Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Whatsoever Survey

Twice in the last eighteen months I've read a book that I  found phenomenal.  One of them totally changed the way I look at Jesus' last conversation with his disciples (John 12).  The other drove me to prayer as I tried to envision what revival in the Church might look like.  I won't be reviewing either of them.
Why not?

As excellent as they were, as interesting, as enlightening, they were persuasively wrong. Even as a mature christian and sometimes teacher, I read the book and was so engrossed in the idea that when I arrived at the point where the author wrote in support of heresy, I could almost agree. It would be so easy to be deceived.  I often read books from authors that I disagree with, sometimes profoundly.  (Take one of my favorite poets, Rabindranath Tagore for an example).  I also appreciate the persuasiveness of lots of authors. But put them together and you've got a book I simply won't review.

When we decided to review books for Maidservants Of Christ we committed to writing only overall positive reviews. If a book is terrible, (terribly written or terribly wrong) we try not to include it.  We are focused intensely on the idea of encouraging you and ourselves to think like Paul.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 

And honestly a bunch of reviews pointing out all the things that we hated about a book or disagreed with the author about, might be true but it would not be lovely, honorable or of good reputation.

So I won't be reviewing those two books.  In fact, I won't even be mentioning them by name.  What I am reviewing instead is our policy regarding "Whatsoever Wednesday."  The reason I am thinking so carefully right now about the books we review is a conversation I had recently with a concerned reader.

I won't belabor the details but the reader was concerned that a book we had reviewed might be divisive, distracting us from the point of the gospel.  I take these things seriously, and I thought and rethought both that review and other reviews we have done.  Although I don't shy away from "controversy" if it means standing up for something that the Bible says clearly, I would be ashamed to divide if there was the opportunity for unity.

So I'd like to talk with you. I wish we could sit down face to face with a couple of cups of chamomile.  A cozy chat would reveal a lot  about what kind of reviews would benefit you and how you feel about books that stretch and challenge us even if we disagree with them in part.

However, the internet doesn't accommodate tea and cozy chats are limited to IM-ing.  So if you don't mind, let's try another way.  I'd like to ask you some questions and there are two ways to answer.  One, you can write a comment with your answers here.  Two, you can hop over to our Facebook page. You'll find each question listed there as a status and you can answer underneath in the comments (be sure and like us while you're there!) We can't wait to hear what you all are thinking.

1. Do you read Christian books (fiction, apologetics, devotional, theology, parenting etc) regularly?

2. Do you read books written by people you disagree with?  Why or why not?

3. Are there books, topics, or authors you'd like to suggest to us?  


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission

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