Book Review: The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way Of The Lamb

The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way Of The Lamb:  Searching For Jesus’ Path Of Power In A Church That Has Abandoned It, by Jamin Goggin And Kyle Strobel

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

It is hard to know what to make of this book.  On the one hand, this book has a lot of tiresome and offensive elements of social gospelism, the attempt to paint Evangelical Christianity in some sort of crisis that can only be overcome by giving in to ungodly left-wing politics and wallowing in white guilt, as the authors do far too often.  On a more positive side, though, when the authors can stop the political grandstanding and focusing on their own uninteresting perspectives and actually get around to talking about more interesting people who they claim to be inspired by like C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen [1], the book is actually interesting.  The authors touchingly note their own attempts to get to know an older generation of socially inclined believers who are near death, and the book takes on a melancholy elegiac tone at times as the authors talk about dementia and declining health.  It is also somewhat melancholy that this book could have been so much better if it had writers who had a clue about biblical Christianity and were not merely evangelists for contemporary whiny left-wing Christendom, something this world needs a lot less of.

The contents of this book largely consist of too wordy accounts of the sad pilgrimage of the authors to various other, better, authors with something worthwhile to say.  It is a book about books, where the authors try to borrow from the reputation of the people they talk with to support their own ersatz Christianity, with which they seek to overthrow a straw man of Christian leaders enraptured by a worldly view of power.  In a bit more than 200 pages the authors discuss their physical and intellectual journeys to figures such as Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, James Houston, J.I. Packer, John Perkins, Jean Vanier, and Dallas Willard.  The authors are at their best when they forget about themselves and focus on the other people they are with, their books, their lives, their friendships with even more famous Christian leaders of the past.  There are times where this book is genuinely enjoyable to read, before the authors ruin the mood with some other ill-timed or ill-placed comment that shows they are left-wing tools without anything worthwhile to provide to the conversation on their own.  The sole value of this book for someone who is not already in agreement with these misguided people is in showing how we can appreciate those who came before us and be inspired by believers from generations past from whose examples we have much to learn.  Fortunately, this is of considerable value.

There is a deep contradiction in this book, as is so often the case of other books of its kind.  On the one hand, the authors decry the love of people with power and those with positions of power, and yet the authors themselves appear to enjoy being around famous people and those associated with the famous people of the past, and their political worldview includes a love of government power being used to help those they view as oppressed and disadvantaged and therefore worthy of aid.  It appears that the authors only have a problem with power when it is held by conservatives or people who take the Bible more seriously than they do.  This sort of hypocrisy makes the authors extremely difficult to read, as one wonders why these people even have platforms to spread their bogus views anyway.  The authors and their viewpoints should be limited to self-published works that no one has to see unless they go out of their way to look for it, which would be a waste of everyone’s time and money.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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