Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Named By God

I was so excited when I saw this book as a reward in the Tyndale Summer Reading Club.  I'd read five books to qualify for a free one, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.  From the back cover, I knew I was going to just love this book.  As soon as it arrived in the mail, I started reading, but unfortunately this book didn't live up to what I had hoped.

As I was reading, I kept thinking, "This book would have been so much stronger if she had told her life story instead of weaving in a Bible study at the same time."  I thought it would be a perfect book to have an accompanying Bible study book for it, and later learned that even though I thought they were combined, there *is* another a book.   I think the book would have flowed a bit better to have separated all the Bible study into the other book.

Additionally, I was disappointed in three other things with this book.

The first is on page 50 where describing what happened in the book of Job.  She refers to God as playing "The role of The BOSS MAN".   I am reminded of the many times that Scripture tells us that God is Holy, and to me this doesn't reverence God in the way I feel He should be honored.   I realize that she is trying to get a point across, but I would have appriciated it done in a way that I felt respected God more than I felt this did.

Secondly, on page 91 she states, "If you cannot remember your most recent attack from Satan, then you might not be doing enough to catch his attention."  This doesn't set well with me.  If we believe the Scripture that tells us it is by grace we have been saved, and not works (Ephesians 2:10), wouldn't the opposite be true and that it is not works that make Satan take notice of us?

Lastly, on page 173 she talks about how she is sometimes approached by people who question if their salvation was genuine or struggling with spiritual complacency.  She proceeds to suggest they make a list of what their life was like before Christ and after Christ.  In the next paragraph she mentions how someone dresses, the venues in which they spend time, and their free-time activities.  She explains if there is little or no difference, then there may be a lack of spiritual maturity.  While I agree this is true in most cases, it is not always.  To me, adding in the "genuineness of their salvation" before discussing this exercise is not only making us look at works instead of God's grace, but also forgetting the Scripture that says our righteousness is as filthy rags.  (Isaiah 64:6)  There are plenty of people in church who can talk the talk, have Christian t-shirts, bumper stickers, boycott things when upset, but do any of these things show the condition of the heart?  I can remember saying to a friend in high school that I saw a girl smoking who said to have made a decision for Christ the night before.  He reminded me that it can take time to see change and I needed to not judge -- and doesn't not judging also include ourselves as long as we daily keep our eyes on Jesus?  I've seen people in very legalistic churches leave and get saved and no longer wear long skirts.  Can we say they have a lack of spiritual maturity because their dress is no longer as modest?  While what she said may be the case for spiritual maturity in many cases, I feel very unsettled about her mentioning salvation at the beginning of these paragraphs as salvation is a gift.  Finally, on this issue, I am reminded of the Scripture that tells us that man (people) look on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).  I saw nothing mentioned about the heart in this exercise! 

Overall I give this book two stars as I completed it.  That's usually the lowest I will rate a book I completed. I was disappointed in the three theological issues above as well as I think this book would have been much stronger taking the Scriptures and Bible study out of this book and having them in a companion book.

FTC disclaimer:  I received this book as part of the Tyndale Summer reading program.  In no way did receiving the book free effect the outcome of this review. 

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