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Broken: Seven Christian Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible

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This book examines seven of the most common spiritual traditions and how they use speculation, mysticism, and moralism to break Christianity. Author Jonathan Fisk calls them the seven “counterfeit Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible,” because they are seven myths that have infiltrated the churches in our age, seven teachings taught as i This book examines seven of the most common spiritual traditions and how they use speculation, mysticism, and moralism to break Christianity. Author Jonathan Fisk calls them the seven “counterfeit Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible,” because they are seven myths that have infiltrated the churches in our age, seven teachings taught as if they were doctrine, but which are nothing more than the traditions of men.


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This book examines seven of the most common spiritual traditions and how they use speculation, mysticism, and moralism to break Christianity. Author Jonathan Fisk calls them the seven “counterfeit Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible,” because they are seven myths that have infiltrated the churches in our age, seven teachings taught as i This book examines seven of the most common spiritual traditions and how they use speculation, mysticism, and moralism to break Christianity. Author Jonathan Fisk calls them the seven “counterfeit Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible,” because they are seven myths that have infiltrated the churches in our age, seven teachings taught as if they were doctrine, but which are nothing more than the traditions of men.

30 review for Broken: Seven Christian Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    As a conservative Lutheran, I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. But I simply couldn't get past the various fonts, public domain clip art, the overuse of bold, and pop culture tangents. If there was a way to put a book on Ritalin, this one should be the first one in the school nurse's office. As a conservative Lutheran, I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. But I simply couldn't get past the various fonts, public domain clip art, the overuse of bold, and pop culture tangents. If there was a way to put a book on Ritalin, this one should be the first one in the school nurse's office.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Part polemic, part takedown of the Rick Warren/Joel Osteen school of modern Christianity, pure Gospel, Jonathan Fisk's Broken is a great look at how the church has been affected by postmodern thinking. As the quotes in the title imply, the seven rules Fisk examines in the book aren't really Christian, but the same old pagan/mystic/self-worship heresies that have been around for centuries. After swatting away these lies (which are all variations on one big lie), he lays out the one Truth that all Part polemic, part takedown of the Rick Warren/Joel Osteen school of modern Christianity, pure Gospel, Jonathan Fisk's Broken is a great look at how the church has been affected by postmodern thinking. As the quotes in the title imply, the seven rules Fisk examines in the book aren't really Christian, but the same old pagan/mystic/self-worship heresies that have been around for centuries. After swatting away these lies (which are all variations on one big lie), he lays out the one Truth that all Christians should follow. This last chapter is the best and one of the most well-written in the book. Anyone familiar with the hyper-kinetic, brain-dump style of RevFisk's YouTube videos will feel at home reading this book. Translating that style into written words is hard, and it takes some work to follow the argument in a few of the chapters. Maybe the book could've used another pass by an editor, but that might have robbed it of some of its energy. That's the only reason I didn't give this book more than three stars. In spite of its flaws, the message of Broken is solid gold sweet action and worth the read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh Leeds

    I did not enjoy this book, and I found it to be rather poorly written. While I generally agree with the overarching themes of the book, I felt like it took a lot of effort to actually find them. This book is piled with analogies that are more present throughout the chapters than the actual point of the chapter. This made it very difficult to read. His points were also presented so strongly that it comes across as arrogance, and seems very condescending in parts. Overall, I would never recommend I did not enjoy this book, and I found it to be rather poorly written. While I generally agree with the overarching themes of the book, I felt like it took a lot of effort to actually find them. This book is piled with analogies that are more present throughout the chapters than the actual point of the chapter. This made it very difficult to read. His points were also presented so strongly that it comes across as arrogance, and seems very condescending in parts. Overall, I would never recommend this book to anyone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josh Davis

