Dropping two books from my “currently reading” list.

So, I have failed in the area of my reading two books:

  1. “Don’t Waste Your Life” (John Piper)
  2. “Stuff Christians Like” (Jonathan Acuff)

Now, before you call me a quitter, let me explain my reasons as to why I have decided to shelf these two books. I’ll start with “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper.

I only read the first 4.5 chapters out of 10 in this book – and the basic message I derived from it was this: If I don’t give everything away that the Lord has blessed me with, move to a third-world country where there isn’t adequate drinking water, food, or transportation, and die a martyr’s death for the cause of Christ I’ve wasted my life. Now, I know that sounds judgmental (and perhaps it is), but that is the message I have (thus far) received from the book. God calls us to be charitable and compassionate, yes. God calls His children to be missionaries WHEREVER they are (moving to a third-word country is not a *requirement* unless the Lord specifically places that calling on your life). Not every Christian will die a martyr’s death; in fact, the majority of them will not. Will we all suffer persecution at one point? Most likely yes, even if it’s in the mildest form. I also found the book very repetitive, somewhat slow, and rather dry – which is hard for me to handle. To top all that off, John Piper is a Calvinist. I am not (and I’m thankful to be able to admit that). Calvinism is not Biblical. I know that there are lessons that can be learned from anyone and from any situation, even when I don’t agree with or particularly care for someone. However, for myself – I find it hard to focus on what someone is trying to teach me when I do not agree with the doctrine they embrace and promote. Perhaps I will finish the book on down the road… if I do, I’ll write a complete book review at that time.

“Stuff Christians Like” by Jonathan Acuff was… interesting. I read about 1/3 of the book (71 pages out of 204). While I did find myself laughing at some of the chapters, I found myself grimacing in others. The book is very sarcastic, which (if you know anything about me) is something I feed upon. I love sarcasm. I love wit. I love cynical humor. However, I believe there are times when it is not appropriate – like when talking about the things of God, or people’s standards of separation, or prayer, or… the list goes on. I understand that the book is meant to be humorous, while picking out various “areas in need of improvement” in a lot of churches. But really, should we make light and poke fun at the things of God? Probably not the best idea. Again, there were some very funny sections… others I couldn’t laugh at… some left me scratching my head saying, “really? did he really go there…?”

I don’t know… maybe one day I’ll finish both of these books and be able to have some good things to say about them. However, I feel that I should be sticking my nose into books that will edify me as a Christian, help me grow in the things of God, and strengthen my areas of weakness. Neither of these books were getting the job done.

I’ve already replaced these books with two others:

  1. “Discover Your Destiny” (Cary Schmidt)
  2. “Passion & Purity” (Elisabeth Elliot)

I’m already in chapter 3 of “Discover Your Destiny” and I plan to start pecking away at “Passion & Purity” tonight. My desire is to draw closer to the Lord, to strengthen my standards, and to become more Christ-like in all my actions. I believe these books will help in these areas. Pray for me.

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Posted on September 16, 2010, in Book Review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Hmm, I don’t have my copy of DWYL in front of me right now (although it’s a free download from DG’s website). However, it’s one of my favorite books; it was a paradigm shifter for me when I was in college. The thesis of the book is basically that a life lived for the glory of God is an un-wasted life, a life lived to the full. From my perspective, you are definitely missing out on a great, great read. If Calvinism kept you from reading Christian books, you would have to eliminate some of the classics like Spurgeon!

    • I’m only half missing out. 🙂 haha.

      The fact that John Piper is a Calvinist is not keeping me from reading the book; indeed, I BOUGHT the book knowing full-will where the man stood on doctrine. I then proceeded to read the first 4 chapters.
      I love Spurgeon – I’ve never read any of his books, but I love many of his quotes.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!
      ~ Heather Joy

  2. DWYL is an amazing book! I’m agree with Dave’s comment on the book, and for me as well that was a paradigm shift in my life last year when I read that book. As far as your comment, “Calvinism is not biblical” …I guess you’ll need to tell that to men like Brainerd, Edwards, Judson, Spurgeon, Whitefield, etc. ..Great men of God from times past that we hold in high regard as great men of the faith. ..men like Brainerd who gave everything they had and died reaching the unreached with the Gospel of Christ. I don’t think when you get to Heaven that God will say you gave too much. ….I don’t believe that Piper ever states that it is a “requirement” to being a Christian. …well just some thoughts.

    • javabean13,
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m so glad you did.

      Let me explain my “Calvinism” comment: “Calvinism is not Biblical” —
      Calvinism teaches that God “picks and chooses” who will be saved. That is not ib the Bible. The Bible teaches that “For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
      And “For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
      And “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But AS MANY AS received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12).
      “Whosoever” means anybody; it’s an all-inclusive word that reaches the whole world. To believe that God has created a select group to be saved, and the rest are doomed to Hell is not found in the Bible. Now, will ALL people go to Heaven? No. Because not all will recieve the Lord as their Savior. But that is because of THEIR choice, not God’s. God did not choose who would pay for their sins, each individual makes that choice for themselves.
      I’ll share one last verse in closing: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). This throws the Calvinistic ideology out completely. God does not want ANYONE to go to Hell, but there is a price for sin – and that price must be paid – whether by accepting Christ as our substitue trusting in what He did that dark day on Calvary, or by paying for our sins on our own spending eternity in Hell separated from Christ forever.
      Again, Thank you much for stopping by! God bless!
      ~ Heather Joy

      • Hola, I’m not going to debate on this or anything, but there are some points you may want to look into. Such as the word “whosoever” in John 3:16 isn’t even in there. It is added to help the English make more sense but in truth it probably should be translated something like, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that the believers should not perish but have everlasting life.” or something like that.

