Run for your life!

(Updated)

A new book by Ann Voskamp called “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” has gained extreme popularity among many Christian women today. However, specifically as sexual intercourse.

There are some who would criticise me for speaking out when I admit right up front that I have not read every word in every chapter of the book; the reason being I was sickened by what I did in fact read. However, I do feel I have read more than enough to have an accurate understanding of what the author is saying and enough to be greatly alarmed.

Some quotes (please note, it is somewhat graphic):

“I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God.”

“God lays down all of His fullness into all the emptiness. I am in Him. He is in me. I embrace God in the moment. I give Him thanks and I bless God and we meet and couldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? “To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin.”

“The intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy.”

“This is what His love means. I want it: union. This is the one gift He longs for in return for His unending gifts, and this even I could give Him, and anywhere. Anywhere–in the kitchen scrubbing potatoes, in the arching cathedrals, in the spin of laundry and kids and washing toilets – anywhere I can have intimate communion with the Maker of heaven and earth. I can’t help myself here. Inches from the canvas, strains of Mozart carrying, I whisper eucharisteo:

“Thank you, God, for the bread of now … for Your Son and sacrifice … for the love song You keep singing, the gift of Yourself that You keep giving… for the wild wonder of You in this moment.

“A stranger on the road, my cold heart burns (Luke 24:32) and He is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh and I am his and He is mine and I want to touch the paint. I want to run my fingertips across the oils, let the colors saturate my skin, let them run into my blood. I want to be in the painting, Supper at Emmaus, the painting to be in me. I want to be in God and God to be in me, to exchange love and blessings and caresses and, like the apostle-pilgrims, my eyes open and I know it because of this burning of the heart: this moment is a divine interchange. I raise my hand slightly, finger imperceptibly the air before the canvas and this is intercourse disrobed of its connotations, pure and unadulterated: a passing between. A connection, a communicating, an exchange, between tender Bridegroom and His bride.

One of the roles a true shepherd of the sheep has is to warn the flock of false doctrine, to help them steer clear of unhealthy or dangerous spiritual food. I do so here:

Concerning “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” I find the sexual connotations attributed to our union with God Himself to be profoundly and deeply disturbing. Though the sexual relationship in marriage is a holy thing and should never be viewed as in any way dirty (Heb. 13:4), the Bible never describes the Christian’s union with God in sexual terms – never.

But lets for a moment allow for the idea. If what the author says is true and God desires us to worship Him and express ourselves to Him with these sexual connotations, then this would be something all Christians should aspire to. That being the case, it would mean that we should teach these “lofty” concepts to even our youngest children. Who would we be to rob them of the fullest form of unity with God? But for a moment, imagine that. Imagine teaching a little 5 year old girl or boy how to make love to God? I am repulsed by even the thought of it. No, God forbid! My advice is that when you hear or see this concept being taught, run for your life!

Update: Thanks for all the comments, both positive and negative. Its been a lively debate, to be sure, but I am no longer convinced that further discussion would be either fruitful, clarifying or edifying. I believe I took the necessary time to understand the author’s words in their context, but of course, my admission that I had not read every word of the book has greatly upset some. However, I do not see the logic here. Please allow me to illustrate what I mean by way of an example.

Lets imagine for a moment that you are reading a book and come across “Chapter 6” which is called “how to kill your Grandmother.” You can hardly believe the author can be serious, but when you read further, it becomes obvious that he/she is. The author is writing about what you think he/she is writing about.

You take the time to make sure it is not some big joke, and you read all the relevant sections, taking hours to do so to make sure you have read everything in context.

You even contact others who have read all the book to make sure you have not missed anything that would lead to you to come to a different conclusion as to the author’s intent.

Question – would you really need to read every other part of the book before you can feel qualified to comment?

I dont think so. As long as sufficient time has been taken to make sure you have correctly understood the intent of the author.

