Do I Know God?: Finding Certainty in Life's Most Important Relationship Hardcover – 21 Aug 2007
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Apart from the Bible, this may be the most important book you could ever read because it will help you answer the most important question you could ever ask: Do I know God? From the foreword by Billy Graham"" To know that you know God and God knows you is life s greatest source of peace, joy, and strength for the journey. Tullian takes strugglers by the hand and leads them with sure steps towards this certainty. Here is a book to be trusted and treasured. J.I. Packer, author of "Knowing God " With wisdom, grace, and transparency, Tullian helps clear the sometimes uncertain path of knowing and following after God. I am thrilled to endorse this thoughtful work and trust you will find it equally engaging and helpful. Ravi Zacharias, author of "Can Man Live Without God" Warm, fresh, and helpful, Tullian s insightful answer to the question Do I know God? will be a guide and an encouragement to many. Os Guinness, author of "The Call""
About the Author
TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN (pronounced cha-vih-jin) is the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and the author of Do I Know God?, Surprised by Grace, and Jesus + Nothing = Everything. A grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham, Tullian is a frequent conference speaker and his sermons are broadcast daily on the radio program Godward Living. Tullian and his wife, Kim, have three children. An American icon and the greatest religious leader of our time; hailed as the world's preacher, Billy Graham's career has spanned more than five decades and his ministry of faith has touched the hearts and souls of millions. He has preached the Gospel to more people in a live-audience format than anyone else in history - more than 210 million people, in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Today Billy Graham and his ministry are known around the globe. He has preached in remote African villages and in the heart of New York City, and those to whom he has ministered have ranged from heads of state to the simple living bushmen of Australia and the wandering tribes of Africa and the Middle East. Since 1977, Dr. Graham has been accorded the opportunity to conduct preaching missions in virtually every country of the former Eastern bloc, including the former Soviet Union. Born William Franklin Graham, Jr., in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1918, he entered the ministry in 1943 and soon began conducting evangelistic crusades. In 1950, he founded The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which has sponsored crusades and produced radio and television programs as well as films. Dr. Graham has written 24 books, many of which have become top sellers. His autobiography, Just As I Am, published in 1997, achieved a "triple crown," appearing simultaneously on the three top best-seller lists in one week. Billy Graham has been honoured with many awards. He lives in Montreat, North Carolina. His wife Ruth passed away on June 14, 2007
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
God wants us to know Him and not only that, He wants us to know that we know Him. He wants us to be able to find certainty in this most important relationship. This certainty, the certainty that allows us to have confidence that we are saved and that God loves and will preserve us, is the subject of Do I Know God? by Tullian Tchividjian. Though not a household name, his full name provides some important context: William Graham Tullian Tchividjian is the grandson of Ruth and Billy Graham. As a young man he rebelled and ran from the faith, but was radically saved in 1993 and has since entered the pastoral ministry having first graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. In 2003 he founded New City Presbyterian Church in Florida where he serves as pastor.
Tchividjian wrote this book to show that we can have assurance of our salvation and to teach the reader how we can have this kind of certainty. "The Bible makes it clear that if you're confused about which group [those who know God and those who don't] you belong to, you don't have to remain confused. If you do have a relationship with God, he wants you to know it. And if you don't have a relationship with God, he wants you to know it."
This book, then, is his attempt to give credible answers to any sincere spiritual seeker who may be asking that all-important question." Of course we live at a time when doubt is the highest absolute. We can believe what we want, but we always need to maintain a "healthy" doubt, admitting that we could be (and perhaps probably are) wrong. God's assurance flies in the face of this doubt.
The format of the book is as follows. Tchividjian first looks at what a relationship to God actually means and how we are to enter into one that is genuine. He identifies six ways that people deceive themselves into thinking they know God when in fact they do not and then seeks to assist the reader to examine himself through a kind of rigorous personal inventory. The purpose of such an examination is to determine if the reader really is showing the traits of one who believes. And finally, he suggests three practical spiritual disciplines that maintain the relationship with God and cause it to flourish.
