Get Out Of God’s Way, by Marcos A. Miranda
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This is a book full of tensions and contradictions. The title is combative call to get out of God’s way in terms of restrictive liturgies and standards about dress and grooming and behavior for churches, but the author claims frequently to be preaching a gracious message. The author frequently points out that to believe in Greek has the meaning of to obey or to adhere to, but although there are frequent mentions made to doing good works, the author is strangely silent on God’s law, and seems actively hostile to some of God’s laws, namely those restricting the working out of sexuality apart from God’s boundaries. The author has read many of the right books, and has a great admiration for Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I share , but the author clearly has some wrong ideas about salvation and eternal life. This book is a mixture of good and evil, and the author seems to be a bit dishonest in how he deals with concerns that he is watering down the Gospel, all the more ironic in light of his frequent insistence that it is dishonesty that is at the root of sin.
This book is composed of 22 short chapters that the author claims are based on his sermons but in reality are more like fairly superficial sermonettes. Most of them consist of occasional scriptural citations, including one key and brief text to begin, and then a large number of emotional oversharing and human reasoning in order to back up the author’s idea about what this verse means and how it applies to believers today. The author spends a great deal of time talking about the struggle of his mother with depression and about the close-mindedness he sees among many believers, and there is much in his condemnation of rigid and cold formality and the greed and materialism of our contemporary culture that is certainly well put. In many of the chapters, the author spends his time working between eternal truths and contemporary applications, and in general it can be said that the author has a bit of a social gospel approach in that he believes in an overemphasis on social justice and an underemphasis on personal morality, common of the left-wing of contemporary Christianity that is prolific in writing and not so prolific in godly example as well as a positive encouragement to faith. There is enough waffling in this book for the author to start his own Waffle House franchise, which he might well enjoy given his girth and his sensitivity to it.
This is not to say that this is a bad book. Indeed, I have dozens of this book by people of like mind to the author in my own library, writers who lament the lack of relationship in much of contemporary Christianity and long to resolve concerns over our cultural war by what amounts to a surrender of demands on believers to live up to biblical standards of morality in their personal conduct. It is not so much that this author waters down the gospel that makes this book, and likely the author’s own thought and practice, to be so problematic, but rather that this author promotes another Gospel, a Gospel where one’s good deeds show that one is a good person to a culture that is largely hostile to God’s ways, without really convicting that culture of its more characteristic personal sins. The author is clearly opposed to the prosperity Gospel as well as to the philosophy of Job’s friends that is common in the Latin Pentecostal movement, at least as the author claims, but this is not really a message focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather one of many imitation gospels, made all the more irritating by the author’s claims to have received divine visions at key moments of his own life and experience. If the author wants people to get out of God’s way, perhaps he should take that advice himself.
 See, for example: