destroyed by sin, not damaged by it. He used a rotted closet to represent our sinful lives. We can’t patch it up. Christ must replace every bit of the rot with his love and grace,( see page 35). Just “liking” Jesus doesn’t make us a Christian. Being a Christian means “changing teams and having new allegiances”, (page 60). I loved the analogy that many people think of forgiveness like a vaccination you get once that protects you against hell’s fires, while you continue to do what you want to do!” (page 79)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Mike McKinley has written an excellent concise book on the topic of salvation. Having made a profession of faith as a child, I struggled mightily through high school and into college with assurance of my salvation. I wish I would have had this book then! His 9 chapters explore concrete statements of Scripture to help the professing believer evaluate whether they are genuinely in the faith or not. Every chapter concludes with application and accountability questions. Perhaps one of the greatest s Mike McKinley has written an excellent concise book on the topic of salvation. Having made a profession of faith as a child, I struggled mightily through high school and into college with assurance of my salvation. I wish I would have had this book then! His 9 chapters explore concrete statements of Scripture to help the professing believer evaluate whether they are genuinely in the faith or not. Every chapter concludes with application and accountability questions. Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of this book is the continual emphasis to involve other more mature believers in your life as you work through evaluating your salvation. Excellent. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike Wazowski

    What a terrific book! Here's a little volume written for anew believer, a struggling believer, even a believer who isn't sure why they should join a church. Yes, assurance of salvation is one of the benefits of church membership. This book was a great reminder for me of the many basic, foundational attitudes and actions that need to be taken every day and every week to "work out my salvation." Written in an informal, warm (even funny) style, this is a book to have on the shelf because it is wort What a terrific book! Here's a little volume written for anew believer, a struggling believer, even a believer who isn't sure why they should join a church. Yes, assurance of salvation is one of the benefits of church membership. This book was a great reminder for me of the many basic, foundational attitudes and actions that need to be taken every day and every week to "work out my salvation." Written in an informal, warm (even funny) style, this is a book to have on the shelf because it is worth reading and re-reading. It's also a great book to give to others who need some encouragement int heir pilgrimage. I highly recommend this book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Morris

    Really helpful stuff from McKinley to help us obey the command to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. As a writer, he is hard-hitting but generally avoids being abrasive. He frames his points in "You're not a Christian if...," and then nails it. Does a really good job stressing holiness and grace without pitting them against each other, as well as the need to fight sin but not sinless perfection. Highly recommend, whether your are struggling for assurance, discipling, or just need t Really helpful stuff from McKinley to help us obey the command to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. As a writer, he is hard-hitting but generally avoids being abrasive. He frames his points in "You're not a Christian if...," and then nails it. Does a really good job stressing holiness and grace without pitting them against each other, as well as the need to fight sin but not sinless perfection. Highly recommend, whether your are struggling for assurance, discipling, or just need to reexamine yourself in light of God's descriptions of true Christianity.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Seamless Melody

    If this a question for ya, it may be a useful resource to begin with. Or if someone's asking you to help them with this question, it's useful to help folks think through their salvation if they are confused. It's a starting point though... the rest of their answers is found in the Bible. That's the better book to walk them through 8) The main body of the work then focuses on five evidences of new birth – “Five Things All Christians Have”: Belief in true doctrine Hatred for sin in your life Persevera If this a question for ya, it may be a useful resource to begin with. Or if someone's asking you to help them with this question, it's useful to help folks think through their salvation if they are confused. It's a starting point though... the rest of their answers is found in the Bible. That's the better book to walk them through 8) The main body of the work then focuses on five evidences of new birth – “Five Things All Christians Have”: Belief in true doctrine Hatred for sin in your life Perseverance over time Love for other people, and Freedom from love of the world

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josue Manriquez

    This is an excellent book. The content is an excellent reminder to all Christians, and is much needed for anyone who professes to be a Christian yet isn't. The author is also a great writer. :-) This is an excellent book. The content is an excellent reminder to all Christians, and is much needed for anyone who professes to be a Christian yet isn't. The author is also a great writer. :-)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Athena

    Perfectly boils down the instructions for how to be a true Christian. full review here: http://notmytypee.blogspot.com/2011/0... Perfectly boils down the instructions for how to be a true Christian. full review here: http://notmytypee.blogspot.com/2011/0...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Justin Dillehay

    Very, very good book. It would be worth requiring all candidates for baptism and church membership. McKinley is clear, funny, and biblical.

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