    I wanted to like this book more than I did, given that Fisk is a Lutheran pastor and I support the theology presented in the book. Unfortunately, I just felt like it wasn't that well written. The author throws heaps of metaphors at you, jumping from one to another and sometimes it is a little much to put together---almost like he was trying to do too much. It seems like the book is geared towards a younger demographic (the "hip" language and pages littered with graphics), but in all honesty, I'm I wanted to like this book more than I did, given that Fisk is a Lutheran pastor and I support the theology presented in the book. Unfortunately, I just felt like it wasn't that well written. The author throws heaps of metaphors at you, jumping from one to another and sometimes it is a little much to put together---almost like he was trying to do too much. It seems like the book is geared towards a younger demographic (the "hip" language and pages littered with graphics), but in all honesty, I'm not sure who I would recommend it too. I suppose Lutherans could get on board with the ideas presented, but it feels like preaching to the choir. My hunch is older generations would be frustrated by the attempts to be hip and modern, and I don't think it is really written for a nonbeliever (as he can be pretty insulting to those who have different views). So, it was an okay read which got better as it went on, but I'm not keen on recommending it to anyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nin

    I really wanted to like this book. I watch Jonathan Fisk's youtube channel and I really enjoy his style but that style does not translate well to book form. I had a very hard time following the author's train of thought. He starts on a topic and they goes on a long winded side track from which he might side track again. He is prolific in his use of font changes and pictures. I feel like he is trying to keep my attention with *pows* and *wizbangs* which are fun on his youtube channel but distracti I really wanted to like this book. I watch Jonathan Fisk's youtube channel and I really enjoy his style but that style does not translate well to book form. I had a very hard time following the author's train of thought. He starts on a topic and they goes on a long winded side track from which he might side track again. He is prolific in his use of font changes and pictures. I feel like he is trying to keep my attention with *pows* and *wizbangs* which are fun on his youtube channel but distracting in print. In the end I feel like I am trying to follow the thought process of someone with horrible ADD. I have yet to finish the book. His premise is simple but is made more difficult to follow with his presentation. Good theology, bad presentation. If anyone wants the book, I am willing to give it to you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I had a lot of great discussion with the area youth workers cluster group I am a part of. For that I am glad for the book. Other than that I hated it. I did not like his analogies, I did not like his wordiness. If you can make a point if a few paragraphs there really is no need to drone on for pages and pages... think of the trees to be saved! Really, an editor with a big fat red pen could have reduced this book to a well written concise book of a much shorter length. Wasn't a fan. I had a lot of great discussion with the area youth workers cluster group I am a part of. For that I am glad for the book. Other than that I hated it. I did not like his analogies, I did not like his wordiness. If you can make a point if a few paragraphs there really is no need to drone on for pages and pages... think of the trees to be saved! Really, an editor with a big fat red pen could have reduced this book to a well written concise book of a much shorter length. Wasn't a fan.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book got really good reviews, but I had a hard time getting past the language of the book and figuring out what he was trying to say. I found myself wishing he would just make his point and move on to the next. He seemed to repeat him self a lot. I may pick this book up again and give it another try some day.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    This was a difficult book for me in the sense that the Lutheran theology that is presented within the book is spot on and the book is written fairly well. I think the author's points came across very well, although sometimes he kept repeating over and over the point which got a little much. I enjoyed the use of his analogies and his fictional accounts to bring the point home. So, in that sense, I liked the book. There were just points that came across very harshly and I know that was the intent, This was a difficult book for me in the sense that the Lutheran theology that is presented within the book is spot on and the book is written fairly well. I think the author's points came across very well, although sometimes he kept repeating over and over the point which got a little much. I enjoyed the use of his analogies and his fictional accounts to bring the point home. So, in that sense, I liked the book. There were just points that came across very harshly and I know that was the intent, but it left me wondering, who would I hand this book to, if I were to hand it to someone. That is where I came to, probably no one that wasn't already connected to the church and was seeking a Christian defense type book. I recognize some Christians really connect with the apologetics style of writing and books, but currently I am not in that place, so it was a difficult read. As can be told from Goodreads shelf, I am currently reading a lot of Christian mystic books, knowing that most Lutherans don't like Christian mystics and the theology doesn't jibe, but doing it to see for myself. Christian mysticism isn't emotionalism as suggested by the author, but comes from a desire to connect with God as God connects with us. It is about relationship to the other from a place of love and grace rather than pure emotion. It is trying to see each other as God sees us. To boil it down to simply emotions, is showing a lack of knowledge of the subject and seems to be going by what someone has heard one time, rather than reading it for oneself. Again, though, I recognize his stance as valid and I know people who really love that style of book and writing. My other turn off was the loosely disguised jabs at some popular Christian authors/speakers. One can disagree with them and think they are "wrong," but still see how others may be brought to God at least initially through their message. In the Bible there are people that come to know Jesus by various ways and some by teachers who could only take them so far. I found the dismissiveness off-putting. So, in summary, his theology and writing were great. Personally, I was not in a place for that style of harsh, "you're wrong" type book even if it was laced with some humor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui

