Joel Olsteen Releases a Good Book and D.A. Carson Releases a Bad Book

An Interesting Thought from Tim Challies:

One of the challenges of being a book reviewer, and especially a Christian book reviewer, is knowing what to do when a good guy writes a bad book or when a bad guy writes a good book. Of course the categories of “good guy” and “bad guy” are not very helpful since they are far too broad, but they can at least give us a starting point. Book reviewing is easy when D.A. Carson releases another exegetical masterpiece or when Benny Hinn releases another absolute trainwreck. But let’s imagine for a moment that Joel Osteen suddenly releases a book that is really, objectively good.

One day a book shows up at your door that has Osteen’s name and picture on the cover. As you flip through it, you see that this is a book about the gospel. The contents are a long and powerful defense of the good news of what Christ has accomplished. He calls sinners to repentance and closes with a plea for Christians to plant themselves in a healthy local church. How would you review a book like this one? Somewhere you would likely want to express that the book is objectively good but that some caution is still in order. You would want to make it clear that a good book does not immediately validate an entire ministry. You would want to express that this is a good book, but that his other books are just plain awful.

Now imagine that your favorite good guy author releases a book that is objectively bad. It may not be full of heresies, but it still seems to move perilously close to being dominated by law instead of gospel. The gospel is assumed instead of declared and some ideas just seem a little bit off. How would you review a book like this one? Somewhere you would want to express your concerns with the book even while being cautiously optimistic about the author himself. You would want it to be clear that a bad book does not immediately invalidate an entire ministry. You would want to express that this is a poor book, but that his other books are much better.

Read the rest of the post here.

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