2 Stars: 10 Christians Everyone Should Know by John Perry

10 Christians Everyone Should Know is composed of 10 short biographies of an odd seemingly random selection of men and women, many of whom are obscure and less-well-known Christians. I was quite surprised that many of these lesser-known figures were included in this book as "Christians everyone should know" while the most famous Christian names that every Christian should REALLY know are all left out: Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, etc. Some of the figures chosen are famous outside of Christian circles, like: Galileo and Johann Sebastian Bach. Others are very well-known inside Christian circles to this day, like John Bunyan and Dwight Moody. But the rest are a mix and I'm afraid the reader may not see the relevance of knowing the biographies of these individuals.

The biographies are well-written accounts from birth, childhood to death of each individual. They highlight many of the most notable achievements and memories. The title of this book is "10 Christians Everyone Should Know: Lives of the Faithful and What They Mean to You"; however, these are simple biographies and "what they mean to you" is not included in this book. I found myself bored with most of the biographies and not seeing the relevance for me today. Especially, I found the women's biographies dragging on and having more to do with "she lived here and had kids and moved here" than anything to do with Christianity or Christian living. I didn't see a point to knowing the life story and didn't find any relevance to my own life.

Saint Patrick's biography (the first in the book) was also a bit troublesome for me because many of the biggest best stories were "according to legend" and then sometimes our author added "but it may not have been true." So his biography felt like a lot of tall tales with little fact. I finished feeling like he had been blown up into a "hero" with many exaggerated stories.

My favorite biographies were those of Galileo, John Bunyan and D.L. Moody. The reason is that these figures are known in society and Christianity, so there is some relevance in knowing a bit about them. But if I go to my fellow Christian and start talking about Sergent York or William F Buckley Jr, they will have no idea who he is and why they should care. This book failed to show why the 10 people chosen "should be known by everyone." I would rather read about 10 more relevant Christians that actually had a huge impact on Christianity: John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Cornelius Van Til, William Tyndale, Augustine, Martin Luther, and Philip Melanchthon.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.

1 Star: Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb

You will need a strong stomach to make it through this book. This memoir is a rated-r book that re-lives the horrifying tale of one man's descructive behavior on his family. It is a horror story of brutality: a detailed and sickening account of one man beating countless women into lifeless bloody messes on a daily basis, raping his own daughters night after night, murdering his newborn daughter and living a lawless, angry, power-hungry life as an unstoppable devil. The detail in this book will horrify you. And knowing it is a memoir will horrify you more.

I can handle horror movies easily, but after reading this book I was left feeling dirty and sick to my stomach. This was the most unpleasant book I've ever read. The only movie more unpleasant than this book that I've seen was "Boys Don't Cry" with a brutal rape scene. My usual peaceful dreams were even replaced with a nightmare of my own father hunting down the women in my family. I think many women will have a difficult time reading through the sheer brutality of the endless beatings that cover page after page in this book. The entire book is one account of beating after beating after rape of a minor after beating after rape and so on. I could not find anything uplifting or edifying in these pages. The best I could say is that it will awake readers to the importance of raising good sons and strong daughters.
I cannot recommend this book to most readers due to its graphic nature, unpleasantness and sadly, yes, unbiblical teachings. The abused girls prayed throughout the book and that was about the extent of Christianity in this book. At the end of the book, it is revealed that our main character, Frances, chose to date "an unbeliever" and writes "Wayne was not yet a Christian. I learned later that he had asked God for someone to pray and go to church with. He had faith, believed in God, and wanted to learn more, but had not yet totally trusted God for salvation." Her theology is incorrect. If God freely justifies and gives an individual the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit, they are a believer. So, either Wayne was already a believer or he did not have faith. All believers have faith. You cannot have true faith and be an unbeliever. Faith is a gift from God and not a human's commitment or dedication to live the Christian life.

Fran also misapplies the biblical verse "But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." This verse in Reformed Theology is law to unbelievers and is used to demonstrate our INABILITY to uphold the law and our need for a savior. It is impossible for man to forgive the sins of others perfectly. Once we are justified by God and given the Holy Spirit, we are free from this law and can live spiritually to forgive others out of the correct motivation. Fran is using a legalistic motivation of fear that God will cast her out and she will lose her salvation if she doesn't force herself to humanly forgive. However, I believe the Bible teaches that our correct motivation should be love and we forgive others AS we were forgiven by Christ. It is a positive motivation and not a negative motivation. This is the difference between living a life of works-righteousness verses living to glorify God out of love and admiration. Fran is teaching legalism here, which is a heavy yoke around a Christian's neck.

For further reading on the truth of understanding the difference between Justification and Read "Christ Is Lord" from Michael Horton so that you will get a very clear view of Justification apart from Sanctification
Listen to White Horse Inn's radio broadcast called "Give Them Grace" with Michael Horton interviewing Elyse Fitzpatrick. It took me like 10 times of listening to this to finally get what they were saying because it was so profound and deep and opposite from what I had been believing. They talk about how to live for glorifying God EVEN when we fail. This is so deep.
Also listen to/read these sermons from John Piper:
Eternal Life Has Appeared in*Christ - Desiring God
Let Us Walk in the Light of*God - Desiring God
Jesus Christ Is an Advocate for*Sinners - Desiring God (This one is SOOO convicting. It talks about Jesus dying for our sins and how we should not take sin lightly)
Also, listen to White Horse Inn radio broadcast's "Antinomianism part 1" and "Antinomianism part 2"

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.

4 Stars: Covenant Child by Teri Blackstock

If you are looking for an edifying Christian fiction book that will magnify your love of God, you've come to the right place. Living up to her reputation as a leader Christian fiction author, Teri Blackstock's writing skills are far superior than other authors. Blackstone weaves a very enjoyable and captivating story about family and love in this re-telling of the the prodigal son story. This book leaves readers with a lingering though: "Wow, how beautiful is this story of a savior and an inheritance that sounds too good to be true." This is a story about grace and an inheritance that is free.

Readers should know that this book does not focus directly on Christianity, Jesus or God, as the main characters are not Christian or shown praying or coming to believe in Christ. I wouldn't have expected to recommend a book where the main characters don't become Christian, but the thing I loved about this book is that by the end, I believe most readers will see God through this story in a stronger way than all those Christian fiction books that portray Christian main characters.

The story is about redemption and a savior who loves unconditionally. The story shows the main characters come to believe their "savior" (a mother in this fiction story) has good intentions towards them and is not "too good to be true" and not "seeking to use them" and when they finally realize this life with their mother/savior is the thing they want the most, their mother/savior is standing with open arms, welcoming them home. Her love for them is unconditional and she freely forgives their rejection and hatred of her. The only thing missing from this story is relating the mother/savior to Jesus Christ. The reader must ponder the story afterwards to see the deeper meaning.

Readers should be aware that this book may not be appropriate for younger audiences: underage girls are sleeping around without any remorse or regret or repentance, molestation from father, child abuse from parents, alcoholism, gambling, drug abuse, one severe beating, deaths, abortion with no lasting/deep consequences and very difficult life situations.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.

2 Stars: Honest Wrestling by K. Howard Joslin

Honest Wrestling is the diary account of a family's struggle to keep the faith through three miscarriages, joblessness and the loss of Ann, a wife and mother, to cancer. Their struggle is real and their diary entries are deeply sad and touching. Readers may learn worthwhile lessons from their examples. It was beautiful to read Ann's diary entries and see her continuously praising God through her pain and cancer, praying and holding out hope until the very end. It was her faith and strength that encouraged her husband, Howard Joslin, a Dallas Theological Seminary grad, to not turn against God in hatred but to hold out hope that God is good. After Ann's death, when Howard went through a period of doubting God's existence, he remembered many of Ann's prayers that God had clearly answered.

One of the most touching parts of this book was to read about Ann's faithful praises and prayers through three miscarriages. While her husband went through another period of anger towards God, she continued to hold out hope and ask God for another child in the example of a woman named Hannah in 1 Samuel. Just like Hannah, the Lord answered Ann's prayers and granted her a healthy baby girl, which she rightfully named Hannah.

Sadly, it seems the struggle Howard Joslin has with loving and trusting God is greatly magnified by his incorrect theology and beliefs about God. While Ann's diary entries are mostly filled with praises to God and hope, most of Howard's are angry, doubting and hostile towards God. From the beginning of the book to the end, Howard wrestles with questions of God's goodness, continuously asking "What the heck?" after each bump in his life: from unemployment to getting a difficult job to not getting the job he wanted. Howard's anger towards God is magnified because he believes he is entitled to good things and shakes his fist at God for not giving Howard the pleasures in life that Howard wants. Howard's theology and life are self-centered instead of god-centered. But the truth is that God doesn't owe humans anything and we should be grateful for every day that He sustains our very breath and provides for even our most basic needs. As humans, we can get so spoiled and start demanding blessings from God and forget to be thankful for each and ever blessing the Father does give us, including the blessing of life itself! Paul writes, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you."

Clips from Howard's writings:
- "But in my discouragement (over being unemployed) I couldn't bring myself to sing. How could I sing if I wasn't convinced that God really was good? He sure didn't seem like it."
- "God's encore was a failure to provide that perfect job at the symphony. It was close to the seminary, had a short work week and even paid well. What the heck?"

