Friday, November 25, 2011

40 Ways to Get Closer to God



Book Description

September 1, 2011

Sometimes faith demands action. This practical book gives Christians ideas for how to adjust their hearts to get closer to God.

Each chapter contains a unique challenge and a brief explanation that puts the challenge in context. Exercises include acts of service to others, extended prayer, Scripture memory, fasting, a day of gratitude, media fasting (no TV or Internet), evangelism, and much more. The challenges are broad in scope, allowing people with varying personality types and learning styles to benefit from them.
My Review:
Overall, I found this book to be lacking in several areas. My biggest concern, however, is having a book about getting closer to God that doesn’t present the Gospel first. We all know that there are tares amongst the wheat, and we cannot assume that everyone who picks up a Christian book is already a Christian. And an unbeliever cannot get close to God without first repenting and believing the Gospel.
Some of the steps are biblical but are so basic that true Christians should not need to read a book to do these things. Perhaps it’s just a sad reflection of the church today that Christians need to be told to pray and study their Bibles.
Some of the steps go beyond what God has said. God hasn't promised to sanctify us if we abstain from watching TV, and we need to be very careful to make promises that God hasn't made. While some of these things may be a good idea, and may even be beneficial, to claim that they will truly draw us closer to God if God Himself has not said so is a very dangerous thing. If we "fast" from TV and replace it with prayer and Bible study, we will grow - but its not the TV fast that caused the growth, but the prayer and Bible study, which are means that God has ordained for our sanctification.
My other concern with this book is that it is full of aestheticism and quotes from known mystics/contemplatives. A brief flip through the book makes it abundantly clear that the author has embraced the mysticism that is growing so prevalent in the Evangelical church today. God has given us the true means of grace revealed in the Scriptures, and we don’t need man made practices or practices borrowed from Eastern mysticism to grow close God.
I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House publishers.

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