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His anger made enemies tremble. He'd say the most outrageous things. He was definitely not the Jesus of the stained glass. In the author's winsome, narrative approach, he breaks Jesus out of the typical stereotypes, just as he set masculinity free in his book, Wild at Heart. By uncovering the real Jesus, readers are welcomed into the rich emotional life of Christ.

All of the remarkable qualities of Jesus burst like fireworks with color and brilliance because of his humanity. Eldredge goes on to show readers how they can experience this Jesus in their lives every day.

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This book will quicken readers' worship, and deepen their intimacy with Jesus. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published October 12th by FaithWords first published January 1st More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 25, Ben De Bono rated it liked it Shelves: theology. John Eldredge has been an incredible influence on both me personally and on my ministry. Wild at Heart and Waking the Dead are two of the most powerful books I've ever read.

I use both regularly in my teaching and have encouraged many other people to read them. While his others books aren't quite on the level of those two, I consider most of what he's done while a bit repetitive at times to be excellent and highly recommended.


In some ways Beautiful Outlaw continues that trend. There are parts John Eldredge has been an incredible influence on both me personally and on my ministry. There are parts of the book that are vintage Eldredge. Unfortunately, there are also some glaring theological issues throughout. I understand that Eldredge is neither a theologian or a scholar. I don't expect him to be. But he is someone who has devoted his life to ministry and teaching the Word. Theologian or not, that makes him accountable to a higher standard. Much of the error in this book is simply not acceptable for someone in his position.

Let me start with the good. I found much of the book to be a very refreshing read. Eldredge brilliantly presents the human side of Jesus and shows how his personality shines through the Gospels in ways that we often miss. He also stresses the personal side of faith, something that's too easily forgotten when studying theology.

As such, the book was a very important reminder to me to not let go of that side of my faith. I say reminder because for anyone who's read Eldredge before that's what it will be. There's not a ton of new ideas from him here. While it's helpful to see them presented in this context, it would be nice to see him stretch himself a bit more as a teacher and writer. That aside, the material is powerful and important. Unfortunately, that's not the whole story. My biggest complaint with the book is Eldredge's use of the word "religion" According to him religion is what's wrong with modern Christianity.

He never defines his term and it quickly becomes apparent that religion is a straw man he's constructed to project onto anything he doesn't like about how other people do church. This on it's own is obnoxious, especially to those of us who find religion despite all the ways it has been corrupted to be a beautiful and powerful part of our faith, one that brings us closer to God. But what really takes the book down is the way Eldredge projects his vague understanding of religion back onto Scripture.

He assumes that Jesus was confronting the exact problems that he, as a 21st century Christian, is. At best this is an eye-rolling, hermeneutical error. At worst it's a serious theological error in need of rebuking and correction. The heremneutical problems don't stop there. Eldredge is determined to draw out the personality of Jesus in Scripture.

At times this is done brilliantly.


Other times, it's bizarre and problematic. He quotes Matthew where Jesus metaphorically refers to a Canaanite woman as a dog.

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It's a confusing and troubling passage and one that deserves serious thought if we're to understand it. Eldredge's answer is to tell us to not bother looking for any deep spiritual truth here.

Jesus is just being playful. Ok, maybe. But where's the textual evidence to back up that claim? It's a nice thought but it's completely unsupported by Scripture. I don't think Eldredge realizes how serious an error he's committing with claims like that.

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On the surface it seems like a small thing, but what he's doing is projecting his view of Jesus onto the text rather than allowing God to speak to him through the text. Without intending to, Eldredge has undermined the authority of Scripture in a very serious way. It's clear throughout the book that he is in desperate need of a hermeneutics class or two. The other major issue with the book is the way that Eldredge allows no room for reverence of God or a recognition of his transcendence.

He's determined to present Jesus in a highly personal, highly relatable light. He does a great job and what he presents is important. But the fact that he does away with any sort of reverence for God is very troubling. There is a place to come before God as Father, speak to him personally and experience the rich personality Eldredge describes.

There is also a place to come before him in awe, recognizing his greatness and holiness. Both are taught by Scripture. Both are necessary for a complete faith. Both draw us closer to God and help us become who he wants us to be. The other side effect of Eldredge's highly personal presentation is that he winds up with a frighteningly low ecclesiology. At one point he briefly affirms that going to church is important, both those words ring hollow compared to the rest of the book. He spends a lot of time attacking the church and winds up a faith that is very much "just me and Jesus.

I believe that Scripture quite clearly teaches that we find that personal relationship with God only within God's covenant family. The church is not a nice add on as Eldredge presents it. It is essential. There are a couple other minor problems with the book. First, it's not very Trinitarian. Eldredge frequently confuses the different persons and roles of the Trinity, which is a bit shocking considering this has been a strength of his in previous work.

Second, his instance on The Message as a legitimate and at times superior Bible translation is pretty disturbing. I'm fine with people reading The Message but it's simply inaccurate to consider it a translation.


It's not. It's a loose paraphrase that is really Eugene Peterson's interpretation of Scripture rather than Scripture itself. If that's understood by the people reading it, I have no problem. Eldredge clearly fails to understand this and winds up presenting it in a way that will lead other people astray. At the end of the day, I'm glad I read the book.

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