One of the most important lessons that can be learned from this book is to see how Howard's incorrect Arminian theology warped his worldview and lead to false beliefs about God and these false beliefs lead to false thinking, false feelings, incorrect actions and a life of anger, doubting and misery. Howard's incorrect theology was exasperated by his learning from unreliable sources: Dallas Theological Seminary (confused seminary school that teaches a confused mix between Calvinism and Arminianism) and reading Arminian authors (some with a reputation of writing "fluff") and all who teach confused theologies that do not teach the truth about man's relationship to God and the purpose of suffering: Philip Yancy, Max Lucado, Beth Moore, N.T. Wright, Duane Miller, and Richard Foster.

Clips from Howard's writings:
- If we take a closer look at Hannah's vow, we discover that it is distinctive. Most vows promise something like this, "If you do so-and-so, then I'll do such-and-such." But Hannah promises, "If you give me such-and-such, then I'll give you back such-and-such." [I fail to see the difference that Howard is referring to here. The two look the same to me.]
- A few months ago I had some rare deep thoughts. Why even bother to pray? Prayer doesn't make any ultimate difference in the outcome. However, thanks to all of you I have had to eat the words of this sentence and confess my lack of faith. [Howard has finished seminary at DTS but he still has such a faulty view of prayer and God]
- I know I was angry, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed and hurt. Where was God?
Why had God abandoned us?
- "Here are the 10 big reasons we made it through 8 rounds of chemo: Health insurance, chemo, prayer and the Bible." [Somehow Howard left God off the list? I'm pretty sure the Bible doesn't grant prayers.]
- This year's Top 10 list is similar to last Thanksgiving's list: Family and friends, chemo, prayer, the Bible, Cancer and Life. [Again, notice no God on the list?]
- "My prayer became, "Oh God. Don't you dare let Ann die before Paul (their son) gets here." [Notice again Howard's hostility towards God?]
- After Ann's death, Howard writes: "Ann, you always hated injustice. You hated the fact that incurable cancer had invaded our lives. You hated the fact that cancer might rob you of this priviledge." [What Howard is really saying is that "God is injust for allowing Ann to go through cancer and die. But this is untrue. God is always just. Howard doesn't understand the God of the Bible.]
- "Ann was robbed of growing old with me." [Howard is blaming God for "robbing" Ann and him]
- Just like his father, Howard and Ann's son Paul writes: "I did not understand how God could let her die. What had my mom done? What had my two little brothers and my sister done to deserve having to walk through the rest of their childhood without their mom? And with all the evil things happening in the world, how can God still be good? How can we trust him? [The end]" [Wow. I am deeply saddened for their son Paul. I have added this family to my prayer list, that God might direct them to come to know Him as He truly is - magnificent, all powerful, all loving, and completely just in every way. Please add them to your prayer list as well.]

Howard did mention author John Piper in his book in passing but it is clear that Howard didn't read or listen to enough of John Piper's sermons to get a correct view of God. I encourage everyone to learn about the loving, powerful, fully sovereign God of the Bible. Two of the most AMAZING teachings you will ever hear on suffering are these two sermon from John Piper, explaining God and suffering: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/why-was-this-child-born-blind and http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-works-of-god-and-the-worship-of-jesus

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.


1 Star: The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus

The goal of this book is worthy: McManus attempts to encourage believers not to limit their Christian lives to living in a safe, comfortable, selfish, superficial, self-righteousness and legalistic life. Mark Batterson's book Primal was a successful, well-written book that provided readers with a biblically accurate view on this subject. Sadly, The Barbarian Way leans closer to the unbiblical teachings of John Eldredges' Wild at Heart book in that in their attempt to sell a concept and capitalize off a catchy book title, both authors end up taking the concept too far, stretching the Bible to say what it does not say and in the end, turning Jesus and his followers into wild men and a barbarians.

It seems that the title "Barbarian" was so important to McManus that he overemphasizes this one word and ends up taking the concept of "getting back to the roots of real Christianity" and turns following Christ into a beastly, macho, wild, crazy religion that scoffs at anything resembling "civilized." McManus takes it too far when he continuously puts down "a normal life" as "predictable, boring, mundane" and pushes Christians to live "an adventurous, dangerous, risky, crazy life" as a barbarian. The book seems to promote thrill-seeking and self-glorification through risk-taking, as McManus encourages rushing into life decisions based on feelings and emotions and the sense that "God is speaking to you". He gives one example of what "living like a barbarian should look like" when he told a room full of men during a meeting "Don't go around the world and make our missionaries mentally healthy. You'll ruin everything. You'll totally mess up the cause. Let's say you have a husband and wife and four kids in an obscure city in Central Asia and suddenly they find themselves in the middle of 2 million people who don't speak a word of English. And each morning, they'll wake up excited and confident that somehow they're going to bring that entire city to faith in Jesus Christ. You go and make them normal, and they'll be on a plane back home the next day." (Pg 81)

Some quotes for thought:
  • When asked if they are Christians, [barbarians'] answer might surprisingly be no, they are passionate followers of Jesus Christ.
  • When Christianity becomes just another religion, it focuses on what God requires. Just to keep people in line, we build our own Christian civilization and then demand that everyone who believes in Jesus becaome a good citizen. It's hard to imagine that Jesus would endure the agony of the Cross just to keep us in line. Jesus began a revolution to secure our freedom. We would delight in God, and He would give us the desires of our hearts. Without hearts burning for God, we would move forward with the freedom to pursue the passions burning within us. (Pg 6-7)
  • My daughter had a dream to give to others but I didn't see it initially, but I was trying to civilize her instead of unleashing the untamed faith within her. After all, I'm her dad. It's okay if I live a life of irrational faith and breathtaking adventure. I want something different for her. I want her to have security and safety - you know, a predictable, boring, mundane life. (pg 10-11)
  • Perhaps the tragedy of our time is that such an overwhelming number of us who declare Jesus as Lord have become domesticated - or, if you will, civilized. Maybe John was alluding to that in the Apocalypse when he told the church of Ephesus that they had lost their first love (Rev 2:1-4). (Pg 12). [McManus' concept of John's Revelation alluding to the church of Ephasus becoming "domesticated" seems to stretch the natural reading of the scriptures far out of context.]
  • Those who are most religious will be most offended and indignant. The way of Jesus is far too savage for their sensibilities. (Pg 15)
  • It is time to hear the barbarian call, to form the barbarian tribe, and to unleash the barbarian revolt. (Pg 17)
  • John the Baptist was a true barbarian with camel's hair clothes. John stands out with his unusual dress and no formal education, and his mailing address was the wilderness.
  • Pg 55: You will hear the voice of Christ and His barbarian call if you listen carefully enough.
  • Pg 77: Later I would go on to seminary and learn that God doesn't speak like this anymore. Essentially I was told that God exchanged the mystical and miraculous for doctrine and ritual. The Scriptures became proof that God had stopped speaking. But I had already experienced God in both the mystical and miraculous.
  • Pg 84: My son asked about the voice of God. He would often hear me talk about having conversations with God (most of us call this prayer), and it piqued his curiosity. On top of that, he heard me teach and share mystical and miraculous experiences with God. When he asked me, "What does God's voice sound like?" I guess when I think about it, God's voice sounds a lot like my voice. After all, the Spirit speaks to us through the conscience as well as through the Scriptures.
  • Pg 88-89: My son, Aaron got in a fight with another boy who called his mother names and refused to apologize. I told my son if he didn't obey God's command to apologize and rejected the voice of God and chose to disobey His guidance, [that Aaron's] heart would become hardened, and his ears would become dull. And if he continued on this path, there would be a day when he would never again hear the voice of God. There would come a day when he would deny that God even speaks or has ever spoken to him. But if he treasured God's voice and responded to Him with obedience, then his heart would be softened, and his ears would always be able to hear the whisper of God into his soul. Aaron chose to stay, I'm grateful to say. If he had chosen differently, he would have begun the path toward domestication. Perhaps he never would have rejected the faith overtly. He might have even chosen to be a faithful attender at a church and been by everyone else's estimation a good man, but he would no longer be a barbarian. [Wow. I thought this was very harsh and fear-driven. Not to mention it sounds like teaching that one can lose their salvation, which disagrees with Romans 8:38.]

2 Stars: Raising Your Kids To Love The Lord

Readers will absolutely love the quick easy flow of this book and the many bits of helpful parenting tips that fill its pages. I loved this book for all of its practical advice (that actually works!) for raising mindful, obedient and well-mannered children. Many might even agree that the most fitting title of this book would be "How To Raise Obedient Kids". There are many pages of what-to-dos and not-to-dos. Here are a few samples:

- "Make sure you are the same person in church as you are at home. If you lose your integrity, purity and faithfulness in different circumstances, your children will know."
- "Your children need to see you living what you believe."

This book has almost all the right outward steps for raising obedient children... but sadly it is void of the most important advice "for raising kids to love the Lord". What is sadly missing from this book is that we must teach our children the means to "loving the Lord" via the gospel. From cover to cover, the gospel (which is the power to save our children) is completely adsent from this book. The word "gospel" is literally mentioned only once in the entire book and it was used in the context of someone preaching the gospel in China.

