The kind folks at B&H Publishing recently sent me a copy of Jason K. Allen’s Being a Christian: How Jesus Redeems All of Life, in exchange for an honest review. Allen, the current president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, explores what God seeks to do in the life of a maturing believer. He emphasizes that the aim of the book is not to instruct someone on how to become a better Christian but rather aims to show Christians from a biblical stand point how various areas of one’s life are impacted by the Gospel. After a brief chapter defining the Gospel, Allen examines how a relationship with Christ will impact one’s past, money, marriage, family, time, work, recreation, mind, and perspective on church.
The author certainly chose the topics of the book wisely because all are major areas of life. The chapters contain numerous Scripture references and well developed illustrations, many from Allen’s own life. The chapters are informative but concise, and demonstrate Allen’s knowledge of the biblical text as well as his giftedness as a communicator. Both the size and the content of the book make it worth considering for a small group Bible study.
However, given its brevity and choice of very relevant topics I was perplexed as to why the author did not include a few discussion questions at the end of each chapter. This would have made the book much easier to use as part of a study. Also while Allen emphasized that the Christian life could not be lived without Christ and that this book was not intended to be a how to, it still can be perceived as that at times. A simple fix would have been to expand the chapter discussing the Gospel to include the importance of living under the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit. Despite those things, there is immense value in considering how Jesus seeks to redeem all areas of our life so this study is a needed one.