Eldredge, John and Stasi, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul, Published by Thomas Nelkid, Nashville 2005, 225 pperiods.

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In the introduction to Captivating, Stasi Eldredge writes, “As a brand-new Christian, the first book I picked up to review on godly femininity I threw throughout the room. I never before picked it up aobtain.” Can you determine through her feelings? I absolutely have the right to. Over the years I’ve review dozens of worthmuch less books aimed toward Christian womales. Some appealed to emovement over reason. Others taught dangerous theology. And then there were the publications that gave me the “secret” to victorious womanhood in a few easy steps—procedures that never before seemed to work-related for my household and my case.

It was refreshing to check out that Captivating deviates from the predictable “how-to” pattern of most Christian women’s literary works. I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of the book—that we were created for a love partnership through God, and that the deepest longings of a Christian woman’s heart are to be loved by God, and also to love God1. Sadly, the troubles via the book outweigh this great message. Please let me describe.

Captivated with ourselves

To be the beauty, abducted by the bad males, dealt with for and also rescuedby a hero—some version of this had a location in all our desires (pg. 9).

It should come as no surpincrease to any kind of of us that we are the stars of our own daydesires. Like the Eldredges, I think it’s a part of our nature that as kids we imagine ourselves as heroines, as the facility of attention, and also as the princess. Even as adult womales, we frequently tfinish to be overly captivated through ourselves. Deep dvery own, some prideful part of us wishes that everyone else were captivated with us, too. Maybe that is why it was so appealing as soon as Eldredge said:

Given the way production unfolds, how it builds to ever and ever higher works of art, deserve to tbelow be any kind of doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? . . . Look out across the Planet and also say to yourselves, “The whole, huge world is incomplete without me. Creation got to its zenith in me” (pg. 25).

A flattering thought? Yes. But is it true? Is tright here any type of biblical factor to believe that Eve’s development someexactly how excelled Adam’s bereason of the order of creation? Remember that Paul seemed to say simply the opposite in 1 Timothy 2:12-13: “I carry out not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remajor quiet. For Adam was formed initially, then Eve” (focus mine).

It is as if the Eldredges are saying, “You are effective, beautiful and also strong. You are worthy to be loved.” But the Holy bible states you were dead in sin, dressed in filthy rags of unrighteousness (view Ephesians 2:1-3). If you are a believer—a child of God—He loves you bereason He is glorious, not bereason you are. Do you watch the difference? To see simply the opposite principle in Captivating, consider several quotes from the book:

He concerned reclaim the glorious creature that you are. And then collection you totally free . . . to be yourself (pg. 95).

When you are through a woguy, ask yourself, what is she informing me around God? It will certainly open up wonders for you (pg. 26).

The essence of a womale is Beauty. She is expected to be the incarnation—our endure in huguy form—of a Captivating God (pg. 130).

No one is saved by a gospel of self-esteem. The handsome prince did not pertained to save the lovely, kind-hearted princess in the story of redemption. God got to dvery own to us in our filth and also poverty and transcreated us, when nothing in us was worthy. Missing this allude will reason you to watch God as less gracious than He truly is. Don’t look for the incarnation of God in your own beauty or in that of an additional woman; look to God Himself, incarnate only in the perkid of Jesus Christ. God is glorious. God is captivating. It is true that we were created in the picture of God, however in our fallen state, our nature terribly marred by sin, we represent just a dim reflection.

Questionable theology

In Captivating, simply as in Wild at Heart, the Eldredges’ writing reflects some very questionable theology. For instance, after describing Cinderella’s oppressed, miserable life as a stepboy and also her response to the prince’s invitation to leave it all behind, they write:

The exact same holds true for Mary, the mother of Jesus—only it’s far, much even more weighty. Her life likewise turned on an invitation. The angel came as the courier of the King. But still, she needed to say yes. would certainly not force the entirety thing upon her. Her heart needed to be willing (pg. 203).

This view of the annunciation (announcement) hinges on interpreting Mary’s statement in Luke 1:38 (“May it be to me as you have said.”) in reverse—as if it were Mary’s acceptance of God’s sell and her command also to the angel to go ahead via the arrangement. But nowbelow in the passage perform we find even the slightest indication that the angel is asking Mary if she will certainly accept. On the contrary, he tells her that she will certainly develop (v. 31), she shall name Him Jesus (v. 31), the Holy Spirit will certainly come upon her and also the Many High will overshadow her (v. 35). This is no market from God, however fairly an announcement of particular, foreordained events entailing Mary—a role for which she had actually been favored.

Those who wish to elevate Mary to the function of co-redeemer through Christ propagate this watch, as perform many kind of via a feminist agenda. Tbelow is additionally a hint here of Open Theism—as if God didn’t know what Mary would answer till she had actually made her decision. Of course, I don’t know if the Eldredges believe any type of of these false doctrines, but their composing comes dangerously close.

When I asked apologist Dr. James White to comment on this significantly renowned exaltation of the role of Mary, he shelp, “Tbelow is an odd, and extremely unbiblical, desire on the component of those seeking to be ecumenical in their outlook to go beyond the Scriptural witness to Mary’s faithfulness and also godliness and also to watch in her words far more than the original context could ever bear.”

The Eldredges proceed on their unbiblical theme of exalting Mary to a role of being a type of co-savior as soon as they write:

And of course the salvation of mantype rested on the courage of a womale, a teenage girl. What if she had actually shelp no? (pg. 204).