This book is an excellent parenting tip book, but Christianity is not only about obeying the rules. This book fails to encourage parents to teach their children the gospel and to raise their children with "love for God". If all children have are rules and strict obedience, they will learn to fear God, dread God, and hate this strict judge of a god. Grace is absent from a life of pure strict obedience. It has been proven that legalistic Christianity drives children away from God, not towards him. I've heard the odds of children raised in legalistic Christian homes rejecting Christianity in their teen and college years are astronomical. No one can be "good enough" to "make it to heaven" so our obedient kids just give up. We need to teach our children the gospel, not just the law! So when they do try and fail, they know that Christ still loves them! (And know that I am not preaching "easy love" here or "freedom to sin".)

Instead of this book, I recommend Elyse Fitzpatrick's book "Give Them Grace" about raising gospel-centered children without forgetting obedience but also not forgetting the gospel of God's grace and God's love. I also recommend parents listen to sermons from John Piper, who teaches grace, love and obedience in the right relationship and shows us all how to love God and see God for the beauty to be had in Him! We are not only to have joy in God's blessings but in Christ Himself! Our children must learn to love God and they will be watching their parents to see if their parents love God. Teach your children obedience but don't forget to also teach them the gospel of God's grace and to also show them grace every once in a while.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.

3 Stars: The Truth about Forgiveness by John MacArthur

I believe The Truth About Forgiveness is a worthy, well-meaning attempt at writing a book with a solid foundation in the gospel and forgiveness. Sorry, it's the best I can say, because truly, if it teaches an "almost truth", we must see that anything but "the whole truth" is still really "a lie" that misleads. Plus, the books title claims to be "the truth" and yet the contents are not "the truth". Most of this book has good solid teachings, but sadly, the incorrect teachings in this book have tremendously dangerous consequences if accepted as truths. The book is a worthy read, but not a "must read." I rate it only 3 stars because I felt the author continues in all his books to confuse justification with sanctification (teaching a deadly and incorrect "faith plus works" theology). I think John MacArthur has been corrected enough times to know better than to continue to teach a works-based salvation. In addition, I felt he embellished some biblical stories and these "additions" to the biblical narrative did not sit well with me. I am not trying to pick on John MacArthur - I own nearly every single book the man has ever written and have followed his teachings for 10+ years, but I must stick to "the whole truth" and look out that my Christian brothers and sisters not be lead astray. The book is a short, quick read, but most of it, we have heard many times over. Not a lot of new material in this one. Not life-changing and not something I would keep in my library or recommend strongly to others. Read it if you discern carefully and have time or are a big fan of MacArthur. Otherwise, there are many books that would be more worthy of your precious time.


This book stands out as memorable because MacArthur explains that when humans start to excuse their sins as "addictions" or "sicknesses" or "beyond their control", they close themselves off to searching for a cure for this life of misery, where we are lost in slavery to our sins. Best quotes about this subject:

"These days everything wrong with humanity is likely to be explained as an illness. What we used to call sin is more easily diagnosed as a whole array of disabilities. All kinds of immorality and evil conduct are now identified as symptoms of this or that psychological illness. Criminal behavior, various perverse passions, and every imaginable addiction have all been made excusable by the crusade to label them medical afflictions. Even commonplace problems, such as emotional weakness, depression, and anxiety, are also almost universally defined as quasi-medical, rather than spiritual, afflictions."
"But assume for the moment that the problem is sin rather than sickness. The only true remedy involves humble repentance and confession (the recognition that you deserve the chastening of God because you alone are responsible for your sin)—then restitution, and growth through the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, communion with God, fellowship with other believers, and dependence on Christ. In other words, if the problem is in fact spiritual, labeling it a clinical issue will only exacerbate the problem and will offer no real deliverance from the sin. ... By casting the sinner in the role of a victim, it ignores or minimizes the personal guilt inherent in the misbehavior. “I am sick” is much easier to say than, “I have sinned.” But it doesn’t deal with the fact that one’s transgression is a serious offense against a holy, omniscient, omnipotent God."

MacArthur explains that humans cannot atone for their own sin and so they need substitute atonement. He explains that only God can forgive sins and provide the necessary atonement, using the example of Luke 5:17-26 the paralytic lowered into a house from the roof.

Most important to all Christians, is a proper understanding of humans as sinners unworthy of the mercy of God. MacArthur provides an excellent portrayal of this belief: "There is nothing in any sinner that compels God’s love. He does not love us because we are lovable. He is not merciful to us because we in any way deserve His mercy. We are despicable, vile sinners who, if we are not saved by the grace of God, will be thrown on the trash heap of eternity, which is hell. We have no intrinsic value, no intrinsic worth—there’s nothing in us to love." "I recently overheard a radio talk-show psychologist attempting to give a caller an ego-boost: “God loves you for what you are. You must see yourself as someone special. After all, you are special to God.” But that misses the point entirely. God does not love us “for what we are.” He loves us in spite of what we are. He does not love us because we are special." "God loves because He is love; love is essential to who He is. Rather than viewing His love as proof of something worthy in us, we ought to be humbled by it."

We need to understand our standing before God. We are sinners, in need of a savior. If we deny that we are lost in our own sins, we will deny our need for a savior. "In other words, to attempt to eradicate the human conscience is one of the most spiritually destructive pursuits any individual or society can engage in." MacArthur explains that our conscience within serves to remind us of our sinful condition and need for a savior. MacArthur then outlines a correct biblical view of confession and repentance: "True confession also involves repentance—turning away from the evil thought or action. You have not honestly confessed your sins until you have expressed the desire to turn from them. Real confession includes a brokenness that inevitably leads to a change of behavior." (Emphasis is mine because notice it says "inevitably" and not "immediately" or "instantaneously". Our sin doesn't always end "instantaneously", once we confess. I may confess unforgiveness and pray to God for His help, but it may take a week for me to actually reach a place of forgiveness.)

MacArthur then brings us to the story of the prodigal son. He explains how the Jewish community would normally never consider having mercy on such a wayward son. However, against all cultural norms, the father was eagerly seeking the restoration of his son. "The father clearly wanted to reach the prodigal before the boy reached the village—apparently to protect him from the outpouring of scorn and invective he would surely receive if he walked through that village unreconciled with his father. The father himself would bear the shame and take the abuse instead." The rest of the book takes us through our need for atonement, dispelling the myths of an easy-believism gospel and attempts to demonstrate God's forgiveness towards sinners. One quote against the easy-believism gospel that I enjoyed was:

"According to Jesus, it’s very, very difficult to be saved. At the end of Matthew 7:14, He said of the narrow gate, “There are few who find it.” I don’t believe anyone ever slipped and fell into the kingdom of God. That’s cheap grace, easy-believism, Christianity Lite, a shallow, emotional revivalist approach: “I believe in Jesus!” “Fine, you’re part of the family, come on in!” No."


My main issue with nearly all MacArthur's books and teachings is that he endlessly confuses justification with sanctification. While he attempts to teach "justification by faith alone", he is so afraid of people slipping into antinomianism (justification by faith alone, where justification is NOT followed by sanctification in producing good works), that MacArthur ends up teaching "faith that includes works" or a type of "faith plus works" very similar to the Roman Catholics' erroneous teaching that was the basis for the entire Protestant Reformation. This error is deathly important, or we will slip back into a "faith plus works" belief and render the entire Reformation an "unnecessary mistake." Why is this really that important? This one point of contention was the basis of the entire Protestant Reformation. This one belief was the main dispute. The true teaching of the Reformation and from Martin Luther is that "We are saved by faith alone but not by faith that is alone" (our faith is followed by our sanctification and good works naturally follow). However, MacArthur often adds obedience and repentance to faith, as he did throughout his 1989 (pre-Calvinist days) "Gospel According to Jesus" book (notice parts of the original 1989 red cover version of this book was completely re-written to remove many (but not all) of these incorrect "faith plus works" teachings). Because MacArthur took the correction of Michael Horton in Horton's book Christ The Lord to heart and revised his own "Gospel According to Jesus", I believe MacArthur is well-meaning in teaching the truth. However, his old belief of "faith includes works" can be seen creeping into nearly all his teachings.

Another example in this book: "The rich young ruler made it to the gate and asked Jesus what he had to do to enter the kingdom. The Lord told him to drop his matched set of Gucci luggage and come on through. He had found the gate that few people ever find, but he refused to enter because he was too selfish and self-centered to make the sacrifice Jesus asked of him." Although at first glace, this may sound true, look carefully. "Drop your wallet and THEN you will be saved." "Sacrifice your wealth, THEN you can be saved." This is saying "Do this work", THEN you can be saved. It's a faith plus works justification! The truth is "believe, THEN you will be saved". There is no requirement to "DO anything." No requirement to give up your car. No requirement to give up your house or wallet. If the rich young ruler HAD, given up his wealth, would this have EARNED him eternal life? Of course not! The whole point of Jesus saying "Give up your wealth" was to prove the rich young ruler was guilty of breaking the law that he claimed to uphold and was a fallen sinner in need of a savior. Read Michael Horton's book Christ The Lord for a precise detailed explanation of this. Sadly, even though Horton corrected MacArthur in 2008 and MacArthur revised his "Gospel According to Jesus" book, MacArthur continues to erroneously teach salvation by faith and works even up till today. This is an ongoing theme we must always be watchful for in all MacArthur's teachings. We must cling to "justification by faith ALONE". No works. No repentance. No giving up money. We can't buy our way into heaven by giving up our riches!

