Non-Fiction Review: Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley

I saw this book in one of the newsletters NetGalley sent out. The title immediately grabbed my attention, so I requested a copy which NetGalley approved. My husband used to say I was being judgmental because I didn’t believe everyone who said they’re a Christian will experience the paradise spoke about in the bible. So I was quite curious to read what another had to say on the topic. Before we hit the review, the blurb from Goodreads:

McKinley challenges nominal Christians to take a deeper look at themselves.

Jesus divided the world into two groups—those who follow him and those who don’t. But what happens when someone thinks he or she is a Christian, but isn’t? With his witty, engaging style, Mike McKinley takes readers on a journey of what it means to be a Christian. He asserts that “manipulative evangelism techniques and a poor understanding of the gospel have resulted in an abundance of professing Christians who have no idea what it means to follow Christ.”

Each chapter title begins with “You’re not a Christian [if/when/just because you]…” As he surveys what it means to be Christian, McKinley offers criteria for evaluating one’s standing before God. Readers are guided through a series of challenges to reflect, repent, remember, and report to another person. Am I Really a Christian? ends with chapters on salvation and the local church. This unique book is written for nominal or new Christians and can be used in personal or small-group study.

One thing I want to emphasize is this book is not aimed at non-Christians. It’s not meant to convert the non-believer or convince the non-believer that Christianity is the only way. Instead, it focuses on individuals who claim to be Christian and helps those individuals examine their lives, so they don’t miss the boat.

Much of what Mr. McKinley said, I knew to be true. It’s clearly laid out in the bible. I don’t know who has a ticket and who doesn’t, but I do know the bible says something to the effect of the gate is small and the road is narrow and few will find it. So logically, it makes sense to me that not everyone who boasts to be a Christian is going to find the path. Especially when considering upwards of 60,70, 80% of Americans believe they’re Christians. Who knows the figures in other countries. Few doesn’t equal the majority.

So the question is: if one truly believes the information in the bible, wouldn’t he/she want to be sure to be on the right track rather than one of the many who think they’re walking down the right path, only to find too late they’re on the broad road? Am I Really a Christian? is like stopping and asking for directions. In the end, some might receive a wake up call, but also might find hope and an opportunity to step on the road they’d meant to travel.

I loved that this book doesn’t focus on hells fire and damnation. It doesn’t try to scare folks into becoming a Christian or scare people who claim to be a Christian into behaving right. Instead, it identifies markers which might suggest one is or isn’t a Christian. Not by way of finger pointing, which can be so easy (That person’s not a Christian. That person isn’t. That person is.) No. None of that. It isn’t about whether others want to classify a person as a goat or a sheep. Rather it helps a person examine his/her walk with the help of those in the Christian community.

Even though this is a work tailored toward those who believe they’re Christian, I still think it’s a great read for non-Christians. Why? Because I believe the worldview on Christianity is tainted by those who profess to be Christian but act in non-Christian ways in the name of Christianity. Am I Really a Christian? is truly insightful.

Am I Really a Christian?
by Mike McKinley
is avilable at:

The Book Depository

Barnes & Nobles

0 thoughts on “Non-Fiction Review: Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley

  1. Mormons jehovah wesiestns and other cults dont understand salvation is not through works but only through the Spirit which is IN Christ Jesus Our Lord who can save them. If you talk to a mormon they well say they have no sin they believe baptism freed them from all sin there fore they have no longer sin there fore no reason to repent.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Elizabeth. I’ve found all denominations based upon the bible have some faults, whether it’s Baptists, JW, Mormons, Catholics, etc.

    As a child brought up as a JW, I will say Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe salvation is through works. Salvation is a gift available due to Jesus’ sacrifice and received by repenting. Their doctrines focus on living life the way Christ would want them to live. They believe if you are saved, you’d want to live a Christ-like life and lead by example. It goes along the lines “faith without works is dead.”

    For example, Christ said to go out and make disciples. That’s what JW do. They go out and bring people into the faith. And though I’m less familiar with Mormons, they also work hard at bringing people into the faith. I honestly can’t think of any other denominations which focus so hard at bringing people into the faith as Mormons and JWs. Considering Christ left very few orders to follow, I’d think that’s an important task to complete. In contrast, many denominations hide their lamp stand so few can see the light.

    As for the Mormons and sin, I do wonder if a little more research is needed. My understanding and acceptance of the bible is our sins are covered by Jesus’ sacrifice… all of our sins: past, present, and future. It’s up to us to accept the free gift offered. I believe some denominations, such as Catholicism believe each sin needs to be repented individually. Like if I sin today, I need to run out, repent, and receive forgiveness before I die in order to be saved. I don’t believe that’s necessary, and as far as I know neither do Mormons or a lot of other denominations.

    Now I’m not saying I’m on board with everything JW or Mormons teach. However, I think it’s important to know the facts rather than attempt to discredit them because they’re not mainstream Christians. Visit the Mormon or JW websites, or even invite them to your home and REALLY listen to their beliefs. 🙂 I know they’ll be happy to visit. There’s so much disinformation out there, it’s easy to stack up false beliefs about a group of people.

    Anyway, the way I figure it, whichever denomination you follow, God knows your heart. It’ll all wash out in the end, and I imagine some of us will be quite surprised to be celebrating in God’s Kingdom along side Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutherans, and others.

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