Discerning Reader Editorial Review
Reviewed 04/24/2006 by Tim Challies.
Not Recommended. Only bears a vague resemblance to Christianity.
A few months ago I mentioned on this site that I was reading John Eldredge's book Wild at Heart and intended to write a review of it. After reading the book I elected not to write a review at that time. The book was so full of error and absolutely ridiculous nonsense that I just didn't have the heart to document it all. Honestly, I was frustrated and discouraged to see that a book like Wild at Heart could make it to the top of the Christian best-seller's lists.
Garry Gilley of Southern View Chapel and Think on These Things Ministries has released a two-part review of it and does an excellent job of writing about the multitude of errors. Looking back on the copious notes I took during my reading I am glad to say that he and I picked up on many of the same things. I am going to discuss some of the more glaring errors in the book.
Some of the greatest concerns are:
- Open Theism - Though Eldredge denies he is an open theist, the evidence does not support his claim. Time and time again he speaks of God in ways that can only be explained if you hold such views. "God is a person who takes immense risks” (p. 30). “It’s not the nature of God to limit His risks and cover His bases” (p.31). “As with every relationship, there’s a certain amount of unpredictability…. God’s willingness to risk is just astounding…. There is definitely something wild in the heart of God” (p. 32).
- View of Satan - Eldredge views Satan as the one who is to blame when we sin. He seems to believe that we are little more than victims rather than being fully, 100% responsible for our own sins.
- View of Jesus - According to Eldredge Jesus failed at something he attempted. When He encounters the guy who lives out in the Gerasenes tombs, tormented by a legion of spirits, the first rebuke by Jesus doesn’t work. He had to get more information to really take them on” (Luke 8:26-33) (p. 166). This, of course, is a complete misrepresentation of what happens in that passage.
- Use of Scripture - Eldredge does what is becoming all too common in the evangelical world these days. He uses verses and passages from the Bible without giving any context simply to make it sound like this is a Biblically-based book. Time and time and time again he assigns meanings to passages that are completely foreign to their true sense. At one point Garry Gilley says about the particularly ridiculous interpretation of the book of Ruth, "after all, no one else, to my knowledge, in the history of conservative biblical exegesis has ever come up with it before." Eldredge seems to make up meanings as he goes along.
- Revelation - Eldredge says that God talks to him directly. He also speaks to him through movies, books and so on.
I could go on, but really, what's the point? This book only resembles a Christian book in the most vague sense. Yes, Eldredge attempts to hold everything together with some smatterings of Scripture, but when you evaluate this book honestly you have to see that this is mere humanism and psychology wrapped in a thin veil of Christianity. It speaks volumes about the Protestant world that this book has been so widely embraced.
Read the Bookworm reviews below for further examinations of this book.