Friday, January 12, 2007

John Eldredge - Maybe......MAYBE NOT

Let me chronicle my love / dislike affair with the ministry of John Eldredge...

1. Wild at Heart released (circa 2002) - I readily joined my Reformed brethren in condemning this work that I had not read based on the little of it that I did read that contained glaring Arminian overtones.

2. Wild at Heart read (circa 2004) - Found the book a welcome respite from the intense books and studies at school. Loved the book the more I read it; found it somewhat easy to overlook the theological faults in the book. Promoted the book to various friends. Eldredge had 'struck a chord' with me on many fronts. Bought (never read) a few other of his books.

3. Wild at Heart reviewed - My passion for this book having subsided solely with the passing of time, I perused various reviews, such as the one in MacArthur's book Fool's Gold. Still a fan of the book, I dismissed MacArthur's review as typical dogmatic, defensive Johnny Mac (who I have always loved).

4. Frustration regained (present) - One of Eldredge's newer books, Epic, received a favorable review from World's Marvin Olasky. I bought the cd and Kristie and I listened a few weeks ago in the car. The first half is good, quite good in many respects. Eldredge, as a much better exegete of the movies than Scripture, rightly hammers home the fact that the Bible is the consummate story - that of creation, fall, redemption.

The second half, however, turns sour and lays bare the faults in Eldredge's whole teaching ministry. In Eldredge, the main goal in salvation / redemption (more appropriately self-actualization) turns out to be the regaining of one's heart. Ultimately, salvation is not about Christ, His beauty, His presence here and in Heaven, but is about finding freedom for our hearts....freedom to discover the nature-loving, fist-fighting Russell Crowe man inside us all. I cannot hope to add much to the good critiques of his work that are readily available in many places. Pick up Epic on cd at your nearest Lifeway (it was $7 for me). Glean the good and consider the bad....

My final assessment : The bad definitely outweighs the good in Eldredge. He has much to say that is sooooo appealing to many men today. However, his version of the Gospel should be held in suspicion by all lovers of the Truth. No ultimate good news can be found in a message that centers on man 'finding himself' - this is man-centered through and through. I took great comfort for a season with Eldredge as my therapeutic guide; I felt that I was truly, finally finding myself. The glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is ultimately a heralding of the most awesome news, however: God rescues us from ourselves through the objective work of Christ 2000 years ago that is applied to us by the Holy Spirit through faith. "Who will rescue me from this body (this heart even) of death?" Thanks be to God - Jesus Christ, the wildest man who ever lived.

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