    I really wanted to like this book as the concept is very helpful to understand - ie. the different ways people seek to approach God. But I just didn't like it. Argh! And here are my reasons: The language is very pictorial and this confused me rather than clarified things for me. This was surprising to me as I find Fisk very clear and helpful when I hear him on Worldview Everlasting or on the radio. The "rules" were at the beginning and end of each chapter but the chapter itself seemed to have to I really wanted to like this book as the concept is very helpful to understand - ie. the different ways people seek to approach God. But I just didn't like it. Argh! And here are my reasons: The language is very pictorial and this confused me rather than clarified things for me. This was surprising to me as I find Fisk very clear and helpful when I hear him on Worldview Everlasting or on the radio. The "rules" were at the beginning and end of each chapter but the chapter itself seemed to have too much detail/illustrations and the point of breaking the rule was lost on me. I think this work would have been better done a little more briefly and clearly and then it would have been something I would have gladly shared with younger Christians to help them see how God approaches them rather than they trying to reach God and some of the other issues addressed in the book would have been better addressed elsewhere rather than muddying this one. I recommend Table Talk Radio and Issues etc. (interview with the author) to better understand this important problem in the church/society.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    No surprise from a strongly polemic book that I came away with both strong disagreements and several wows in agreement. The seven rules to break make a compelling assault on man-produced " faith," but I don't find reality so black and white. His overarching ever-rule to break is: you can find God. As a Lutheran, I agree in the total grace of our God who finds us and saves us independently of our willing. However, there is much in scripture calling us to seek or describing God's hope that people mig No surprise from a strongly polemic book that I came away with both strong disagreements and several wows in agreement. The seven rules to break make a compelling assault on man-produced " faith," but I don't find reality so black and white. His overarching ever-rule to break is: you can find God. As a Lutheran, I agree in the total grace of our God who finds us and saves us independently of our willing. However, there is much in scripture calling us to seek or describing God's hope that people might seek and perhaps find him. Yes, we do this fallibly and the gospel of Christ arrives externally in the form of Word and Sacrament, but I find Fisk makes too strong a point. Especially as it comes to baptized Christians who have come to faith in Christ. Can Christians not find God through any of our God given faculties like our heart and mind? Yes, it is only as through a dimly lit mirror, but it's not nothing, as Fisk would claim. Overall, I loved the lively discussion of rationalism, romanticism, pragmatism, and prosperity as cultural influences of recent centuries. And I couldn't put the book down, which is always a good accomplishment for an author.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Ingram

