I have not read any books by Max Lucado (other than a couple of children’s books). I know who he is, how could anyone in the Christian world, at least the reading Christian world, not know who he is. But I have not read anything that he has written. I have always categorized him in the fluffy Christian author genre. You know, the one where the author pats us on the head and gives us nice thoughts, but doesn’t challenge us much or really give us much new to think about.
I would not have picked this up but it was one of the options for the Thomas Nelson blogger program so I decided to get it and review it. (Full disclosure, this was an ebook that I downloaded free from Thomas Nelson with the understanding I would blog about it.)
The basic format was a chapter for a specific type of fear. Then Lucado would talk about why we should not fear this particular thing. In general I think it was good. I agree that the topic is relevant, I know many people that seem to fear everything. And Lucado was biblical and gave good relevant stories to illustrate his point. I gave four stars on my Goodreads and Amazon reviews.
But I think Lucado really missed the ball in his next to last chapter. It was about Fear of Global Calamity. This is certainly an appropriate topic for a chapter. But instead of dealing with why we as Christians should not fear global calamity he seemed to suggest that we should embrace Global Calamity. He connected it to Revelations and the end times, which are appropriate. However, I didn’t see any thing that said, “sometimes a hurricane is just a hurricane, not judgement from God.” In fact he kept saying we should look for God in calamity. Now I understand part of this, we should look for where God acts and we should personally be repentant and use tragedy to help us re-align our goals and to follow God better. But we can never be sure, this side of heaven, what is God’s judgement and what is a natural occurrence, sin or a result of human depravity.
This is why I am so frustrated with John Piper’s response to the tornado in St Paul and many people’s response to Katrina and 9/11. I am unaware of any thing in scripture that allows us to know that God is judging a particular group because he allows a natural event.
The other part of this is that Lucado hints that the rise of calamities are an indication that the second coming is coming soon. History is littered with predictions like that. They have all been wrong.