How Good is Good Enough: Good News About a Common Question (Lifechange Books) Hardcover – 17 Sep 2003
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About the Author
Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one campus to three in the Atlanta area, and has helped plant fourteen strategic partner churches throughout the United States. Each Sunday, over 20,000 adults attend worship services at one of NPM's three campuses, North Point Community Church, Browns Bridge Community Church, and Buckhead Church. Andy's books include It Came From Within; Communicating for a Change; Making Vision Stick; Visioneering; Next Generation Leader and most recently The Grace of God. Andy lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Sandra, and their three children
Top Customer Reviews
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The book is based around the premise that every religion other than Christianity is based on the premise that good deeds can earn us a favorable place in the afterlife. This, the world's most popular theory about heaven, falls flat when examined in depth, and Stanley examines it thoroughly. He asks the usual questions ("if you were to stand before God and He were to ask why He should let you get into heaven, what would you say?") and uses the familiar arguments ("Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or exactly who He said He was") yet somehow avoids making the book fell like it is filled with nothing but cliché. Perhaps the fact that it is written conversationally, almost as if Stanley was sitting in a room with you and just sharing his faith, makes it feel different. It is filled with examples from his own life and ministry, giving it a sense of genuineness.
The book is divided into two sections. The first speaks about common understandings of God, the afterlife and how we can secure a place in heaven. The second section presents the Christian alternative to the arguments of other religions. Stanley shows, for example, how a common objection to the reality of heaven and hell is that sending people to hell is not fair. To counter this, he presents God as merciful rather than fair, for fairness would condemn us all to hell.
The book concludes with a prayer and the author is careful to point out that faith, not a prayer, is what saves. The prayer covers sin, the fact that we deserve punishment and the reality of Jesus' substitution.
Theologically the book was solid, and examining it from my Calvinist viewpoint I found no significant shortcomings. Especially noteworthy was that the author used a solid Bible translation throughout and did not "dumb down" the message of the gospel and neither did he rob it of its power by giving only half the story. This is the good ol' fashioned gospel presented honestly and powerfully.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and recommend it as a gift for a friend or family member who does not believe. It is easy to read, short (a mere 92 pages) and covers the topic as well as any similar book I've read.
In this short book (90 pages) Andy Stanley tries to ask poignant questions about a common misconception. If you look at most of the religions of the world you realize that there is a common thread holding them all together. All religions seem to base their core beliefs on whether someone does the right things or not, all religions except one of course. Doesn't matter if you look at Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, or Hinduism their basic premise is focused on doing certain things or enough things to appease god(s). So according to these leading religions if you're good enough you could make it to heaven, nirvana, the next level or where ever else is the ultimate goal. Christianity is different. It isn't necessarily about what you do, it's about your acceptance of what Christ did on the cross. According to Christianity good people and bad people will be in heaven, and good people and bad people will be in hell simply based on their decision about Christ, which the author suggests is really the fairest way of all.
Likes: This book is super short, 90 pages, so that anyone could spend an hour and read the entire thing. I also like that it not only answers the question of 'How good is good enough' but also focuses the reader on the gospel of Christ, making sure to present the gospel by the end of the book. Lastly I liked how the question of goodness and fairness were handled, making sure to try and deconstruct those beliefs through logical dialogue.
Dislike: Since it is short this book is overly simplistic. Unfortunately I think people from the religions discussed (Mormonism, Islam, etc.) could be repulsed at the simplicity described of their beliefs, even if they were represented correctly. Also because of its' simplicity, the gospel loses some of its' life changing attributes, and seems just like a prayer that is spoken rather than a life changing decision.
Overall though I think I would recommend this book, especially for churches that want to use it as a giveaway for visitors in the church, but with one stipulation: Make sure this book leads to relational conversation rather than individual consumption. What I mean is give it to someone to read and follow up with them on it. The simplicity is perfect for people unfamiliar with the gospel, but make sure they don't have to sort through it on their own, walk through the gospel with people, isn't that what Jesus did?
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
You see, every faith except Christianity is about a set of laws and trying to be good enough to live up to them. Jesus Christ, God's only Son, lived on earth for 33 years and taught us that Christianity is about grace, mercy and forgiveness because no one is good enough to live up to a set of divine laws as a means for going to heaven.
Andy Stanley gets to the heart of the Gospel (Good News) message by stating: "Christianity is the fairest possible system in a world that is irreversibly unfair. What could be fairer than this? Everybody is welcome. Everybody gets in the same way. Everybody can meet the requirement." The requirement is so simple it's easy to dismiss: Ask God to forgive your sins; place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior; and claim your eternal reward (see John 3:16).
The author concludes by saying that "the ultimate question
each of us must answer for ourselves is not whether Christianity is fair" but "is Jesus who he claimed to be?" I invite you to read this book, study the Bible and draw your own conclusions.