    Holy heavens, I think that book may have just given me a seizure. I absolutely hate this guy's writing style. It's completely ridiculous. And beyond that, his tone (in his book, his videos, and other pieces I've seen of his) has a certain attitude of "Let me tell you why anyone who has ever come to any other conclusions from those of the LCMS is a fool who should be pitied." There's a reason why other people think our little denomination is arrogant and full of know-it-alls. :-( I'm glad I borrow Holy heavens, I think that book may have just given me a seizure. I absolutely hate this guy's writing style. It's completely ridiculous. And beyond that, his tone (in his book, his videos, and other pieces I've seen of his) has a certain attitude of "Let me tell you why anyone who has ever come to any other conclusions from those of the LCMS is a fool who should be pitied." There's a reason why other people think our little denomination is arrogant and full of know-it-alls. :-( I'm glad I borrowed this book and didn't spend my own money on it. I'm truly starting to wince when people hand me books published by CPH. Breaks my heart.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    Written at a lay level, this book accomplishes what it sets out to do. The book also introduces the reader to some dangerous -isms in Christianity, ending with a call to return to the basics. A quick, easy, and thoughtful read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Clark

    Very interesting, well written and engaging book. Fisk's premise is that Christianity has been waylaid by 7 pseudo Christian teachings, 7 "rules", that threaten both the life of the Church and the salvation of those who believe the false teachings. Mysticism, Moralism, Pagmatism etc are each denounced as false forms of worship that Christians and Christian churches have fallen victim to. Fisk's writing style is rather verbose and flowery at times, but he also often waxes memorably poetic. He wea Very interesting, well written and engaging book. Fisk's premise is that Christianity has been waylaid by 7 pseudo Christian teachings, 7 "rules", that threaten both the life of the Church and the salvation of those who believe the false teachings. Mysticism, Moralism, Pagmatism etc are each denounced as false forms of worship that Christians and Christian churches have fallen victim to. Fisk's writing style is rather verbose and flowery at times, but he also often waxes memorably poetic. He weaves together phrasing from liturgical, pop culture/movie, credal and scriptural references in such a way that his point is made both by the literal meaning of the words he uses as well as by the reference from which he draws the phrase. He personifies each false doctrine, each "rule to be broken", such that the book almost becomes a hagiography of false saints as well as false teachings. His word-pictures are vivid and fun to read. The pages are peppered with vintage-y looking line drawings (think "steam punk" art) and the fonts get switched up and bolded regularly, serving to accent specific points as well as to make for a visually interesting read. I imagine some readers could find this "mash up" kind of style very distracting, but I found it refreshing (although certainly something which could be overdone). I would recommend this for several audiences: for those readers looking for a better understanding of Christian theology and doctrine from a source that is anything but stuffy; for those feeling like most of the flavors of modern Christianity they've tasted have been bland, dry and under-nourishing; for those looking for a framework to defend their faith against worldly attacks and the attacks of un-Christian world-views; and for those traditional Christians who feel confused and sometimes overwhelmed by the diversity of unscriptural teachings, those looking for something to scribe out some solid ground. I enjoyed this book for all of those reasons and more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura Siegert

    This book reminded me of the amazing free gift of salvation Jesus gave us. We cannot in any way earn it or even seek it on our own. It is given. I highly recommend this book if you are lost in the midst of so many Christian ideas and ideals.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Élizabeth

    4.5 Will need to reread some of its chapters for a deeper application in my own life and ministry and as issues come up in discipleship. Really outstanding book that clearly differentiates what I may think as "being God" but is the worship of myself. It is really one of a kind, and especially useful for campus ministry and preaching. Bonus : I highly enjoyed the creativity in the writing and in its artistic doodles on the pages. A few critiques : - Spurgeon once said illustrations are like windows 4.5 Will need to reread some of its chapters for a deeper application in my own life and ministry and as issues come up in discipleship. Really outstanding book that clearly differentiates what I may think as "being God" but is the worship of myself. It is really one of a kind, and especially useful for campus ministry and preaching. Bonus : I highly enjoyed the creativity in the writing and in its artistic doodles on the pages. A few critiques : - Spurgeon once said illustrations are like windows on a house. You can have too little or too many. I think this book errs with the latter. I would get lost a quite few times. - It is thorough but maybe too long of a book. I could not shake the feeling it's message could have been made clearer with a bit less words. I would find myself losing interest toward the end of the chapters.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joel Jackson

