It has long been my observation that there are two kinds of books being marketed to Christians. There are some whose foundational message is what you need to do and others whose foundational message is what Christ has already done. The first make a model out of the author, the second make a model out of Jesus. The first place the burden for change on personal power while the second place the burden for change on Christ’s power. It is clear that Girl, Wash Your Face falls squarely in the first category.
Of course, the books that sell the most are the ones that tell us what to do. This is Humanism 101, which is also described as picking yourself up by your bootstraps, believe in yourself, and you are told the world is your oyster. Humanism is a works-based religion in which the adherents are given instructions and told to follow those instructions in order to achieve happiness. It comes in many forms with multiple requirements and the message of society is humanism.
Heidi and I were watching a football game the other night in which one of the players was recently adopted by a family. His response for that being the case: “You just have to believe in yourself.” That is the mantra of humanism. It’s always focused on the self, with the idea of belief being tossed around, but it’s all based upon law, it is all transactional in nature. This means that if I keep to the moral code of whatever guru I’m reading, then I will experience happiness, wealth, contentment, nirvana, heaven on earth.
After reading Challies review of Girl, Wash Your Face, I no longer need to pick the book up. It doesn’t matter how uplifting it is, how encouraging her life is, or how possible she makes her form of humanism out to be, I already know its humanism.
Humanism is not the gospel. Humanism is not Christianity and is contrary to the gospel.
Yet it is sold in our books stores and promoted in our Sunday school classes, our churches, our pulpits, our seminaries. Let’s face it, if you want to write a book that makes some money, you have to write one that tells people what to do, or corrupts the gospel in some other way.
Great books on the gospel itself never sell because the gospel doesn’t affirm us in our sin. It doesn’t tell us to be a better you. What it tells us is that we are so sinful, there is no hope for us, except the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Instead of believing in ourselves, we need to believe in Him. We can do nothing for ourselves. In fact, in the gospel, it goes so far as to say that even the faith we have in Him, for our salvation, is faith that is given to us by Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).
This is not a popular message, which is why Christian book stores so rarely sell books with this message. Girl, Wash Your Face is an excellent example of what sells, and why we should always be wary about Christian bookstores. Yes, they sell books that are uplifting, positive, and encouraging, from a humanistic perspective. But they are not Christian books. And Girl, Wash Your Face is not a Christian book, even though the author confesses Christianity.
Just curious, does anyone get the fallen-tree analogy?