Thursday, June 23, 2016

My critical review of the book Hidden Agendas by Steve Brown

Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart

Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart

This book is publicized as a book to help the reader show his real self to the world. I was looking forward to reading this book as I think people should indeed discard hypocrisy and false fronts. However, I was greatly confused and disappointed by this book. To clarify, I read many Christian books a year and am able to glean from authors of various denominations and beliefs. This book, however I found wishy-washy and void of depth. The author tried incredibly hard to persuade the reader to drop all masks that he basically encourages them to live in their sinfulness. Seriously- that's what I got from this book. I got the impression that the author promotes the idea that God loves who however you are and you don't even have to try to be a more godly person.... can you understand my confusion now? 
The author mixes truth and weakness in his book. An example can be found in the following sentence from the book:
“I’m writing this book because I have a passion about God’s people creating spaces where masks aren’t necessary, where we can experience the freedom and joy of no longer being ashamed in the darkness behind our masks. Life is hard, our sins are great, and the wounds are deep. We simply can’t do this thing without one another, and the loneliness is making us crazy.”
To me, this sentence is partly true and partly weak: I agree that humans need to be real and open with each other. However, ''we can experience the freedom and joy of no longer being ashamed in the darkness behind our masks''...First, I think people need a healthy degree of shame concerning their sin. They need to deal with it and repent rather than just glibly talking about it with other sinners, thus eventually turning sin into normalcy. Secondly, if we are speaking of Christians, should there be darkness? Yes, Christians can sin and Christians should view those 'little' sins as darkness, but there shouldn't be dark sins in a Christian's life. If there are, he or she really, really needs to examine his or her heart to see if he or she is really saved. And by the way, I do not believe in perfectionism. I believe what the Bible says:
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's[b] seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3)
As a note, I DO believe Christians need to drop hypocritical masks. People DO need to be open and caring with each other. We DO need to learn the difference between discernment and harsh judgment. But this book will NOT help you! 

Again, this book is confusing in that it has some good points regarding other humans but isn't very strong or Biblical concerning our God who is not only a loving God but also a perfectly Righteous and Just God! 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.