If you’re looking for status quo teaching on forgiveness in From Forgiven to Forgiving by Jay Adams, please move on. You won’t find it here. 🙂 Don’t believe me?
“…apologizing is not only unscriptural, it is the world’s unsatisfactory substitute for forgiveness.” p. 10
“Forgiveness is conditional.” p. 26
“…the idea of forgiveness without repentance has become so widespread that it is now adopted by non-Christians as well.” p. 27
“If we were to grant forgiveness to a brother apart from his repentance and desire for forgiveness, then why bother with the process [of church discipline in Matt 18:15-20]?” p. 33
“Forgiveness…is conditioned on the offender’s willingness to confess it as sin and to seek forgiveness…” p. 36
And there are more fireballs like these in this little 170 pager. Adams will not settle for the commonly accepted errors in the culture or in the church and he takes many of these wrong ideas on forgiveness to task in this volume. This book is going to challenge your thinking on topics like forgiveness (obviously), bitterness, harboring grudges, using forgiveness lightly or wrongly, consequences, asking your children for forgiveness, etc. You may get some weird looks from your Christian brothers and sisters as you start to share what you’re learning from this book. This is because some bad ideas have crept into the church from secular psychology and have become cemented in the minds of believers for many years so it is very hard to hear some of the things Adams teaches. What he says aren’t actually fireballs at all. They are simply a call back to the truth in God’s word on the topic of forgiveness. What ultimately matters is not if you agree with him or if its hard to hear. What matters is can what he is presenting be defended from a correct exegesis of the passages of Scripture that speak on these topics? I believe they can. Adams does great work doing just that in this book.
This book will challenge how you think about and handle conflict in your life. Your conversations will start to change with your wife when there has been sin, repentance, and there needs to be forgiveness. I’m still figuring out how to root out saying “I’m sorry” and move toward adopting a more biblical approach to each situation as it arises. Adams also calls us to task on our propensity to let things go when others sin against us and challenges us to obey the Scripture by going to our brother, showing him his sin and calling him to repentance. The Bible will not settle for anything other than true repentance, true forgiveness and actual reconciliation between God’s people. “I’ve forgiven them, even though they never asked for it” is not accomplishing anything.
What about conflict with unbelievers? Adams addresses those questions too.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Pick up your copy today.