Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"Fearless" by Max Lucado

"Fearless" by Max Lucado.

I settled to read "Fearless" with keen interest.
Fear can lead to reliance on drink, drugs or rage to numb the fear. Left unchecked, fear can dominate our lives instead of faith. Just about everything that can cause us to be fearful is mentioned: violence, illness, death, fear of not protecting our children, of disappointing God, and even financial worries and global economic collapse.

The book is engagingly well-written, humorous in many places, but the very brevity of the chapters gives the book a feel of being a collection of vignettes.

There are some good ideas - I especially like the reminder of clearly identifying a need and taking it straight to God, like the Virgin Mary did at the wedding in Cana. Sometimes we forget the simple but effective approaches of dealing with our fear !
The worry diary is another excellent idea, with the reminder that we need to differentiate between needless and legitimate worry. The first achieves nothing except anxiety and stress, and the latter is what we should concentrate on and pray about.

The book contains many Bible quotes, though the Bible versions used are often unusual to British eyes, and it works well as a " pick up and read a bit" quick devotional book, but it has no strong meat.

I was disappointed, to be honest.

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From a particularly Orthodox viewpoint, I don't think this book will have much appeal to Orthodox readers, and equally limited appeal to most Anglican/Episcopalian/RC readers of my acquaintance.

Chapter 7 caused me major disquiet, dealing with Max's ideas about Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. I did not like the Bible translations used, especially the Amplified Bible and the Message. The idea that Jesus was the recipient of God’s wrath is at variance with Eastern Orthodox doctrine, IMO :

“God would unleash his sin-hating wrath on the sin-covered Son. And Jesus was afraid”

Chapter 7 really did spoil the book for me, though there was a nice quote from St John Chrysostom at the end of the Chapter:-)

If any of you read this book, I would love to know your opinion - is it just me being overly critical?

Edited to add:
Welcome, Pam ! To answer your question, the term "heathen-jelly" made by a commenter is a reference to "evangelical" .......

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elizabeth said...

“God would unleash his sin-hating wrath on the sin-covered Son. And Jesus was afraid”

What? Wow. This is really unbiblical, not to mention unorthodox.

I respect the author - I gather he is doing his best and seeks to be a good pastor as well. And I enjoy his kids book, _you are special_ but this line you quoted is very unfortunate.

Meg said...

Not just your opinion -- this notion of God's "wrath" IS at major variance with Orthodox doctrine. See Fr. Stephen's blog, Glory to God for All Things, at frstephen.wordpress.com.

Max Lucado is a well-known "heathen-jelly" (hat tip to Miss Read) author in the US. I would never have wasted money on it -- but I'm assuming that since you do book reviews for Thomas Nelson, you got it for free. ;-)

P said...

I am so glad that I came across this blog right at this time! I thought I was the *only one in America* who doesn't care much for Max Lucado's theology. It is especially confusing because Michael Hyatt who is an Orthodox Deacon promotes him so strongly, Yes, I know Michael is CEO of Thomas Nelson, but still, as an ordained deacon, I wish he would indicate more precisely what is good in Max Lucado and what isn't so great from an Orthodox perspective.

I almost started to think there is something wrong with my thinking. But I know better, really. But what is "heathen-jelly"?


Pam in Texas who is waiting to be Orthodox

Philippa said...

I cannot stand Max Lucado. Reading his books is like trying to swallow a glass full of sweet grape jelly and sugar and maple syrup all mixed together.


Beth said...

With all due respect, the fact that God poured out His wrath upon the sin covered Son is very biblical. Propitiation is a commonly used word in the scriptures that is used to describe the appeasing of God's wrath. See Rom.3:25, Heb. 2:17, I John 2:2, and I John 4:10. It reaches back to the Old Testament where God met His people when the blood of the sin offering was sprinkled on the altar. Since Christ was The Lamb of God, with no blemish or spot, it was His blood that was shed for the remission of our sins and for the appeasement of the wrath of God against sin.
Furthermore when Jesus asks in the garden, "if it is possible, let this cup pass from me." (Matt. 36:39)one must consider carefully what "cup" represents. Cup is often used as a symbol of wrath (see Ps. 75:8 and Is. 51:17). The wrath of God was poured out on Christ at the cross of Calvary as it is written in Gal. 3:13 "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree." What was the curse? Seperation from God, hence "My god, my God why have you forsaken me?" Why had God forsaken Christ? On the cross, the sins of the entire world seperated Christ from the Father. Just as sin seperates us from God (Isaiah 59:2.)
Because Christ endured the wrath of God, we have been saved from God's wrath through Him (Romans 5:9.) Consider Isaiah 53:4,5 Surely He has borne our griefs and carred our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
You may consider the quote unorthodox, but it is definitely not unbiblical. Please note that this is the bloggers husband, Jeremiah, please address any hateful comments to me =)