Friday, October 07, 2005

The Power of Crying Out, part 1

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine sent me a book called The Power of Crying Out by Bill Gothard. I wrote her a letter in return giving her my thoughts on the book. Unfortunately, there's a lot more fluff in Christian literature than substantial writing. This book is a good example of the kind of fluff that becomes popular for a while, but is really full of silly ideas and poor argumentation. There's a lot of overlap between the ideas in this book and the ideas in the Word-Faith movement (especially the whole idea that words have power), so I thought I'd post this letter in the next few blog entries. And in case anybody is wondering why I'm always posting stuff I wrote already instead of new stuff, it's because I'm in school, and I work, and I have very little free time. I haven't even made a bow in over a month, and that's shocking! Here we go...

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Hello Fraulein Jessica,

When you sent this book to me, I asked if you were sending it to try to "brainwash" me. You said, "sort of," so I was curious to know what it was that you were trying to convince me of. Judging by the content of the book, and by an earlier conversation we had, I'm guessing that what you meant to try to convince me of was that words have power. So I'm going to give you my thoughts on this book as a response.

To be true to what the author intended rather than assuming that he was advancing the point I take you to have wanted to convince me of, I want to look specifically at what he was trying to demonstrate in this book.

He begins the book with an anecdote about a woman being healed of cancer, and he asks, "Did it matter that we cried out to God, calling on Him with loud voices? That is what this little book is all about" (p. 11, emphasis in original). He means to advance the point that it did matter. On p. 12, he makes the point that there's a difference between "prayer" and "crying out to God," and on p. 13, he argues that "crying out" means to use our voices in fervent appeal for God's help. The whole thesis of the book, then, is to argue that using your audible voice to cry out to God is more effective than silent prayer.

There are a few minor points he makes, though, that have some bearing on the "power of words." He attempts to explain why crying out is more effective than silent prayer. So I'm going to look at those reasons to see if they justify his conclusion.

to be continued...
Part 2

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