Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review: Untamed

As a part of the ChristianAudio Reviewer's Program, I get to download some audiobooks, listen to them, and write a short review. Here are my thoughts on Alan & Debra Hirsch's new book, Untamed.

Untamed, by Alan and Debra Hirsch, had some positive moments, but nothing that redeems their worldly spin on discipleship. Instead, Untamed offers a new, seemingly mystical label (Shema Spirituality) for the same old worn-out message. This worn-out message basically follows the “if it works for me, it must be of God and good for His church” approach, spending a good deal of time praising the Hirsch’s “ministry” experiences (such as rolling joints in order to witness to an addict or starting a “stitch ‘n b*tch” club to make sexy scarves for prostitutes working in the cold), as well as bashing the Lord’s bride (women are repressed, ministers create and foster the clergy/laity distinction to keep people from serving). They are so critical, no wonder they bash the church for being judgmental—they’re part of the problem!

Their section on theology didn’t set me off, but throughout the rest of the book some bad ideas and practices came out. They don’t hide their disdain for Calvinism because, in their view, sinning doesn’t make us bad people. They don’t address some key Pauline passages, but they agree women should be allowed to serve as pastors. Worse though, they are proud of their open communion, recounting how a non-believer shared communion as though the fact that he was gay and Jewish was even better because he was connecting with Jesus.

They also seemed to be bent on offending Christians and being as inoffensive to non-believers as possible, thinking that the use of foul language and using both “God” and “orgasm” in the same sentence makes them more mature (the way they did the latter made them a big hit with non-Christians at a wedding, but bothered the believers there).

I was really excited when I saw the book and the subject matter, and I had no intention of giving a bad review when I began, but I can’t recommend the book. I disciple people one-on-one and in small groups, and I don’t have to become like the world to do that.

To buy the audiobook (despite my warning), visit (direct link to book information).
To buy the hardcover book (despite my warning), visit

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