Gospel Amnesia, Luma Simms (GCD, 2013)
The title gives you a pretty good clue about this book. It’s a condition that we all need to be on guard against. And it can even be contagious. None of us are immune to its pervasiveness. Whole churches can be infected. The author herself had a pretty bad case of gospel amnesia, and wants to warn all who will listen. “This book is about the affliction of assuming, forgetting, and marginalizing the gospel; the symptoms of this condition, and its one cure” (15).
First, let me tell you a bit about the author. Luma and I have been at this blogging thing for around the same amount of time. From reading Luma’s article’s over at Gospel Grace, I feel like I have come to know her in some ways. She is very passionate for the gospel. I also had the blessing to meet Luma at the TGC Women’s Conference last summer. While her voice shows through in her writing, my first impression in meeting Luma was of her immense gratefulness. What a great quality to have. This was again very apparent in her acknowledgement section of her book—it’s three pages long. I was encouraged by Luma’s response to being given a wonderful gift, mainly in the gospel, but also in writing and the opportunity to be published. She is very thankful and she doesn’t take it for granted. Her writing voice also exudes great passion for the gospel.
In an interview she did for WOG Magazine, Luma explains her book as “a combination of narrative, (my story of what forgetting the gospel did in my life) and analysis.” She succeeded in accomplishing this. And so Luma begins, “Most of my life has been spent finding one way or another to atone for myself. Operating from a hazy understanding of what Christ did in his life and death to gain my salvation, this self- atonement was like a vortex, a downward spiral into the depth of my amnesia. I wanted to be ‘godly,’ and I thought I had a pretty good idea of how to go about it” (12). Although it’s painful for her to remember, Luma shares how she grew tired of hearing about Jesus. She wanted to move past the gospel, and get to the important things like being a godly wife, and looking down on those less holy.
A major theme in the book is our proclivity to capitalize on secondary issues. Some of us may feel more sanctified by grinding our own wheat berries for baking bread (23). For others it's how we educate our children, dress, and even which authors we will read. We constantly need the gospel preached to us everyday. Luma gives us a good dose. She does this while demonstrating the symptoms of gospel amnesia as individuals, in the local church, missionally, and culturally.
One of my favorite lines is at the end of the book: “I appropriate the righteousness of Christ by reminding myself that when God sees me, it is not just at the ‘not guilty’ level but as being clothed with the robes of Jesus” (81). Amen.
Gospel Amnesia is available as an eBook now for only $3.99, so why not buy a copy? You can find it at the publisher’s website here. I’m looking forward to the print version releasing in March so I can get some for the church library.