Another example of this teaching in this book is: "But sinners who repent and turn to God are fully and instantly justified, freely forgiven from the first moment of faith’s inception— before a single good work is done. That was the principal lesson of Abraham’s example. “He believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6, emphasis added). Here, MacArthur equated "repentance" with "belief", but they are not the same at all. Repentance is the work we do for the rest of our lives as Christians. It is part of the sanctification process - part of becoming "more Christlike." Notice that MacArthur says "IF you repent (works), then you will be justified" and not "if you believe the gospel, you will be justified"? Then he mistakenly ties a story about Abraham, who properly "believed and so was justified" back to his "repent (works) and be justified" example, but the two are completely different. MacArthur's example is repentance/works = justification, while Abraham is belief=justification.

As well-meaning as he may be, MacArthur, also reverted back to teaching the Sermon on the Mount was about gospel and not law, even after accepting correction from Michael Horton in Horton's book Christ The Lord. But even after such correction, we can still see MacArthur reverting to his old teaching, when he writes "Forgiveness was also one of Jesus’ favorite subjects to preach about. It was one of the key themes in His Sermon on the Mount." The Sermon on the Mount had more to do with law than gospel. All these verses are about law and demonstrate how unattainable salvation is through works righteousness: "I have not come to abolish the law but to uphold it..." (Mt 5:17-20); don't murder or be angry unjustly; don't commit adultery or lust; don't divorce; don't break your oaths; don't seek revenge; don't hate your enemies but love them; don't do your works before men but before God; don't pray like a hypocrite; don't fast like a hypocrite; don't store up treasures on earth; don't worry; don't judge others; narrow is the path; not everyone who says "Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven." As Michael Horton correctly points out, these verses are all about law.

I also could not find this teaching in Luke 5: "The father gathered up the hem of his robe and took off in a most undignified manner." I found myself repulsed by this notion that the father lifted up his robe in an immodest or indecent manner. In fact, just this last Sunday, my pastor repeated the same thing and he made it sound even more indecent, adding "he exposed his undergarments!" I shudder at the immodesty and indecency implied by this added teaching, that I could not find in my bible. And then for MacArthur to conclude that "This is indeed a fitting picture of Christ," made me shudder at an implied blasphemy, that the notion of associating this indecent immodesty to Christ.


Next, I believe MacArthur incorrectly labels the prodigal son story, a story about "justification by faith": "the prodigal son is a textbook example of someone who is justified by grace through faith apart from meritorious deeds." However, contextually, according to Luke, the story of the prodigal son is one of three parables that Jesus tells in response to the complaint of Pharisees and scribes that “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1-2). In response to "Why do you go to sinners and tax collectors?", Jesus responds with the parable of the lost sheep (an "elected" sinner): Luke 15:7 "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Then the parable of the lost coin (an "elected" sinner): Luke 15:10 "Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." These parables answer the question "Why do you go to sinners and tax collectors?" by saying "these sinners are the elect of God, and I go to them to bring them into the fold/flock."
And then Jesus follows with the parable of the prodigal son, in the same way: Luke 15:24 "For this my son (an elected sinners and tax collector) was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" and Luke 15:31-32: "Son, you (Jewish Pharisees and scribes) are always with me (Israel being God's people), and all that is mine is yours (Israel had the gift of being God's people). It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother (the lost elected sinner) was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found." So the parable of the prodigal son answers the question "Why do you go to sinners and tax collectors?" Jesus explains that he goes to the sinners and tax collectors because they are lost and need their shepherd to bring them back into the flock. I see that this story relates to the gospel and relates to justification/salvation, but I don't see it as a direct "textbook example of justification by faith" because nowhere in this story is "faith" or "belief" described. The prodigal son story is not told in response to an enquiry about how to inherit eternal life. Jesus is not preaching an evangelistic message here. He is explaining why he receives the sinning classes and eats with them, when the Pharisees look down upon these people as a lower class and undeserving of any attention (much like the older brother in the prodigal son story). The prodigal son are the "sinners and tax collectors", while the older brother is like the Pharisees. In fact, at the end of the story, the older brother refused to go in to rejoice over the return of his younger brother (Luke 15:28 "But he was angry and refused to go in") much like the Pharisees, who would not rejoice over "sinners and tax collectors" being saved. For more on this, read Matthew 9:12 and Mark 2:17, which explain the reason Jesus ate with tax collectors: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

A few other smaller issues with this book: When describing Luke 5:17-26 the paralytic lowered into a house from the roof, MacArthur embellishes, "It may well be that forgiveness was the very topic [Jesus] was teaching about. The subject was certainly in the air." Which verse was this? I could not find anything of the sort in my Bible. MacArthur also adds, "What a dramatic entrance this was! It no doubt startled the crowd when the roof began to open up. The gap in the roof needed to be large enough for the man and his stretcher—which likely meant that not only the external roof tiles but also some of the underlying latticework supporting the tiles had to be carefully removed. A tile roof was no cheap or temporary covering, and there’s simply no way to open a hole in a tile roof like that without lots of debris and dust falling into the crowd below. We would normally expect both the crowd and the landlord to be annoyed by the actions of these men." MacArthur doesn't leave room for the notion of a straw roof or open roof. I felt his embellished description make the scene seem fake or far-fetched that someone would tear open another person's roof, tile by tile.


My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and choose the very best books.

1 Star: As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt

If Satan were going to write a "Christian book" to trick people, he could either write a book that claims to be true but subtlely actually teaches lies, or he could write a book that overtly bashes demons (causing Christians to lower their defenses) while the book subtlely actually bashed God. This book is the later. A good number of Christians discern and expect that a book that claims to teach the truth might actually be teaching a lie, but few expect a book that claims to bash evil to actually bash good. This book is very clever, but then so is Satan. This would be one of the last books a Christian would expect to find false teachings in, exactly because it bashes demons. No one expects Satan to bash demons. But if Satan can do damage to your image of God, I'm certain he has no problem bashing demons. Besides, would an evil being like Satan really have a problem treating evil demons bad? No. If Satan were to write a book, he would write this book. And I think he did. (All lies are from Satan)

I haven't read C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, so this review is on this book alone. This book was so weird and different from any other book I have ever read, which alone is not a bad thing. As I read it, I took notes and hoped to come across interesting ideas, while watching carefully to make sure the teachings in this book were Biblical. This book only partially fulfilled my quest for interesting ideas but dangerously failed biblical accuracy because it teaches outright lies in the most subtle ways. This fictional tale strayed from biblical ideas in so many ways as to dangerously imply false ideas about the character of God. I encourage any readers to be very careful when reading this book and carefully use a LOT of discernment.
The perspective of this book is so odd and weird and I did not enjoy reading a book from the first person view of a demon. It felt blasphemous. Because the demon is the main character "good guy" and God is the "bad guy" and everything is written from the demon's perspective, the entire book is backwards: Good is bad and bad is good. This can become confusing and I even think the author confused himself in some areas, forgetting who was good and bad. In this book, God is evil (highly dangerous to ever encourage such thinking) and called "The Adversary". The problem with this demon-first-person style is that this book can easily do more damage to the character of God than any good. I would never ever ever recommend this book to a new or even teenage Christian. It could end up warping a Christian's view to think less of God or question God's goodness.

Examples of unbiblical dangerous teachings on God: Page 31, "The Adversary (God in this book) uses stealth. Despite His claptrap about honesty and fairness, He is very unscrupulous. He breaks His own rules whenever it suits Him." Woah! The Bible never claims God is "fair". "Fair" is a human concept. Just the fact that Israel and the Jews were God's people in the OT, while nearly all Gentile nations demonstrates that God is not a god of "fairness". And that is okay. Because God is not only a god of Love but of Justice. And if we start from the perspective that no human deserves anything good, then "fairness" is irrelevant. All humans have sinned and failed to worship God as He is worthy to be worshipped. We don't deserve heaven, but hell. So if God has mercy on some and not all, no wrong has been committed. The other part of this I don't like is the idea that "a demon thinks God is dishonest, unscrupulous, breaks His own rules". The Bible demonstrates that demons know who God and Jesus Christ are and know the TRUTH of who they are. Demons rebel but they are not unaware that God is good. They are not tricked. They fully know God is all powerful, all good, all honest, etc. Demons know that Jesus doesn't "play tricks" and they know that Jesus is honest. But the author, Platt, can start to make a Christian question or doubt their own God because they are reading the demon's lies about God. Sometimes Platt has the demons telling how God is good (which to them is bad) but later, the demons tell that God is bad. Did Platt forget which perspective he wanted to use or confuse himself or is this a subtle trick that most readers will not notice?

Platt subtlely plants seeds in readers. The idea of this book is this: "If the demons are against it, we Christians should be for it." So on page 19, Platt describes a scene where the demons are applauding their efforts to get all the most edifying literature and authors' works out of human hands and have intentionally pushed these writings into obscurity. So who's writings would you expect these demons tirelessly working to hide? The Bible must be on the list, right? Nope. Then at least Martin Luther, John Calvin, St. Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards or even Jacob Arminian or John Wesley? Nope. These most famous authors don't make Platt's list of "most edifying writings." Instead, he lists two writings: "The story of Beowulf" and "the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Huh? Why? Beowulf is an epic poem about a PAGAN man named Beowulf, who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts. Sir Gawain is a romantic powem in King Arthur's day that is steeped in Celtic, Germanic, and other folklore and cultural traditions. How are fictional works more worthy than highly edifying Christian works?

