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You were born for this?

17 Nov

I recently read Bruce Wilkinson’s latest book, You were born for this: 7 keys to a life of predictable miracles. Quite frankly, I was disappointed. Based on all the glowing reviews on the Amazon page, it appears I’m also in the minority. Which doesn’t make me feel any better, especially since I have benefited greatly from Bruce’s ministry and consider him to be one of my mentors. Despite that, I did not care for the book.

On the one hand, I found parts of the book to be very practical and helpful. On the other hand, I had the feeling as I was reading that the book was slightly off of center.

My reservations started on page 26 where  Bruce misquoted the Great Commission. He summarizes Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:4-8 as, “Go into all the world for Me . . . and do the impossible.” After giving his disciples that instruction, Jesus then told them to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit to come as he would bring power. When that occurs, miracles started happening.

Bruce then states his thesis on page 28.

Let me pull the threads together.

Jesus commissioned every one of His followers–from the original disciples down to you and me–to do for others what we cannot do alone. It is too much for us. But Heaven has released God’s dynamis to work in us and through us. Whatever our human limitations, when we know how to partner with Heaven, we will see that we were born to accomplish by supernatural means what God wants done.

Now, I always thought, and heard Bruce teach directly, that the Great Commission teaches that we are to be witnesses and share the message of the gospel. Granted, it is an impossible task and we need the power of God to accomplish it. But the focus is on sharing the message, not performing miracles.

I think Bruce has built his system of thought on a misquoted verse. From there on, I felt the book was slightly off of center. If the space shuttle is one degree off its course from the launch platform, it will miss the space station and hurtle into the distant beyond. I think this book has done the same.

In addition to a shaky foundation, I think the book is based too much on personal experience and not enough on Scripture. His stories are encouraging and inspirational, but you cannot build a doctrine on a person’s experience.

Some of the book talks about what a normal Christian life should involve–a ministry of service to others. But he has used too many “cutesy” terms and made it far too formulaic for my tastes. It came across as too much pop culture and not enough biblical principles.

The parts of the book I found helpful were parts 3 & 4 where he explains the practical steps of how to “deliver a miracle.” This section reminded me of Henry Blackaby’s study, Experiencing God. Blackaby’s main idea is to find out where God is at work and then join him there. Bruce’s principles could be adapted to help a person identify where God is at work and how to join him in what he wants accomplished.

While I was reading, I was reminded of a saying by one of my mentors that the difference a word and the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug. The same can be said of books.

I neither bought the book nor received it for free from the publisher. Instead, I got it the old-fashioned way by checking it out from my local public library. Be that as it may, the opinions I shared are strictly my own.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in Books, Scripture, Theology

 

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