Charles Stanley

Book Notes*

How To Handle Adversity

p. 16 -- "Sin ... causes our self-esteem to die ... All of these forms of death result in adversity to some degree."

pp. 19-20 -- Stanley relates the case of a rebellious son who is the product of a broken home. Stanley lays no blame whatsoever on the son's sin (rebellion) for the cause of his circumstances (i.e., a broken relationship with his mother), but places it all on the mother who was the reason for the broken home. Stanley's theology apparently allows for only one possibility -- that one's suffering must be due to another's sin (which is the correct interpretation in some cases), but he appears to give no weight to the probability that one's suffering could be due to the "victim's" sinful response to the sin against him (which is the correct interpretation in most cases). He thereby, by this apparent lack of understanding of Ezekiel 18, promotes blame-shifting and neglect of individual responsibility for one's own actions/reactions.

pp. 27-42 -- In relating the account of the Lazarus story of John 11, Stanley encourages his readers to "try to forget the end of the story and 'feel' as they [the Biblical characters] must have." This is a very feeling-/emotion-oriented approach (rather than action/behavior-oriented), based entirely upon speculation rather than actual Biblical narrative.

p. 34 -- Stanley uses the terms "rejection" and "compensate" in a standard psychological sense.

p. 43 -- "So many situations arising today seem to go beyond the bounds of what the Scriptures address." (Oh, really!? -- in 2 Peter 1:3 and 1 Timothy 3:16, God says exactly the opposite!)

p. 50 -- "Every time I deal with an individual suffering from something that happened during childhood, I think, 'Lord, it was not this person's decision to be born into that home.'" (Freudian psychic determinism)

p. 85 -- Stanley evidently has great respect for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), particularly its ability to lead men to see their "need of a higher power." He claims that "there aren't any atheists in AA," since they have seen their need and "the group allows members to discover or define for themselves what or who that higher power is." (Emphasis added.) Stanley evidently has no conception of the New Age concepts being promoted by AA that are leading AA members to accept false gods (in this case, a kind of "Star Wars Force" as a substitute for the true, living, personal God of the Bible).

pp. 108-109 -- Stanley relates the story of a lady who was presently "pushy" and "bossy" because of her childhood where her parents had high expectations for her without any affection. This environment in which she grew up was, therefore, the cause of her "aggressive spirit." Stanley gives no weight whatsoever to the fact that, even though probably sinned against first by her parents, her response to this "sin" was sinful in and of itself. Instead, Stanley says, "Every major family counseling session I have been involved in centered on problems that stemmed from some family member's past. Because of this, I begin almost every session with questions about early family life." (Emphasis added.) (The Bible says that problems may stem from some learned sinful response in the past, but present sin is not caused by past experiences.)

p. 127 -- "Perhaps a recent tragedy or illness has left you wondering about your usefulness or self-worth." (Emphasis added.)

p. 180 -- Espouses the Freudian concept of "denial."

p. 188 -- "Truths ... are essential to maintaining the right perspective on adversity. The reason is that self-esteem and confidence in God are usually two things affected most by tragedy." (Emphasis added.) (Stanley doesn't explain how one reconciles the conflict between self-esteem and confidence in God.)


* To be fair to Dr. Stanley, the material he presents in Chapters 5 and 13, pp. 69-82 and 149-161, respectively, is excellent.


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