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Am I Really a Christian? (9marks) Paperback – June 7, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a truly important book in the most urgent sense—a book that serves the cause of Christ by raising the most important question human beings face, and helping to answer it, no less. I am thankful to McKinley for his faithfulness and for the pastoral concern that prompted him to write such an important work.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“There can be no more important question than ‘Am I really a Christian?’ and Mike McKinley helps us answer it with great skill. He manages to challenge nominal Christians while comforting genuine believers. McKinley’s writing is accessible, engaging, and simple without ever being simplistic. I particularly appreciate the way he encourages us to explore this crucial question in the context of a Christian community. If you’re not sure where you stand before God, or you know someone who’s not sure, then this is the book for you.”
Tim Chester, pastor, Grace Church, Boroughbridge; Curriculum Director, Acts 29-Oak Hill Academy; author, You Can ChangeA Meal With Jesus, and Good News to the Poor

“Can any question in life be as important as knowing whether you are right with God, whether you are going to Heaven or Hell? I’m quite sure that every person now in eternity—with not a single exception among the billions there—would affirm the urgency and priority of pursuing the answer to such a question. That’s why, if you have any uncertainties about the answer for your own situation, you should read this book. Some day, on a day as real as the one in which you entered the world, as real as the one in which you are reading these words, you will enter another world. There you will remain forever. Are you ready? If not, this book will help you understand how the Bible says to prepare.”
Donald S. Whitney, Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality, Senior Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

“Simple, piercing, winsome, practical, honest, direct and pastoral. If you know anyone questioning their conversion (or who should be questioning!), get this book!”
Dave Harvey, Pastor of Preaching, Four Oaks Community Church, Tallahassee, Florida; author, When Sinners Say I Do and Am I Called?

“Really, is there anything more important to know about ourselves than whether or not we are actually Christians? People have come up with a lot of different ways of thinking about that question—ranging from your ability to remember ‘praying the prayer,’ to possessing a signed card in your Bible from a revival meeting, to ensuring your ‘letter’ is safely tucked away in some church's filing cabinet. Examining ourselves to make sure we are in the faith is about a whole lot more than that, and McKinley offers good help for that kind of heart evaluation. This is good devotional material, good small group material; And I expect that for some, it will probably even turn out to be the first time they’ve truly understood the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Greg Gilbert, Senior Pastor, Third Avenue Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky; author, What Is the Gospel?

“Mike has always had the ability to talk about the mundane and serious aspects of life with both passion and depth in an endearing way. That is such a great and rare combination. Using those skills in his newest book, he references everyday experiences to explain much deeper and more important spiritual truths around the question of how do I know I am a Christian or not?”
Jackson Crum, Lead Pastor, Park Community Church, Chicago, Illinois

About the Author

Mike McKinley (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. Formerly, he served on staff alongside Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is the author of a number of books, including Am I Really a Christian? and Church Planting Is for Wimps.

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Product Details

  • Series: 9marks
  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433525763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433525766
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher R. Horton on November 1, 2011
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.
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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.
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"Am I really saved?" is a question that many Christians have likely asked themselves at some point. It's something that weigh on the mind of the newer convert or the churched individual going on 40 years in the same church. Far from being irrelevant or pointless, it's dealing with our eternal destination, and so is certainly worthy of serious consideration.

Mike McKinley's work in this book is generally clear, concise writing, but he also carries a light touch throughout, and the whole book is a very easy read. McKinley covers multiple key aspects of truly being a Christian, including:

-Trusting the facts of the gospel
-Hating sin
-Perseverance in the faith (see note below)
-Loving others
-Loving stuff over Christ

At the same time, McKinley admits this is not an exact science, but points to verses that can give the Christian assurance in his or her faith. Additionally, he's right to point out the self-evaluation is difficult, and accountability is a big aspect of belonging to a church and fellowship with other Christians.

Many of the 9Marks books are known for being geared towards church builders, pastors, and elders, but there are also books like this one that are easily accessible to even inexperienced, newer Christians. Coming in at only 160 pages, it also has discussion questions at the end of each chapter, as well as reflections on repentance and application, making it suitable for possible small groups use as well as for the individual. This is not a "scare tactics" book, but neither does it pull any punches in addressing how a Christian is instructed to act, and just where true belief needs to lie.
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