Book Plunge: For Thou Art With Me

What do I think of Bruce Baker’s book published by Grace Acres? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Death is never an easy topic to talk about. For many of us, it can seem far away. If you’re someone with a terminal illness, you have a better awareness than many that you are living on borrowed time.

That’s the situation of Pastor Bruce Baker. He has ALS and he knows that he only has so long to live. Yet being a pastor, one has to wonder how he approaches a sensitive topic like this. What are you thinking? Do you want to die and be with Christ? At the same time, is it possible to feel cheated, as if you’ve lived your life for God all these years and then he strikes you with a death sentence through a horrible disease?

Baker’s book is largely a pastoral book. It’s written for those who have a terminal illness and those who love them. It’s not written from an apologetics perspective, though I understand he could write one like that as he told me in correspondence he used to teach such a class. If you’re wanting a justification for God in the face of suffering, you need to look somewhere else. If you’re wanting to know how to walk with God in the suffering, you’ve come to the right place.

At the same time, some issues relating to an apologetic approach are discussed, such as what about assisted suicide. Baker has sympathies with the position insofar as he can understand why someone with a terminal illness would choose that route, but in the end, he makes the case against it. Overall, I find it a persuasive case against any kind of suicide ultimately.

Naturally, being a pastor talking about death, he has a section on the gospel as a whole and what it means. If you aren’t right with God, Baker wants to make sure that you are. He also wants you to see what it means to your Christian faith when you think about not just dying but how you will die.

He has a section on what the Bible says happens when you die. If there was one area of disagreement I had, it would have been here, and yet it’s a minor point. Baker sees the story of the rich man and Lazarus as a historical account since a name is given to the poor man. I think it’s more Jesus saying the rich man is unnamed because he’s not worth talking about and the poor man is worth talking about and he is given a name indicating that the Lord helps him. The story isn’t meant to tell us about what the afterdeath is like, but rather it’s meant to tell us about how God doesn’t view the rich with favor or the poor with shame.

The book is also short, which I’m sure is helpful for those who do have a short time. You could go and read chapter by chapter if you want or just jump to a chapter you think is relevant. There are also sections at the end of the chapters with questions for you to think about.

Ultimately, this is a good book to have if you’re thinking about that time and reading as someone outside of that perspective, I am sure if I had a terminal illness this would be something I’d think about a lot more. I sincerely hope that it does help those in need. We need some more writing in this kind of area for those undergoing suffering.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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