    In “Broken: 7 Christian Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible” Jonathan Fisk speaks a prophetic word to the church. In this word, he counters the primary philosophic underpinnings of our culture with the Word of God. These philosophical underpinnings have not only come to reign in Western culture in the secular sphere, but they also have slunk their way into the church. Fisk discusses moralism, mysticism, rationalism, prosperity, IfWeCanJust, Lawlessness, and the idea th In “Broken: 7 Christian Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible” Jonathan Fisk speaks a prophetic word to the church. In this word, he counters the primary philosophic underpinnings of our culture with the Word of God. These philosophical underpinnings have not only come to reign in Western culture in the secular sphere, but they also have slunk their way into the church. Fisk discusses moralism, mysticism, rationalism, prosperity, IfWeCanJust, Lawlessness, and the idea that we can find God on our own. He declares that each one of these ideologies denies the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Word of God. Ultimately, each ideology claims that we can save ourselves. Of particular concern for youth ministry is the fact that these ideologies permeate youth culture and our practice of youth ministry. Yet, youth discover that none of these offer a truly satisfying answer. Therefore, many youth turn away from the church and never discover the fullness of God’s grace and subsequent salvation. Youth ministries need to take to heart much of what Fisk declares. Fisk writes in such a way that the abstract ideologies become accessible. Youth ministries should look to Fisk’s example in discussing these false paths and declare aloud the salvation that only comes through God’s gift of grace in Christ Jesus.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    I read this book as part of a summer reading program sponsored by Concordia. While reading the book, I found my reactions alternating between "Tell me something I don't know" and "Huh?" The dense writing and references to sources ranging from "Paradise Lost" to "Star Wars" made the book difficult, rather than easier, for me to understand. I found the most useful parts of the book to be the last page of each chapter, on which the author sums up the main point of the chapter: The rule to be broken I read this book as part of a summer reading program sponsored by Concordia. While reading the book, I found my reactions alternating between "Tell me something I don't know" and "Huh?" The dense writing and references to sources ranging from "Paradise Lost" to "Star Wars" made the book difficult, rather than easier, for me to understand. I found the most useful parts of the book to be the last page of each chapter, on which the author sums up the main point of the chapter: The rule to be broken is identified in one word and briefly defined. The author is a Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod pastor, and he writes the book from a strong LCMS position. I've been exploring the LCMS, as I am a disaffected member of another Lutheran denomination, and this book is yet another example of an attitude that I perceive as characterizing his church: It's as important to be LCMS as it is to be Christian. I think my Baptist brother would take strong exception to the author's inclusion of "asking Jesus to come into your heart" as part of a "lie" that characterizes inauthentic Christianity.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book was suggested to me by a friend who knows the author personally and sings his praises. Based off that, I read the book and while it had many good points (seven to be exact!) there were times it could be difficult to wade through his chapters to extract these points. Please on future books, lay off the crazy fonts! I agree that there is "Counterfeit Christianity" out there with forms of mysticism, moralism, rationalism & prosperity theology as some of the ways that Jesus's true words ar This book was suggested to me by a friend who knows the author personally and sings his praises. Based off that, I read the book and while it had many good points (seven to be exact!) there were times it could be difficult to wade through his chapters to extract these points. Please on future books, lay off the crazy fonts! I agree that there is "Counterfeit Christianity" out there with forms of mysticism, moralism, rationalism & prosperity theology as some of the ways that Jesus's true words are impeded. Fisk's main point is that Jesus's promise-his words- were sent by God, for God finds us and frees us.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Travis Doig