Next Platt lists 8 authors by last name only. The implication is that these authors were so famous that we should recognize them by last name only. Platt works the story up to make the reader automatically assume that these authors are so worthy of our recognition and attention that demons will work tirelessly to hide them from us Christians. Who are the 8? Platt lists them "Johnson (which Johnson out of a dozen could this be?), Cowper, Spenser, Traherne, Cowley, Bunyan, Chesterton, and Williams (how many Williams' do you know?). How many names did you recognize? For me 2: John Bunyan (a worthy mention) and G.K. Chesterton (a Catholic that many non-Catholics read). Who are the other 6? And why are these guys more worthy to be listed than Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Wesley (who people actually do know by last name only) who dedicated their lives to bringing others to Christ? Per wikipedia, Thomas Traherne was a post-Reformation Catholic priest and mystic who wrote little about sin and is accused of bordering upon pantheism (or perhaps panentheism). Why should the demons hide his writings and why should Platt promote them? Edmund Spencer, Abraham Crowley, and Cowper were all English poets. Wow. I think these guys were already so obscure and unknown that the demons wouldn't have to even work to hide their works. They are already unknown to the greater Christian world, unless you specialize in poetry. I see the mention of these names and works only as a promotion of Platt's favorite writings and as having little or nothing to do with Christianity.

Other areas of disagreement:
Pg 33 "Each human is to be utterly, appallingly unique, and yet gloriously united to the Adversary" (Universalism?)
Pg 33 Teaches that "The Adversary had to submit to death by torture" "to redeem a fallen world and snatch it back from the claws to His Infernal Majesty" (God never lost the world to Satan. God was always in control. God never had to come up with a plan B. Plan A included the fall and Christ's redeeming a people for God. God did not HAVE to come up with a Plan B and die in order to "pay Satan off to let humans go", as this sentence may imply. God designed the whole redemption story from start to end before the creation of the world.)
Pg 37 Main character demon warns student demon not to touch C.S. Lewis books or "they will sear your flesh beyond recognition". (Platt is teaching a sort of superstition here. That "Christian books have power to burn/sear demons?" This is not true at all. Besides, as of recently, C.S. Lewis, who was heavily into the occult and mythologies, has come to be regarded by some as "a false Christian" after deeper analysis of Lewis' writings. It was demonstrated that Lewis' writings portray "Jesus" (Aslan the lion) leading Satanic pagan gods in drunken orgistic rituals and these pagan characters are considered "good characters" in Lewis' Narnia books. Example: The famous Satan god Pan (the goat man with an erection) is the good guy Mr. Tummnus. And the Greek dying-and-resurrecting pagan god Dionysus (a false Christ)(called Bacchus in Rome) the man-womanish male god of wine along with his wild female followers the maenads and the drunken fat man Silenus riding his donkey (mocking Christ) are all portrayed by their exact pagan names as "good guys" that Aslan lead through the forest in a wild pagan ritualistic party. Wiki or google this for more info, if you like. Wiki itself says "Silenus is a character, along with Bacchus, in the C.S. Lewis fantasy novel Prince Caspian, the second book (or fourth, depending on the order they are arranged) in The Chronicles of Narnia series." and I've checked my library Narnia books and found all this to be true. Lewis unashamedly made pagan gods that mock Jesus Christ to be "good guys" in his book.

Let me skip toward the end:
Pg 153 Platt writes "The Adversary (God) says He offers us all: Himself and life everlasting" Then Platt has the demons berate God for claiming to be good but actually being evil and dangling love before them but then not giving it to them and lastly, that God "promulgated the absurd notion that [salvation] is quite simple [but that] it is [actually] utterly beyond our understanding, this is an obvious lie. We are not stupid." (Look how ugly this makes God look. First, God does not offer Himself to demons. There is NO redemption for demons. Second, God does not say that salvation is simple. "Simple" is an easily misunderstood word. As you can see from listening to or reading Michael Horton or John MacArthur's Gospel According to Jesus, the way to salvation what many would call "hard" or "impossible" because we must die to ourselves and love God. Who loves God? No one! None seeks after the Lord. (Rom 3) When the apostles asked "Who then can be saved?" Jesus said "For man that is impossible but with God all things are possible!" (Mt 19:26, Mk 10:27, Lk 18:27). This means that man cannot save himself. Only God can save man - completely, from start to end. Even our faith and repentance are gifts from God per the Bible.)

One of the biggest problems with Platt's writings is that he has the demons question and challenge the goodness of God in humanistic terms: on the basis of fairness and love. Humans cannot help but relate with the demons' views and doubt or question God in the same way the demons do. In essence, this book throws demons and humans in the same boat. They are unloved by God and feel unloved and unfairly treated and God lies to both demons and humans claiming it is easy to be saved, when it is impossible to be saved. It makes readers feel like God is just playing a big nasty tricky game on us all and we are just pawns in His unloving game. The questions the demons ask are sometimes valid questions, but more often than not, they are loaded questions that already make false assumptions and imply false ideas about God's character. I would guess that 75%-90% or more Christians will be mislead and not catch this. I highly recommend against this book, unless you really really know what your stuff. I encourage all Christians to learn the answers to REAL unbiased questions about Christianity and God. But this book is loaded with biased tricky questions that will make many doubt or question God just because of the underlying implied assumptions built into the questions.

3 Stars: A Shot of Faith (to the Head) by Mitch Stokes, PHD

I figured because I'm a college grad and can read and comprehend some of the old dead guy Reformers in old English, that I could grasp the logic of this book and gain some real insight. But in the end, I must say that this book was painful, tedious, and plain old boring. Unless you have a PHD like the author or naturally love logic, I would guess that you will not enjoy this book. The author does not bring his concepts down to an easy-to-grasp level. Reading slowly and carefully, I was able to follow the author's logic, but the subject matter and ideas were so dry, who would want to read this? The back of the book doesn't quite portray what the book is like. It gives us interesting topics that sound promising: be able to logically state your beliefs when up against athiests and the ability to logically see that Christianity is more logical than athiesm. But instead, the book starts out dry, slow to anything interesting. If you aren't already good at logic, you will go "okay" "okay" "okay" but unless you do a lot of studying, you will not be able to use these concepts in real life. The book is beneficial, if you can get through it and grasp the concepts, so I give it 3 stars. Rather than this book, I would recommend the DVD "The Truth Project" which does an even better job explaining logically to a lay person how a Christian worldview actually makes much much more sense than an athiest view. If you do read this book, I would recommend you skip directly to chapter 4 unless you want to know:

The Introduction is focused on athiests like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and their bashing of Christianity. "Dawkins thinks that a religious upbringing is worse than most forms of child abuse." Stokes explains that athiests declared religion dead, but then Christians started using logic to demonstrate that religion is not irrational, and so God made a comeback.

Chapter 1 is about "evidentialism [the] require[ment] that all beliefs be supported by evidence". As I was reading this, I was agreeing that evidentialism is true. We use logic and evidence to support our beliefs. But the author surprised me by stating that it is false. This chapter was okay to read.

Chatper 2 is explaining why evidentialism is false. Why? Because once you give some evidence, you must give evidence for THAT evidence and evidence for THAT evidence, endlessly into infinity. So the alternative to evidentialism is either to cut the requirement for evidence short (which most of us logically allow) or to create a circular argument. This chapter was painful and boring to read.

Chapter 3 focuses more on pointing out why those who hold evidentialism are illogical and wrong. Very boring chapter. Painful to read.

The rest of the book picks up a little more but I still did not enjoy the author's writing style. He argues that athiests demand a logical argument/reason to believe in God. However, using reasonable arguments to "prove God" would negate taking God on "faith". If we know something 100%, we don't need to use faith to believe. We believe through reason. To believe on faith, there must be some belief that is not tied to proof. Stokes does warn readers not to take faith too far into unreasonable, illogical conclusions - God is not the author of confusion.

By the end, Stokes does address all those questions that you and I want to know from the back of the book and more. He addresses Darwin/evolution, the argument for intelligent design, how God and science fit together logically, and Stokes even addresses the subject of evil. I enjoyed learning that non-Christian scientists don't have any logical answers and was shocked by some of their claims that don't hold to any sort of logic at all. Although I am glad I read this book, I would not recommend it to the average reader. Instead, I would highly recommend the much easier, much more comprehensive (much more expensive) DVD called "The Truth Project." The Truth Project is worldview changing and something all Christians should watch.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and choose the very best books.

1 Star: Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones

I thought this was going to be the greatest bible book for children on earth. I bought it to read to my nephew and niece because it is so important to me that they grow up knowing and loving God. I thought the author might be related to the famous Martin Lloyd Jones and I saw this book recommended from a Reformed Booksite, so I loved this book before I even read it. But once I read it, I was completely floored by its teachings. It is probably the biggest disappointment of any book I've ever read. It's completely the opposite of what I expected.

