HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Touching Godliness
Author: K. P. Yohannan
Publisher: GFA Books, second edition published in 2013
Related website: http://www.gfa.org (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Yohannan, K. P. Touching Godliness (originally published in 2008 as Touching Godliness through Submission, and republished in 2013 by GFA Books, a division of Gospel For Asia, 1800 Golden Trail Ct., Carrollton, TX 75010). Let the author himself describe the theme of this book. “A shift seems to be taking place in the reflections of men and women on godliness and knowing God” (p. 13). “These followers of the Lamb have a distinct mark about them: Submission” (p. 15). Thus, he tells us, “’Come to Me’ and “learn from Me,’ Jesus told His disciples. But there is a condition: ‘Take My yoke upon you.’ You cannot learn of Him unless you take His yoke. What does His yoke represent?” After explaining the yoke of oxen he concludes, “It is the sign that they are broken and submissive” (p. 72). The way to touch true godliness is through submission. Citing Romans 13:2, he also points out, “This verse makes it clear that those who rebel against God’s delegated authority rebel against God” (p. 24). The entire book is devoted to examining the role of submission in the life of a Christian.
“If we believe that God’s word is true and that He will protect us and grow us in godliness and bless us when we obey the authorities He appointed, then we don’t have to understand or agree with everything our authorities do in order to be submissive” (p. 171). Someone might read a statement like this and conclude that the book is teaching instant unthinking obedience. While one may not agree with every observation or application made by the author, this charge is not true. In the very first chapter he says, “But then I need you to understand that your obedience to God on this matter includes submission to His delegated authorities, to also obey them without question, as long as they don’t ask you to sin or violate the absolute authority, who is God” (p. 20). In fact, the last chapter explains how to respond “When Our Authorities Go Wrong.” Yet even in this, he reminds us that when we do find it necessary to disobey human authority, we should do so in a spirit of humility and not rebellion.
It is my opinion that even among some who call themselves Christians, especially in the West, the reason there is so much resistance to submissiveness and so much emphasis only on “mutual submission” is that Biblical submission just does not fit in with their stubborn, independent streak. Yet, the Bible calls upon us to submit—sometimes when we don’t like it, and sometimes even when we don’t understand it. After all, Nero was on the throne when Paul wrote to be subject to the governing authorities. “We are under the authority of those we serve. It is our responsibility to obey them and to do as they say, unless they are asking us to sin and dishonor God” (p. 107). Author K. P. Yohannan was born in India and received his theological education at Criswell College in Dallas, TX. In 1979, he and his wife, Gisela, started Gospel for Asia. The second edition of this book contains a study guide for use in a Bible class or small group discussion setting.