A critical review of Lloyd Gardner’s book, Face to Face: A Dialogue with Jesus (Tollhouse, CA: Eliezer Call Ministries, 2009) 174 pages.
“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by . . . taking his stand on visions he has seen . . .” (Paul the Apostle, Colossians 2:18)
Lloyd Gardner’s book, Face to Face: A Dialogue with Jesus, contains material that Bible believing Christians can agree with. Scriptural quotations, paraphrases and allusions appear throughout the book. Lloyd’s emphasis upon the spiritual life–the need for believers to daily take up their cross and follow Jesus, to love Him as a faithful Bride, to enter into God’s rest, and to eschew worldliness and cultivate holiness and forgiveness in Christian living–ought to resonate with all believers.
Having almost died of a heart attack near Budapest, Hungary, in November of 2006, I sympathize with the author’s living with cancer. His insights can help others who for reason of illnesses, are coping with the uncertainty of life.
As a pastor, I also identify with the naiveté with which he returned to minister in a former congregation only to be dismissed by the leadership for failure to share their vision for the church (Chapter 9), which in today’s market-driven environment of ministry demands the production of tangible “results”—increasing attendance numbers, upping the cash flow and building bigger buildings. These days, “the buck stops” in the pulpit!
In a day of “big box” churches, Gardner’s focus upon the simple, as opposed to the institutional, church—The 2:42 Formula—finds precedent in Scripture. Luke describes “the four to-s” of the early church; that early Christians devoted themselves “to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Emphasis added, Acts 2:42).  But these days, contemporary Christians are all about feeling comfortable in church. As one pastor observes:
Comfort has become a central goal of worship. In the face of life’s challenges, people come to church seeking therapy or comforting affirmation. They often get their wish because church leaders know that these customers will vanish from the padded seats if they’re not satisfied. 
So pan-evangelical congregations emphasize man-centered musical excitements and entertainment in worship, programmatic approaches to spirituality, and paid professionals preaching psychology, positivity, possibility and prosperity in order to make the audience “feel good.” These developments in America’s evangelical churches represent a radical departure, even apostasy, from the devout and simple church described in Acts.
Gardner’s book contains truth. But when compared to Scripture, the truth is mixed with error, something that ought to concern Bible believers. About mixing truth and untruth, Harry Ironside (1876-1951) wrote:
Error is like leaven of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died. 
We turn to discern the errors in Face to Face.
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