Perhaps some people strongly disagree with that, but I have yet to hear a valid reason as to why. They may not like it and promolgate an emotional defense of the author and engage in viscious personal ad hominem attacks on myself, but I have seen no logic at all as to why I have no right to speak out. Certainly, I have yet to be shown how I have misinterpreted the author’s words I have quoted or in any way taken them out of context.

At one point I tried to read some sections of the book to my mother, but she begged me to stop. While others are obviously thrilled with the author’s insight, there are others, like myself, who are obviously deeply troubled. I no longer wish to even keep the book in my house. I definitely do not want my children to find it.

I have no personal axe to grind. I have attacked no one personally nor do I wish to do so (in spite of the vicious and hostile rhetoric sent my way over the last 48 hours or so).

I wish everyone well, and I hope you understand my intent was only to warn of something I felt was worth the warning.

The level and increasing frequency of the personal attacks against me in the comments section here (much of which I have deleted) has led me to conclude that its best to move on. Comments are therefore closed.

Grace and peace.
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE (2)

Many thousands look to Rob Bell as a pastor and spiritual leader. His latest book “Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived,” about to be released in March, seems to be promoting the heresy of universalism. We will wait and see. I encourage you to read this article by Justin Taylor here for the details.

Update 3 – Justin has been criticised severely by some for making a pronouncement on a yet to be released book. However, Kevin DeYoung provides great insight here on the matter.

30 thoughts on “Run for your life!

  1. The appeal of this sort of thing to Christian women is deeply disturbing to me. I would appreciate a Biblical look at why the metaphor of marriage is used to describe the relationship between God and His Church.

    Thank you for addressing this issue, Pastor John.

  2. This is a disturbing trend among Christian women, where God is brought down to our level and presented as our soul-mate. (cringes at that expression) Is the Biblical gospel presented in this book? Is sin ever mentioned?

  3. Good grief–this is really ghastly! Thank you for the warning about this book; I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

  4. This Christian woman is off in the deep end of trying to
    overdo imaging her love for God and His for us.
    She has left Biblically acceptable terminology and now is
    being overly creative in injecting words and phrases that
    are carnal and do not meet scripture approval as being of
    a good report.
    She needs to be reproved and shamed for such carnal gushings as if it is OK. It is not OK. Anything and everything that we imagine as being of God is not of God
    including her literary “rot.”
    It is not cool, hip or happening nor does it show any
    deeper level of Christian maturity to state such things
    as if she has reached some secret (Gnostic) wisdom of God and how we are to relate to him.
    It is dime store romance writings and the Spirit of God
    did NOT tell her that what she wrote is praiseworthy.
    This is her flesh speaking but masquerading as spirit talk. Nonsense.
    Her use of those certain words is not “deep” or “profound” or insightful or a revelation.

  5. While this is a disturbing thought, it a unfortunately a common practice among many modern churches. I personally know of a church in Huntsville, AL whose members routinely practice what they call “sexual intercourse with the Holy Spirit.” In my opinion, this is blasphemy. It goes along with the perverted spirit that is running rampant in our modern churches. Sexual immorality among the married and unmarried alike is out of control, and we wonder how all of this happened. If we would examine the core of contemporary worship music and the lifestyles of those seduced by it, we would gain insight to the fact the God’s Church and the worldly pagan practices we have brought into it just don’t mix.

  6. Sounds to me like she was having a delusional episode as being on some type of narcotic when she wrote this. Bring on the white coats boys, time to strap her down. This is horrible; she just reduced God to the image of a fleshly man. Wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole…

  7. hhhmmmm… I have wrestled with this ever since I reached that chapter of the book. The questions run deep. But my first question is: Did you read the whole book? Perhaps she goes too far, I know it made me uncomfortable – however being raised in a fundamental baptist church it doesn’t take much to get feeling all sorts of “false guilt” and uncomfortable. But when you think about “oneness” and “knowing” in the Biblical narrative – the marital union does take a front seat in beauty and holiness- and if all things point to Christ… we may perhaps want to wonder if we haven’t perverted the holy so far that we can’t imagine it as a picture of our deep union with God.
    I grapple. I think that is ok for women to grapple. From reading her book, along side my Bible, I am not seeking any mystical sexual God experience. I am just seeking to give thanks to a God who loves me well – while doing laundry, while plunging toilets, and navigating shopping lines, and perhaps even while enjoying sex with my husband. God’s grace is in all things, is it not?

