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Book Reviews

M. W. Johnson Book Review: "That You May Know Him" by Clifford Deister
By M. Wallace Johnson
Feb 2, 2014 - 12:30:30 AM

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"That You May Know Him" by Clifford Deister
is a Christian book in which the author explores the 'many facets of Jesus' assignments and accomplishments'. The author suggests that readers 'let such knowledge accumulate to help you to grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:15)'.

Although the author expresses his excitement about Jesus and expresses a hope that his book will prove valuable to one and all, I personally have a problem with some of his 'linguistic expressions'. I do not challenge the author's integrity, but as one might hear preachers preach from time to time, 'words have power' and in an age when Christianity is split into many different and often conflicting theological camps, how we phrase our expressions can lead people to assume something that was not necessarily what we intended to convey.

The author's statement that "if we find all that God had planned for Him (Christ) and has related about Him throughout His Word, then we too can know Him...' can subconsciously give rise to the belief that knowing Christ must be achieved theologically. This can give rise to a subconscious belief in 'Salvation by Theology'. This is reinforced when we read such statements as 'study to show ourselves approved unto God', which is not about 'knowledge' per se, but about maturity, faithfulness and correctness in our service before God and our teaching amongst men.

If you understand my meaning, then you will understand why statements such as 'from all of this can't we presume..', and 'evidently the Spirit..' have the power to create belief systems based on presumption derived from human intellect rather than facts directly stated in the Bible. When one must presume or interpret, one is walking in the realm of conjecture -- not factual truth. When one's 'faith' is dependent on Biblical statements, it is not derived from 'relationship with Christ'.

The Bible is not a book of magical incantations and nor is it a study book, the successful test of which scores you heavenly brownie points. The apostles walked with and learned from Christ himself, and yet they did not really understand all that was necessary. It was not until the 'Spirit of Truth' brought to them enlightenment and revelation that they began to understand the full implication of the person and work of Christ. Despite our elevation of the apostles to the realm of 'sainthood', they were mortal men who struggled to fully understand and appreciate the plan of God.

I understand much, both of what the author has written and his theological perspective and I would advise readers to differentiate between direct quotes from Scripture, and the interpretation overlaid upon them. As long as we take care to focus on the 'Word of God' not the interpretation of man, the Spirit of God has less to deal with in leading us into the stature of Christ.

Having now discharged what I consider to be my duty to warn readers that one needs to be careful about presuming too much and relying upon a 'Salvation by Theology', I would like to say that I would recommend this book, irrespective of anyone's knowledge of the Bible or personal relationship with Christ.

Those who have studied much can find gems of insight and those who have not studied at all can find a gold mine. I tend to think that when we read Scriptures directly, as opposed to commentaries about those Scriptures, that the words themselves can refresh us and/or bring us hope, enlightenment and new insights into our personal revelation of Christ. As the author points out, Christ is the Living Word and the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

M. Wallace Johnson

  • M. Wallace Johnson was born in Scotland, and as a young person emigrated to Australia.
  • Links to M. Wallace Johnson articles which appear at both Magic City Morning Star and Kingscalendar.com.

About the Book Author:

Clifford Deister has preached the written and spoken word of Jesus Christ for 70 years. He is the author of two religious books, "Revelation, an Analysis" and "Paul and the Great Stone Wall." Deister lives in Fairfield, CA with his wife of 66 years, Irene.

"That You May Know Him"
by Clifford Deister
Published: 11/21/2013
$4 E-Book
$20 Soft cover
Pages: 346
ISBN:978-1-49312-169-4


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