I’d like to start this review by saying that I am probably not the intended audience for this book. I was raised Christian (Catholic, if specificity is needed) but in an environment that was relaxed enough that I could easily slip into an agnostic adulthood. My interest in religion is largely intellectual and aesthetic. I am sometimes interested in religious books, both fiction and nonfiction, but my enjoyment of them tends to be largely based on whether they were written to be read by outsiders.
On That Day was not, though not in the usual sense in which I find such books. It isn’t deliberately alienating, as many Christian books tend to be. Instead, it’s dense, surprisingly so for a relatively short book. Sheets has clearly studied the Bible, and his book is an argument on what to many non-Christians (and perhaps even some within the church) may seem like a narrow point of contention: whether a belief is enough to ensure salvation.
If I had to guess who would be the best audience for this book, I would say it’s people who have already studied the Bible, either enough to agree with Sheets or enough to have a spirited debate. As I’m not either of those, I can’t speak to the validity of Sheets’ argument one way or another. I can, however, offer my opinion on the book as a layperson, perhaps as someone who might pick up the book from a store out of curiosity.
Sheets is a very good writer. He is able to not only lay out his argument logically but also refer to appropriate verses and passages from the Bible to back up his claims. Readers of this book would be well advised to keep a copy of the Bible handy to make references, as he doesn’t always quote the passages he refers to but instead mentions the chapter and verse.
As I mentioned before, however, the book is dense. Sheets has only one argument – that salvation comes from obedience to God’s will, not merely faith – which helps to keep the book from getting too long-winded, but he packs a great deal of evidence into the pages. As a layperson, I would have found it easier to follow if he had expanded his arguments and gone into further detail. Pointing to the Bible may be enough for those who already have faith and obedience, but those who still need to be convinced may require something more, either from other sources or in the form of further interpretation.