Thoughts to Ponder

Responses to my review of the book Prayer of Jabez - page 2

Below are messages I received about my review of the book Prayer of Jabez. The messages I received are in blue and my responses are in green.


I think you are missing the point of POJ, and yet I hesitate to say anything at all. It is certainly in your spiritual makeup to reject any "challenges" to your understanding. I understand that the Holy Spirit is the Master teacher through the inerrant Word - yet we are the body of Christ, and as "iron sharpens iron" we are accountable to correct, exhort, and admonish each other so that in part through the work of the Father (John 15) we can be made presentable to Him as His bride, "spotless and without wrinkle or blemish."

You are certainly missing the point of Mathew 18:15,16,17. You have made some pretty bold statements concerning the work of a fellow believer - or is it your belief that Bruce Wilkenson is not a brother in Christ? (And if so, how can you make such a determination? I have heard in person Dr. Wilkenson state that 'Jesus is Lord,' a statement that qualifies under 1 John 4:2;10 as "a brother"). If he is a brother, then it is required if a believer finds fault with the work, attitudes, or actions of a fellow believer, then we are to take it to them alone. The Apostle Paul did not sit on his laurels and allow Peter to get away with his sinful actions and teachings. He approached Peter head on and confronted him as to his dangerous actions (or inactions) he was sharing through his actions with the Jewish believers around him. If you feel as strongly about this work (I believe you used the word "evil" to describe in part this work, and "destructive" to the body of Christ) as you suggest, then why have you not confronted your brother face to face, and allowed him to correct or defend his work? At least he could have corrected those things which you find offensive, or you could have departed in disagreement, bringing a witness to review your conversation. At that point, you could have entered your review for the whole world to notice, because you will have met the scriptural requirements to write it (alone, a witness, the church). Dr. Wilkenson, even though he has a difficult schedule, is readily accessible to all those who have questions. However, it seems to me by your writings and replys that you are unwilling to approach him with some of your reasonable concerns. The reason the church is so factitious, my brother, is because we have refused to follow the simple teachings of the Scriptures in dealing with disagreements. Your refusal to allow Mathew 18 to guide you in this is terribly disappointing.

Your review did not seem to me in reading it to be done from the spirit of meekness or correction, but not meeting you face to face does not facilitate in me any type of discernment that I can reach a Godly conclusion. It seems to me the Prophetic gift must be tempered in love, grace, or mercy, or it just boils down to mean spirited, unloving prattle. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1-2). Also, your disagreement with Bruce seems to have invaded your personal thoughts toward him, a person (I assume) you have not even have had the pleasure of meeting. As a fellow believer, I challenge you to see all believers in love, for as it is written, "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him." (1 John 2:10).

I found some points of your review tht I agreed with such as the emphasis on repetition of the verse by the believer to recieve God's blessing. However, on most points I believe that I will respectfully and lovingly disagree with your assesment. Certainly the body of Christ has been empowered by the Spirit and enlightened by the Word to be able, as a whole, to be discerning to dangers that will trouble it, as it has for 2000 years. "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it." If this Prayer is a fad, it will quickly pass. But if it is a movement of God, no amount of railing against the small amount of "poison" will fade away the powerful message it seems to contain.

Every Peter needs a John to temper him.

I am sorry to ramble so long. Just my thoughts about this matter.

Thank you for your thoughts. I do have some comments, as I am sure you knew I would. I may ramble too since it is sometimes hard to answer without going at least a little ways down another trail. Let me try to start with your first statement. You stated that you think I missed the point of POJ. Okay, what was the point? If I missed it I don't know how. I quoted from the book, but let me quote again what I think the point of the book is: I want to teach you to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. (PoJ Preface page) This is quoted from the very beginning of the book. So what is the point of the book? Am I wrong to say that the point is that Mr. Wilkinson is trying to give us 'the' words to pray that God always answers? Or that he is trying to teach people to pray 'this' prayer day in and day out? If that is not the point of the book, then indeed I did miss whatever it was.

I will tell you truthfully that I took offense to this statement you made: It is certainly in your spiritual makeup to reject any "challenges" to your understanding. Why do you say that? Is it because my beliefs are strong and I don't change my mind when someone has a different opinion? That is not the same thing as rejecting any challenges. I try to weigh those challenges against Scripture which is the way I try to come up with my original view. If you will honestly look at the conversations on my website you will notice one thing; I try very hard to buttress my views with Scripture, but those who want to 'challenge' my position almost never use even one passage of Scripture. So why should I change what I believe God has revealed to me unless the person can show me that I misinterpreted God's word?

Now that does not exactly hold true for our discussion, but since you made that statement in reference to my attitude on the rest of my site, I take offense to it. You go on to accuse me of having no love, yet I view that statement at the very beginning of your message to me to be somewhat unloving also.

Your next statement, we are accountable to correct, exhort, and admonish each other, bothers me too, since you claim I was wrong to review this book. You mention that I did not follow Matthew 18, but I think you have misinterpreted Matthew 18. I will get to that in a moment. You make statements that make it appear that you think I don't believe Mr. Wilkinson is a believer. Please show me anywhere in my review of his book where I call his commitment to Christ into question. Then you go on to say this: If he is a brother, then it is required if a believer finds fault with the work, attitudes, or actions of a fellow believer, then we are to take it to them alone. Here is my disagreement with what you said. You are using Matthew 18 in a way it was not intended. Let me quote it: (Matthew 18:15 NIV) "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." It does not say: if you find fault with the work, attitudes or actions of... It says if a brother 'sins' against you. I never said nor do I believe that Mr. Wilkinson has sinned against me. I don't think he even knows me, unless of course one of the other people who has written me has done as I requested and passed on my review to him. So since he has not sinned against me, Matthew 18 does not apply.

