Lysa TerKeurst’s book Unglued is Un-biblical

Rebekah Womble of Wise In His Eyes reviews Lysa TerKeurst’s book Unglued.  Womble says she wants to like the book but finds much of what it contains decidedly unbiblical, thus her advice is unhelpful to women who are searching for biblical answers to life’s pressing problems. “Never once does Terkeurst (sp) emphasize the fact that when we sin, we refuse to give God glory and instead, please ourselves,” says Womble.  “She completely neglects the fact that the absolute, most significant goal of our lives should be to glorify God—because that is what He is most considered about. “

Sadly, sin and repentance were omitted and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ wasn’t emphasized either.   According to Womble, TerKeurst’s attempt to share the gospel with her readers was “weak, it was man-centered, it was without Christ’s atoning death, and therefore, it wasn’t the gospel at all.”

Now listen to Rebekah Womble’s review of the book…

unglued-book

Unglued – unbiblical view of sin.

I can relate to the woman on the cover of this book, screaming into her purse in utter frustration. How many times have I let my sinful emotions take the reins and direct my spirit? More than I can count. It’s a daily battle, for sure—not only for me, but for all of us. It’s no wonder then why Lysa Terkeurst’s book Unglued is so popular among women. By tackling as common a problem as self-control, it certainly reaches a wide audience.

And I wish I could like it. I really, really do.

As I read her book, I found myself relating to many of Terkeurst’s personal stories (and there are many). She intimately tells the tales of her frustrated outbursts at family, her “freak-out” reactions when stressed, and her struggles with jealousy, anger, and bitterness. Following each narrative, she offers her own strategies for how to deal with those situations. Sprinkled throughout the book are some Scripture references, but most of the content relies on this two-part structure.

Though at times her storytelling is too comical for such a sobering topic, she, for the most part, aptly describes the sin that most women (including me) fight against day by day.

But there’s one huge problem: she doesn’t call it sin.

MISTAKES: A MAN-CENTERED VIEW OF SIN

When I was a kid, taking tests meant following a multi-step process to ensure the best grade possible. After I answered each question, I put a symbol next to it to estimate how confident I was in my solution. A check meant I knew it was right; a wiggle-line, I wasn’t sure; and a question mark indicated that my answer wasn’t much better than a guess.

Then, once I reached the end of the test, I returned to the beginning and reviewed my responses again. Often, that second look helped me catch mistakes I had made. “Whew!” I would say to myself. “Glad I double-checked!”

Mistakes, like accidentally marking the wrong answer, are amoral. It’s not sinful to forget someone’s name, slip and fall while ice skating (cringe), or misspell a word. We are imperfect creatures with imperfect minds and bodies.

But sins are not mistakes. “Mistake” implies that your intentions were good and your error was innocent. But when it comes to sin, nothing could be further from the truth. The Word teaches us that our sin—our transgression of God’s holy Law— comes from the heart, from our evil desires, and we are held accountable for all of our sinful words, thoughts, and actions.

Unfortunately, Terkeurst does not seem to recognize this distinction in Unglued. She repeatedly renames her sin as mistakes, errors, issues, and junk—seemingly to soften the blow.

But if I view my unjust anger or selfish envy as just “issues” or “junk” in my life, it becomes all about me. It’s something I want to get rid of because it interferes with my happiness and harmony in relationships—not because it offends the holy God of heaven.

The word “sin” appears in the book only twice, once as part of a Scripture reference, and the other in the epilogue during her (insufficient) description of the gospel. (More on that later.)

What’s the big deal? you may wonder. It’s just a word, after all. But in fact, her choice of words points to something much larger. It reveals Terkeurst’s view of our relationship with God.

THE MYSTERY OF THE STOLEN GLORY

The ultimate question is—what’s at stake here? What happens when we let our sinful emotions take over, instead of listening to God’s wisdom and following His Spirit?

It doesn’t take much to read between the lines of Unglued and see what Terkeurst believes about this. Every time she addresses a different “mistake” she made, the emphasis is on how it affects her relationships with others and her own view of herself.

Whenever she throws a fit and screams at her kids, she regrets it. Why? Because she disrupted her relationship with them, and now she feels like a bad mom.

