21/12/2017

It's Time to Reveal what God Wants to Heal (by TD Jakes)

I had never heard of TD Jakes when I downloaded a free ebook he had written a few years ago. I gather he’s an influential pastor of a mega-church in the United States, and also quite a prolific writer. But I had no idea of that when, scrolling through my Kindle looking for something to read, I came across this title.

‘It’s time to reveal what God wants to heal’ is written as an appeal to Christian believers to put aside their fears and insecurities, and focus on God’s love. The theme is a good one, and there are a few insights in the book which made me pause to think. The author makes some good points, in places.

Unfortunately, though, the style is remarkably difficult to read. After a couple of chapters I realised that it’s like a transcript of sermons rather than having been written for people to read. The language is metaphorical, often hyperbolic, and points are made repeatedly; I imagined the author striding up and down, waving his arms, the congregation hanging off his words. And as such, in a Pentecostal church, it would have made a very successful, perhaps life-changing series of talks.

As a book, however, with the ability to go back and check things, and time to pause and consider the words, it really didn’t work for me. I see from other reviews that it’s highly regarded, along with other books TJ Jakes has written. But while the basic outline of what he says is good, much of the text is repetitive, and in cases the metaphors are taken to extremes in a way that made them (at times) meaningless.

I also felt that the author’s approach to Scripture was somewhat erratic. He quotes from one of the archaic versions of the Bible, which is fine - many people prefer the old-style language. But he takes - and makes much of - ideas that simply aren’t there.

He mentions, for instance, Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. In doing so, Jesus took off his outer garment. TJ Jakes insists that in doing so he became naked, and makes a great deal of this: yet historical evidence is clear that in the first century men would wear a short tunic (the inner garment) underneath their outer robes.

I kept reading; I felt as if there were important things being said underneath the rather flamboyant style of writing, and the odd interpretations of some Scriptural passages. The emphasis was on moving forward in God’s love and finding healing, although there wasn’t much assistance given to those who struggle with this. I didn’t disagree with the main points - yet it’s a frustrating book to read in many ways.

Not particularly recommended unless you like this style of writing.  I see from Amazon that it's no longer available free for the Kindle, and that it can also be found in printed format.

Review by copyright 2017 Sue's Book Reviews

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