Wednesday, October 5, 2011

[Book Review] Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley

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There is no doubt that Andy Stanley is a good communicator. I enjoy listening to his podcasts from his church on a weekly basis and was able to visit Northpoint Community Church (where Stanley is the senior pastor) once to attend a children's ministry conference. In this book, Enemies of the Heart (previously It Came From Within), Stanley speaks to us about four emotions that control us and tells us how to break free from these. These four emotions that he describes are guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. It's an excellently written book, in the typical Stanley-storytelling style. He uses real life examples with a smattering of Bible verses to make his point.

If you've ever read anything from Paul Tripp, however, you have heard this before, called idols of the heart. Tripp's is a little bit more expanded and goes right on down to sin and pride as the root causes. Stanley never does this. Stanley writes as if you can do this yourself, without full reliance on the Holy Spirit. That's not to say that Stanley's theology is off on this point. Stanley is writing for a broader audience. He has many non-Christians who watch his sermons and read his books. Tripp's audience is a lot narrower. I believe there is one major enemy of the heart and that is sin. These others are byproducts of sin. Stanley does not go that far and that is the caution I have with this book. The book is good and well-written. Stanley does make his case well and I've heard the sermon series on this topic. However, the caution is that Stanley doesn't go deep enough. It may be his theology or doctrine that prevents him, whatever that is, since he stays away from theological/doctrinal disputes. Whatever it is, the root cause of all of these things is sin.  These others are idols, as Tripp puts it.

Note: this book was free as part of Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.