Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Wild but not Right

John Eldredge is one of the hottest evangelical authors out there today. He has his Wild at Heart ministry, which is the name of his retreats, and the name his most popular book. He has been on the cover of Christianity Today, and recently been interviewed by Dr. Dobson for his radio show. Sadly, Eldredge is one of the growing examples of popular evangelical leaders that led people astray and down paths that have little to no substance at all.

Eldredge stated mission is to teach Christians, especially men, how to live a better life, a life where the desires of your heart are achieved. After all, the desires of our heart are given to us by God, and therefore, he will grant them if you pursue Him, according to Eldredge. It must be admitted that Eldredge has hit on a major problem in America, the weakness of the man. They seldom live up to their biblical responsibilities, and many churches actively distort the biblical teaching on the subject; however, Eldredge does little to better the situation. His answer is not explication of Ephesians 5 or others biblical discussions on manhood, rather, he advocates living like the warrior that God wanted you to be and spends too much time explicating movies like Braveheart as the example for males. I have two major problems with Eldredge’s teachings.

1. He down plays the Fall and sin. This has numerous manifestations in his theology. He has a muddled view of Christ’s death. It is much closer to a moral persuasion than an actual atonement. Eldredge also shows affection for the ‘mouse trap’ theory of the atonement as well. Christ is God’s greatest attempt to woo mankind. It also shows up in Eldredge wanting people to live out there inner most desires. He wants people to listen to their hearts, and thinks that those who teach otherwise are dangerous. He brushes aside versus that teach the heart of man is deceitful and wicked in favor of a rosy view of the human condition. It seems that Eldredge believes the Christian does not have a remaining sinful nature. A third manifestation of this down played view of sin, is that Eldredge often comes out as dualistic. He likes the idea of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Man seems to be the neutral prize over which God and Satan duel it out. These things combine to show a real lack of understanding of sin. Thus, his teachings lead down dangerous roads.

2. He openly advocates a Medieval mysticism. He loves the Desert Fathers as he calls them. The ones who escaped the Church, the World, and everything else to pursue the Sacred Romance, as he calls God from time to time. In effect, Eldredge advocates this type of worldview. He gives example after example of mystical encounters with God that he believes to be the norm. His contempt for the established church is clear, and his role of the Bible is diminished in favor of experience. He loves Soren Kierkegaard, any mystic, and most Romanists. He loves movies for they are the modern way to have your soul touched, and they show the desires of the heart. Anything it takes to get that fleeting experience where you feel romanced by God is good, and right. Quite contrary to the Bible, and its teachings of restricted worship in the 2nd Commandment.

Over all, Eldredge is a dangerous man. He will lead people to search for truth apart from the Scriptures. He will lead them out of the established churches because they do not teach as he does. And, he will lead them into movie theaters to get a good glimpse of Romance in action. The effects of his movement are yet to be really felt, but it will come soon enough. The church will be sorry they did not do more to stop this movement in its early stages.