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Am I Really a Christian? (Foreword by Kirk Cameron) (9Marks)

Am I Really a Christian? (Foreword by Kirk Cameron) (9Marks) [Kindle Edition]

Mike McKinley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Jesus divided the world into two groups—those who follow him and those who don’t. But what happens when someone thinks he or she is a Christian, but isn’t? With his witty, engaging style, Mike McKinley takes readers on a journey of what it means to be a Christian. He asserts that “manipulative evangelism techniques and a poor understanding of the gospel have resulted in an abundance of professing Christians who have no idea what it means to follow Christ.” 

Each chapter title begins with “You’re not a Christian [if/when/just because you]…” As he surveys what it means to be Christian, McKinley offers criteria for evaluating one’s standing before God. Readers are guided through a series of challenges to reflect, repent, remember, and report to another person. Am I Really a Christian? ends with chapters on salvation and the local church. This unique book is written for nominal or new Christians and can be used in personal or small-group study.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 276 KB
  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1433525763
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (7 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058E3JVU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #277,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.0 out of 5 stars thinker 20 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
puts everything we do int reality. question are true beliefs and our goals in our life with Christ.who are we really serving
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Book Answering Tough Questions 1 Nov 2011
By Christopher R. Horton - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mike McKinley writes a book that is a great introduction to answering some of the key questions people have concerning Christianity. He does so with the Bible in tow and writes in an easy to read format.

I was hesitant to pick this book up because so many of these attempts come across mean spirited and don't benefit the reader or Christianity in its efforts.

McKinley takes on 7 issues:

You are not a Christian Just Because You Say That You Are
You are not a Christian If You Haven't Been Born Again
You are not a Christian Just Because You Like Jesus
You are not a Christian If You Enjoy Sin
You are not a Christian If You Do Not Endure to the End
You are not a Christian If You Don't Love Other People
You are not a Christian If You Love Your Stuff

I recognize this is written from a Reformed position and I can certainly see those leanings throughout the book, but there was really only one chapter that I found a little troubling in this aspect. The chapter on endurance didn't resonate well with me, although I do get what he is writing, but as a pastor that comes from a background that isn't Reformed, I found this a little troubling. Of course coming from a 9 Marks pastor and publisher, you get what you buy.

With that little caveat out of the way, the rest of the book is solid and worth reading through. McKinley wrestles with issues that need to be addressed and it is a quick read that won't scare away the seeker or the young Christian who is doubting.

While we might not like what is written in some of these chapters, the truth is in scripture and it is a little hard to argue against.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Marks of Authentic Christianity 24 Jun 2011
By George P. Wood - Published on
Matthew 7:21-23 may be one of the most difficult passages of Scripture for Christians to contemplate. There, people asked Jesus, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?" (Evidently, they were Pentecostals, like me.) Instead of commending them, however, Jesus said, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers." These people were self-deceived about the authenticity of their Christianity.

In Am I Really a Christian? Mike McKinley outlines five things all Christians have:

1. Belief in 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.

McKinley backs up his assertions with Scripture. He uses illustrations, often funny and self-deprecating, to make his points. And he writes in a simple, easy-going manner that makes this book perfect for use by small groups. Each chapter concludes with study questions and suggestions for practical action.

Crucially, McKinley grounds his teaching in grace, not works. "Our goal in this book," he writes, "is not to ask whether we have done enough to earn God's love and favor. Instead, our goal is to begin learning how to look for the evidence that God has done his mighty work in our lives." This goal admirably encapsulates balanced biblical teaching about justification by grace through faith that leads to sanctified works.

Given that 76 percent of Americans self-identify as Christian, it is important for American believers to understand what being a Christian really means. Mike McKinley should be commended for helping us sort out this issue.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Foundational Christianity; Are You or Aren't You? 18 Oct 2011
By Keith Heapes - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Most books try to attract an audience with an intriguing cover or a catchy title or subtitle. One book title that comes to mind is "What's So Great About America?" Another one that also fits this methodology is "Where Will You Be When Suddenly Millions Are SNATCHED AWAY!" Not so with this book by Mike McKinley which cuts away all of the hype and comes right in the front door with a book title that accurately describes the content in his book: "Am I Really a Christian?"

According to any number of surveys, the majority of Americans will respond affirmatively when asked this or similar questions. What McKinley does in a very easy reading and low technical style is challenge his readers to take a personal spiritual inventory and do what the Bible tells everyone to do, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Corinthians 13:5). Although he uses a number of anecdotal stories to make his points, McKinley made every effort to anchor this book to the foundation of cited biblical texts, sometimes an entire portion of a Bible chapter is quoted to ensure contextual accuracy.

According to McKinley, this book is primarily directed at Christians and those who call themselves Christians. In his Introduction, McKinley provides a clear statement of what this book is all about, and in some sense why I should read it. Personally, I like it when an author tells me up front what is the point of the book, what he or she intends to do in the next dozen or so chapters. Here is part of McKinley's purpose:

"Becoming a Christian means admitting that you are a sinner, and admitting that you are sinner (sic) means admitting that you are prone to self-deceit. Gratefully, God has given us other Christians to help us see the things we cannot see about ourselves. Therefore, you might say that this isn't a book for individual Christians. It is a book for Christians in churches. The Christian who thinks he can do the sort of self-examination we're going to do in this book apart from other members in his or her local church is off to a bad start and may never find the answers he or she is looking for."