    Four stars because Rev. Fisk could have made the points he made in fewer words. I think he should have made this into a sermon series on you tube, because it reads like he speaks. That said, this is a masterful work and worth reading by every Christian and non-Christian alike. It gets to the point of Christianity and highlights the fact that Christian faith is all about what Jesus has done for you. Great work!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Compelling read about Law and Gospel from a LCMS Pastor's viewpoint. It took me about 2 chapters to get really in to the book; however, I was intrigued so I kept reading. I am glad that I did. This is a must read for any young person (i.e., college aged), who is questioning his/her faith and may have fallen away from the church. Compelling read about Law and Gospel from a LCMS Pastor's viewpoint. It took me about 2 chapters to get really in to the book; however, I was intrigued so I kept reading. I am glad that I did. This is a must read for any young person (i.e., college aged), who is questioning his/her faith and may have fallen away from the church.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Toni Wargula

    Review The points were good as well as the last two chapters. otherwise as a nondenominational Christian, his explanations were a little insulting and the scripture that he used didn't really make sense or it didn't fit to what he was explaining. Review The points were good as well as the last two chapters. otherwise as a nondenominational Christian, his explanations were a little insulting and the scripture that he used didn't really make sense or it didn't fit to what he was explaining.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Peter Walker

    The ideas are provocative and "most certainly true." I just find the zany style a bit too much. There was no momentum to my reading of this book. The ideas are provocative and "most certainly true." I just find the zany style a bit too much. There was no momentum to my reading of this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Corrine Burmeister

    Beautiful truth which brought me to tears at a couple points - I get so used to people railing against Christianity or to Christians themselves focusing on everything except the actual substance of Jesus’ words that hearing truth spoken in a book so purely felt refreshing and relieving. The only reason I won’t give this book 5 stars is that the style is a little cumbersome...hence why it took me 10 months to finish! Reverend Fisk has a stream of consciousness style that is as beautiful and movin Beautiful truth which brought me to tears at a couple points - I get so used to people railing against Christianity or to Christians themselves focusing on everything except the actual substance of Jesus’ words that hearing truth spoken in a book so purely felt refreshing and relieving. The only reason I won’t give this book 5 stars is that the style is a little cumbersome...hence why it took me 10 months to finish! Reverend Fisk has a stream of consciousness style that is as beautiful and moving as it is meandering and dense. I loved his use of metaphors, yet also at times found them to be cumbersome. He also had illustrations throughout that I found mostly to be distracting, but sometimes found to enhance his point. Reading this is definitely an experience, and if you can get through the sometimes-confusing, but often profound and beautiful style, you have some doctrinal gold waiting for you at the end.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Daniel Veer

    It is hard to comment such a dense book. There is so much content. Great content. It seems like there is much repetition, but there isn't. It's just applying the principle of each chapters to all of the different voices and expressions that are those of mysticism, moralism, rationalism, prosperity, ifwecanjust churchology and lawlessness. This "longness" is actually just superficial, it is actually a real thoroughness. It brings out a lot of the things that unsettled me in the church. It brought m It is hard to comment such a dense book. There is so much content. Great content. It seems like there is much repetition, but there isn't. It's just applying the principle of each chapters to all of the different voices and expressions that are those of mysticism, moralism, rationalism, prosperity, ifwecanjust churchology and lawlessness. This "longness" is actually just superficial, it is actually a real thoroughness. It brings out a lot of the things that unsettled me in the church. It brought more calm and rest for my soul than any animosity. It made me look into my heart and see its(my) idolatry. I leave you with this: "Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." - Mr Beaver; The Chronicles of Narnia.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cliff

    From the book "What this book is about: dissecting the tactics of the thief; the crow that steals the seed; by looking at the lies we've turned into rules." Pastor Fisk takes us through seven lies, or rather seven things we worship, that get between us and Jesus. And yet, the book isn't an attack on the church, or an insult to the believer. Ultimately, it's a reminder that our salvation not dependent on us, but on what Christ has already done for us. We don't need extra rules to make us holy becau From the book "What this book is about: dissecting the tactics of the thief; the crow that steals the seed; by looking at the lies we've turned into rules." Pastor Fisk takes us through seven lies, or rather seven things we worship, that get between us and Jesus. And yet, the book isn't an attack on the church, or an insult to the believer. Ultimately, it's a reminder that our salvation not dependent on us, but on what Christ has already done for us. We don't need extra rules to make us holy because in the end those rules only takes us away from the One who is Holy; Jesus. Pastor Fisks breaks down the lies, gets us back to the Bible and the words of Jesus, to remind us that Christ has found us, Christ has redeemed us and in Him we are free and the rules we add aren't helping.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eric Estes

