Written for Young Adults, this book makes the point that unless we are "All In" with Christ, we are going to be unfulfilled and unproductive in our Christian lives. Batterson makes the point with several examples from those whose accounts are recorded in the Bible, as well as historical figures and current examples. He does a good job of always coming back to that point. I think it is a good, spiritually challenging book for those who are making life decisions. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
The premise of All In by Mark Batterson is that Christians should live consecrated lives which he defines as "going all in and all out for the All in all". His primary message is that being a Christian is not about the things we do, but about being fully devoted to God. For Batterson, consecration is about "full devotion"; it is "an ever-deepening love for Jesus, a childlike trust in the heavenly Father, and a blind obedience to the Holy Spirit". This is a great message for a young person who might pick up this Student Edition of All In.
It is an easy book to read. The chapters are short and filled with anecdotes and paraphrased Bible stories. There are some good suggestions for living a "consecrated" Christian life. But I have some concerns:
First, Batterson starts his book with the statement "Jesus didn't die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous." Actually, Jesus died to bring us to God. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). The by-product may be that we become better people, even dangerous people, but that is not why Jesus died.
Second, I am concerned with how Batterson uses the Bible to make his point. In children's ministry it is important to teach our children what the Bible is and what it isn't. We want to give them the tools and knowledge to read the Bible for themselves. The books we read, or encourage young people to read, should model how the Bible should be read.
For example, the retelling of the Rich Young Ruler from Luke 18, Matthew 19 and Mark 10 in chapter three of the book is a good example of how Batterson uses the Bible. According to Batterson, the rich young ruler "eventually became the Old Rich Ruler" who didn't follow Jesus because "he didn't have the guts to go for it". However, although Batterson writes this as fact (and does not reference the passage) the Bible passage actually says that when Jesus told the man to sell everything and then follow Him, the man "became very sad, because he was very wealthy". That is the last we hear of the rich young ruler in the Bible. We do not know what became of him after this story and so it is irresponsible to use this made up part of the story as a guide for how we should live.
In another example, Batterson tells the story of Moses throwing down the shepherd's staff and explains that "Throwing you're your staff is letting go and letting God". He challenges us to take what we hold in our hand (our staff) and "put it into the hands of God". Apparently when we do this "He will use it beyond your wildest imagination_ even if you're generous in much smaller ways, it always comes back around." I am just not comfortable with using this story in this way.
I am glad that Batterson makes it clear that the gospel is about what Jesus has done for us and not what we do for Him.He pointsout that "Religion is spelled do. The gospel is spelled done." He also reminds his readers that being a disciple means denying ourselves and following Jesus. But I am wary of Batterson's statement that "God wants to do amazing things for us. That's His job, not ours. Our job is consecration. That's it. And if we do our job, God will definitely do His." I am concerned that there seems to be a promise here that there are amazing things ahead. But for many Christians there is suffering, pain, heartache rather than events that can be turned into exciting anecdotes.
Batterson's Book All In is a good reminder of how we want our children to be "all in" for Jesus. But I would not recommend this book because I am uncomfortable with the way Batterson uses the Bible to show a young person how to be "all in".
Please note: the publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers.
We need follow Jesus, going all in for him - holding nothing back. Mark and Parker Batterson tell us how in this book in a way that's encouraging, but far from boring. It kept my attention with real life stories and inspired me to be a better person for Jesus.
Each chapter was just the right length and perfect for any teenager and young adult. I highly recommend this book!
I found this book to have some good points. There were several chapters that caught my attention and I found myself moved a couple of times. The author was correct that a person must be fully committed to the Lord and he backed up his statements with many stories from Scripture. However, I found it silly for the author to use such phrases as "get off your butt," etc. I am sorry, but it was ridiculous and somewhat crass. I would have enjoyed it more if his writing had been more mature.
The copy that I received had several errors (such as grammar and punctuation), the worst of which was a section of missing pages replaced by blank ones. Hopefully, this will be corrected for the final copy.
Overall, I was not greatly impressed, but I will say that the author is on the right track. He did have a good message; it was just not delivered to its full potential, in my opinion.
Thank you, Zondervan, for my Advance Reading Copy in exchange for my honest review.