  8. Amanda,

    Once I discovered the poisoned meat, I did not care for the rest of the sandwich. When the author is so far wrong on this matter, it does not really matter what else she got right.

    Heresy is not a victimless crime. My advice to all still stands – run for your life! If you wish to stand and contemplate rather than run, that is between you and the Lord. My conscience is clear because my warning is clear.

    • In other words, you didn’t read it.
      Enough said.
      How quick we are to ridicule and slaughter when we have no clue what we are even judging. This is why people flee the church in masses.

      Outright hatred and theological hogwash.
      Read the book.
      Then make a judgment.
      Otherwise you are just trying to ride coat tails with drama.

  9. You said that “Though the sexual relationship in marriage is a holy thing and should never be viewed as in any way dirty (Heb. 13:4), the Bible never describes the Christian’s union with God in sexual terms – never.” Well, if a marriage involves a sexual relationship, then yes the Bible indeed does speak of a Christian’s union with God in sexual terms. Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19-20, Luke 5: 34-35, John 3:29, Revelation 18:23, Ephesians 5:25. We are the bride of Christ. He is our husband. Deal with it!

    I believe that our relationship with Christ will be so much like our relationship with our spouse. In fact, it will be all the more intimate with Christ. He gave us our sexual relationship to show us how amazingly intimate our lives will be like with Christ and should mirror today. It’s not that we are perversely “making love” to Christ (and Ann was not at all trying to be perverse), it is that we honor, cherish, and intimately love Him like we love our spouse. But, all that being said, our love for Christ should sky rocket about the love we have for our spouse. It is so much more intimate than we could ever be with our spouse.

    Ann Voskamp is a human being and a dear one at that. She wholeheartedly loves the Lord. How can you dare criticize her in such an open forum as this? Have you read her blog every day for two years? Probably not, but I have come very close to that, and I can honestly say that she is a better Christian, mother, sister and friend than you are demonstrating through this post, my dear. You should pray for her forgiveness and repent of your sin. In fact, you should write Ann an apology letter and post it back here. We are all human, including you. We need to be gracious. We need to love like Christ. That includes you. I am absolutely appalled with you.

  10. Jessica and Becky,

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to write, even if I disagree with you. You are precious people and are welcome here.

    With a heavy heart, I have to say that I stand by my statement that God never speaks of our union with Him in sexual terms. Certainly we are His bride, and Christ is our husband, and through this biblical imagery, God is condescending to explain to us the type of love and commitment He has for us, His people.. a deep eternal and amazing love that is likened to the husband/wife relationship – but that is as far as scripture goes and there is no biblical basis to take this to mean we have sexual intercourse with Christ in spiritual union.

    Once again – if this was true, it is something that should be taught to all Christians including all our children. Instead of pictures of Jesus as the Shepherd lining the walls of our children’s classrooms, there should be pictures of Christ’s sexual organs.. I hope that thought disgusts you as much as it does me. Perish the thought. I feel like I need a bath just writing these words.. Oh, how horrible that thought is.. But that is exactly what the author must allow for and even promote, if what she teaches in the book is true. You call on me to repent; but may I ask, have you considered that perhaps the author of the book might need to repent for teaching such things?

    The fact that the author writes other wonderful things misses my point. I am sure that she would have many other good things to say. It may surprise you to hear me say that, but here is what I mean.

    When Paul wrote to the Galatian Church to warn of the Judaizing heresy, he did not mention the fact that the Judaizers embraced Christ as Messiah and were probably in all other ways fully orthodox.. I am sure they believed all the Old Testament, perhaps they would even affirm the true humanity and deity of Christ… on and on we could go.. but Paul never mentioned this in his letter… Why not? Because in spite of al the good things the Judaizers would affirm, they added one thing to the gospel (happened to be circumcision) and the gospel is not something anyone can mess with. Paul’s reaction, and I might say, his Holy Spirit inspired reaction, was to warn of the false doctrine in no uncertain terms calling it for what it was “a false gospel.”