#1 or #2 goal of most Christian parents = saved Christian kids. This book works against this goal. Before you read my review, understand why I disagree with this book and believe it destroys the holiness of God and leads our children towards a worldly unsaved life, rather than a strong conviction of who God is and who man is - a sinner in need of Christ. I believe God is INFINITELY powerful, glorious, intelligent, all-knowing and sovereign. Nothing can happen that could defeat God, or He would not be God. He would then only be "a god", but the thing that beat him or defeated Him would also be "a god" if it could outsmart an infinite god. You would have God and Satan as two equal gods, which is not Christianity, it is called Dualism. For God to really be God, He must always get His way 100% of the time. After all, if he is INFINITELY superior to all creation, nothing could ever beat Him, outsmart Him, or make God come up with a Plan B. God NEVER had a Plan B. Everything that happens is in His Plan A.

We all want our children to be saved, right? How do we get saved? Humans must come to realize their need for God, or we will always seek satisfaction in the world. Until we finally realize how utterly unworthy we are, how lost in sin we are, and how much we can't ever stop sinning on our own, we will never need God. When we finally die to ourselves, giving up our self-righteous deeds and efforts to earn our way into heaven, we will fall broken and humble. This is when we can fall on our knees and turn to God and He will change us. If we love the world and ourselves more than God, we will never turn to Him. So, when we read a book to our kids, we need to make sure the book is not "puffing up the child's self-will, self-esteem, and pride" but instead painting a great, grand picture of how holy God is and how undeserving we are. It is this view that will lead our children to see the need for God and lead them to rely on Him for salvation.

This book destroys God from being infinitely holy and worthy of our worship and adoration. This book also destroys our view that we are unworthy, but instead makes children feel like we are holding all the cards and it is this weak, pathetic, wimpering god that is begging us to love him back. Few of our children will ever find Christ with this perspective. Read below my direct quotes from this book and see my explainations as to why these claims aren't true.

- Pg 1 First sentence "God wrote "I love you" - he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea." *****PROBLEM: The author immediately paints a picture that God loves "you" and is telling this to all people through creation. Who are the "you"? ALL CHILDREN. ALL PEOPLE. What about the unbelieving ones? This book says God loves those too! What about the sinning ones? The murdering ones? The evil ones? Well, this book just gives us a blanket statement "God loves you" whoever you are, regardless of who you are, despite who you are. Now, technically, I believe this is true. BUT the problem is that God can say "I love you" to the believers who go to heaven. But God can also say "I love you" to the believers who go to hell. But God's loving you isn't what keeps you out of hell or gets you to heaven. But to a child (and even most of us adults), this statement implies that because God loves you "you will go to heaven." But that's not the truth. This sentence is the theme of this entire book and it is completely misleading. Did Jesus EVER tell the unbelievers "God loves you?" No. That's because, although it may be true, it's not going to get anyone to realize their need of a savior.

- 2 "Some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn't do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It's about God and what he has done."
- 4 "The Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of hereoes. The Bible is most of all a Story." *****PROBLEM: Suddenly, the author destroyed the real purpose of the Bible and turned it into a big story. Unfortunately, this "the Bible is just a story" like has become a very popular claim of non-Christians to destroy the authority of the Bible. If the Bible is a story, it loses it's application purposes and we aren't as obligated to take it so seriously anymore. It's just a guide, after all. It's just like all my other story books. Many of the top athiests use this argument.

- 4 "All the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them." *****PROBLEM: Again, this makes God weak and needy of our human love. We need to teach our children about the holiness of God. The awesomeness! The grandness! God isn't just INFINITELY PERFECT, He's infinitely, infinitely, infinitely perfect! He isn't just good. He's good plus more good, plus the greatest good that could ever be conceived and then even 10 times greater than that! And then 1000 times that! Then a trillion times that! God is SOOOO BEYOND even the word "Good"! It is only through holding God up as an awesome, amazing, powerful, all wise God, that humans will begin to worship Him. Why would we worship a weak God? We worship what is WORTHY OF WORSHIP. The reason we don't worship God or worship Him poorly is because we don't see God as ALL THAT GREAT. Try taking the best most holy character traits and magnifying them as 10 times your best image of them. Then multiply that times 1 million times that! You can't even conceive it! But if we can see the grandest view of God, our worship will be true and natural. This is what our kids need. A holy, lofty infinitely glorious view of God.

- 5 "And at the center of the Story, there is a baby." "This is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend." *****PROBLEM: Author lowered God to a fussy baby. Weak, powerless infant. He was only a baby for a year or two! If God wanted us to elevate a baby, the Bible would have been written as 27 books on the baby Jesus. No, the Bible was written about THE MAN Jesus! A full grown, powerful, glorious man with the fullness of God inside him. Now that is awesome! Not a weak helpless baby.

Then it switches to the Genesis story:
- 6 "In the Beginning, there was nothing. Only emptiness. And darkness. And... nothing but nothing. But God was there." *****PROBLEM: The author writes that there was nothing. Oh, but then tacks on at the end "I forgot to mention God happened to be there." No! This causes damage to God. It should be "God was ALL THERE WAS! The earth was not yet. There was nothing there! It should not be "Nothing was all there was. Oh, but God on the side." The author is putting God inside the box of creation. The author puts God inside the darkness, inside the physical universe, as if God lived on a planet or something. No, God is spirit and outside of time, earth, and the physical world. The creator is greater than the creation! The creation should not come first.

- 6 Like a mommy bird flutters her wings over her eggs to help her babies hatch, God hovered over the deep, silent darkness. He was making life happen." *****PROBLEM: Huh? Comparing God to a bird. That's insulting. A mother bird warms and shields her eggs under her wings. God was not "warming and shielding" the deep under a wing. He was creating!

- 7 "God said, "Hello light!" and light shone into the darkness. "You're good," God said." *****PROBLEM: Notice God did not create the light? He said "hi" to the light. The author has removed God as the creator. Now he's just an observer. Notice that God no longer declares or pronounces or makes this creation good, but observes it is good.
- 7-8 "The God said, "Hello sea! Hello sky!" "Hello land!" "Hello trees!" "Hello grass and flowers!" "Hello stars! Hello sun! Hello moon!" *****PROBLEM: The author removed the creation days, allowing for the possibility of an evolutionary millions of years. And again, God is no longer the creator but just the observer, noticing these things.
- 10 "God saw all that he had made and he loved them." *****PROBLEM: Now, finally, the author acknowledges that God made these things. But his glory and name has already been reduced because the credit for the creation was taken away from him in all the prior pages. This final summary is tacked on at the end but its weight is not at all similar to "God created the earth." "God created the animals." It's more like "God said hi to the animals. Then at the end, "Oh, God made them." The impact is not at all the same.

- 10 "He would make people to share his Forever Happiness." "Forever Happiness?" What's that? Heaven on earth? Life with Christ/God? But not everyone is going to share His "Forever Happiness". What about those who end up in eternal torment? "He would make people" but apparently not ALL people "share his Forever Happiness".

- 11 "So God breathed life into Adam and Eve." *****PROBLEM: Notice again, the author did not say that God created them. Adam being created from the earth is removed. Eve being created from Adam is removed.
- 11 "And when God saw them he was like a new daddy, "You look like me!" he said. "You're the most beautiful thing I've ever made!" *****PROBLEM: Again, the author is praising man for man's greatness! We need to be praising God, not man. We need to get off our egos, our pride, our selfishness, our self-esteem, self-worth and be God-centered, God-focused, God-esteeming!

On to the story of the fall:
- 13 "God had a horrible enemy. His name was Satan." *****PROBLEM: The author paints Satan as "God's enemy" or as a co-equal god. This is Dualism, not Christianity. In reality, God is an infinitely powerful God and Satan is just like an ant under God's shoe. God created Satan. Any moment He wanted, God could go "poof!" and Satan would be destroyed. Satan is no match for God. But this sentence makes Satan seem powerful.

- 13 "Satan was seething in anger and looking for a way to hurt God. He wanted to stop God's plan, stop this love story, right there. So he disguised himself as a snake and waited in the garden." *****PROBLEM: This sentence sets it up in the readers mind that Satan CAN hurt God. That Satan CAN stop God's plan and make God go find a Plan B. But this is false. Even Satan's plans and attempts to ruin things for God STILL fit into God's Plan A. God never has to go to a Plan B. This was God's plan all along - to include Satan and all Satan and man's sinfulness in the redemption story of Jesus Christ.

- 14 "As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve, "Does God really love you?" the serpent whispered. "If he does, why won't he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn't want you to be happy." *****PROBLEM: Again, the author turns the fall into a question of God's love for man. The fall was NEVER about whether or not God loved man. It was about whether or not man would OBEY God and worship God and LOVE God back. God has always loved man and taken care of man. It is man (just like Satan), who rejected God and fell in his own desire to take God's place on the throne. Man wanted to make his own choices and be his own god. The author misses the entire point of Christianity and the entire need for salvation! God is not saving us BY PROVING HE LOVES US and convincing us that He loves us. No! That's not Christianity at all. That's man's false Christianity that allows man to stay on the throne! In fact, it makes God the weaker being in need of man's love so much that God must grovel for man's love. And man, being the powerful god, in man's mercy of God, will believe God and accept God. But Christianity is about God accepting a fallen man! It's not the story of man accepting God, even though we in our feeble minds sometimes thing the world revolves around us. We need God! God doesn't need us. God loves us whether we go to heaven or hell. Doesn't matter. The question of "does God love me" was never ever ever the issue. It's "Will man obey God and love God." Jesus NEVER begged anyone to believe that Christ loved them. He told them that THEY are to "Love God with all your mind and heart"

- 14 "Does God love me, Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn't know anymore." *****PROBLEM: This is NOT why Adam and Eve fell. They both knew God loved them. Firstly, the Bible teaches us that Eve was tricked. Adam, knowing 100% better, chose to DISOBEY God. Man thought he was wiser than God and wanted to take His throne or place. Man fell out of disobedience, not out of doubting love. Man fell out of pride, saying to himself "I am smarter and superior than God." It is the same reason Satan fell. Pride! This book encourages pride in children! It elevates man and lowers God in nearly every single sentence!