A quick look at the Table of Contents reveals what I initially thought seemed to be an unusual way of approaching the central question, "Am I Really a Christian?" Seven of the nine chapters begin with the phrase, "You Are Not a Christian..." I'm not sure why McKinley chose this literary devise to speak to Christians. It seemed to confuse the positive central question with a negative application. However, by the time several chapters are finished, the reader will see that the author has successfully made his points, and in fact has been directing the book at both Christians and those who think they are, as well as what may be referred to as "cultural christians" (christians by virtue of nationality or ethnicity).

McKinley effectively uses the text in Matthew 7 (quoted below) as his central biblical point of reference for this book, and then builds upon that (line upon line, precept upon precept) with supporting texts to make it clear he is not just "cherry-picking" a verse and then building a book around it. He shows that the four gospels and the epistles are in complete agreement concerning what makes one a biblical Christian; there's no "Jesus said this, but the apostles taught that," in the New Testament. McKinley's exposition and sound use of scripture is the hallmark of this book.

"Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Med, you who practice lawlessness.'" (Matthew 7:21-23).

I do have a couple of points that I thought detracted from the value of McKinley's book. In some cases his use of anecdotal material was, in my opinion, less than accurate and did not support what he was writing about. That is typically the weakness of using this type support material. An example of this may be when McKinley was describing the transformation that takes place when the sinner is translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God's dear Son. He implied in at least a couple of places that becoming a Christian is like removing the jersey of one team (Satan's) and putting on the jersey of another team (Christ's). I was taken back by this analogy and found it a good example of a weakness in this book.

I also tried to put myself in the shoes of a relatively young Christian reading this book when McKinley would write things like the following, introducing a section titled "You Do What You Are":

"Okay, admit it. You didn't read that last part very closely. You skimmed it, didn't you? It's okay, you can tell the truth; it's just you and me here (and I'm not even really here, am I?). All right, I like the cut of your jib, so I'm going to cut you a break. Let me summarize for you what you need to know. The Bible says that there are two kinds of people: servants of Satan and servants of God. It's one jersey or the other. And the way you can tell which jersey you're wearing is by the role that sin plays in your life"

I may very well be over reacting here, but why would you use such a confrontational outburst to retain someone's attention? I don't know. McKinley may have intended this to be humorous, but after reading it over several times, it still failed to sound funny to me. One last point and I'll get back to the positives. In a book written to readers with varied backgrounds, it would seem important to minimize references to ones own denominational affiliations when citing examples. McKinley didn't do this a lot, but there were times when he could have used something less specific, which probably would have been less denominational and at the same time resonated with more readers.

Overall, this book has numerous uses. Small group Bible studies, church leadership seminars, new believer follow-up, as well as good sermon material from the pulpit. McKinley does a good job of covering difficult doctrinal subjects in a clear and concise manner. He ends each chapter with relevant questions for discussion and provides action points for personal response to the material covered. The final chapter is an overview of the material in chapters one through eight. When covering as much detailed information as this book does, it would seem very important to end with a quick review to ensure all of the points are clearly understood and to enhance retention. Recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Book, Great Topic 27 July 2011
By Psychic Cypher - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a relatively quick read, but it's a topic worth taking time to really consider. This book is really geared toward people who are already Christians (or those who minister to those who consider themselves Christians), but who may question whether they really "get" what Christianity is really about.

The author is responding to a significant problem that plagues the Church, and attempts to give a biblical response to that problem. Here is the issue: many Christians (especially in North America) claim to be Christian, but fail to live up to the biblical definition(s), characteristics, and reflections of what it really means to be a disciple of Christ. We are Christians in name only, but don't really exhibit any of the biblical characteristics of such.

I believe that this stems from the fact that many Christians call Jesus their "Lord and Savior", but fail to realize that those are two very different things. They acknowledge Jesus as the Savior (which is all that is required for "salvation"), but haven't remotely made him the Lord of their lives. This book attempts to address this problem...and does so quite effectively.

Most Christians need to consider these issues if they truly consider themselves followers of Jesus, because they may be surprised at the variety of ways they have failed to live up to the standards God expects from them in a life of true discipleship.

One final note: I do not believe that the topics outlined in this book are necessarily exhaustive. They are excellent, and accurate, and biblical, but they aren't the ONLY expectations God has for disciples of Jesus. For example, the book doesn't address stewardship (not just of money...of time, of energy, etc), yet the Bible makes clear that this is a key and significant aspect of discipleship. It does mention perseverance, which is fine...but why that and not stewardship?

But overall this is a fantastic book and well worth a read for many Christians. It's surprising that more books have not been written to address this issue, and refreshing that this book does. Recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reminder of what it is all about 20 April 2013
By RDtoo - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We are living in a dangerous time spiritually speaking. Alot of people believe they are Christians. Alot of people believe God must view things as they do. It is almost trendy to say you believe in a God who loves everyone and everything and He would never send anyone to hell. There is alot of confusion out there in our culture and even in our Churches. I applaud the author of this book for trying to formulate the specifics or "bullet points" of what a true Christian is. As another reviewer commented, he does a good job, not a great job of spelling things out for us.
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