You Were Born For (Even) More: a book review

I had a sneaking suspicion that I would not like this book.  The front cover has a larger-than-life picture of the author in a handsome suit (setting himself up as the ‘expert’); the title, “You Were Born For More,” has that  self-help tone to it with a heavy ‘prosperity’ vibe.  A Oneness Pentecostal wrote the book forward, which put my inner theologian on high alert for evidence of a defective trinitarianism.

But call off the inquisition, I didn’t see heresy here.  Harry Jackson is rooted in Wesleyan/Holiness theology and he develops his theme with wit and grace.  He may have a mild prosperity theology, but he’s endorsed by a wide range of evangelical ministers: T.D. Jakes (the Oneness Pentecostal), Bill Johnson (charismatic), Jim Daly, Tim Lahaye,  Tony Evans (regular old evangelicals). I found very little to disagree with but I didn’t feel like Jackson explored the full story of  God’s blessing.

This book is written for those in the midst of life’s struggles. Jackson’s message is that no matter what circumstances you are facing, God has something better in store for you. And so he presents six steps to receiving God’s blessing:

  1. Have a humble and willing spirit
  2. Trust God and be someone He can trust
  3. Be an emissary of God’s love
  4. Endure in the face of adversity
  5. Remain faithful even in uncertain times
  6. Commit yourself to personal purity

These six steps are developed in six chapters.  There are several features of Jackson’s book that I appreciate.  He is vulnerable about his own struggles when he faced health concerns and financial hard times. This is not some Pollyanna approach.  Likewise he does attempt to root his theology in a classic Evangelical understanding of divine providence and grace (even reviewing the classic Calvinist and Arminian options).

My disagreement with this book is matter of tone. I actually believe that if you follow Jackson’s steps you will be blessed by God. I would  lean more towards God’s blessing being more about spiritual benefits than material benefits *though clearly God provides for our needs materially). I think Jackson would agree, though his example of buying a multi-million dollar church property as an example of God’s blessing, does lend itself to a more material interpretation.  However I do take issue with Jackson’s framing God’s blessing as his (or my) personal destiny.  Walking humbly with our God is more than a pathway to personal blessing. There is little here which calls us as Christians to take a prophetic stance against injustice and work to transform the culture through Kingdom work.  There is a personal dimension to Christian spirituality, but God’s blessing transforms cultures, impacts cities, renews the church, brings life and light to those in darkness.  I was born for even more than my bad self.

I give this book three stars.

Thank you to Chosen books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

4 thoughts on “You Were Born For (Even) More: a book review

  1. “There is little here which calls us as Christians to take a prophetic stance against injustice and work to transform the culture through Kingdom work. There is a personal dimension to Christian spirituality, but God’s blessing transforms cultures, impacts cities, renews the church, brings life and light to those in darkness. I was born for even more than my bad self.”

    To this I say, “Well said & ditto, precisely.” Furthermore, I so appreciate a thorough and honest review. Thank you.

      • Nice of you to notice. I’ve been ill and undisciplined, but I hope to check in more often. I’m very glad you persevere in blogging because certainly we are the beneficiaries! God bless you and yours. P.S. Our church got a new pastor; he is coming up on his first anniversary. Although we had been a liturgical community, he is having difficulty developing an understanding and persists in his Baptist tradition. Some things take time and are worth the prayerful effort.

      • Well unfortunately some people don’t understand liturgy, and some people’s experience of liturgy has lacked life. I know from the other side, I read church job postings where the churches say they don’t follow the liturgy or lectionary because they want to be open to the ‘Spirit’s leading.’ For some the Spirit only leads in an extemporaneous way, and they may have some bad experience of ‘dead ritual; to back up. Unfortunately, they don’t see how lively and nourishing liturgy can be. I hope your on your way to health. God bless!

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