    Imagine what the reaction would have been when Paul’s letter to the congregation was read out loud to the people. Certainly, there would have been Judaizers present in the meeting when the words were heard. Its no real stretch of the imagination to say that we can be sure that Paul would have been hated by many.

    I can imagine people saying, “Where is the love Paul? Do you not recognize the wonderful things the Judaizers have brought to our congregation? They can teach us so much about God’s law. They can show us how Christ fulfills all the types and shadows and even the Feasts of Israel. I have been so enriched by all they have taught me. What’s wrong with you for being so short sighted Paul? If you had heard ALL these men have been teaching you would not write in this way….”

    But what Paul wrote.. every word of it.. was inspired by the Holy Spirit, even when he called the perpetrators of the false doctrine “false brothers.” (Gal 2:4)

    Now I will be quick to say that I am not saying the author is not a genuine Christian. I use this as merely an example regarding Paul not needing to know everything that the Judaizers taught to warn the people in the way he did.

    I have made no personal attack on the author whatsoever. I do not know her at all. I am sure she is a nice lady. The issue is false doctrine – nothing else. Whether or not the issue rises to the level of someone being a false teacher, is not something I would get into here, and its something I don’t know. I make no assertions about the state of the author’s soul. All I have done is to simply address something that in my mind rises to the level of being perverted doctrine worthy enough for me to warn others concerning it. I do not apologize for pointing out the falsehood. That’s my job as a shephard and elder and I would be a coward not to warn the sheep under my care concerning it.

    If an author writes a book, it is in the public domain, and as a shepherd of God’s sheep, believe it or not, I am loving Christ and those under my care when I warn of false doctrine. If I did not love, I would keep silent.

    Following your logic – Does someone need to have read everything Adolf Hitler wrote to be qualified to warn people against his racist rhetoric concerning the Jews? Suppose they hear him in a speech calling all Jews “vermin” and “rats.” Would someone have needed to have read all of Hitler’s writings or have read his personal blog for years (if there was such a thing back then) before they could say “Hitler is wrong concerning what he says about the Jews”? I think we know the answer.

    I realise the author is a human being and I in no way personally attack her, but simply warn the Body of Christ in my function as a shepherd.. why? for some financial gain? I’ve just checked the mail for today.. nope.. no checks as “thank you’s for writing the article…” maybe it was for notoriety? well that’s possible, I guess… maybe its because I am just a contentious guy and get my kicks when I can prove I am right? .. again that is possible.. I know myself well enough to know that sin lurks in so many corners of my heart.

    I would say though that those who are regular readers of this blog know it is extremely unusual for me to speak out in this way.. but once again, why would I do it? What could possibly motivate me?

    Could it be because of love? love for Christ? Could it be genuine concern for the well being of God’s people?

    Oh no.. couldn’t possibly be that.. or could it? John is just a nasty man! That’s all there is to it and its people like him that causes others to leave the Church in their masses… yeah, thats it!!

    When I entered the ministry more than two decades ago, I promised the Lord that I would, by His grace, always seek to obey His solemn charge to me as one of His ministers, when through His apostle, He said,

    2 Tim 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

    Right or wrong, this is indeed what motivates me. If I am wrong and God does indeed want His people to seek union with Him with sexual connotations in their mind.. may God have mercy on my soul for writing as I have.

    You are appalled at me. I get it. I understand.

    For my part, I am appalled that a Christian author would ever dare to suggest the things she has in print. I am appalled that the publisher did not have the discernment and courage to throw it out (or at the very least, edit out the things I mention in my article) but instead published these atrocious ideas which, as I understand the biblical data, have their source in the demonic, not the Holy Spirit of God.

    Strong words perhaps, but being a Christian shepherd is not for the faint of heart. My conscience is clear. I stand by my original article, “Run for your life.”

