Who s Captivating Whom A Review of John and Staci

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Journal for Biblical Manhood Womanhood,Volume 11 No 2. He yearns for us He cares He has a tender heart 28 They claim that the. prevailing view of God fails in its breadth They aim to remedy what they deem an. incorrect view of God as strong and powerful but not as needing us vulnerable to us. yearning to be desired 29 They believe a proper view of God includes all of these As. a means of defense against those who do not agree that God yearns to be desired the. authors claim if you have any doubt about that simply look at the message he sent us. in Woman 28 It appears that rather than turning to Scripture or the synthetic work. of theologians the Eldredges want to begin with woman to understand the complexities. of God s nature This becomes more clear in the statement After years of hearing the. heart cry of women I am convinced beyond a doubt of this God wants to be loved. 29 One would expect the sentence to say that after counseling women the authors. are convinced that women want to be loved Somehow the needs of women become. the needs of God in their worldview, The authors have flipped the process of understanding who God is and who we are. Because women are made in God s image they are like him and represent him. Therefore they can look to God to infer things about themselves but they should not. assume that conclusions can be drawn in the opposite direction Just because we have. certain tendencies or desires does not necessitate that God shares those God is high. and lifted up he is transcendent as well as immanent In Psalm 50 21 God corrects man. with a strong accusation you thought that I was one like yourself but now I rebuke you. and lay the charge before you We must look to God to learn who we are not the. other way around, This method of drawing theological conclusions is flawed and therefore results in flawed. views of both God and woman We must guard against any view of God that is. unworthy of Him While an idea of God may subtly veer from truth and may appeal to. our emotions we must discern the flawed method which surely has profound. ramifications Not only does our view of God determine the priorities and trajectory of. our lives but our very purpose is to know Him To know him we must seek him where. he has most clearly revealed himself, As the authors starting point is faulty it proves difficult to salvage the rest of their. message Surely God is a relational being We do not have to look any further than the. Trinity and its perfect fellowship to know this about Him At the same time one of His. attributes that has most powerfully provided peace and courage for believers has been. God s independence and self sufficiency This doctrine implies that God has no unmet. needs is independent from his creation provides for it and has authority and control. over it Further in his omnipotence he cannot be harmed by outside forces In his. omniscience he is not vulnerable from something outside himself over which he has no. control or of which he has not foreseen In the Bible God is often praised for being. different from his creation in this way he is not needy as we are and that is reason for. Journal for Biblical Manhood Womanhood,Volume 11 No 2.
our trust and our worship In Psalm 50 God asserts his independence by declaring I. have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens for every animal of the. forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills I know every bird in the mountains. and the creatures of the field are mine If I were hungry I would not tell you for the. world is mine and all that is in it Ps 50 9 12 He is saying I have no needs that you can. meet Paul distinguishes the true God from pagan gods in Acts 17 24 25 The God who. made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in. temples built by hands And he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything. because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else He is wonderfully. different from us in his self sufficiency, Another unworthy conception of God is revealed in the Eldredges assertion that a. woman s need to be romanced is an indication of God s desire to be romanced. Speaking of God s heart the authors posit What would it be like to experience for. yourself that the truest thing about his heart toward yours is not disappointment or. disapproval but deep fiery passionate love 113 What the Eldredges mean when. they speak of the loving relationship between God and a believer is a romantic one. They instruct the reader We must choose to open our hearts again so that we might. hear his whispers receive his kisses 116 which come in the form of sunsets and. swaying trees They encourage the reader to not worry they might be rejected for He. knows what takes your breath away knows what makes your heart beat faster 116. God as our Lover Wants to be known as only lovers can know each other 120. you are the one who takes his breath away 121 They write that each woman is. made for romance and the only one who can offer it to you consistently and deeply is. Jesus 125 They suggest imagining yourself in a romantic scene with Jesus They offer. five romantic movie scenes and then suggest that you put yourself in the scene as the. Beauty and Jesus as the Lover 114 They base this conclusion on the passage in. Matthew 9 15 when Jesus calls himself the Bridegroom the most intimate of all the. metaphors Jesus chose to describe his love and longing for us and the kind of. relationship he invites us into 114 Is our relationship with God intended to be so. sensually conceived Scripture tells us that God shows his love for us in that while we. were still sinners Christ died for us Rom 5 8 Creator and creature demonstrate love. in necessarily different ways His sacrifice on our behalf communicates His love for us. and our obedience most clearly communicates our love for Him This is radically. different from the romantic love between a beauty and a smitten lover. Beyond the low view of God another major misconception