If she reacts angrily to her husband, she regrets it. Why? Because their marriage is negatively impacted and now she feels like a bad wife.

That’s why, according to Terkeurst, we need to prevent these outbursts from happening again—so we have some harmony at home and no longer feel so bad about ourselves.

See the pattern? See the problem?

While self-deprecation is never the answer and our relationships with others must be protected, there is so much more at stake: God’s own glory!

Never once does Terkeurst emphasize the fact that when we sin, we refuse to give God glory and instead, please ourselves. She completely neglects the fact that the absolute, most significant goal of our lives should be to glorify God—because that is what He is most considered about. 

Striving to grow in self-control, or in any other area, just to make our lives better is ultimately selfish. It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, but finds a new, “church-y” way of feeding our man-centered desires. Worst of all, it steals glory away from God, who gave us His Spirit so that we would bear fruit for Him, not ourselves.

Like the Pharisees, we may be able to fix our “mistakes,” clear out our “junk,” and repair our “issues” on the outside, but inside, the stony heart remains untouched. Such false change is not of the Spirit, but of the flesh.    Continue reading

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14 Responses to Lysa TerKeurst’s book Unglued is Un-biblical

  1. Edwitness October 10, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    Marsha,

    Without going into the book itself, there are problems with the analysis of this book. And that is that there were many assumptions biblically that had to be made in order to critique it the way she did.
    1st- That Jesus died “in our place”. There is not a single scripture that supports this statement. Dying for someone does not mean dying in their place. Especially when they are already dead like we are. How can you die in somenone’s place if they are already dead?
    Jesus entered into death WITH us. On our behalf. This happened when He said “Father, why have you forsaken me?” At this point Jesus was separated from the Father just as we are. Death.
    Men still die physically, right? This body goes back to the dust because flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God. It is a spiritual kingdom. We are natural. 1Cor.15:45-49. The eternal separation that comes after physical death when we die not knowing Him is what Jesus died to conquer. Our natural body still dies.

    2nd- Because the Bible says that we sin does not mean we have a “sin nature”. It means we have the same free will to choose to sin or not to sin that Adam had before he sinned. And because of this Ps.51, Rom.3:23; 6:23; and 7 do not refer to or imply a sin nature.

    3rd- When we are in relationship with God nothing, not even sin, can separate us from His love. Rom.8:38,39- “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    The relationship remains intact no matter what.
    The reason you ‘feel’ that ‘fellowship’ has been adversely affected by your behavior(sin) is that you believe the accuser’s(satan’s) lies, instead of the word of God.

    When someone sins they need to know that the prayer of David has been fulfilled by Jesus’ death and resurrection. David’s prayer was in Psalm 32:2 “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Since Israel has been made free from the law they are also free from sin. Rom.7:5,6 “For when we were in the flesh(under law), THE MOTIONS OF SIN, WHICH WERE BY THE LAW, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
    But now we are DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

    And here we find this principle in Rom.4:15 “Because the law worketh wrath: FOR WHERE NO LAW IS, THERE IS NO TRANSGRESSION.” Rom.5:13 “For until the law sin was in the world: BUT SIN IS NOT IMPUTED WHEN THERE IS NO LAW.” We are in the dispensation of grace, not law. Eph.2:8,9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

    The condemnation the devil would use against you has no foundation. Because “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
    For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH.” Rom.8:1,2

    THIS IS WHAT JESUS DIED TO GIVE US. FREEDOM FROM DEATH, WHICH GIVES US THEN FREEDOM FROM SIN, AND TO GIVE US ETERNAL LIFE.
    JOHN 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

    Blessings:-}

    • Amy Spreeman October 11, 2016 at 10:51 am #

      Question on your first point: Are you saying that Jesus was not a propitiation for our sins? Just clarifying what you mean. 🙂

      • Edwitness October 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

        Amy,
        Jesus’ death is the propitiation for sin. Not an appeasement. It is the mercy seat. Which means as John 5:24 says, that “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and BELIEVETH on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; but is passed from death unto life.”

        By entering into death with us He made the “way” into eternal life. Both in the receiving of a spirit at the new birth when we are born again. And the receiving of the new body at the resurrection.