    [This introduction of "Broken" is taken from my congregation's newsletter "The Seed of Life" under the section heading "From Pastor's Bookshelf."] This month’s selection from my bookshelf is not your ordinary Christian theological work or devotional book. Lutheran pastor Rev. Jonathan Fisk, the creator and host of the popular YouTube “addiction” Worldview Everlasting[1] has published his first book and its odd title is only a foretaste of the wildness within. Replete with postmodern graphics on a [This introduction of "Broken" is taken from my congregation's newsletter "The Seed of Life" under the section heading "From Pastor's Bookshelf."] This month’s selection from my bookshelf is not your ordinary Christian theological work or devotional book. Lutheran pastor Rev. Jonathan Fisk, the creator and host of the popular YouTube “addiction” Worldview Everlasting[1] has published his first book and its odd title is only a foretaste of the wildness within. Replete with postmodern graphics on almost every page and ample use of different fonts "Broken: 7 “Christian” Rules Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible" is new ground for our Missouri Synod’s publishing arm Concordia Publishing House. It might be the first and the last CPH book with a Star Wars reference weaved throughout an entire chapter. While I have been very impressed with CPH’s offerings in the last decade I am glad to see them trying to reach a wider audience with Lutheran theology. Broken is attempting to do just that as CPH for once sent out review copies and purchased full page ads in a popular Evangelical youth leader magazine. So, what can you expect to find within Broken? Seven popular counterfeit rules that try to pass themselves off as authentic Christianity complete with personifications of each one and tons of metaphors to explain them. Fisk loves metaphor and personification and you will get them both in heavy doses in this volume. This is one of the books strengths in that it can take complicated ideas and explain them in a narrative style. Readers who generally choose novels over non-fiction will very likely find this book more congenial to their reading preferences. Jonathan’s writing style is entertaining and he introduces chapters in a way that had me wondering how he was going to make his point. Pastor Fisk writes with a heart for our youth which the Church has been losing. Why have we been bleeding our youth when they enter adulthood? Fisk’s answer is their Christianity is broken by the false rules being pawned off as real “Christian” spirituality. All these rules have two things in common: 1. they take the centrality of God’s Word away from the Christian. 2. They are centered on you not Christ for you. Fisk’s main point is that God can not be found in your emotions, heart, works, mind, mission statement, or your desires. Yet, the ways you become the center of your spirituality are sneaky. Each chapter shows how true spirituality is found in Christ alone whom the Father reveals to us in His Word and Sacraments through the Holy Spirit. I was pleased to see that important Lutheran doctrines like the distinction between the Law and the Gospel, the Sacraments, and Justification were clearly presented in an unapologetic fashion in this book. Some authors and publishers are tempted to keep doctrine at the lowest common denominator when attempting a book that is intended for a wide audience. Evangelical Christians of the non-Lutheran stripe will likely chafe at what the Bible teaches about Baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, and true presence in the Lord’s Supper among other things expounded in this book. Yet, these things need to be said as they are what make up a distinctively Christian spirituality and are taught clearly in God’s Word. This is not to say that non-Lutheran readers will not benefit from the content of this book even where they may disagree. I would hope that this book might serve as a primer and may wet non-Lutheran palates to learn more of what our church body believes, teaches, and confesses. Even some Lutherans will be irritated by what Jonathan has to say about the importance of tradition and the underlying motivation behind the church growth and contemporary worship movements. I welcome his insights as these things need to be discussed out in the open in our Synod and many (including myself) agree with Jonathan’s concerns. One of the book’s strengths mentioned above is also one of its biggest weaknesses. Some of the personifications and metaphors are extended for several pages which can exhaust a reader’s attention. Certain ideas and concepts such as rationalism and pragmatism in “Never #3” could be explained much more concisely and clearly. Also, the narrative style does not lend itself to the kind of depth some readers may desire. I was disappointed that there was no direct interaction with the thought of the “New Atheists” in the section on rationalism. While Fisk certainly points out the err in thinking that our reason and rational mind can get us to God or disprove God’s existence there are better books out there on the problem of rationalism. I can forgive this as Jonathan was not attempting to give an exhaustive apologetic (defense) for the Christian faith against our detractors. His concern is exposing how certain worldviews influencing the Church lead to a false spirituality. I hope you might give this book a try. Its style is not for everyone, but I think it might reach some readers that CPH otherwise has not. I highly recommend using the free downloadable discussion guide available at the CPH website.[2] SDG - Rev. Eric M. Estes For more information, videos, and to purchase the book visit www.cph.org/broken or call 1.800.325.3040. Broken is also available at Amazon.com and other book distributors. It has been released in a Kindle edition (minus the snazzy graphics). Fisk, Jonathan. Broken : 7 Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House, 2012. 1. www.worldvieweverlasting.com 2. www.cph.org/broken see downloads section