        Also, the quote from Romans 10 is a good one but must be understood within the context of Romans 1-9.

        And for scriptures that say things like, “as many as received him…” it’s important to ask the question “What does the Bible say about how a person is able to receive Christ?”

        Also, it is extremely important to point out that Calvinism is more from God’s perspective. There are always going to be two perspectives in dealings with God: (1) our perspective and (2) God’s perspective. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere. The idea is that although salvation feels entirely self-willed, in truth without God changing our hearts (Romans 8 and 9) we would never desire Him. And once our hearts are turned towards that desire we cannot reject it (John 6:39).

        Anyway, I am okay if at the end of this post you still disagree with me. Either way it is encouraging to see a sister in Christ so excited for God! I will be praying for you (not that you become a Calvinist, but that God continues to lead you deeper into an understanding of Him). All I ask is that you consider what I have said above and chew on it a while and not cast it out on spec. And although I would not consider myself a Calvanist (I would have to tweak TULIP just a bit), I do believe in predestination (into heaven, not into hell).

        God Bless!
        -Alex

        • Alex, thank you for your comment. I think it is good and important that Christians “sharpen” each others faith by bringing different perspectives to the surface.

          If John 3:16 is to be interpreted as you say (with “believers” instead of “whosever”), then what about the “whosoevers” in Matt. 7:24, Matt. 18:4, Luke 9:26, Luke 12:8, John 3:15, John 11:25, John 12:46, Acts 2:21, Acts 10:43, Romans 10:13, I John 2:23, Rev. 20:15, etc…?

          God’s perspective is, above all else, the most important thing. Here’s His perspective:
          “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” ~ II Peter 3:9

          I would have to disagree with your statement: “…once our hearts are turned towards that desire we cannot reject it.” The verse you used what out of context. I have seen people be convicted of their sin, their hearts turned and acknowledging the truth, yet they walk away – they reject it! But it was right there! How could they say no? That is where their free will came in. God did not decide that they would either accept or reject the Gospel – He made it available to them, and in their willful humanity they rejected it.

          I am convinced predestination into Heaven cannot exist without predestination into Hell. If some are predestined to Heaven, but others are not… then where do the “others” go? There are only two options.

          Thank you for your comment. I look forward to possible further discussion.
          May God continue to richly bless you.
          ~ Heather Joy

  3. Discover Your Destiny is a great book, Bro. Schmidt is a great writer and says alot of things that I think are very direct and needful for people in the High School to 20something age bracket. I gave Piper a chance with Desiring God, and I just couldn’t get into it. When I hear his name, I kinda cringe inside, especially in Baptist circles.

  4. i havent reand the book by acuff, but agree with you on the poking fun factor. i can laugh at things that denominations do that are quircky, but there are some things one just shouldnt mock. as for piperms book. i have read it, taught it, and my father has read it (who is not a calvinist) and loved it. i think you may be missunderstanding piper. he doesnt tell you to move to a third world country. he does tell you to recklessly abandon yourself to Christ, loving Him above His gifts. Calvinist or Arminian can enjoy/benefit from DWYL. please make sure you havent pre-judged just because piper is a calvinist. as for moving to a third worls country, God does require that of some people, but DWYL isnt that kind of book…try RADICAL by david platt if your looking for that kind of stuff. 🙂
    enjoyed your thoughts, thanks for sharing.

    • Daniel, I don’t know how I missed your comment until now, but I did – and I’m so sorry.
      First and foremost, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit my blog and comment.
      I don’t want you to think that I did not “pre-judge” the book because Piper is a Calvinist. I bought the book knowing where he stands on doctrine. The book had been recommended to me over and over again by people I respect and think very highly of. Howeber, upon diving into the book for myself, I found not being my “cup of tea” (if you will).
      While God will “call” some people to move to foreign lands to be missionaries or the like, He does not “require” them to. Yes, He would much prefer that you answer to His call, but He is a gentleman and will not force Himself or His callings on anyone. Of course, there will be consequences and regrets on down the road if you choose to follow your own path and ignor the calling of God.

      Thank you for the book suggestion – I will look into it!
      ~ Heather Joy

  5. Yeah, what Javabean13 said. Plus, are you SURE that Calvanism is unbiblical? How much have you studied it? Because, frankly, I think it’s somewhat arrogant for you to think you have absolutely figured out what so many mature Christians have spent their lives studying without coming to an absolute opinion. God’s sovereignty is a mystery that no human should even claim to comprehend.

    • TP31Babe,
      Thank you for visiting Grow Up!, and for leaving a comment.
      Please refer back to the comment reply I just left Javabean13 pertaining to my “Calvinism is not Biblical” comment.
      I mean not to be arrogant. The Bible is not a difficult Book to understand – God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). He is very clear in His Word. However, the problem is that many people look “too deep” into things and twist them to fit their agenda. I have a great respect for Spurgeon, even though I do not agree with him 100% doctrinally.
      I’m not understanding your “God’s sovereignty” comment though. God is sovereign. How is that a mystery? We know that He is sovereign, there is no confusion regarding or arguments against that. If you could explain what you meant by that, I’d really appreciate it – I think I’m just not understanding where you’re coming from with that.
      ~ Heather Joy

  6. How do i start a blog? Are there any websites that can provide step by step directions?

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