“Classic Christianity” by Bob George

If knowing the truth sets you free and part of your life is not free, what does that tell you? It means that part of your life is in error. It means you are living under a lie.

This is the revelation that opened the door to grace for Bob George. He loved the Lord and was busy with ministry, but he was frustrated and miserable. Something was wrong. That’s what bondage looks like to a Christian; it’s joyless, misery no matter how hard you are working for the Lord.

Happily, Bob George was set free by grace and he then wrote a book called Classic Christianity. This book has since become a classic. Written in 1989, it has sold more than 600,000 copies in 27 languages. Why? Because it is contains the antidote to dead religion and churchianity. It proclaims the gospel of God’s grace and acceptance.

There’s a big difference between knowing what something says and knowing what it means. Millions of Christians know what the Bible says. But many do not know what it means because that can only be revealed by the Spirit… Man does not need the enlightening ministry of the Holy Spirit to understand the law; the law was given specifically for the natural man. We need the Holy Spirit to open our minds to the things having to do with the unfathomable riches of His love and grace, those things that “God has freely given us.” (p.39)

One of the main takeaways of Classic Christianity is how most have only heard half the gospel. They know that Jesus died for their sins but they don’t know that he rose so that they might walk in newness of life. Forgiveness of sins is wonderful, but there is more to this new life than forgiveness.

Jesus Christ laid down His life for us so that he could give His life to us so that He could live His life through us! (p.159)

(If that reminds you of something that W. Ian Thomas would say, I think there is a connection between these two: Thomas wrote the foreword to Classic Christianity.)

A half-heard gospel is the reason why some people are opposed to grace. They hear about God’s blanket forgiveness and immediately conclude that grace will give us a license to sin. (As if we needed one!)  Continuing in sin makes no sense for the Christian. It would be as though the restored and robed prodigal decided to leave his father’s banqueting table to feed with the pigs. Sure, he could do that if he wanted to – the father won’t stop him – but why would he want to?

A frequently asked question is, “Will some believers take the message of grace as a license to sin?” I answer it the same way: “If their understanding of the gospel goes no farther than the forgiveness of sins – probably yes. But when you understand that Christ not only died for the forgiveness of your sins, but also rose again to come and live in you – absolutely not!” (175)

The value of this book for those who are already acquainted with grace, is that it is very practical guide to living by faith. It shows how to walk in grace in your day-to-day life.

Bob George runs a radio tall-back program called People to People so he regularly hears from Christians who are struggling. If you are battling with something, chances are there’s a story about it in this book about it.

It is not enough to tell people what they should stop doing… We are not able to let go of things until we have something new to hang onto. It reminds me of a small child in a playpen, playing with his favorite teddy bear. How can you take that bear away without a commotion? It’s simple: get him a puppy… The way to break a habit or preoccupation is by developing a new habit or preoccupation. Then you will push out the old, just as light dispels darkness and truth dispels error. (184)

Sticking with the metaphor, Classic Christianity is about the fun of playing with a living puppy as opposed to the lifeless thrills to be had from a stuffed toy. It’s about the real life that flows from knowing you are a child of God and that Jesus, “the master pianist,” desires to produce the beautiful music of his life in and through you.

See all E2R’s book reviews here

26 Comments on “Classic Christianity” by Bob George

  1. Rob Flodine // April 19, 2013 at 1:39 am // Reply

    Have found this book (especially the first 5 or 6 chapters) to be an invaluable tool for starting a group (mostly churched)… usually I suggest that they may find some of the content helpful as the share life with others… invariably by chapter 2 or 3 various members have had an deepened encounter with a living loving God.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Doug Thompson // April 19, 2013 at 2:03 am // Reply

    The Holy Spirit led me to read his book in 1991, and his book Growing In Grace, I didn’t know it then but the Holy Spirit was guiding me to truth about my desire for knowing why my faith didn’t seem to be working!

  3. Sadly, Bob George suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009 just after finishing a radio program, and has not been on the air since. His family and a close friend have set up a site archiving much of his on-air teaching: http://www.BobGeorge.net.

    There are two classic audio teachings there that capture the wit and wisdom with which Bob relates New Covenant Truths that will give folks a good taste of what’s in the book, “Classic Christianity”:

    God’s Soution to Man’s Problem: Life (which includes audio and text of Major Ian Thomas’ foreward in Classic Christianity): http://bobgeorge.net/gods-solution-to-mans-problem-life/

    The New Covenant (one of the best laid-out teachings on the New Covenant I’ve heard): http://bobgeorge.net/the-new-covenant-bible-verses/

    I highly recommend “Classic Christianity”; it lays out so very clearly the simple Truths of the Gospel. Another of his books that I have and highly recommend is “Faith that Pleases God”. Both are available at BobGeorge.net as well as on Amazon.