The book is pastoral in its tone and is laced with stories and anecdotes from Tchividjian's pastoral ministry and from his own testimony. The endnotes show who has guided Tchividjian in his understanding of this most important theology: Packer, Sproul, Stott, Piper, Ryle and others all make appearances. The book closes with a Study Guide suitable for personal or group use. Tchividjian is a capable writer and one who makes a good personal connection with the reader. The book is suitable for any audience.
Do I Know God? is a helpful and biblical response to that all-important question. With the answers grounded in the character of God and built upon the testimony of Scripture, this book will serve anyone who may be wondering or wavering. I'm glad to recommend it.
But the best and most helpful chapter in the book is probably chapter 10 - "Knowing God in the dark night." It's all about those 'dry' seasons where we just don't feel His presence (and sometimes begin to wonder if we really know Him). Tullian makes the great pt that if you ache for His presence, that's an evidence that we DO have a relationship with Him.
overall great book for anyone struggling with assurance. I wasn't even struggling with assurance when I picked it up and it still helped tremendously. Praise be to God for His saving and assuring Grace.
Hopefully many of those that answer that question with an emphatic affirmative will read the book. The presentation is interesting; relying on personal anecdotes making the profound exposition most readable. The footnoted quotations, supporting the logical progression of Tullian's ideas will be invaluable to those asked by others for help with this question.
The strong endorsements of J.I. Packer, Ravi Zacharias, Os Guiness, and Tullian's grandfather, Billy Graham commend this book to all of us that care about our personal answer to the Title question.
Writing in a clear and simple manner, Tchividjian proceeds to explain the concept of salvation in a way that even one with little prior understanding of the Christian faith can understand. He manages to do this, however, in a way that doesn't insult the intelligence of his readers, no matter their level of spiritual maturity.
While identifying what an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ looks like, Tchividjian ensures that his readers understand the difference between knowing about God and truly knowing God. To do this, Tchividjian briefly talks about his own life experience. Though he was raised in a Christian home by godly parents, attended a Christian school and frequented church, Tchividjian never knew God as a child. This lack of a relationship, he explains, led to his rebellion as a teenager. Tchividjian writes:
"By the age of sixteen, I had dropped out of high school, managed to get myself kicked out of the house (the police literally escorted me from my parents' property), and set off party hopping across South Florida. At the time, of course, I was very pleased with my achievements. Freed from the constraints of teachers and parents, I pursued pleasure harder than most my age, trying desperately to "find myself" through promiscuity, drugs and alcohol."
Not surprisingly this lifestyle led Tchividjian down a path of self-destruction. He notes that only a few years later he "began to realize that my so-called freedoms had made me a slave to habits and desires that were destroying me." This led him to "overwhelming desperation" and what Tchividjian describes as the "end of myself." It was only then that he found peace by turning to God or, as he writes, "When I came to the beginning of God, I came to the beginning of true life." Tchividjian continues:
"I cried out to God for pardon and help, believing he was the only one who could deliver me. God answered and helped me see that my hunger for identity could be satisfied only in something that I'd never asked for when I was growing up, that I hadn't inherited from my godly parents, and that I'd certainly never found in my headlong, self-centered pursuits: a relationship with God himself."
While describing what it means to enter into a relationship with God, Tchividjian slows down and carefully defines terms that Christians often take for granted, including "sin" and "salvation." He also explores a term and concept that is often neglected in churches today during discussions of salvation: adoption. While on this topic, Tchividjian writes:
"We come into this world as spiritual orphans, relationally disconnected from our Creator. But God, because of his amazing grace, chooses to adopt sinners into his family. He chooses to turn slaves into his sons. Before God created the world, he already chose to adopt spiritually orphaned, undeserving sinners into his eternal family as fully alive sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:4 - 5)."
