It was several years ago that I watched Dr. R. Albert Mohler masterfully handle the misguided questioning of one of the major news outlets (CNN I think, but I cannot be positive). Mohler was called upon to give testimony to comments made by Phil Robertson regarding his views on homosexuality. Whether or not one agrees with his views and/or his methods, Mohler made an important remark: Robertson was unwaveringly faithful to the Scriptures. It should not be unexpected then, that Robertson’s recently released book The Theft of America’s Soul remains unwaveringly faithful as well.
Phil Robertson seeks to address ten of the most prominent lies propagated within the cultural wars of the United States. The title of each chapter states the lie and counters with a truth. The author covers topics such as the existence of God and Satan, the absoluteness of truth, virtue, and the law, and cultural topics such as sex, Christian proclamation, and church participation. Ultimately, he seeks to share the gospel within the context of each of those lies, something he does very well even closing out the book with a chapter devoted to that one truth alone.
Phil Robertson’s straightforward approach to the truth is often off-putting for many and garnered much attention. This same style comes across in his writing and it creates a couple of issues with the book
- Us v. Them: First, Robertson has a tendency to create an us versus them mentality propagating more division in a culture that is already divided. He often generalizes by identifying Christians as conservatives and the enemy as liberals. This is not to suggest that he should compromise, but only that his style has a tendency to over isolate the very section of people that we are trying to reach with the gospel.
- Evidence v. Opinion: Readers should appreciate that Robertson is offering information to defend the Christian faith. Unfortunately, much of what he offers is full of quips and opinions and is not as impactful to a secular society. It’s not that what he says is wrong, but stronger support would help the book.
- Promises v. Premises: There are times in which he utilizes premises as promises. This is an issue because not everything is meant to stand as an absolute, but only as a generalization and this key distinction should be preserved.
Admittedly, I came into this particular book with low expectations (for reasons I will share later) and the issues I had were not as major as I had expected.
In fact, Phil Robertson has much to offer in The Theft of America’s Soul. He indeed, is a bit confrontational. Yet, Christians should be encouraged that such a prominent person is willing to confront major issues (abortion, homosexuality, truth, God, etc.) and do so in a very public way. One of the fascinating aspects of reading through the book is Robertson’s ability to insert meaningful wisdom in an unsuspecting way. Spread throughout the book are examples, pieces of advice, or tidbits about life that readers do not expect to come across. It adds a little bit of additional value to the book. Finally, the author is very candid about his own background. He is not ashamed to share his own mistakes if it would help others. While preaching about the total depravity of men, he offers himself as an example and in doing so points to the existence and power of God.
I fear that the criteria used to evaluate this book may have been different than other books, so allow me to share some with you. First, Phil Robertson became a household figure through the show Duck Dynasty, but I have never seen the show. As a result, I know very little about the show or the family. In fact, apart from the moments of controversy I have had only one acquaintance with the family and it was not the best of introductions. During some of my travels I found myself in the area of a well-known church and decided to attend just for the experience. The pastor was gone and Phil Robertson filled in on stage with his son Alan (I say filled the stage because there was no pulpit). It is the only time I have ever walked out of a church service. Scripture was referenced once (and way out of context) and the rest of the time was spent decrying the social agendas of today. I didn’t disagree with what was said, but that speech should have been utilized in a political rally not at a church gathering. As a result, my expectations of this book were very low, but the truth conveyed, Scriptures cited, and concern for people offered a pleasant surprise. It is not a book that I expect to share much with others, but neither am I going to find major concerns if people I know put it in their reading rotation. He clearly has a high regard for God and seeks to give him the glory, and that is what we should all be seeking.
To learn more about this book or purchase a copy, click here.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced by the author, publisher, or anyone else associated with this book and is the result of my own reading of it