    Thanks for sharing Bob as a resource to your readers, Paul! They will be blessed!

  4. The opening line of this post reminds me of the last sermon I heard in church… The pastor said, “If you’re doing all you know to do and you still aren’t seeing the manifestation of God in you’re life, you don’t know enough.”

  5. In 37 years of doing the work of being a Christian grace was just a part of doctrine.

    I came to an unending experience of grace by way of coming out as a gay man. Now… how strange (and unexpected) is that! 🙂

  6. Thanks for this post on Bob George (and yes, I have found Ian Thomas a great defender of grace as well).

    Your quote: “The way to break a habit or preoccupation is by developing a new habit or preoccupation. Then you will push out the old, just as light dispels darkness and truth dispels error” was put another way by an old pastor named Thomas Chalmers who preached a sermon entitled,

    “The expulsive power of a new affection.”

    A step further from the Prodigal Son image (which I am sure you elucidate elsewhere) is that hearing forgiveness of sins without hearing of His desire to romance you with His love is like a wedding ceremony (I legally accept you) without a honeymoon (I am captivated by you and want to be with you 24/7).

    • And another quote on the same lines: A sacrifice is when you give up something you love for something you love more.

      • But remember that to “sacrifice” is to “work” and in Hebrews we’re told that God wasn’t happy with sacrifices, although the law said they had to be made (paraphrased). The only sacrifice God is happy with was His Son’s….Jesus…which is good for us! We could NEVER do anything to satisfy a holy God…because as James said, “If you even fail at ONE…you’ve failed at the entire law.” That enables us to REST…and to believe on Another’s sacrifice… which God accepted on our behalf…and which will NEVER be rescinded! Praise the Lord… for in and of myself is no good thing….and there is NONE righteous…no NOT ONE! That’s why GRACE IS SO AMAZING! Because it saves “WRETCHES….” and it CHANGES them, and gives them HIS IDENTITY…and it’s HIS IMAGE that emanates through the CONTAINER that is sealed until the day of redemption! The GOOD NEWS (gospel) is that God BESTOWS righteousness on us….we don’t EARN it. We just RECEIVE it…because when you have CHRIST IN YOU….(your only hope of glory!)….you have HE WHO IS RIGHTEOUS….as YOUR LIFE. When Christ…..WHO IS OUR LIFE….appears…we will be like Him! For over 20 years of learning truth through Bob George’s books; Maj. Ian Thomas; and many others who are now teachers themselves…you begin to just TALK scripture….and it begins to make perfect sense when you READ AND RE-READ HEBREWS….but it must be the HOLY SPIRIT who opens our eyes. He wants ALL on earth to be saved…He is not willing that ANY should perish. God is good…and He IS love. That took me a long time to believe…but now I believe it. I never believed God loved ME….but now I believe it PERSONALLY, because He is not holding my sins against me…which just floors me every time I think about it. It doesn’t make me want to go out and sin more….on the contrary! It makes me smile, and want to pray, and tell Him how much “I” love “Him!” I draws me CLOSER to Him….and I want to sing, “Amazing Grace…how SWEET the sound…..that saved a WRETCH….like Me!!!!!” Thank you for letting me go on and on. I just can’t get enough of talking about GOD’S GRACE. Goodnight.

  7. Hi Paul!
    Quick note, Bob George had a debilitating stroke a number of years ago. He is still alive but not able to function normally, don’t know specifics. The show was taken over by his long time associates and radio partners Bob Christopher, Bob Davis and Richard Peifer. The site is realanswers.net and Bob George’s site is bobgeorge.net where many of his messages and books are available. I’ve been a fan of his for many years. Classic Christianity is indeed a worth while read as is Growing in Grace and others.

    Thanks for sharing, John

  8. I will definitely have to check out this book. Thanks for sharing the commentary on it. 🙂 I met Ian Thomas a few times. He came to the church I grew up in as a guest speaker. His son Peter Thomas played the role of “Christian” in the movie Pilgrim’s Progress, and that was how I came to faith in Christ at a young age when I saw the movie and “didn’t want the devil to get me”. 😉

  9. chrisvanrooyen // April 19, 2013 at 10:27 am // Reply

    Will have to read the book.

    Great post a reminder that.
    Grace fights from victory.
    Work fights for victory.

    A easy choice for me.

  10. Really like this post, interesting. i agree with, “It is not enough to tell people what they should stop doing… We are not able to let go of things until we have something new to hang onto.” Amen thou the change is not always immediate but over time. So giving Believers time is essential.

