One interesting aspect of posting book reviews on Amazon is that I receive some negative feedback. As I’ve only posted 10 reviews, the negative comments are not all that numerous, but I welcome critics for several reasons.
First, the questions and criticism challenge me to think seriously about what I believe. For the most part, my life, such as it is, does not require me to answer many questions about Christianity or why I live the way I do. It’s good exercise for me to have to answer.
Second, critics make me reconsider why I reviewed a book the way I did. Many times my review is the sole negative review out there. They remind me that the Bible is the standard by which Christians live, not an individual opinion.
Third, I am reminded that judging books is a healthy practice. A couple of negative responses to my reviews are simply, “Judge not lest you be judged,” or, some version of “you’re just a mean Christian.” For some reason, most people believe that being a Christian means that you aren’t supposed to judge anyone or anything. But even saying that a book is good is a judgment of the book. So, what they are really saying is that we ought not be allowed to disagree or say that a thing, a book in this case, is bad.
We are reminded again and again in the New Testament, however, to discern the truth, to return to the holy scriptures for understanding and correction so that we are not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (see Ephesians 4:14, 2 Timothy 3:16). It is good and healthy for Christians to judge between truth and error. This is easy for most Christians to accept regarding some things, such as salvation, what is sin, or whether to go to church on Sunday. But I am finding, through the comment I am about to share and various Christian websites, that the prevailing attitude toward prayer is “anything goes.”
Here is one comment I have received regarding my review of How Strong Women Pray:
Prayer is a personal endeavor. Each person has to find their way and what works for them. Because it is not based on bible principles as you see it, does not mean it is wrong or a bad thing, it’s just not your way. Who are we to criticize someone else’s prayer life. The important thing is to have one. Judge not less you be judged.
Many questions and answers can be raised from this one comment:
Then there are other questions that do not relate specifically to prayer:
I am going to attempt an in-depth series on the doctrine of prayer over the next few weeks. I originally thought I’d write every day and have it finished in one or two weeks, however, I do not have unlimited, uninterrupted time to do it. I would love to be able to lock myself away for reading and studying and writing, but I’m in the raising children season of my life. Those of you who can spend your day that way, feel free to take a question, or two or three, and have fun. I, on the other hand, will write out this series on prayer in small increments.
I know some of you have already answered many of those questions on your blogs and could type out an answer and cross-reference it without it taking you all day. If you’ve already written about prayer, feel free to use the “link to this post” option or leave a link in the comments. I’d love to read your answers/responses/reactions.
Prayer is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life. J.C. Ryle wrote that “a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian” (from A Call to Prayer). If so, then it is important to understand what the Scriptures say regarding prayer and its proper practice.