    • Good shepherding. Good writing. Good journalism. Good blogging demands that we read before we review or critic. To do otherwise no matter the theological him-hawing means that we are judging without full knowledge of what we are discussing.

      You can not call this book immoral and irresponsible when you have not read it.
      There isn’t any way you can get around that…
      To say anything else is just wrong.
      and you should apologize to this woman for calling her out on something that you haven’t even read.

  11. Here is what I will do Jessica. I will adjust the original post to add a brief sentence to say that I have not read every word in every chapter of the book, but enough to be greatly alarmed. I think that is fair, don’t you?

    My judgment was and is that I had read enough of the book so as to be able to make a sound and accurate assessment of the doctrine being espoused. I actually wish I had read less not more – I was so sickened by what I did read.

    You obviously do not understand the strength of the words I have read and just how much they sicken me. I read a section of it to my mother and she begged me to stop.

    Are you suggesting that if I read absolutely every word in the book I would understand that the author was not in fact espousing what I say she is? If so, what exactly what I learn that would challenge what I have written in any way at all? Would reading every single word in the book make me think something other than the fact that the words “The intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy” means what I think it means? Am I wrong in thinking that when the author writes, “I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God” she is speaking about sex, even metaphorically?

    If you can say “Yes, John, you have totally misunderstood everything” because…..” and you explain my error, I would be glad to read more and understand where I might have got it all wrong.

    If the author meant something else, that would be different. If I have read those words so out of their context that I have total misunderstanding of what was intended, then of course I will apologize profusely and immediately withdraw my post. However, I am not inclined to read any more unless you can demonstrate how I have misunderstood the words I have read.

    Does the author speak of union with God in sexual terms? Yes or No?

    If you think the answer is “NO” then make your case Jessica.

  12. Pastor John, I have no intentions of getting into a lengthy debate over this, but I have been grieved over this conversation since I first read it earlier this week. I felt that the “Run for your life!” comment was too much. There is nothing in Ann’s book that is life threatening in any way. Correct me if I am wrong, but I would guess that you probably are not in agreement with many of Ann’s practices of faith and this chapter was the one you chose to use as a talking point.

    I have been tempted to speak for Ann…to say that in no way was she speaking of having sex with God. But I won’t put words in her mouth. I would simply suggest that you ask Ann what she meant.

    I would also like to mention that the Bible frequently talks about God’s people committing adultery against God. For example, James 4:4 says this: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 ESV) Did this mean that the people of God were having physical sex with other gods? No. You and I both know what it meant.

    I would simply urge you to ask Ann what she meant. Give Ann an opportunity to refute your interpretation of the chapter you found most offensive.

    In Christ alone,
    Patricia

  13. Thank you for your thorough and generous responses to these comments, Pastor John.

    And, Jessica…I have read the entire book, as have a number of my friends, and Pastor John’s critique is 100% correct.

    It comes down to this…John’s warning challenges us to make sure we’re standing on the Word that does forever stand. Anything else, no matter how moving or lyrical or winsome, will crumble.

    The Word of God must be our singular standard.

  14. Patricia, You write, “Correct me if I am wrong, but I would guess that you probably are not in agreement with many of Ann’s practices of faith and this chapter was the one you chose to use as a talking point.” I am pleased to correct you – I had not even heard of the author before reading what I have of her book.

    When God speaks of adultery against Himself he is speaking in spiritual terms – to abandon the One true God is equivalent to adultery. That should not be in any way used to try to say that engaging in true worship of God is equivalent to sex.

    • Pastor John,

      Thank you for responding to my comment. Yes, I know that God was speaking of adultery in spiritual terms. So is Ann. She would in no way suggest that her words be associated with physical sex. That was my point. If I were to say to you that someone committed adultery, without understanding what they were talking about, you would immediately believe we were talking about that person having sex with someone other than their spouse.

      Again, I would urge you to read the whole book and/or give Ann a chance to respond to your accusations.