        Appeasement is not part of propitiation. If it was, then when Jesus told the parable of the king who took account of what his servants owed him, He missed the part where someone had to pay the debt IN THE PLACE OF the servant that was unable to pay. The passage conveys to us the understanding that the king graciously forgave it. No one paid for it IN HIS PLACE. Mt.18:23-35

        Forgiveness is truly free. It is given just because God wants to give it. Because He loves us. No one has to pay a PENALTY for it. That idea comes through the false teaching that says man has a sin nature. We can thank the RCC for that heresy.

        That is why appeasement is not part of the atonement. There was no penalty for sin.
        Think about what you are saying about our God when you say there is. He becomes the kind of God in our minds that Oprah and Joel Osteen say makes them reject Him. A God that required Jesus to “appease His wrath” by beating Him so badly that He was unrecognizable as a man. But, that was not enough to satisfy god’s anger. He then had to humiliate Jesus beyond measure. Still not satisfied, God then hung Him on a cross to suffer for long enough to satisfy God’s wrath. His anger. Still angry though, God had to kill Him. Is this really the God you serve?

        This does not describe the God of the Bible. This describes a raving maniac. Yet this god is the one that is preached in almost all Christian churches around the world. They say it is because “He is a holy God that can not look upon sin and must punish it.” If that were true then how was satan able to go right into heaven and talk directly face to face with God about Job? Ridiculous!

        Joel Osteen teaches a false doctrine based on the fact that he can not reconcile a God of love to this God of justice. What he and most Christians do not understand is that God’s justice is deliverance. Not punishment. Here is proof.

        Judges 2:16 “Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, (for what purpose?) which DELIVERED THEM out of the hand of those that spoiled them.” God established deliverers for Israel when He set up a judge. Not punishers.

        Forgiveness was even available under the law. *Heb.9:13. And since it was, and even though it is true that Jesus did have to die, the question becomes, why then did Jesus still have to die? That is, if sin, the breaking of God’s law, is the reason we go to hell.

        Blessings:-}

        *Heb.9:13- “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:”

  2. Rich Kelley October 11, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    ((“When we are in relationship with God nothing, not even sin, can separate us from His love.”))

    Problem is not God’s love but the chosen sin of the person. You cannot be in a relationship with God if you are a sinner. Him loving you is something He may chose to do but claiming a relationship based on someone else’s love does not a relationship make. If you love Him you will keep His commandments, and there is no sin in his commandments. In order for there to be a relationship there has to be love from both sides. Romans 8 doesn’t allow for a sinful relationship, it just lets you know that once there is an established relationship nothing out there will be able to separate the relationship.

    1John 1:5-10  And this is the message which we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him—none! If we claim to have fellowship with him while we are walking in the darkness, we are lying and not living out the truth. But if we are walking in the light, as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of his Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin.  If we claim not to have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, then, since he is trustworthy and just, he will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing. If we claim we have not been sinning, we are making him out to be a liar, and his Word is not in us.

    • Edwitness October 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      Rich Kelley,
      I agree, and that is exactly what I was saying. As you said “In order for there to be a relationship there has to be love from both sides. Romans 8 doesn’t allow for a sinful relationship, it just lets you know that once there is an established relationship nothing out there will be able to separate the relationship.”
      Amen to this Rich.

      But, as for your interpretation of 1John 5:10 you have a problem. It’s context relates to the gnostics that were trying to influence the theology that John had already taught them. That theology told them that when we come to Christ we must repent of our sin. John had already taught them that if we say we have no sin, as the gnostics believed, “we deceive ourselves”. But, as you quoted, when we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin, and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.
      Question; When we first come to Christ he cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness, right? That’s all sin we have ever done or will ever do. ALL. Then what is left to confess after we are saved if it has already been dealt with?

      Blessings:-}

      • Sola Scriptura October 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

        EW – Read Romans 8:1 in the KJV…it has an extra clause, one deleted out by the new versions intentionally. It emphasizes our responsibility as believers, and how we seek to live if we are truly saved, not as law but as love. If it was good enough for Luther, Wycliffe, Tyndall, Coverdale and the 47 editors of the KJV, then it’s good enough for me.