- 14 "And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God's children: "God doesn't love me." *****PROBLEM: This is not the lie. The lie was "Man could eat the apple and be wiser than God! That God was wrong about the apple!" The lie isn't that God doesn't love man. The lie is that man doesn't need God!!!

- 17 "A terrible pain came into God's heart." "He knew everthing else would break. God's creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong. From now on everything would die - even though it was all supposed to last forever." *****PROBLEM: The author just painted the picture that things in the world happened against God's will and wishes and power. God was powerless to stop them. They crumbled around Him. It weakens the human's perception of God. Suddenly, God is not all-powerful, all-wise. He got tricked. His purposes were ruined by Satan and man! This is completely false. If we read the NT, we will see that the redemption story was planned from all eternity. This is why Jesus Christ is the ETERNAL son of God. He didn't just become the son of God to plop down on earth, take on a human body, then go back up and mold back into God. Ephesians 1:4 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." Acts 4:27-28 "this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place." Ac 2:23 "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." 1 Pe 1:20 "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you" Luke 22:22, Acts 13:27-33, and more.

- 20 "God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan - a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back." *****PROBLEM: God would get his children back. Which children? Not all the children will believe, so either God didn't do a very good job getting his children back (a weak view of God) or God never mean to get all them back. The truth is that not all will be saved and so God never planned from the foundation of the earth that all would be saved. If he had planned for all to be saved, all he had to do was go "poof" to Satan and no one would have fallen in the first place. The redemption story was planned from the beginning and so was the means through Satan and man's fall. But this sentence makes it seem like God couldn't do what he planned to do. When the truth is that God DID and IS doing exactly what He wanted all along. The error was in man's assuming he knew God's plan. So we think God made an error. God never made an error. God always had this ONE plan from the beginning. If God didn't want this, He had the power to change it at any time.

- 20 "You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Give Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love." *****PROBLEM: What about the ones that go to eternal torment? Again, this makes children believe in Universalism - the belief that ALL people will be saved. This is not what is taught in the Bible.

On to the New Testament:
- "It had taken centuries for God's people to be ready, but now the time had almost come..." *****PROBLEM: This is the false teaching that God had to wait for man to be ready to receive Jesus Christ. This is a prevelant teaching among today's tv evangelists of the Word Faith cult. It makes God dependent upon man. "God needs man to allow God to work in the world" is the false teaching. This sentence supports that teaching. And so does the two beginning sentences on the following page: "EVERYTHING WAS READY. The moment God had been waiting for was here at last!" Yes, it was in all caps! It teaches children falsely that God had to wait until this time due to man not being ready. The truth was God planned this time all along and ordained everything to be just as it was. God is in control. He isn't dependent upon man.
- "There was a young girl who was engaged to a man" PROBLEM: "A girl" not a "young woman" is matched to "a man". The implication is not good.
- "This girl was minding her own business when suddenly a great warrior of light appeared - right there in her bedroom." PROBLEM: Yikes! Angels appearing in a girls bedroom is not a good picture. Today, it is a very very prevelant claim of several Pentecostal authors, Course In Miracles teachers, alien abductees, and pagan spiritualists that "beings of light come into a person's bedroom" and these beings go by names like "Jesus" "Michael" "Seth" "George" or aliens. These are demons and not Jesus Christ or angels! This sentence leaves room for this teaching. In the Bible in Luke chapter 1, it says that an angel came to see Mary but NOTHING is said about it being in her bedroom or even where this meeting took place.
- "So [God] pulled out all the stops. He'd sent an angel to tell Mary the good news. He'd put a special star in the sky to show where his boy was." PROBLEM: Not true. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell Mary about the star. The first mention of the start is when the wisemen see it and this is when Jesus is declared "a child" and no longer "a baby". It is assumed Jesus was about 2 years old at this time.
- [This book also teaches incorrectly that there were THREE wisemen (the Bible doesn't tell how many there were)
- "The three Wise Men (actually, if you'd met them, you'd have thought they were kings because they were so rich and clever and important looking) set off." PROBLEM: The Bible never says any of this.

The book has a chapter called "How to pray":
- "In those days there were some Extra-Super-Holy People (at least that's what they thought), and they were called "Pharisees"." PROBLEM: Notice the author doesn't explain why the Pharisees were wrong: they were trying to get saved through self-righteous works. Actually, the author doesn't even really say the Pharisees were not holy. They were sinful on the inside and hypocritically fake holy/pure on the outside. Their good deeds were only external. Children should be taught that it is the inside that counts, but the author implies the opposite.
- "People walking by would stop and stare, which might sound rude - except that's exactly what the Extra-Super-Holy People wanted. They wanted everyone to say, "Look at them. They're so holy. God must love those people best." PROBLEM:
- "Now you and I both know they were wrong - God doesn't just love holy people." PROBLEM: The author implies that these holy people were accepted and loved by God for their holy works! This is incorrect. God rejected them for their external holy works and told them to look at their inner hearts to see how evil they actually were! In fact, in the Bible, God despises holy people for trying to work or earn their way into eternal life. We get to heaven by realizing how unworthy we are, not how holy and worthy we are. These are fake holy people and the author should have portrayed it like this.
- The Lord's prayer is written like this: "Hello Daddy! We want to know you. And be close to you. Please show us how. Make everything in the world right again. And in our hearts, too. Do what is best - just like you do in heaven. And please do it down here too. Please give us everything we need today. Forgive us for doing wrong, for hurting you. Forgive us just as we forgive other people when they hurt us. Rescue us! We need you. We don't want to keep running away and hiding from you. Keep us safe from our enemies. You're strong, God. You can do wahtever you want. You are in charge. Now and forever and for always! We think you're great! Amen! Yes we do!" PROBLEM: God had been brought down to the place of an imaginary invisible friend. Children and adults are taught not to revere, respect or to admire and worship a holy holy HOLY infinitely HOLY God. He is no longer grand and awesome. He's just like your invisible imaginary pal. The Bible's prayer starts of giving reverence to God "Blessed be your name" "Your will be done" shows we trust God's ways and His will and want His will done and not our own wills done. "Give us our daily bread" shows that we acknowledge every good thing is from God. Even our daily food and needs are provided by God.

I could go on, but I hope readers get the point. This book destroys the awesomeness of God and turns Him into a weak imaginary friend who asks the child to "do this or be that" and the child will then listen to the advice of their "friend" and dismiss them anyway. This view of God has no power. This weak god is nothing that man should worship him. But OUR GOD is AWESOME, POWERFUL and AMAZING! If we teach children of the REAL God who created the bazillion stars in the night sky and created the Grand Canyon and Hawaii and the oceans and the intricate human eye etc, then they will worship him in their hearts, seeing how valuable He really is.

1 Star: The Gospel Of Yes by Mike Glenn (Forward by Scot McKnight)

I did not agree with the "prosperity gospel" being encouraged in the forward from Scot McKnight:
- Quotes 2 Corinthians 1:20 "No matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ."
- "Make a list of God's promises [from the Bible]". McKnight doesn't caution readers that many "promises" are made to specific people during a specific time and can't accurately just be plucked out of context and applied to all believers in all time.
- "All those promises are a big "yes" in Christ." Again, McKnight ignores all context but just gives a blanket assurance that God says "yes" to any verse where God has ever made a promise to anyone and we can pluck that verse out of the Bible and apply it to us.

On to the book:
- Mike Glenn tells readers about his tough year as pastor and how he went to a house by the lake and began "screaming" at God. "God had betrayed me. He kept things from me. He didn't warn me in advance."
- Glenn says he waited all night and God didn't show up to face him. He says he wanted to wrestle with God like Jacob did in the Old Testament.
- "I sat in a rocking chair"..."I made it known that I wasn't leaving that chair until something happened." "I sat on the porch all day." "Suddenly... I knew God was coming." Glenn says he got scared.
- "In the silence I heard two sentences." Glenn writes that God spoke two sentences of advice, then was gone. This book is about that advice that Glenn says he received from God: "Why don't you let the church be who I made her to be?" and "Why don't you be who I made you to be?"
- Glenn says he had come to hold some thoughts that made life more difficult for him, including, "Who had God created me to me?" "It had never occured to me that God might want me to enjoy my life!" "I might actually like the plan God had for my life."
- So Glenn went back to his church and changed things around - getting rid of everything that didn't fit his current skills or gifts: no more administrative duties, civic groups, and no more meetings because "I lack the patience."
- Glenn says this had been the most liberating experience, getting rid of everything this self professed "type A personality perfectionist" is not good at and focusing all his time in the areas where he is strongest. "I don't waste time trying to get better at things I'm not good at."

