Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: I Am Second – Real Stories. Changing Lives.




Perhaps you have seen one of the I Am Second videos? They involve a person in a black T-shirt under one light essentially giving their testimony of faith in Jesus. Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett have now produced a book by the same title.

You know, I love the effort folks like this make to get out the real testimonies of folks whom God has saved. There is a kind of messiness to it all that demonstrates the reality of conversion. We really are sinners who have been saved by grace and not our own doing.

You can read of athletes Josh Hamilton and Bradie James, musician Brian Welch, and many others. There are a host of videos on their iamsecond.com website.

One weakness of the project, though, is the assumption that the testimony of a famous person will result in lots of other people getting saved. As much as I admire these guys for their goal, that is just not the way it works. In fact, this kind of thing (using the wealthy or famous or beautiful to win the lost) can really send false messages. Jesus is not about making your life better. Nor is He somehow validated since a famous dude followed Him. 

That makes me question the usefulness of the project. Every Christian should ask himself some serious questions if he feels more excited that a pro quarterback “got saved” than his fellow church member’s kid.  This little review doesn’t allow the time to develop these thoughts further, but I think this is one of the ways technology has changed us and gotten us a little off course.

So, as glad as I am for the motives of these brothers, I am not as convinced of the usefulness or wisdom of the end product. I am sure God will use it to save some, for His Gospel is too powerful and glorious to not bear that kind of fruit. But I think somebody should spend as much money producing videos of unknown saints in India who turned from idolatry to serve the Living God. That story is just as, if not more, important.

(This book was provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)