The next few chapters are devoted to ways many people are deceived into thinking they are going to Heaven when, in reality, they are not. Here Tchividjian lists four ways people are deceived:
Deception #1: Praying the Sinner's Prayer - Tchividjian reveals that many believe they are eternally secure because they repeated some words during a religious service at one point during their lives. Many Christian pastors contribute to this deception when, after leading a prayer, they say something like, "If you just prayed that prayer, you are now a child of God." Tchividjian says he has met several people during his ministry who falsely believed they had a relationship with Christ because they once prayed a simple believer's prayer and heard similar words from a pastor or preacher.
Deception #2: Remembering a Past Decision for Christ - This is similar to the first deception. Tchividjian reveals that many believe they have a genuine relationship with God because they can recall a past event in their life when they made some sort of vague decision to "follow Christ." While he points out that it is wonderful to "remember God's activity in our past," we simply cannot base something as important as the authenticity of our relationship with God on that basis alone. Instead, Tchividjian explains, we need to "look for evidence" in what we love and how we live. He devotes ample amount of space to these topics in later chapters.
Deception #3: Being Religious - Tchividjian writes that many people believe they can enter into a relationship with God and secure their place in Heaven by regularly performing religious activities. In other words, these people believe that by attending church, tithing, fasting, being baptized and participating in the Lord's Supper they are automatically right with god. While these things are important, Tchividjian explains they don't mean one has a living relationship God.
"It's possible to be in church without being in Christ, as the New Testament describes that relationship. It's possible to be connected to religion while remaining disconnected from God. Why would walking into a church make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car?"
Deception #4: Being Spiritual - Tchividjian points out that many in our society have become enamored with transcendence, mystery and the supernatural in our society. Yet the Bible explicitly warns against participating in any such spirituality separated from the truth of the Bible. Tchividjian writes:
"It's encouraging that so many people are rediscovering their spiritual thirst and are open to spiritual answers to their deepest questions and longings. But just as salt water can't quench our physical thirst, so false and incomplete spirituality can never satisfy our spiritual thirst. Only true relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ can satisfy that thirst. True spirituality is the inner experience of an ever-deepening relationship with God the Father, through God the Son, in God the Spirit. Anything less than entering into an eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is a false spirituality that cannot save or satisfy."
Near the end of the book, Tchividjian devotes a chapter to the "practical pursuit of assurance." Tchividjian asserts that practicing a few spiritual disciplines will help believers know they are in a real and personal relationship with God. The three main practices Tchividjian highlights are reading the Bible, prayer and church fellowship. He rightly believes that, when believers regularly engage in these three practices, they will experience less doubt and flourish both emotionally and spiritually as long as these disciplines are continued consistently.
It is when discussing these points that Tchividjian's writing really shines. He takes great care to give his readers practical advice on how to carry out these disciplines in their daily lives. For instance, while explaining the importance of reading the Bible, he mentions specific Bible reading plans that he has found helpful and recommends a few study Bibles and translations as well. It is this kind of advice that can make this book so valuable to the new believer. He dispenses similar advice while talking about his own struggle to pray consistently and emphasizing the benefits and importance of regular church attendance. While more mature Christians have probably already heard this advice before, it helps to hear it again. For new Christians, however, it is exactly the type of practical advice that can so easily make a huge difference in their spiritual walk.
When all is said and done, Tchividjian has written a great book for new believers and those currently struggling with their personal relationship with God. Tchividjian's message is timeless and something even mature Christians need to hear from time to time. That being said, I would recommend this book especially to be given as gifts from Christians to their friends and family members they know who are questioning their faith. It is a great and easy-to-understand book for this type of audience. I also think it would be a great idea for a church to use this book, if they don't already have something similar in place, as a study guide for new members to read as a way to introduce new Christians to their new faith. Either way, I honestly believe that anyone who takes the time to read Do I Know God? will benefit from Tchividjian's insightful and thorough answer given to the book's title.