Tuesday, June 16, 2015

book review—Forever Ruined for the Ordinary by Joy Dawson

basically completely unbiblical

I simply have a hard time believing anyone takes the teachings and methods in this book seriously. How can anyone with an ounce of discernment think this author is teaching them anything biblical in this book?

“I want to make it crystal clear that we should never just open the Bible randomly, and casually put our finger on a verse, and automatically go and do whatever it says. What if we did that and read that Judas hanged himself (see Matthew 27: 5), then repeated the action, and landed upon the verse which says “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 37)?” (Kindle Locations 551-553). Yet what she recommends is not really any better. Many of the stories she relates about herself and others involve taking biblical verses and even phrases out of context, and pretending that they have a meaning that they don't have. She relates telling a young man to marry a certain woman because of a phrase in II Kings 14. a phrase that in context was used in a mocking way. She relates a time a woman got her pastor to pay for a friend to attend a conference based solely on the fact that she opened her Bible and found her pastor's name in Ezekial 27:15, without regard to the context of that verse.

She calls this “quickening”. Another reviewer compares it to the Magic 8-Ball toy, which I think is more accurate. The Bible nowhere teaches or encourages such a haphazard and trite way of reading and understanding the Bible. Worse, I think this is a kind of fortune-telling, and simply because it involves using the Bible doesn't make it any better; if anything, it makes it worse, because it trivializes the Word of God. Instead of encouraging people to a serious study of biblical teachings, this encourages them to simply open up the Bible and scan the pages until something “pops out!”, or to think they are getting random biblical verses in their minds and then try to shoehorn what that verse says into some kind of personal message for them and their situations.

This book is all law, all legalism. You have to do things her way, you have to do all of the steps she tells you to do, you have to follow all of her principles, and if you fail at even one point, well, you may get some bad messages from demons, you may act presumptuously, you may get kidnapped, or you may end up not being able to speak at all. But the steps and principles she's made up are not anywhere found in the Bible. No epistle teaches that, if the people in the churches want to get messages from God, then they need to silence their own voices, rebuke demons, then sit around quietly until God finally decides to give them some kind of unclear message or out-of-context scriptural passage.

“Unconditional obedience is the key to a successful Christian life. Think about that!” (Kindle Locations 1546-1547). There may be some truth there, but it's only at best half of the truth. Because none of us are completely or unconditionally obedient. There is little hint in such a mindset that one would join Paul in lamenting “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall save me from this body of death”, or in agreeing with him that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief”.

If the misuse of biblical passages isn't enough of a bad sign for you, here's a pretty plain one—she recounts in this book a time this “god” who speaks to her in feelings and impressions wanted her to do something in support of something Benny Hinn was doing. Hinn is a known false prophet, a fake healer, a prosperity gospel shill who has enriched himself with false promises and false words he claims are from God, he has even preached that we are “little gods”. The God of the Bible would not tell someone to do anything in support of such a false minister.

But I do think that there might be a few people who could be grateful for this book, those who work at putting together conferences and scheduling speakers for them, because this author would likely be a nightmare for them to deal with or to trust.

As someone who was in YWAM for a few years, I'm very glad to be away from this kind of feelings-based way of trying to figure out God's will. Sadly, I was one of those people who took these kinds of teachings seriously, trying to look inside myself and interpret my feelings to see what God might be trying to say to me through them. Perhaps it goes without saying, but it was incredibly unhelpful and very untrustworthy. Reading a book like this now, I can see how unbiblical this author's teachings are.

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