Who’s Captivating Whom? A Review of John and Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul -- By: Donna Thoennes

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 11:2 (Fall 2006)
Article: Who’s Captivating Whom? A Review of John and Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul
Author: Donna Thoennes


Who’s Captivating Whom?
A Review of John and Stasi Eldredge’s
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

Donna Thoennes

Assistant Professor, Disciple-maker,
Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University
La Mirada, California

John and Stasi Eldredge recently wrote Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (Thomas Nelson, 2005), and already the female counterpart to John Eldredge’s best-selling Wild at Heart (Thomas Nelson, 2001) promises to be as popular as the version targeting men. The high school and college women in my life are carrying it with them. Just what is it about this book that quickly captivates young women?

Three potential reasons come to mind. Perhaps it is the clear message that God is accessible and knowable. They emphasize the immanence of God who is personal and involved in the daily lives of his people. Surely this is comforting to the reader.

Perhaps readers are also refreshed by the authors’ emphasis on the wonderful, unique creation that is woman. There is no hint in this work of blurring the differences between the genders. On the contrary, women are special, beautiful, and responsible to reflect certain aspects of God’s character. In an age when distinction between the genders is unpopular and when the idea that the Creator may have intended these distinctions is antiquated, this book bucks the cultural trends.

Further still, readers may feel a measure of camaraderie with Stasi as she reveals examples from her life of disappointments, struggles, and sins. She provides hope for those who have struggled with the issues that, sadly, are common among women, affirming that God can and will heal relationships and emotional pain. Many women will surely find an emotional connection with her as she speaks of their experience while sharing her own.

While these positive points draw readers in, some caution is necessary before recommending it to the women in your life. When compared with the biblical view of God and humanity, the work offers a low view of God and a heightened view of women. For instance, instead of beginning with an understanding of God that comes from his Word, they observe

the women in their lives and claim that they want to be romanced, want to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and want to unveil beauty. While these tendencies may be true of women, the authors’ conclusion proves problematic. They conclude that these desires are true of God as well. Their theological method begins with human experience rather than God’s revelation of himself. This “theology from below” invariably leads to ...

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