There’s a number of things I really like about this book; there’s other things about it that are rather distracting/annoying (and which may or may not be the author’s fault). As such, it’s kind of the epitome of “three-and-a-half stars.” Whether you fall on the four-star side or the three… well, read on….
Neil Anderson. Becoming a Disciple-Making Church: A Proven Method for Growing Spiritually Mature Christians. 240p., $15.99, Bethany House.
A lot of people will recognize Neil Anderson, and should; his books The Bondage Breaker and Victory over the Darkness, among many others, have helped a lot of people discover how to live out of their identity in Jesus, and in so doing experience deliverance from sin and/or destructive habits and thought processes. A few quotes to give you a bit more of the flavor of this book:
- “It took me years to realize that people are not in bondage to past traumas; they are in bondage to lies they believe because of the trauma, such as I’m no good. God doesn’t love me. I’ll never measure up. I can’t trust anybody. Essentially, we become prisoners to the lies we believe.”
- “[A]n African bishop… asked, “Why do you have so much counseling in your country?… In Africa we repent!”
- “Your old self was (past tense) crucified with Christ. The only proper response to this powerful truth is to believe it. You may be tempted to ask, “What experience must I have in order for this to be true?” We don’t make anything true by our experience [emphasis mine]. We choose to believe what God already accomplished for us and to live accordingly by faith—then it works out in our experience.”
If that sounds like the kind of book you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed here—especially if you’re unfamiliar with Anderson’s previous work. If you are… well, that leads into my kvetches about this book….
- From the verso page, it’s apparent that almost everything here is a reworking of material from past books.
- As the above examples illustrate, this book is really more about deliverance than discipleship. Granted, there’s a relationship between the two, but it was especially disappointing to get to the chapter “A Strategy for Making Reproducible Disciples,” and discover that its centerpiece is a bare-boned outline of Anderson’s Victory Series, basically listing the various studies in the series.
- Indeed, when it’s not re-presenting old (albeit rich) material, the book often reads like an infomercial for Freedom in Christ Ministries. And again, while I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from pursuing more of Anderson’s materials—some of which I know is genuinely good stuff—that’s not what I look for from the book I’m actually reading.
That all said, there’s a very basic message here that all of us need to get back to: repent, and believe that Jesus is who He says He is—and that He can do what He says He can do in each of our lives. When that happens, people—and churches—become healthy, fully functional, and growing. And that message, as they say, is not nothing.