of the work is its inflated. view of women The Eldredges point to women as the pinnacle of God s creation She. is the crescendo the final astonishing work of God 25 To aid the reader in. personalizing this the authors suggest taking in a beautiful vista and declaring The. whole vast world is incomplete without me Creation reached its zenith in me 25 It. may be tempting to empathize with this attempt to build a woman s self esteem but. Journal for Biblical Manhood Womanhood,Volume 11 No 2. the sins of pride and self centeredness are only encouraged with this declaration A. more appropriate response would be to praise God rather than self after gazing upon. his handiwork Such instances should humble us as we realize God s goodness in. choosing us and bestowing his grace upon us not because his creation was lacking but. because he is good, Throughout the book the Eldredges look to movies that attract women as evidence of. her deepest desires This is further confirmation of their inflated view of women When. they raise a new issue they suggest think of the movies you love 9 as proof of. what the reader really values Unfortunately many of us are intrigued by movies that. are blatantly contrary to Christian values The simple fact that a romantic movie scene. resonates with our hearts does not suggest that the scene is worthy of our desire. Rather because we are fallen we need to exercise caution when we find our hearts. piqued with interest at something inconsistent with what is true or right While there is. truth to be found in general revelation we must always measure that against the special. revelation of Scripture, The authors suggest that the central question that steers a woman s life is am I lovely. They answer Our God finds you lovely The King is enthralled by your beauty He. finds you captivating 146 Further they state that beauty indwells every woman It is. her essence The essence of a woman is Beauty She is meant to be the incarnation. our experience in human form of a Captivating God This beauty is a soulish beauty. with physical implications What woman doesn t want to read that her very essence is. beauty The idea may appear encouraging at first glance but a woman s essence is not. really beauty Rather her essence or the central core of her being which gives her. immense worth the very image of God in her, The Eldredges may desire to encourage women by identifying their beauty but even.
more they want to inspire women to unveil their beauty One explanation they offer is. that unveiling beauty just means unveiling our feminine hearts 147 which is a. woman s greatest expression of faith hope and love Again the authors demonstrate. their inflated their view of human nature The act of unveiling our beauty or revealing. our heart may not bless the world and express faith hope and love Rather it might. on occasion horrify us and our loved ones by the sin that we still seek to overcome. through our sanctification It is foolishness to conceive of everything in a woman s heart. as good and beautiful That perfection of the heart is the draw of heaven and every. godly woman longs for it rather than longing to have her self centered question. answered this side of heaven, Thankfully God loves us out of his own loving character not because we are lovely and. incite that love This should be a relief to us his image is imparted to us and when he. chooses us we are his children to be loved forever because of the mediating work of. Journal for Biblical Manhood Womanhood,Volume 11 No 2. Christ and regardless of anything in ourselves Women may think that they want to be. lovely in and of themselves but true security lies in the truth that we are loved in Christ. whether we look or act lovely or choose to unveil our beauty The truth is that we are. loved and we need not ask God if we are lovely God sets his affection on us through. Christ He is the Initiator not the Responder in our loving relationship. It is easy to see how the Eldredges conceptions of God and women could develop Out. of a desire to be loved and known and appreciated for who we are we can create a god. who appreciates us and responds to us and yearns for us But is this the God of the. Bible or the God of our felt needs Our God is relational the Bible says he has. emotions and he responds to our moral status Certainly his relational nature is evident. in Jesus But he does not need us The Eldredges seem to assume that if God doesn t. need us he doesn t really love us But God s love is more secure and provides more. hope and stirs more obedience when it grows from his eternal unchanging loving. Isaiah 57 15 answers the cry of a woman s heart for intimacy with God For this is what. the high and lofty One says he who lives forever whose name is holy I live in a high. and holy place but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit to revive the spirit. of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite God tells his people that intimacy. will result when their estimation of him increases When God is high and lifted up. women are humbled as a result and then he draws near and revives the heart of the. contrite The Eldredges effort to lift women high and lower God does not result in a. contrite heart or intimacy with him The reader must instead keep God lifted high and. herself humble if she is going to know her Creator deeply. Let us wisely alter our inquiry and devote our efforts toward knowing God and. answering the question Isn t God lovely May this pursuit captivate us and may the. answer cause us to praise him Surely then we will be less concerned with being. A Review of John and Staci Eldredge s Captivating Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman s Soul Donna Thoennes PhD John and Stasi Eldredge recently wrote Captivating Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman s Soul and already the female counterpart to John s best selling Wild at Heart promises to be as popular as the version targeting men The high school and college women in my life are carrying it

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