Is God Wild at Heart? A Review of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart -- By: Randy L. Stinson

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 08:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Is God Wild at Heart? A Review of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart
Author: Randy L. Stinson

Is God Wild at Heart?
A Review of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart

Randy L. Stinson

Executive Director,
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Louisville, Kentucky

Whenever a book written for men (notoriously known for their lack of interest in reading) sells 500,000 copies, you can be sure that it has made a clear connection. There is a lot that is right with John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and with his compelling style of writing it is no surprise that thousands of men all over the country have been drawn to it. Eldredge has called attention to some problems with which most men seem to intuitively resonate:

  1. Our culture (and even our churches) has adopted a strategy that facilitates the feminization of men.
  2. Masculinity, with its predilection to adventure, rowdiness, and risk has become a condition to be cured.
  3. Consequently, boys are in big trouble. School systems and churches have not taken the unique features of masculinity into consideration when designing curriculum or programs.
  4. Our culture, intent on emasculating its boys, has produced a huge sense of withdrawal and boredom from its men.
  5. As disconcerting as it may be to mothers everywhere, masculinity can only be imparted by masculinity. In other words, a young boy is never really sure he has become a man until another man, or group of men, tells him so.
  6. Sadly, many, if not most, men have abdicated this responsibility.
  7. Every man needs a battle for which he can live and die.

Eldredge clearly knows how to write to men and by the testimonies of many, he has achieved one of his objectives, which is to give men permission to be men. With all of the good insights Eldredge offers in this book, it is actually a little painful to mention two of what should be considered very significant problems which undermine the entire book.

Problem One: An Unbiblical View of God

The first problem is that Eldredge appeals to a wrong view of God as his foundation for masculinity. Part of the thesis of Wild at Heart is that men have a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to fight for. The problem occurs when he tries to project these activities onto the life of God. In the words of the title for chapter two, God is “the wild one in whose image we are made.” Eldredge’s description of God and his “adventure” leave the reader with a confusing and unbiblical picture of God. For him, men are risk-takers and adventure-seekers at heart because God is a risk-taker and adventure-seeker. He claims,

In an attempt to secure the sovereignty of God, theologians have overstated their case and left us with a chess-player God playing both sides of the board, makin...

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