I disagree with this book in many areas and believe it creates a false Christianity. This book paints God as a god who says "yes" to ALL promises in the Bible and claims that we can apply ALL 3573 promises in the Bible to ME and YOU and all believers. Well, if God really gave us all 3,573 promises, all Christians should have the most perfect trial free, healthy, wealthy, prosperity filled lives on earth! But the Bible does not teach this. In fact, Paul was one of the poorest in terms of worldly prosperity and the apostle Paul tells us to expect and find joy in trials in Romans 5:3 and all through the book of Philippians.

I also disagree with Glenn's teaching that God wants us to rid ourselves of all difficult tasks in life and only do the things we are good at. As you saw from Glenn's own writing, he did away with meetings "because he lacked the patience". But patience is a virtue! So Glenn is encouraging readers to avoid tasks that would help us build our patience. Why would you want to settle for less patience? I don't believe Christians should only do the things we are good at but should do the things that are the BEST in terms of bringing glory to God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. So, if sitting patiently through one meeting a month helps and edifies your neighbor, then I believe we should be open to this task. I feel that Glenn is portraying a selfish type of lifestyle: do what I want to do because I'm good at it. If I'm not good at it, I'm not doing it, even if it has other value.

Glenn continues through the book wording his sentences just right to lead readers into feeling good about being selfish and focusing only on doing the things they are good at and that make them happy. If you don't read carefully, I can see many many Christians actually believing this. Glenn makes it sound so innocent and appealing.

For more experienced Christians, they will be shocked by Glenn's (who did go to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) lack of understanding of even basic Christian concepts: How living a biblical Christian life can bring joy (Glenn writes about self-sacrifice = misery); Why a Christian will desire to live righteously (Glenn writes about not sinning out of fear and scolding). Glenn gives the reason for seeking Christianity/God/Jesus is avoidance of hell and getting eternal life - again a purely selfish perspective. Yes, it's true that may be a motivating factor for many in the beginning, but as we mature, "What about knowing Jesus Christ and the beauty to be had in Christ?" Glenn needs to listen to and read John Piper's Desiring God book. Piper once wrote "Would you be fully satisfied in heaven if you had all the greatest things but Jesus Christ wasn't there?" Glenn's book seems to answer "Yes" to this question, when we as Christians know the answer is "NO!" That heaven without Christ isn't heaven at all, it's hell in the disguise of heaven. Satan doesn't only use ugly things to trick us away from Christ, but Satan seduces people with the very very best that the world has to offer. I pray that readers will discern the short comings of this book and not fall pray to slip into a worldly life: Mt 6:19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and choose the very best books.

1 Star: Simple Secrets to a Happy Life by Luci Swindoll

This quick easy read from Luci Swindoll, the sister of famous Chuck Swindoll, was not what I was expecting from a Christian book at all. This book had hardly anything to do with Christianity but was like reading an advice column or receiving a list of advice from Mom. Nearly every one of the 50 points in this book have been drilled into the heads of all grown daughters from their mothers. There is nothing AT ALL new in this book. The only thing that would make this a "Christian book" is that Luci is a Christian and she drops God's name a few rare times. I don't understand, who would buy this book? Who would write this book and ask money for it as if they were offering something new for $15.99?

The advice of this book goes like: Be organized, take care of your health, draw pictures, value what you have, build a small library, have integrity, prioritize, do something with your hands, learn a new skill, cook something for yourself, forgive others, be generous and finally, read your bible everyday.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and choose the very best books.

-1 Star: FALSE TEACHER: Lisa Bevere's "Be Angry But Don't Blow It!"

Readers should know who the author is before they read the book, so they can know what to expect and be cautious when discerning the truth. Lisa Bevere is the wife of John Bevere, a prosperity gospel member of the Word Faith "denomination" or what I would call "cult". I do not use the term "cult" or "heresy" or "false teacher" lightly. I use these terms to describe someone who I believe knows full well that they are teaching falsehood and still teach it for riches. After reading John Bevere's outrageously false book "Relentless", I am certain the three terms fit the Beveres. Still, with an open mind, looking for any benefit this book might have, I read this book. I mean, even false teachers might get something right, right? I have seen Sheila Walsh write one good book after a lifetime of false teachings, but sadly, this Lisa Bevere book is filled with the same errors her and her husband have tricked people with for years. I hope after reading my review, you will understand how this book "sounds good" on the surface, but if you discern carefully, you will see the errors.

Ch 1: Lisa Bevere throws a plate at her husbands head in anger and blames him for making her mad. She writes, "Anger in and of itself is not wrong, but rage and fury escalate it into the dimention of the destructive."
=== TRUTH: Godly anger is not wrong, but selfish humanistic prideful anger is always wrong. In the greek language, Godly anger is a different word from selfish anger. In the original Greek, the Bible is very clear: only godly anger or righteous anger is ever considered good. Selfish anger is always wrong. Lisa should have clarified, because her teaching will lead readers to believe all anger is okay, as long as you don't let it turn into rage. Clearly, throwing a plate at John's head had nothing to do with "godly anger" or "righteous anger" and even Lisa admits this on page 5, when she writes, "I fell asleep under the blanket of self-justification and righteousness. Gone was my repentance."

Ch 2: Lisa Bevere quotes Ephesians 4:26 as a command to "Be angry" and she even puts it in italics, giving readers free reign to sin in anger as much as they like. She writes "God gives us permission to be angry. He knows and understands man's inborn capacity for anger." "Anger is as valid a human emotion as joy, sorrow, faith, and fear. God tells us, "Be angry", because it is okay to be upset. Even God gets angry... as a matter of fact, quite frequently." "There is a fine line between anger and sin." Bevere alludes to the idea that "age, personality, position and place" help determine sin. Her examples: The older you are or the more authority you have, the more responsible you are and the more you should know better. TRUTH: A sin is a sin, no matter who does it. Pg 9, she explains that when she was younger, that she would honk and curse people while driving, but when her "little ones were copying [her], [she] no longer enjoyed the priviledge of yelling at strangers." Wow. That's scary. Her only reason for stopping was that her children were mimicking her. It had nothing to do with repentance and acknowledging the error of her sinful ways or obedience to God or Christ-likeness or living a life to glorify God.

Pg 10, Bevere uses dictionary definitions for anger to show us that anger is okay and not sinful. She determins that "Anger by definition should be brief and transitory, not drawn out and dangerous." She even has the nerve to falsely teach, "God models the healthy type of anger for us: "For His anger lasts only a moment" (Ps 30:5). The rest of the chapter is spent showing us how "short-term anger" is good, but "long-term" anger is wrong, when it turns into "bitterness." Bevere even uses Eph 4:26 out of context to justify her claims, declaring that "letting the sun go down on anger" shows that holding anger for a long period can "progress toward the destructive ledge of being angry and sinning." Bevere's teaching that short-term angry is not sinning is completely false. All selfish anger is sin. Only righteous anger can be good.

Ch 3: Bevere tells how she used to punish her husband in anger until he had earned his way out of punishment. This chapter is spent telling readers to make sure not to carry anger past nighttime in accordance with "Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry" or you will carry that anger into the next day and the next and the next until you have a weeks worth of anger.

Ch 4: This chapter is about "the progression from anger to sin, or the progression of anger to rage to fury." Again, Bevere is teaching falsely that anger is natural, normal, healthy and not a sin. She calls "rage and fury" the sin. But she justifies "anger" as normal and good because it is "short-term". Bevere quotes Neil Clark Warren's book, "Make Anger Your Ally", "anger is described as a completely natural, perfictl legitimate. It is that internatl happening which prepares us to cope with hurtful, frustrating, and fearful exdperiences." And "anger is simple a state of physical readiness." She uses the horrific analogy of holding a gun and claims "Of course, there is nothing wrong with being ready, willing and able to respond, or shold we say to shoot. no harm has yet been done, we are just booting up for what might lie ahead." In describing rage as not yet sinning, she writes, "Aiming [the gun] doesn't necessarily come with a commitment to shoot." Then she begins to add the last part, "Rage continue to progress to fury as our temperature rises, and at this point we are committed to shoot." So only when we are COMMITTED TO PULLING the trigger we are sinning? This is completely false! Didn't Jesus say Mt 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment. Jesus does not seperate anger and rage and say these are okay and only fury is wrong. According to Bevere, fury is where you pull the trigger. That is the point where you physically act out. Jesus' entire point is that the inner man counts, not just the outward physical demonstration. Bevere caps off her false teaching, "We [just] watched as the natural response of "anger" was escalated to the dangerous final and regrettable stage of fury. This example illustrates the dividing line between constructive anger and descructive fury." FALSE. This internal anger is not constructive to say the least. In otherwords, Lisa Bevere is teaching that in chapter 1, her anger towards her husband was "constructive" all the way up until she threw the china at his head. And this would also mean that in chapter 2, where she spends a great deal of time telling how she would punish and make her husband "pay" in her mind, that all this anger was "constructive" because she "didn't pull the trigger" yet? Wow. What a false teaching.

I could not read any more of this book. But I read this review to show those open enough to read my review that the Beveres are false teachers and to warn them that these "wolves" will devour those who do not discern wisely.