    God bless

  11. Hey Paul, I really like your site. I have a question about letting Jesus live through you and certain Bible passages that seem to place the emphasis back on my own effort. I believe that Jesus lives in all Christians and wishes to live His life through us but when I read passages such as: Corinthians 6:18 which says “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body”. Also Colossians 3: 8 “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” It’s hard to read these and think they aren’t talking about a person’s own self effort. So I guess my question is do we just totally commit everything to Christ and just rest and hope that He lives through us and that our actions and thoughts align with His or is there some effort on our part? Thank you for taking the time to read this

    • I touch on these issues in this post. I also recommend you check out Lifetime Guarantee by Bill Gillham.

    • This is a good question….I believe that as we grow in grace that these things will fade–they are contrary to the Spirit….perhaps these are bad habits that needed the light to be shined on. Some of us need a rebuke if we are getting lazy, or perhaps things need to be brought to our attention. I do like the verse that says, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to work according to His good pleasure.” According to this verse, God is working in us, and it is up to us to work it out, or to put it another way, to work in harmony with His Spirit, not against it. (Bob George explained this very well)

  12. I am absolutely loving this book, especially the idea that he drives home about how salvation is much more than just the forgiveness of sins; it’s God restoring His life back to man. I’m currently reading about reconciliation and how the whole world has been reconciled to God through the cross (2 Cor 5:19). Why in verse 20, does Paul appeal to the Corinthians, “be reconciled to God,” if in the previous verse he just said that God had already done this? Is this kind of like him saying, “Act out your identity as a reconciled child of God?”

    I understand that just because we are reconciled with God does not mean we are saved, because as stated above, salvation involves receiving God’s life. I kind of see us as starting at negative ten and in order to be saved we need to be at positive ten. The cross automatically gets us to zero – the sin issue is dealt with. But we still need to climb to ten, and that happens when we accept Jesus and invite Him to live in us. So, if the sin issue has been dealt with, how do we account for verses like Colossians 3:5-7 or 1 Corinthians 6:9-11?

    Why is the wrath of God still coming if everyone, even unbelievers, have been reconciled to God and Jesus has already dealt with the sin issue? Also, when are believers washed? Is this Christ coming to live in us?

    • My men’s group is reading this book as well…This section of the book was a true eye opener for me and helped me grow closer to Christ Jesus; Pg. 37 “Satan was declawed and detoothed at the cross. All he can do is roar at us and gum us a little. The only way he can harm us is through deception.” To me, God ran the perfect play…He died for every sin that we will ever commit. If we come to Christ through His Spirit, and accept Him as the Messiah, we will have eternal life.

    • musicisthebest // October 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm // Reply

      the answer is, god reconciled the world to himself but have we reconciled god to ourselves….does that make sense?

      • musicisthebest // October 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm //

        reconcilliation is a 2way street, just because i have restored friendly relations between u and i , doesnt mean that u yourself have or feel the same way. therefore it is up to ourselves to do the same.

    • Yes, I agree with musicisthebest. God reconciled the world unto himself, but we have a choice to accept that reconciliation or not

  13. Awesome to see like minded believers. I was introduced to Grace by listening to People to People ministries years ago and have found it ( Grace ) to be paramount for a believer to rest in Christs faithfulness instead of our own. Be thou reconciled to God is our ministry as fully evangelized believers spreading the True Gospel of Jesus and the mystery which is Christ in Me My Only Hope Of Glory. Praise HIS work on the Cross for it is truly Finished. Amen, Amen and Amen.

  14. Hello. I want to buy a box of Classic Christianity books to give to people. It is awesome. But only the truth you know can set you free, and I’m grieved that the roaring lion was able to put a stroke on Bob George because he didn’t yet understand there is even more to this gospel when it comes to the entirety of our redemption. Just as the spilled blood (celebrated in communion with the cup)purchased our freedom from sin, (though Christians still sin, but the more they walk in that free from sin identity, the less tempting sin is), so also, his broken body purchased our freedom from sickness, celebrated by the bread at communion. Paul said that was why some are sick and even sleep, from NOT recognizing that broken body. Yes Christians can still get sick, but again, less and less, as you walk in this truth, and rest in it! And put legs of faith to it by taking our trust in health away from the systems of this world, and place it onto our healer! Jesus took many stripes for our healing, is 53, math 8:17, Peter 2:24, so we cannot say we don’t know God’s will in the matter of our sickness, any more than we can say we don’t know his will about sin.

  15. I love and admire Bob George, Bob Christopher and Bob Davis… PtoP ministry is awesome and gives me hope daily after the death of my 19 yr old 1st born daughter… So sorry about Bob’s CVA… Hope you recover (in this lifetime) Bob!

  16. Derrick Buatsi // August 11, 2016 at 5:24 pm // Reply

    just the excerpts have being a blessing to me,I cannot wait to read the real book.God bless u.

  17. Great blog. This was the first book I read after God started waking me up to grace.

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