If any evangelical preacher could claim the title of “culturally relevant,” it is Steven Furtick.
One wouldn’t expect the historically acclaimed “prince of preachers,” Charles Spurgeon to be quoted on the exact same page as Jay-Z. Ah, but lo and behold, on page 7 – the very first page of chapter 1 – there it is!
This unique grouping actually sets the tone for Furtick’s latest book, Crash the Chatterbox, quite perfectly.In a writing style similar to that of Kyle Idleman in his book
In a writing style similar to that of Kyle Idleman in his book Not a Fan, Furtick speaks casually to the reader. I was surprised to find an appreciation for the down-to-earth style. It didn’t feel forced, as is typical of most books in that vein, but quite the contrary. The mix of pop culture references, quick quotes, and personal anecdotes give you the feeling you are sitting in a Starbucks with him, discussing the topic at hand.
Now, what is the topic at hand?
The subtitle for the book answers the question in a summarized way: “Hearing God’s voice above all others.”
Furtick begins his book with a personal example of how something as simple as a burned out lightbulb in his bathroom became a trigger for a series of thought processes that negatively affected his emotions one morning.What began as a small, simple problem, lead him through a chain reaction of negative self-talk.
What began as a small, simple problem, lead him through a chain reaction of negative self-talk.
Pastor Steven’s story is all too relatable. He points this out in Chapter 1, “I read online that the average person has more than sixty thousand thoughts per day, and over 80 percent of these thoughts are negative. Is that accurate? I don’t know. Honestly, the website seemed sketchy. And I’m no expert in the science of the subconscious.”
Furtick continues later on the page, “But let’s think about the possibility that 80 percent of our thoughts are not only devoid of any power to help us but actively work against us. When we allow our thoughts to go unchecked, a steady drip off lies cements the wrong patterns within our minds, building a Berlin Wall of bad beliefs.”
Pastor Steven has laid out the foundational issue he will be attacking in the book. He names these negative thoughts “the chatterbox.”
“The chatterbox manipulates the truth. So it won’t sound like this: perhaps you should take steps toward spending focused time reading your Bible because God has so many promises and truths He wants to reveal to you today.
More likely it will sound like this: if you really loved God, you’d spend more time reading your Bible, like people do who have their priorities in order.”
From here, we are given four confessions to remember to defeat the chatterbox. This is to become the springboard for the rest of the book.
Confession 1. God says I am.
Confession 2. God says He will.
Confession 3. God says He has.
Confession 4. God says I can.
I love these basic statements, and honestly, they are Biblical ways of facing discouragement.
Unfortunately, these points are not brought up for much more than a few sentences throughout the remainder of the book. They instead are upstaged by Steven Furtick’s personal tips and stories, experiences, and a hodgepodge of theological statements and opinions.
Furtick’s theology in the remainder of the book ranges from good to weak, to heretical. (This was to be anticipated from the moment I opened the book to see hearty endorsements from T.D. Jakes, Mark Batterson, and even Perry Noble.)
His “four confessions” would make for a tremendous outline of a book determined to give you a gospel-centered mindset, but instead, Furtick pushes outside the Word of God, making statements such as this: “[God] longs to communicate with you in tones, pitches, and frequencies that this world is not wired for, to fill you with affirmation that your soul has been longing for.”
Furtick makes clear through his writing that he affirms revelation from the Holy Spirit in addition to God’s Word.
He recounts a story in which God spoke to him saying, “This is your city. I’ve called you here to pour out your life for My cause. Be confident, because everywhere you set your foot belongs to Me, and together we’re going to take this city for My glory. I’m sure my translation of this conversation isn’t word perfect, because you know how tricky cross-cultural communication with God can be.”
Generally, books like Crash the Chatterbox are purely motivational and inspiring; there is certainly a necessary place for books in that vein. However, while at times I did find Crash the Chatterbox to be uplifting or thought-provoking, I was very concerned by the frequent, irresponsible use of Scripture and unbiblical theology found at some point in nearly every chapter.
Due to this, I would not recommend this book to others, no matter how pleasing Furtick’s writing style is or how good some of his points may in fact be.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review.