Living Close To God by Gene Edwards

Living Close To GodLiving Close To God
By Gene Edwards
Published: October 4, 2011
ISBN: 0307730190

When was the last time you came across a book whose premise held great promise, but whose approach left you cold… A book that captured your interest at the start, but caused you to struggle midway, and left you concerned, disappointed, and unsatisfied by book’s end?

I recently read such a book: Living Close To God by Gene Edwards.

Living Close To God initially caught my eye because of its noble goal – to help you develop “a spiritual life that takes you deeper than daily devotions”. I found the book interesting at the start because I thought Edward’s story of how he was “spiritually handicapped” would resonate with a lot of people. In Part 1, Edwards describes how he is not spiritual by nature – he is more doer than devout. He also discusses the challenges that hinder modern Christians from developing an active spiritual life.

So far, so good.

The problem lies in the remainder of the book, where Edwards shares how he deepened his spiritual life, and encourages you to do the same. Because of his credentials – the book jacket describes the author as “one of the most influential Christian authors of our time” and “the dean of the home-church movement” – I expected to find an insightful book steeped in biblical truth. This was not the case.

To the casual reader, Edwards’s writings may appear authentic as he quotes a lot of Scripture and shares all sorts of personal revelation he says came from the Lord. If you dig deeply, however, and compare Edward’s teachings with the Bible, you will find many discrepancies. Much of what Edwards shares simply does not align with the Word of God. Instead, Edward’s book is filled with confusing, esoteric, syncretistic interpretations of Scripture that sound, at times, like mystical mumbo jumbo.

Here’s a sample of some of the doctrines you will find in Edward’s book:

  • The main thing Jesus talks about in Scripture is food (Chapter 8).
  • Breath and Breathing are the most frequently mentioned topics in the New Testament (Chapter 9).
  • Singing to the Lord is the first instinct of a new convert to Christ (Chapter 11).
  • You can locate your spirit geographically (Chapter 12).

These ideas – and Edward’s interpretation of them – are not grounded in biblical truth. Rather, they stem from the mystical teachings of Madame Guyon and Miguel de Molinos – two mystics who were condemned as heretics centuries ago by the Catholic church. As a Christian leader, Edwards should be warning his readers against those who teach false doctrine. Instead, Edwards holds these heretics in high esteem, and encourages other Christians to follow them (Postscript).

As anyone who has ever been spiritually deceived will tell you – the most important thing to consider when evaluating a Christian book isn’t how well the book is written or how credentialed the author may appear to be. The most important question to ask is: Do the ideas contained within the book align with – or conflict with – the spiritual truths contained in Scripture?

In 1 John 4:1, God gives us a principle to keep us from being spiritually deceived. It’s called “test the spirits” and it goes like this:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

I wish that I could recommend this book, but I cannot – when put to the 1 John 4:1 test, it fails. Living Close To God does not accurately reflect the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith or align with the truths presented in the Bible. I strongly encourage you to research this author before purchasing this book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review. I did not receive any form of monetary compensation and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

15 Responses to “Living Close To God by Gene Edwards”

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  1. Dawn Paoletta
    Twitter: breathoffaith
    says:

    Wow, lots of great resources AND a an informative book review! You are one busy blogger! Thanks, Dawn (MDD)

  2. Shah Wharton says:

    I read far too many books which claim to be amazing only to fall flat. One such book I have reviewed this weekend in fact.

    I just wanted to let you know that for some very annoying and baffling reason, my computer has completely locked me out of Twitter and all things related to Twitter. So all the RSS feeds I should get form it stopped, I cannot get in it to update, I cannot KLOUT. I left a quick message from my hubs computer just fine? Driving me mad. Wanted you to understand why I haven’t klouted you back. NOT by choice!

    My pc has been playing up for ages one way or another and I’m so ready for a new one!

    Shah. X

  3. Jenny @ Full Cart Full Wallet says:

    Thanks for warning me off that book! There’s nothing I dislike more than to think I’m going to learn something useful (especially when it has to do with Christ) only to find I didn’t get what I wanted out of a book.

    Found you through the Awesome Alexa Mavens Hop

    Jenny
    Full Cart Full Wallet

  4. Ellen says:

    Thank you for such an insightful book review. I wouldn’t have thought that he was falsely teaching scripture. ~ Ellen

  5. Pamela says:

    I love an honest book review. I can see why you were attracted to the title. I’ve read a few that God’s spirit didn’t uphold the book. In tuned with Christ, our own spirit won’t lead us astray. I’m grateful for that.

  6. Charlotte says:

    Thank you for your honest review of this book. My husband reviews books. I don’t think he has reviewed this one.
    Have wonderful week.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

  7. nina @ mamas*little*treasures
    Twitter: mamastreasures
    says:

    Hi – just came across this post while visiting for Wordless Wednesday . . . . great review! We have an online Christian women’s magazine, Ruby for Women, and would love to have you share a few book reviews with us. If you are interested, please email me at editor@rubyforwomen.com Hope to see you again soon! Nina @ mamas*little*treasures and Ruby for Women
    http://www.rubyforwomen.ning.com
    http://www.rubyforwomen.com

  8. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the heads up! Already a GFC follower. Following email through the Feed me Friday hop!
    Michelle
    Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life

  9. Renee says:

    Very detailed and honest review. I have not read this book myself nor heard of it I guess. God bless.

  10. Sarah says:

    great review. Thanks for sharing the heads up. It reminds me of what I recently heard about the author of the best seller book, The Secret. He had tons of followers, hit the bestseller list and people were paying upwards of $5000 to attend his retreats. I heard him on video say he’s god…..and he’s being charged for the murder of three people. Your warning is great. thanks. for this.

  11. Lisa says:

    I’m just out hopping around and came across your blog so I thought I’d say hi!! 🙂

    Bye,
    Lisa
    Life Full of Laughter

  12. Kymber says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful review!
    I really appreciate open and honest book reviews like this – because there are so many books out there that claim to be “Christian” and are sold in Christian book stores, but hold SO much false doctrine in them that they lead people astray from the Truth. Why do these book stores conform like this? Why are they not more discerning in their choices on what they sell to the public? To the baby Christians out there – who are thirsting for knowledge of the Lord, it can be so detrimental to their walk -and cloud their vision of who God really is.
    We need to read more book reviews like yours to help us before we go out and spend our hard earned money on books with no substance.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings to you,
    Kymber

  13. Kimberly Anderson says:

    This book will keep your relationship more closer to God.. People these days do need deep, personal, and truth-based relationships with God.

  14. I am going to check out this book. Thanks for sharing your review with your readers! I find the doctrine about “Singing to the Lord is the first instinct of a new convert to Christ (Chapter 11),” intriguing.

  15. TToria says:

    How disappointing!

    Very in-depth review here, thanks for sharing.

    TToria
    http://ttoria.blogspot.com

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