Friday, March 5, 2010

Blanket Recommendations

The last book I reviewed got a mixed review from me. I said I like it--and I do. I like it because I think there's a lot of really good stuff in it. Is it the first book I would recommend? No. Definitely not. If that is the kind of book you like and Sheila Walsh is an author you have enjoyed in the past, you will probably really like it. I like her style of writing because it is easy to read. But, if I were to recommend a book about trusting God, I would first point someone to Trusting God by Jerry Bridges because I think it explains what it means to trust God better--both theologically and practically. It is deeper though and a lot more to chew on. I think Fearless by Max Lucado had a very similar message and I would also recommend it over Sheila Walsh's book. It was more scriptural and didn't read into the Word.

In reading so many books recently, I have come to realize that people are encouraged by different books and that people have different reading levels--which can affect what kinds of books they choose to read. My mom just told me this morning that her small group and her church (of 6,000 people) are going to begin reading Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life again. Is that a book I would recommend? No. It was the publicity for that book that predisposed my view of it actually way back when it was first published. I am also very skittish about books that develop cult-like followings. (Like the Prayer of Jabez).

But, my mom enjoyed the book then and is looking forward to reading it again. It has encouraged her in her walk with the Lord. I know that it has. I think there is a fine line between giving negative reviews about books (sharing concerns about the content of particular books) and causing division/making comments that are not edifying to the body of Christ. Such comments could be discouraging and feel like attacks. When we feel attacked, we also feel defensive which leads to discord.

Yet, isn't it still important that I say when I think a book is unbiblical or isn't scriptural? Yes. Is it important to point out that a book is more Christian psychology than Bible Study? Definitely yes. It is easy for us to be decieved. With Sheila Walsh's books, the wisdom that I found and agreed with was simple. It wasn't unbiblical. Did I agree with her way of going about making those points? Not really. It wasn't what I would wish for--but I agreed with her conclusions and the thoughts she wanted to encourage women with. Does that justify her means? No. But, that was why my review encourages anyone who reads the book to take those stories back to the Bible and make sure that they know what the Bible says and what it doesn't so that they don't let man's interpretation and extrapolation get confused with what God really put in His Word.

I know this probably seems like a circular argument within my own head =) And to some degree it is a back and forth argument I have with myself. But, in the end, I always take sides with the side that desires for books to be Biblical and for them to point me towards God and not man. =)

Thanks for listening to this argument I'm having in my own head!

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