Review by Paul Tautges
Wayne Mack has been a household name in the biblical counseling world for as long as I can remember. Here, in his latest book, he teams up with his son Joshua Mack to produce a really helpful work. God’s Solutions to Life’s Problems is a second edition of an earlier title and is worth your attention.
More than a Counseling Workbook
Though each chapter ends with study questions, which make it very useful as a resource for ongoing counseling, God’s Solutions for Life’s Problems is much more than a counseling workbook. It is a brief theology of salvation, Scripture, and Spirit-empowered sanctification. By “workbook” I mean that it contains study questions within each chapter. These questions can serve as homework for already-busy counselors. However, because the book is intentionally presented in a manner that requires interaction, I recommend you strongly consider using it as a small-group discipleship tool. Of course, the highly-motivated individual believer will profit greatly from working his or her way through it alone, but the greatest profit will come from doing the study with a few others.
A Primer on the Christian Life from Two Pastors
Readers will appreciate the firm, yet gentle and loving tone of this book – a book written from pastoral hearts. Repeatedly, it is evident the Macks are truly concerned about both the soul and life of the reader. Their concern for the reader’s soul is evident as they define and explain genuine conversion. Their concern for the reader’s life is evident as they dispense much more than theory, but consistently demonstrate how biblical faith works itself out in biblical wisdom and godly living.
Since the book is on the larger side (374 pages), it would be helpful to have it divided into three parts, making it easier to discern the movement from one emphasis to another. For example, the following division would aid the average reader. I will use this division to summarize its contents, though the division is not stated in the book itself.
- Part One: Understanding True Salvation (Ch. 1-4)
- Part Two: Employing God’s Resources (Ch. 5-10)
- Part Three: Pursuing Sanctification (Ch. 11-15)
The first part of the book is a concise theology of conversion, explaining the nature of true salvation, the marks of repentance and faith, and the proper attitude and approach to Scripture. The second part of the book opens the Christian’s toolbox explaining the role of the Bible in the Christian life, trusting God, dependence upon God in prayer, the importance of truly listening to God speak through His Word, and what it means to walk in the Spirit. The third part of the book explains how we are sanctified, i.e. made holy in our experience. Biblical sanctification requires a correct diagnosis of our heart’s problem, the battle against indwelling sin, the role of personal discipline in the pursuit of godliness, resisting temptation, and the indispensable part that the local community of believers must have in the healthy Christian’s life.
My Favorite Chapters
My three favorite chapters are:
Chapter 1: The Wheat and the Tares is a biblically-grounded defense of Jesus’ parable concerning the existence of true believers (wheat) together with false believers (tares) until the future day of harvest when the angels separate the two groups. This chapter is a rebuke of cheap grace and an explanation of the nature of true saving faith.
Chapter 2: The Fundamental Requirement is a theology of saving faith, including an evangelistic call to repentance and faith – a great study for anyone who has reasons to question his or her salvation, or for someone truly interested in knowing what it means to be a Christian.
Chapter 14: How to Say No to Temptation is a biblical explanation of the nature of temptation, its distinction from sin itself (i.e. temptation does not equal sin), and biblical methods for fighting against temptation.
God’s Solutions is a discipleship counseling resource that will aid the one-another ministry in your local church. It is also a thoroughly biblical tool for evangelistic home Bible studies. You will not be disappointed with this resource.
Paul Tautges is senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church (Cleveland, Ohio), biblical counselor; and review editor for counseling here at Books At a Glance.
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God's Solutions To Life's Problems