The issues of doubt and assurance of salvation raise deeply personal questions and yet they are intimately tied to our theological beliefs. The temptation is to disconnect the two – personal questions and theological truths – because, after all, when you are in the throws of doubt heady theological study is not always helpful. In his Crucial Questions series, however, respected theologian R.C. Sproul brings deep theology to bear on real life in an easily accessible and concise fashion. Can I Lose My Salvation? serves as a quick-reference guide to navigating the important truths needed to do battle with doubt.
This mini-book, sitting at 65 pages, seeks simply to give readers a quick overview of the major Biblical/theological issues at play in assurance and doubt. Dr. Sproul is very pastoral even as he wrestles with a wide array of significant factors, like Roman Catholicism, textual exegesis, and the history of interpretations. The books is short but not simplistic. Sproul works methodically through the major texts/issues that challenge and confirm assurance of salvation. So, he wrestles with the language of “those who fall away,” the “unforgivable sin,” the difficult passages of Hebrews 6, the gift of perseverance, and the concept of carnal Christianity. He explores the divergent interpretations of texts and ideas, but always with a clear description of what he believes is the best explanation. He challenges even as he seeks to provide comfort, for often doubts stem as much from poor interpretations of Scripture as from personal fears.
If a book like this doesn’t offer everything we need it is, nonetheless, a great simple tool. Assurance of salvation plagues many Christians, and there are many texts of Scripture that can be unsettling to a person in such a state of doubt and uncertainty. Sproul is sensitive to those concerns and works to help readers navigate the common texts with care and precision. While I might find that more doubt stems from personal experience than textual interpretation, and therefore more help is needed on the latter, it is not to minimize the help this little resource provides. Its combined brevity and depth lend itself to being a powerful too.
When in the throws of doubt it is hard to do the necessary work of theological and exegetical study required of coming out of such a state. Discouragement and anxiety wage war in the soul to keep us from digger any deeper, for fear that everything will fall apart. Such emotions are also so weighty as to exhaust us and make navigation of study more difficult and cumbersome. Sproul’s Can I Lose My Salvation? serves as a simple, brief, and yet insightful guide to understanding the major doctrines and texts that are at play in this issue. He provides hope and encouragement as he points readers to the truth of Scripture. There are lots of books to read on assurance of salvation, some more in depth (like The Race Set Before Us by Schreiner and Caneday), some more pastoral (like How Can I Be Sure I am a Christian? by Whitney), but none quite as concise as this one.