Friday, 11 April 2014

Book Review: Effortless Change by Andrew Wommack

Effortless ChangeEffortless Change by Andrew Wommack
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book to a point and got some good things out of it.

Firstly, I absolutely agree that the scriptures, when taken to heart, is life changing. However, I don't think his method is new, it's very much like Lectio Divina - read, meditate, pray, contemplate.

As I said, I got some good out of the book, specifically two things that stuck in my mind:

One, is that John the Baptist doubted (Matt 11:2-3). I'd not noticed J the B's doubt before. Kind of gives me hope, when a great prophet who was Jesus' cousin, knew him well and was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb could doubt. I'm not such a terrible unspiritual person then if I'm sometimes plagued with doubts and questions - I have something in common with J the B!

The other thing that helped me was Wommack's observation about the Parable of the Sower where the seed sown in shallow soil produces a plant very quickly, but then almost as quickly withers. I've seen many times in church people come in all trumpets and excitement - everyone seems amazed by their faith and their gifts. But then it's not long and it all goes 'splat'. Real transformational change takes time. We need roots before fruit.

My first criticism is that I think the title 'Effortless Change' is a misnomer as Wommack spends the entire book telling the reader that they need to devote hours upon hours reading, meditating and speaking the scriptures. That isn't really 'effortless'!

He says, "Meditate on the Word day and night. As you do, the Word will cause change to come into your life effortlessly."

Day and night implies effort. Not that I dislike effort, it's just because the book is called 'effortless' and then tells you all the effort you need to put in! :)

The other aspect that I didn't appreciate was the tone of the book. It was rather condescending and he seems to be arguing with people that aren't there. For example, in just one chapter he has numerous arguments with imaginary people saying,"Some folks say...", "Some people read that and say...", "I have sometimes faced criticism from people who say...", "They say that...", and that's just in one short chapter. It gets a bit wearing really. I think it is Wommack's style though, I remember watching part of a 1/2 hour TV show where he was supposed to be talking about financial stewardship, he spent the first 19 minutes going on about all the people who disagree with ministers talking about money, and defending his position as a minister who talks about money. I switched off. It seems to me that he has a problem with getting to the point and trusting people to make their own decision about whether his teaching is right or wrong.

As for his condescending tone, he writes as if he assumes the reader is cynical and he is on a mission to combat cynicism with his extensive experience and spiritual success in life. For example, pg 183, "You need to recognise that I've been walking with the Lord for over forty years". Forty years is great, but why is he arguing with me? I wasn't arguing with him. I totally believe him, after all, a couple of chapters earlier he was going on about how he read the Bible for 16 hours a day during the Vietnam war, I kind of put two and two together that he'd been a Christian for a good few years. pg 18 "Most people read through a Bible story like that and glibly say...", who are these glib 'people'? pg 14 "You may be thinking...", stop worrying about what I am thinking and make your point.

Another example, on pg 105 he writes, "Many people come against the Word, criticising and saying, "The Bible is hard to understand." That's because you're reading it with your mind"

He goes from 'many people' (third person) to 'you're reading it' (second person) in the same point. The style is difficult to read, he puts all these imaginary opinions on the reader that detracts from the message of the book. Plus, how does he know that *I* am reading it with my mind? The tone is judgmental.

So, to sum up, he makes some good points, I agree that the scriptures can be life changing, but I didn't like his writing style. I think that his message would have been a good deal clearer if he wasn't constantly arguing with invisible people throughout the book. :)

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