You go on to talk about Paul confronting Peter, but I am afraid those are two different points. It would appear that you are trying to say that Paul confronted Peter according to Matthew 18 and I should do the same thing. However, I am sure you are aware that is not what Paul did. I will only quote one verse and not the whole story: (Galatians 2:14 NIV) When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?" If Paul had followed Matthew 18 as you pointed out, he would have taken Peter aside and talked to him privately, but he did not, he rebuked him in front of them all.

I on the other hand am not even trying to rebuke Mr. Wilkinson, I am reviewing a book and trying to show why I think the point of the book is wrong. But please, if Mr. Wilkinson is so accessible to you, please forward him a copy of my review and my e-mail address. I would love to hear from him and will post whatever he sends me so that everyone can see it.

You also make this statement: Also, your disagreement with Bruce seems to have invaded your personal thoughts toward him, a person (I assume) you have not even have had the pleasure of meeting. You are right about my never meeting him. Has this invaded my personal thoughts? I am not sure how to answer that, my personal thoughts are no different then my public thoughts. I don't know Mr. Wilkinson, but I do know one book that he wrote and I totally disagree with that book. Does he love the Lord? I don't know, but I will more then willingly take your word for it. Nothing in his book would lead me to think he doesn't love the Lord, but that does not make what he is promoting sound.

You further make the assumption that I don't view all other believers in love. How do you come to that conclusion? Is it because I dare to take an unpopular stand against something which is taking the Christian community by storm? Is that unloving? What if I were to tell you that it is because I love my brothers and sisters in Christ that I am willing to take this stand? I believe this book is wrong and that people should be made aware of that, so I speak out. It appalls me to see what is happening. Go to any Christian book store, you will find coffee cups with the Prayer of Jabez on them, you will find coins you can carry in your pocket with the prayer on them. The list goes on and on. It is sad. Now you might be about to tell me that Mr. Wilkinson does not promote that, but I would disagree with you. After all it is stated in his book that the person reading should copy the prayer and post it in their day planner, on the bathroom mirror, etc... Hey, why not have it on your coffee mug so you can remember to repeat it with your first cup of coffee? Or on a coin so that every time you reach into your pocket you can remember to repeat it?

It is not that I refuse to speak to Mr. Wilkinson, but I feel no real need to. He has prayed "this" prayer every day for over 30 years according to his own statement in the book. Why would I think I could change his mind now?

Let me get back to my problem with this book. We as believers are called sons of God and God Himself calls Himself our Father. Now you did not tell me if you are a father or not, but for the moment I will assume you are. Now let's say that your son is in third grade and one day he comes home from school with a piece of paper. He walks up to you and starts to read: "Dad, you are the best dad in the world, you love me, I know that, so please give me..." Fill in the blank with whatever he wants. Okay, it might be cute the first day, but what about the second, third, fourth, or fifth day? How about the fifth week that he comes to you and reads those same words? How long would it be before you sat him down and told him that is not the way to get things from you? What if he told you that one of his classmates claims this is the way to always get what you want from your dad? What would you tell your son? Don't you see that is exactly what Mr. Wilkinson is telling believers to do to their Father in heaven?

Might you not tell your son that he does not need magic words? That because you love him all he has to do is come to you and talk to you as a son does to a father? Don't you think that our Father in heaven feels the same way? This book does not promote a relationship with God, it promotes the magic words that will compel God to answer. If you don't see anything wrong with that then we will just have to disagree, because I do see a problem with it. It will cause people to look to God as a genie in the sky who has to answer when we rub the lamp (I mean say the words...), not as a loving Father that longs to hear from His children. I won't apologize for that stand.

If you can show me from Scripture that I am wrong and that the way we should pray is by repeated words someone else prayed, then I will rewrite my review and make a public apology to Mr. Wilkinson, however, I figure if you could have shown me that in Scripture you would have already.

You said that I called this book or its contents evil. You are wrong, I never called it evil, I did however, say it contained rat poison. Let me again quote from your message: If this Prayer is a fad, it will quickly pass. But if it is a movement of God, no amount of railing against the small amount of "poison" will fade away the powerful message it seems to contain. I take it by that statement you agree that there is a small amount of poison in the book?

Let me ask you since you are a pastor of a church, do you warn your congregation about false teaching? Do you ever warn them about things like the "Word of Faith" movement, or some of the other false teaching out there? If so then why do you have a problem with me speaking out about something I think is wrong? If not, then what do you think being a Shepherd means? If you love your flock, which I am sure you do, then you will want to help protect them.

In closing let me quote from my review: Be a Berean, test everything you hear and read against God's word. Just because you hear something from the pulpit does not make it biblical. We should not be surprised God warned us about this in advance:(2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV) For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. {4} They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. Notice I did not tell people to believe what I said, I told them to check out 'everything' they hear or read against God's word. What is your disagreement with that? People want to believe that God will do whatever they ask as long as they use the right words. What a shame that this has taken the place of a real relationship with their loving Heavenly Father.

If I have seemed unloving in my response to you, I am truly sorry. I love all my brothers and sisters in Christ and that includes you and Mr. Wilkinson, but I will not back away from telling the truth, just because it seems harsh.

In Christ,

Back to my review of Prayer of Jabez

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