Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Anger Workbook, by Les Carter and Frank Minirth


An excerpt of a review recently posted on The Mortal Coyle:
[...] Minirth and Carter present their biblical principles as, essentially, a list of dos and don’ts. A set of laws, if you will. God is mentioned, and Christ, but as a source of strength and a good example, respectively. The gospel, though occasionally (and obliquely) hinted at, is never clearly presented, nor is it used as the central spring from which godly behavior flows. Instead, religion is reduced to merely a ‘part’ of the whole man that must be adequately addressed to ensure wholeness. You won’t be well-rounded and healthy until you address the ‘spiritual’ side of your life, and the guidance provided by Scripture should be followed because it’s good advice. 
So forgiveness is recommended not because Christ in His infinite mercy purchased forgiveness for us at great cost to himself, but because forgiving people makes us feel better (and withholding forgiveness is bad for our own development). Don’t get me wrong—forgiveness is better for us, but that’s not the ultimate reason why we are called to forgive. We forgive because we have been forgiven, and nothing anyone can do to us could ever match the sin we’ve committed against a holy God. 
But then, when Minirth and Carter talk about the sin nature and Adam’s fall, there is never any sense of the horror of sin—of anger as a sin against the very nature of God, something loathsome and reprehensible and deserving of wrath. Anger seems to be more of an ‘oopsie’, something we really should work on in order to improve ourselves and our relationship (again, partly true). So I guess it makes sense that their portrayal of forgiveness is so off-kilter. If all we’ve been forgiven is a character flaw, then that forgiveness can’t really motivate us to forgive the real and tangible wrongs we endure at the hands of others, and we need to look elsewhere for motivation.
Full review available here.

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