Monday, September 21, 2015

Giving Grace

Many of the books that I review on my blog come through As part of receiving the free book, I agree to post my review on my blog as well as on Occasionally, I will receive feedback from my blog readers, but most of the negative comments I receive are responses to my book reviews posted on the Amazon website. Therefore, I have a series of blog posts that I've labeled Countering Criticism where I evaluate the validity of the negative feedback I receive. However, today I would like to look at a positive critique from a poster named Growing in Grace regarding my book review on Prayers for New Brides.  You can read my original review here.

On September 17, 2015, Growing in Grace said:
"I have some of those same concerns, but think you may be misinterpreting them slightly, or at least focusing on them more than the author did. There are many good things written that (for me, at least) outweigh those negatives."

Later that day, she (not sure of gender, but I'm using the feminine for convenience) followed up with:
"I don't remember that last quote you gave, but that does sound like a twisting of Scripture. I didn't notice it so much, for some reason, because there *are* promises of good from the Lord if we follow Him, though sometimes those "prosperous and successful" outcomes come through much trial, and can just be spiritual prosperity and success, not monetary or earthly. Her referring to Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore (and the others, perhaps, though I don't know what their doctrine is) are probably indicative of the author's beliefs on "health and wealth" but I chose to ignore that and glean what I could, which was much."

On September 18, 2015, Growing in Grace said:
"But of course you are entitled to your own opinions, and to share them with others. :) I just don't know if I agree, even as a Calvinist."

First of all, I appreciate the friendly tone of Growing in Grace's comments.  She doesn't agree with me, but she acknowledges that I can have a different opinion.  Obviously, she came away with a more positive view of Prayers for New Brides than I.  As a diligent reviewer, I considered her comments and gave more thought to her opinion that the positives in the book outweigh the negatives.

I agree with Growing in Grace that Christians can receive prosperous and successful outcomes of a spiritual nature from the earthly trials that Christians face, but from my notes, the author did not allude to that possibility.  Mrs. White mostly focused on the temporal outcomes.  I can't say that she never mentioned spiritual blessings, but if she did, that's certainly not what she stressed, nor what I took away from her book.

In my review, I quoted 8 statements from Mrs. White that did not align with the Word of God; I had more statements highlighted, but I chose these quotes to make my point.  If we were speaking face-to-face, I could ask the author what she meant regarding the statements that I questioned.  However, since she published her thoughts, Mrs. White is more accountable for what she says (James 3:1).  If her words are not clear and accurate, then that weakens the propositions made in her book because her arguments are left open to personal interpretation.  Given the title of her book, she is writing to young, impressionable Christian women.  What she says can have a major impact, good or bad, on their lives.

It is my belief that the soft, pliable, biblical-sounding statements being peddled as sound Christian doctrine are undermining the church today.  It might sound nice and politically correct, but sometimes, it is far from biblical.  Elder Lasserre Bradley in his 05/06/12 sermon titled "Since God is Sovereign Why Pray?" on Luke 11:1-4 clearly identifies this problem:  "People can easily be led astray when they interject human reasoning into their thought processes rather than to rely totally on the Word of God.  Something that may appear to be logical may not be truthful because it's founded on the wrong premise; the logic is flawed.  So we want to know what God's Word says and receive it."

Mrs. White made multiple statements in her book that, at face value, where not consistent with the Word of God; therefore, I did not receive it.  Scripture is clear that "[a] little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," (Gal. 5:9).  In addition, the Bible repeatedly warns Christians of false teachers (Acts 20: 29-30; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4).  For me, the 8 quotes in my review were enough to show that leaven was present in Mrs. White's writing.  Thus, if I question the orthodoxy of the author's writing, then I can not in clear conscience recommend that book to a fellow believer.

"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few," (Acts 17:10-12).