Monday, October 23, 2006

In Defense of John Eldredge

Not that John Eldredge needs defending. He's got tons of detractors who fault him from his theology to his definition of "man"hood. And yet, he also has a large following. I have read five of Eldredge's books:

Wild At Heart
Waking The Dead
The Journey of Desire and,

All of which were wonderful and I've used them for bible studies and applications in my own life. I've met people who have attended his conferences and loved them. Yet, there is always someone who just doesn't seem to 'get' it.

Eldredge uses a lot of imagery and metaphors for his works. For that matter, so did King David, Solomon, and Jesus. All of whom want us to draw closer to God the Father. Contemporary writers such as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton were the same way.

So, why the disparagement with Eldredge? Is it due to his brash contempt for 'dead' Christians or churches full of bobble-heads? His remarks against fool-hearty, know-it-all Christians, perhaps?

Allow me to point out Scripture that clearly confused a Pharisee through the use of imagery:

John 3:
3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Gee, just imagine the look on Nicodemus' face when he heard this from Jesus.

Using imagery and metaphor is nothing new. Through all of Eldredge's works he NEVER takes away from who God the Father and Jesus the Christ was, is, and always will be. Maybe though we should do as James mentions:

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

John Eldredge and his wife, Stasi, stand firmly in doing the work Christ has laid before them. Are we?


Angie said...

Wow, What a statement. I have not read any of his work. I will have to make sure I do and very soon.

Mark said...


All his books are great and enrich your belief in God and Christ. I recommend beginning with either "The Journey of Desire" or "The Sacred Romance". Afterwards, read "Captivating", "Waking The Dead", and "Epic".

Whereas "Captivating" is for the heart of a woman, "Wild At Heart" is for the heart of a man. Both books work well together.

Please let me know what you think.

Angie said...

After reading your reply to my comment, I remembered that I have the sacred romance at home and have been trying to read it since the summer. I don't know where my brain was, but we won 't go there. I will let you know how I like the book once I finish reading it. I think someone down there somewhere is trying very hard to keep me from reading it seeing as how I have had such a difficult time reading this book. I have started it twice already and have yet to get past the 2nd chapter. I will keep you updated.

WhatIsChazaq? said...

I can't begin to speak to the changes that have begun in my heart, in my walk with God since first reading Wild At Heart almost four years ago. Not that W@H is THE book or that John Eldridge is some great, wise sage - but his book has been a catalyst that has gotten me "back on track" so to speak.

Mark said...

Thanks for stopping by. You comment is correct - John's books are meant for us to remember how we are supposed to live: From our hearts and the wisdom of God.

Waking the Dead is also a great choice.

Luke said...

I appreciate your thoughts. John's books have changed my entire world view and deeply impacted my Christian walk. I have encountered many people who attack and oppose his writing and have often wondered why his writing seems to be so targeted. I do have some of my own questions, but the impact he has made cannot be questioned.

Jeff Poling said...

Hey man, thanks for this. I actually stumbled upon this searching for "in defense of John Eldredge." way cool man.

Yeah dude, he takes way too much criticism, and I have definitely pulled close to the extravagantly-loving heart of God through his work.

Good stuff man, God bless you.