Review by Julius Mwangi
The book Rooted and Built up in Christ: A Discipleship Resource for Believers in Christ, by Lucy King’ori, answers different questions among them, how a new believer can be integrated into the Christian life; how a new believer can grow in faith and live a victorious life; and how a new believer can apply God’s word to release divine provisions consistent with God’s will and purpose (2015, ix). It is written for the born again Christian, young and old, but unambiguously those who have not been “discipled” in their Christian walk. This book helps the believers define or redefine their credo i.e. a statement of beliefs defining what one believes.
The author condenses her responses to the above question in ten chapters. Faithful to her title, Rooted and Built up in Christ, King’ori uses subtopics to further break down her discourses to a simpler, but not necessarily basic, titles. Pursuant to the book’s subtitle, “A Discipleship Resource for Believers in Christ,” she uses a teaching technique to present her opinions and offers contemplative questions for review at the end of each chapter, making it easy for the reader to follow and dialogue with the text. Chapters 1-7, King’ori focuses on the new believer’s basic understanding of salvation and the tools available to lead a successful Christian life, while Chapters 8-10, focuses on specific desirable habits for a successful Christian.
The author begins at a seemingly but important basic level defining repentance (2015, 13). She quickly follows this with responses to the question, what happens after salvation, and offers that often new believers, and even older Christians, have doubts about salvation (2015, 14). She avers this as an attack on the believers thought life.
She builds on this in discussing the importance of giving testimonies and explains what the testimony does to the body of Christ. A testimony, King’ori offers, is “a great poster for readers to know where your allegiance is” (2015, 40). In addition, she contends that for a new believer to be a successful Christian, there must be a deliberate separation with the old company; otherwise there is a risk of one finding themselves “back to the old ways” (2015, 40).
After one gets saved, or gives their life to the Lord, King’ori posits, one becomes a member of God’s family. “The family of God,” she says, “includes (all) believers who lived in the past, those living now, and those that will be born again in future” (2015, 51). The earthly families, she argues, “are temporal while the Christian families are permanent” (2015, 51). Being a member of this family means one is a child of God and should therefore never feel alone (2015, 52). This is where the real work commences – Living the Christian Life.
King’ori poses, “now that I am a Christian, how do I live my life?” (2015, 61). She follows this with a profound statement, “When we get saved,” she says, “the Holy Spirit comes to reside in our spirit and becomes our resident teacher and helper…He (the Holy Spirit) is not only the agent of our salvation but also the agent of our transformation and empowerment” (2015, 62). Our lives, she adds, should be focused towards God, since after all we are not our own bosses anymore. Quoting John’s epistle (John 17:16), King’ori, suggests that as Christians “we are in the world but not of the world” (2015, 64). She suggests that Christians are people transformed by the renewed mind and therefore ought to live a life that brings light where there is darkness; a life that stands out rather than blend. She outlines five disciplines of the mind that one can develop towards a healthy mind namely: guarding your mind; renewing your mind; setting your mind on the things above; proactively thinking on positive things; and fighting for your mind (2015, 66-68).
Still focusing on how a born again individual can live a successful Christian Life, King’ori discourses on the work of and witness of the Holy Spirit and how this plays a role in strengthening one’s Christian life. She offers her personal testimony of how baptism in the Holy Spirit strengthened her Christian life, but quickly qualifies that baptism in the Holy Spirit is neither a panacea for all problems nor a dose for perfection (2015, 82). Temptations and Trials will still come whether you are filled/baptized with the Holy Spirit or not. Temptations, she adds, is not a sin; it’s the yielding thereon that is sin (2015, 101). She addresses the common sources of temptations and positing that God does not tempt (2015, 106) while differentiating temptations from tests asserting that tests originate from God, while temptations originate from the enemy. She adds, “A test or a trial is then a God given opportunity to practice and prove some specific growth parameters in our relationship with the Lord” (2015, 116). In response to the question, “How should we respond to temptations,” she offers several approaches including; resisting the devil, being sober, and being vigilant, among others.
In her closing she suggests that Christian growth is supposed to be continuous, yet for this to happen, one needs to have an appetite for God. An appetite for God is evident through the communication one has with God. She avers that “Prayer is the most important activity a child of God can be engaged in. Prayer is not an option,” she says, “but an absolute necessity” (2015, 148). Prayer, she adds is an invitation to God to be involved in an individual’s affairs. And as this happens, one begins to bear fruits such as serving and being involved in Christian affairs, Church ministries, and so on. She further suggests that as one serves in their area of interest and or calling they indeed are serving God, which is a privilege (2015, 176).
While the book’s layout promotes its readability, the pages are undoubtedly filled with wisdom, knowledge, insights, motivation, and revelation. The illustrations and testimonies offered (2015, xii) are relevant, realistic, relate-able and representative of the Christian Faith. The author has generously used biblical texts, with their references, to support her theme and opinion without overwhelming the pages with the same. The author’s fidelity to her goal of giving new converts assurance of their salvation (2015, ix) and those stuck in a religious rut not to get mixed up in doctrines without knowing where to turn to (2015, ix) is evident through the pages.