        • Edwitness October 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

          Sola Scriptura,
          Isn’t it the reason for the part you are refering to being left out, because it was not in the original? But, is only added by the translators for clarity? In the rest of the passage we find similar statements. Like vs 6-8. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
          Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
          So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
          But the phrase “who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit” is not in the original manuscripts.
          At least that is my understanding. These verses tell us that unbelievers do not understand the things of God.
          But, when added to vs 1 it changes the meaning so that it includes those who are saved. And I do not see this concept being taught in the rest of the chapter, nor in the rest of the NT either. In fact Paul teaches that even the least esteemed in the church can judge. 1Cor.6:4 “If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.”

          I have no problem with the concept that is being conveyed in verses 6-8. I just don’t accept the adding of it where it was not in the original. Especially when it changes the meaning to make it apply to believers as well.

          Blessings:-}

          PS I too read from the KJV. I left it out because it is not in the original and changes the meaning of what is being taught.

  3. Robert October 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    We confess our sins not to receive forgiveness, but because we recognize that it no longer identifies us as the sons of God we have become. Also, we confess our bad behavior one to another, not to God, because our “sin” gets us into trouble in our personal relationships. As far as God is concerned, our slates are wiped clean.

    • Edwitness October 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

      Amen Robert,
      “Also, we confess our bad behavior one to another, not to God, because our “sin” gets us into trouble in our personal relationships. As far as God is concerned, our slates are wiped clean.”
      Amen, Amen, Amen!!
      Blessings:-}

      • Rich Kelley October 11, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

        Ed

        You don’t agree with me or you would have quoted everything I said not just the parts you like.

        ((“Problem is not God’s love but the chosen sin of the person. You cannot be in a relationship with God if you are a sinner. Him loving you is something He may chose to do but claiming a relationship based on someone else’s love does not a relationship make. If you love Him you will keep His commandments, and there is no sin in his commandments. In order for there to be a relationship there has to be love from both sides. Romans 8 doesn’t allow for a sinful relationship, it just lets you know that once there is an established relationship nothing out there will be able to separate the relationship.”))

        I gave no interpretation of 1John 1:5-10, I only quoted the five verses in context without commentary. Your commentary is noted.

        Rich

        • Edwitness October 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

          Rich Kelley,
          I only commented on what we do agree on.
          The problem you are having is you do not understand that the law has no place in the believers life. This being true means that there is no longer any law for the believer to break. Therefore sin has no power in the Christian’s life.
          Proof?
          OK
          Paul said that “But now WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Rom.7:6

          “(For until the law sin was in the world: but SIN IS NOT IMPUTED WHEN THERE IS NO LAW.” ROM.5:13 AND
          “Because the law worketh wrath: FOR WHERE NO LAW IS, THERE IS NO TRANSGRESSION.” ROM.4:15

          “The sting of death is sin; and THE STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW.” 1Cor.15:56

          “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; THAT SIN BY THE COMMANDMENT, MIGHT BECOME EXCEEDING SINFUL.” Rom.7:13

          The point here is that without the law sin has no power. It does not count against you before God. Now you must have the same question those Paul was teaching this to asked. “Why don’t we just sin so that grace can abound?”
          Paul gives the answer. Let’s see if you can find it:-)

          Blessings:-}

      • Rich Kelley October 11, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

        Ed

        Would you say that the reason our slates are whipped clean is because everything is covered by the blood of Jesus?

        Rich

        • Edwitness October 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

          Rich Kelley,
          Yes I would say that except that it is Christianeze. It would not help in explaining it to someone you are witnessing to. And most times christians pour meaning into it that is not scriptural. Here’s why.

          Where there is no law, sin does not count against you before God. Rom.5:13 and 4:15. When Jesus died He gave power to a NEW covenant. Heb.9:15. In this covenant there is no law except to love one another as Jesus loves us and to love God. John 13:34 and Mt.22:37

          The law of Moses and any other so-called ‘moral law’ have no place in this covenant. This means the sin that is defined by those laws is made null and void. It has no power. In this sense the slate is wiped clean.
          “Where there is no law, there is no transgression.” Rom.4:15

          Blessings:-}

  4. Rich Kelley October 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    Ed

    I’ll leave you with knowing what all my problems are.

    Rich

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