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What if Mary had actually said no? Would God’s arrangement for the redemption of mantype have actually been foiled? Even if her refusal were theoretically possible, it absolutely wouldn’t have readjusted God’s eternal decree. Remember Jonah? God’s plans for the salvation of Nineveh were not contingent on that reluctant prophet’s instant willingness to obey God’s command. Thankcompletely, God’s treatment in my life and yours doesn’t eventually depfinish on our willingness either (see John 1:13; Romans 9:16; Ephesians 2:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:18; and so on.).

The photo of an impotent, needy God, dependent upon our decisions, appears numerous times in Captivating. What picture do you acquire of God from these statements?

How many type of of you see God as longing to be loved by you? We check out Him as solid and powerful, yet not as needing us, breakable to us, yearning to be preferred (pp. 28-29).

From cover to cover, from start to end, the cry of God’s heart is, “Why won’t you choose me?” (pg. 29, which is a quote from John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart).

God longs to be preferred. Just as a woman longs to be preferred (pg. 29).

It can come as a surpclimb that Christ asks our permission to come in and heal, yet He is sort, and also the door is shut from the inside, and healing never comes against our will. In order to experience His healing, we have to likewise provide Him permission to come into the places we have so lengthy shut to anyone (pg. 100).

Would the God described above be able to break dvery own obstacles we erected in order to keep our cherimelted sins? Could He do whatever is essential in the process of transcreating us right into the likeness of His Son? Or are we in control, telling God, “Here’s precisely exactly how a lot sanctification and also healing I’d choose this day, please”?

We need to be cautious right here to strike a correct balance. As in so many type of locations of doctrine, we deserve to autumn right into a ditch on either side of truth once we discuss God’s love and also his longing for us. On the one hand, God is not sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring, prefer some foracquired prom date. On the other hand also, neither is He cold and uninvolved—a God that leaves us alone in our sin.

In the path in between those 2 ditches, we have actually a compassionate God that is not willing that any that are His must perish. He assures the complete sanctification of each of His kids (watch Romans 8:29). God both mourned and also became angry over the sin and unfaithfulness of Israel in the Old Testimony. He did not speak tbelow, wringing His hands and pacing the floor, waiting for Israel to return to Him. Over and over He sovereignly relocated Israel’s opponents to punish them, and in some cases He afflicted Israel directly (via famine, pestilence, and so on.) in order to drive His liked world back to Himself. God has actually never been thwarted by the reluctance of His elect.

Consider an additional example of the Eldredge’s watch of a God that requirements us:

Reading George MacDonald a number of years ago, I came throughout an astounding thought. You’ve probably heard that tright here is in eextremely human heart a location that God alone deserve to fill. . . . But what the old poet was saying was that tright here is also in God’s heart a place that you alone deserve to fill. “It follows that tbelow is a chamber in God Himself, right into which none have the right to enter yet one, the individual.” You. You are intended to fill a area in the heart of God no one and nopoint else can fill. Whoa. He longs for you (pg. 120).

Is tright here emptiness in God that He requirements me to fill? Granted, God has actually prepared a location for each believer in the body of Christ so that we might have actually the privilege of making use of our gifts and also particular talents. But this was for our sake, not bereason of some deficit in God that we need to complete. If tright here were such a void, just how can He have existed finish and also blessed in eternity past? God requirements nothing (watch Acts 17:25).

In addition to the theological error of a weak, needy God, the Eldredges seem to have actually a confused theology of demons. In mentioning a relatively typical marital misexpertise, Stasi says this:

It was then that John and also I realized that we were not alone in the room. We were being assaulted by a soul of accusation that had properly functioned in between us for ten years, operating to isolate us from one another and also ultimately ruin our marital relationship (pg. 194).

After commanding the heart to leave in Jesus’ name, Stasi reports that she and also John had a breakvia in their partnership. I’m happy they cleared up this misunderstanding, but on what biblical basis deserve to we say that tbelow is such thing as a “heart of accusation”? I find no cite of it in Scripture. In an previously chapter, Stasi talks about the affect of Neil Anderkid in John’s counseling practice and in her life. I won’t go right into all the errors that Anderson teaches concerning demonology, however I carry out recommfinish “The Christian Research Journal” articles, volume 21, problems 1-4 for a considerable therapy of this subject.


There is a small in this book that I commend as handy to woguys. The layout of loving God is laudable. Stasi’s openness in describing some deep damages from her previous may be handy to women that have actually proficient something similar. Though I uncovered the continuous usage of examples from the movies and also famous songs to be a little bit distracting (I was not acquainted through many type of of the dozens of movies to which they referred), others may discover those social referrals make the book much easier to understand. It is also refreshing that the book does not explain simply one type of woman for all womales to emulate. The Eldredges acunderstanding that God developed us with differences, and that not every one of us are gifted to occupational in the nursery or the kitchen.

On the various other hand, Captivating is a lot more woman-focused than God-focused. The theology taught in the book is complete of error. Many of the biblical passages addressed directly to woguys are not debated in the book. Jesus is presented as a suitor instead of as a soveregime. My conclusion is that Captivating is a slightly sanctified—though somewhat misleading—romance novel around God, through bit biblical substance.


1The reader will certainly note that this review does not deal verbatim through the three things the Eldredges say women long for in their “heart of hearts.” The first two, to be romanced and also to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, I’ve summarized as “to be loved by God and also to love God” considering that biblically loving God always involves taking component in His church, where eexceptionally believer has actually a specifically-designed role to play according to his/her gifts. The 3rd item, “to unveil beauty” appeared a quite nebulous concept to me and so I refrained from commenting on it straight.