Posted: 01/17/2010 at 9:11pm
A Review of Wayne Jacobsen’s He Loves Me!
by Steve Eastman
So much of the theology of Wayne Jacobsen and friends falls under the category of “better caught than taught.” Many catch it during his weekly podcast with Brad Cummings. Others are exposed at a conference where he interacts with participants, speaking to their questions. Another source of blessed “infection” is through fictional books he writes or collaborates on. He Loves Me! is different in that it takes a more systematic approach, full of nuance that isn’t always apparent when Jacobsen is being more spontaneous. It complements or completes his other efforts, resulting in a well-rounded picture that can be examined.
The over-arching message of He Loves Me! is that God wants a relationship with man based on love, not fear. As Wayne would say, fear serves us well before we experience the love. It tends to keep us out of trouble, but it falls far short of God’s deepest desire.
Jacobsen starts out with the picture of a child picking petals off a daisy. We’ve all said, “He loves me. He loves me not.” Applying this to God cripples our spiritual lives, yet many Christians take this path. Something good happens. He loves me. Something bad occurs. He loves me not. Yet God is not bi-polar. He loves us beyond what our circumstances may imply.
Getting back to the motivating power of fear, many preachers use the fear of hell to get people to make “decisions for Christ.” Jacobsen responds, “While the threat of hell can stir instant commitments, it is not breeding long-term disciples. If you are only in this kingdom because you fear the alternative, you’ve missed the greatest part of what it means to know God.” Yet Jacobsen is not a hell denier. Rather, he feels God’s love is a better motivator.
Have you ever heard someone ask if he needed to give up a certain habit in order to be saved? Jacobsen compares that to an adult son invited to dinner by his father who responds with, “Dad, I guess I could come but I’ve got other things I’d like to do. Will you write me out of your will if I don’t come?” Ouch! Using fear of hell to get people to come to God results in that kind of discipleship.
One of the most fascinating chapters of He Loves Me! is called What Really Happened at the Cross. Quoting Paul in II Corinthians 5:21, Jacobsen talks about how Jesus became sin for us. “By allowing sin to touch his person through the Son, he would be able to prevail in himself over that which we were powerless to fight. Through the physical body of Jesus, sin came face to face with the power of God, and as we shall see, God prevailed over sin completely.” Jacobsen says Jesus stepping forward as an innocent victim to take our place on the gallows expresses part of what happened, but the key point for him is that punishment alone does not break the power of sin. He emphasizes the cross was about prevailing over sin’s power.
Jacobsen’s uses many modern day parables to illustrate his points. He Loves Me! is definitely not a theological treatise, although it explains his theology. It goes deeper than his podcasts and fiction and is more carefully presented than his conferences, but is never over your head. The book carries you past a performance-based relationship with God into one based on His love.
Visit the book's webpage.
Read Steve and Sheryl Eastman's interview with Wayne Jacobsen.
Listen to Wayne Jacobsen's podcast.
Visit Wayne Jacobsen's website.
Edited by Steve Eastman on 01/18/2010 at 5:16am