Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: How Good Is Good Enough? by Andy Stanley

Tim Keller defines defeater beliefs as any culture's "'common-sense' consensus beliefs that automatically make Christianity seem implausible to people." If I may be so bold as to add to the wisdom of Tim Keller, I would suggest that any belief that makes Christianity unnecessary or inconsequential would fall into such a category as well. And of all the beliefs that make Christianity unnecessary or inconsequential, there is perhaps none more common than the one confronted in this book: "all good people go to heaven".

In How Good Is Good Enough?, Andy Stanley spends the first two thirds of the book dismantling this defeater belief, clearing the way for a clear and compassionate gospel presentation. The dismantling of the "good people go to heaven" belief is surprising simple, primarily because it is so often assumed and so rarely analyzed. The frailty of this assumption is quickly revealed as Stanley begins measuring it against a few questions (the first of which is the title of the book).

Consider. How do you know when/if you're good enough? According to whose standard of goodness? Jesus? Buddha? Mohammed? And if God is good, shouldn't he have communicated a little more clearly that standard and where exactly the cut-off line is? And the kicker in my mind: no matter where the line is, what do you say to the poor sap who falls below that line by one measly good dead? That he missed the cut-off for heaven and is now in hell because of one white lie? One errant word? One stolen piece of candy as a child?

To put it another way: if a passing grade is 3.0, what do you tell the schmuck who scores a 2.999? "Sorry chump, to hell with you and Hitler and Pol Pot"."All good people go to heaven" is often touted as a much fairer option against the Christian view of the afterlife. Yet, like a good apologist, Stanley shows that this approach to eternity fails at its own test of fairness and equality.

I can't decide if How Good Is Good Enough? is a really short book (92 small pages) or a long gospel tract, but either way it's well worth adding to your library so that you are ready to loan it or cite it next time someone says "Well that's great if Christianity works for you, but I'm just trying to be a good person".


Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Recommended for: Every Christian 

This book was a free review copy provided by Multnomah Books.

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