  27. 4 out of 5

    History7teacher

    Wow! What a refreshing book! Jonathan Fisk speaks the truth about Christianity in a most unique way, but always pointing us back to God’s word written and incarnated in His Son. All the other “rules” he describes so clearly and so recognizably just lead us away from God and His truth. My wife and I have spent the last 3 months reading this together after our evening meal. We have never failed to be challenged and encouraged. Pastor Fisk’s illustrations and stories and metaphors will not soon (I h Wow! What a refreshing book! Jonathan Fisk speaks the truth about Christianity in a most unique way, but always pointing us back to God’s word written and incarnated in His Son. All the other “rules” he describes so clearly and so recognizably just lead us away from God and His truth. My wife and I have spent the last 3 months reading this together after our evening meal. We have never failed to be challenged and encouraged. Pastor Fisk’s illustrations and stories and metaphors will not soon (I hope never) be forgotten. This is a book to share and discuss. Great read! Highly recommended!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jarl Simonsen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A postmodern (in the littarary sense) guide to true Christian spirituality. Fisk outlines six pernicious "Christian" rules that run through much of the contemporary church landscape. But as he shows throughout the book these rules are all just variants of the same one broken rule of the Devil that we find God in ourselves. In opposition to this Fisk emphasizes the work of Christ on the cross, winning for us a rightousness that is outside us (extra nos). This rightousness also comes to us from ou A postmodern (in the littarary sense) guide to true Christian spirituality. Fisk outlines six pernicious "Christian" rules that run through much of the contemporary church landscape. But as he shows throughout the book these rules are all just variants of the same one broken rule of the Devil that we find God in ourselves. In opposition to this Fisk emphasizes the work of Christ on the cross, winning for us a rightousness that is outside us (extra nos). This rightousness also comes to us from outside of us through the means of grace: Baptism, the Lord's supper and Absolution. A good read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    The Biblical truths in this book are undeniable. My only struggle with the book was the over use of analogies/imagery/metaphors. I was often bogged down by all of the imagery that it was hard to find the author's point. I would have preferred a more direct approach in the writing. But the information is so helpful that I will recommend the book to others! I feel like every American Christian should read this book. The Biblical truths in this book are undeniable. My only struggle with the book was the over use of analogies/imagery/metaphors. I was often bogged down by all of the imagery that it was hard to find the author's point. I would have preferred a more direct approach in the writing. But the information is so helpful that I will recommend the book to others! I feel like every American Christian should read this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Some good commentary on American culture and some of the problems within American Christianity. Mostly solid theology and strong Gospel. A bit too heavy handed, makes sweeping generalizations, false equivalencies, and comes across as a bit pedantic. Worthwhile for the theology, not so much for the practical applications.

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