      Respectfully,
      Patricia

  15. Pastor John,

    Thank you for your courage to take on false doctrine. Its interesting that people run to passages like Matthew 18 to try to say that someone needs to go to an author first before addressing concerns publicly.

    Just this last week, Pastor Kevin Deyoung addressed this issue when he stood behind Justin Taylor. Though the reference has to do with a youtube video made by Rob Bell which is in the public domain rather than a book, per se, the same principles would apply.

    He wrote, “it needs to be stated again that this is not a Matthew 18 issue. No one is obligated to respond in private to a promotional video that has been put out in public. Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matt. 18:15). Rob Bell has not sinned against Justin Taylor or John Piper. This is not a personal offense or an interpersonal squabble that should have been left in private. The general rule of thumb, supported by Matthew 18 and sanctified common sense, is we should not make a matter more public than it has to be. But by definition, YouTube videos and Vimeo clips and books and blogs are meant to be public. That’s the whole point. The Love Wins trailer was not a private email correspondence intercepted by the Reformed Gestapo. It was deliberately made public and can be commented on in public.

    Look at how the apostles handled false teaching in the New Testament. There’s nothing to suggest Paul sat down to talk with Demas (2 Tim. 4:20), Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:8), Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 3:17), or Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:20). And even when Paul opposed Peter “to his face” he made a point to do it “before them all” (Gal. 2:11, 14). No one is required to talk to me before they criticize my books, and no one was required to call up Rob Bell before commenting on his Love Wins video.”

    Thanks once again Pastor John.

    • Rob Bell, effective communicator that he is, has a history of flirting with false doctrine. It is not difficult to interpret his liberal theological bent.

      Ann Voskamp has a history of speaking pure Gospel truth. Given that history, it is only fair to give her an opportunity to speak for herself.

      There’s no comparison.

  16. Ann has spoken for herself very clearly in her book.

    If words mean anything then “I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God” refers to sex… as do the words, “The intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy.” She is ascribing union with God in sexual terms… or am I missing something? Please, enlighten me Patricia.

    Do you honestly feel comfortable that these terms are used to describe our union with God? Would you feel comfortable teaching this doctrine to children?

    Patricia, as far as I can see, you are defending the indefensible.

    • Teaching what doctrine to my children, Pastor John? What was Ann’s conclusion?

      That we show our love to God by opening our eyes to see and be grateful for the multitude of grace gifts He bestows on His bride – The Church? To know Christ intimately (NOT sexually) and know that He alone is enough? To quote John Piper, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

      Of course, I would teach that to my children and I hope that you would, too.

  17. Patricia, come on – you know exactly what doctrine I am referring to – the idea that we should see union with God in sexual terms.

    In my last comment to you I said, “If words mean anything then “I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God” refers to sex… as do the words, “The intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy.” She is ascribing union with God in sexual terms… or am I missing something? Please, enlighten me Patricia.”

    … it would seem you have nothing by way of response, so lets let the matter drop – it is not at all edifying for me to have to think about this perverted horse manure (the concept of sexual union with God).

  18. What is just as, if not more disturbing than sexually explicit language to describe the relationship between God and the church, is the fact that women are “taking on” or “challenging” male headship.

    I’m a little shocked at some of the bold faced challenges and rebukes to Pastor John by women. I think this is something we should all be especially mindful of.

    Biblical womanhood is under attack and I can’t help but think of Matthew 24:24, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

  19. Patricia said

    Rob Bell, effective communicator that he is, has a history of flirting with false doctrine. It is not difficult to interpret his liberal theological bent.

    Ann Voskamp has a history of speaking pure Gospel truth. Given that history, it is only fair to give her an opportunity to speak for herself.

    There’s no comparison.”

    Really? I beg to differ. After reading Voskamp’s blog I see she has a section called the “books for the bookshelf. Here is a list of books she is recommending by the following: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, Hannah Whitall Smith, Phillip Yancey, Phyllis Tickle.

    If Ann is speaking “Biblical Truth” by promoting the works of these folks I must have orthodox Christianity mixed up with Universalism, Jewish Mysticism, Roman Catholicism.

