Truly Free: Breaking The Snares That So Easily Entangle, by Robert Morris
[Note: This book was provided by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
At its heart, this is a book about demonology, about asking God’s help and working hard to deal with areas of weakness and vulnerability in life that allow Satan and his demons to have a stronghold and that open one’s life to demonic oppression. The book talks in detail about the many ways that we can leave ourselves open to demonic influence even as believers, and talks a lot about what the bible says about dealing with demons and about the permission they have to enter people. To be honest, some of the material, even if potentially true, is frightening to read. To give only the most painful example, the book talks at some length about how the abuses of the past often create a vulnerability to oppression and suffering as a result from demons, whether this abuse comes through ridicule and insults or from more direct forms of abuse that leave deeply wounded people in the aftermath. Although the book does speak optimistically about the freedom that we can find in Jesus, it gives the reader no illusions as to the difficulties and demands that Christian freedom requires.
In terms of its contents, this is a straightforward book that is well-organized and that combines a great deal of uncomfortable but relevant personal sharing on the part of the author about his own life and those he has witnessed, along with some sound biblical exegesis of passages relating to its subject material. The book begins with an introduction about freedom from the sorts of long-term difficulties that drag down believers, and then looks at a step-by-step examination of important areas beginning with the fact that God and Jesus Christ are far greater than Satan, then comparing Satan and his demons to the Chaldeans in several ways, and then looking at some representative ways that demons develop a foothold in a believer’s life, from pride to bitterness to greed to lust to lies that we believe about ourselves as a result of past ridicule to past wounds. The book then closes with a prayer for freedom and some appendices that provide helpful information from an evangelical perspective, with its jargon of being born again and knowing deliverance, to give but a couple of examples, all coming in at around 220 pages or so.
This is one of those books where those who need it most are likely to find it a bit uncomfortable to read. On the plus side, the book appears gracious to those who are willing to admit they struggle with problems, as many of us would in one area or another. I could definitely nod my head in agreement about some of the areas where I fare particularly poorly, most of them deeply interrelated. That said, there are plenty of people who are likely to feel insulted by this book, especially as it ascribes an almost supernatural intuition to the part of the author, who nonetheless is a bit awkward in his oversharing of his own life struggles, and it seems deeply unjust that he was given authority and a loving marriage so early in his Christian walk, when he was a novice prone to deep insecurity as well as being puffed up, and it seems hard to believe that the author is not just a little bit too proud of his own spiritual discernment. That said, this is a deeply useful book for those who have a guarded approach to demons, recognizing the authority they have temporarily been delegated by God, and desirous of freedom from lifelong difficulties. Ultimately, it is that note of hope, as well as a realistic appraisal of its challenges, that makes this a worthwhile book despite its rough edges. As a note, some readers will find the author’s expectation that spouses forgive each other for struggles with alcoholism and infidelity to be a bit difficult to accept. It certainly is a demanding book in many ways.