  20. Teresa is correct. I’ve read Mrs. Voskamp’s blog for a number of years and can attest that she relies heavily on the teachings of Panentheists, Mystics and other teachers who fall outside the pale of orthodoxy.

    While the core message of her book may be, “give thanks”, it is utterly clouded over by her affinity for false teachings. Too many bones, and too little meat.

  21. Thank you for your grace…

    Prayerfully, humbly considering the words of Scripture…

    “‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” (Ephesians 5:31–32).

    “But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him,” reads 1 Corinthians 6:17.

    and from John Calvin:

    “God very commonly takes on the character of a husband to us. Indeed, the union by which he binds us to himself when he receives us into the bosom of the church is like sacred wedlock.”

    And again from Calvin: “Therefore that joining together of head and members, that indwelling of Christ in our hearts— in short that mystical union—are accorded by us the highest degree of importance.”

    From:
    John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 2.8.18 (2:385).
    Ibid., 3.11.10 (2:737).

  22. Becky – There’s nothing in those quotes that raises any alarms at all. Its all true. There is a mystical union between Christ and His Church, illustrated by the institution of marriage, for sure. That is as far as the Bible goes…. But this is FAR, FAR removed from the graphic contemplation of sexual activity that I made warning about. Surely, surely, you can see the difference. It would seem you do not. Once again, I stress, God never describes His relationship with us in SEXUAL terms, nor does He invite us to do so.

  23. UPDATE: Thanks for all the comments, both positive and negative. Its been a lively debate, to be sure, but I am no longer convinced that further discussion would be either fruitful, clarifying or edifying. I believe I took the necessary time to understand the author’s words in their context, but of course, my admission that I had not read every word of the book has greatly upset some. However, I do not see the logic here. Please allow me to illustrate what I mean by way of an example.

    Lets imagine for a moment that you are reading a book and come across “Chapter 6” which is called “how to kill your Grandmother.” You can hardly believe the author can be serious, but when you read further, it becomes obvious that he/she is. The author is writing about what you think he/she is writing about.

    You take the time to make sure it is not some big joke, and you read all the relevant sections, taking hours to do so to make sure you have read everything in context.

    You even contact others who have read all the book to make sure you have not missed anything that would lead to you to come to a different conclusion as to the author’s intent.

    Question – would you really need to read every other part of the book before you can feel qualified to comment?

    I dont think so. As long as sufficient time has been taken to make sure you have correctly understood the intent of the author.

    Perhaps some people strongly disagree with that, but I have yet to hear a valid reason as to why. They may not like it and promolgate an emotional defense of the author and engage in viscious personal ad hominem attacks on myself, but I have seen no logic at all as to why I have no right to speak out. Certainly, I have yet to be shown how I have misinterpreted the author’s words I have quoted or in any way taken them out of context.

    At one point I tried to read some sections of the book to my mother, but she begged me to stop. While others are obviously thrilled with the author’s insight, there are others, like myself, who are obviously deeply troubled. I no longer wish to even keep the book in my house. I definitely do not want my children to find it.

    I have no personal axe to grind. I have attacked no one personally nor do I wish to do so (in spite of the vicious and hostile rhetoric sent my way over the last 48 hours or so).

    I wish everyone well, and I hope you understand my intent was only to warn of something I felt was worth the warning.

    The level and increasing frequency of the personal attacks against me in the comments section here (much of which I have deleted) has led me to conclude that its best to move on. Comments are therefore closed.

    Grace and peace.

    • Pastor John, I know that you have closed the comments, and I do not intend to continue the conversation because I don’t believe it is profitable or pleasing to the Lord….but I did want to apologize to you if I came across as disrespectful. Please also forgive me for the statement I made in which I assumed something I should not have…that you chose that chapter in Ann’s book as a talking point. Please forgive. And may God’s grace so saturate our minds and fill our hearts with the Gospel Truth that our lives are reflection of His…that we be image-bearers in our circle of influence…salt and light in a desperate world. God Bless!

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