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He Chose the Nails

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    A Serious Look at Max Lucado

    <P> My review will not likely be popular as I am the only reviewer thus far to give Lucado's work such a low rating. I invite you, however, to be patient with me and allow me to explain my reasons for this. I have tried to be as fair to Mr. Lucado as possible and I hope it shows. I consistently quote from his book, 'He Chose the Nails,' providing corresponding page numbers for referencing.<P> I think that the most important place to begin is with Lucado's view of GOD's chief end in regards to mankind. According to Lucado, GOD desires above all else it seems to save the entirety of the human race without exception. 'Would you offer the life of your child for someone else? I wouldn't . . . .ask me to make a list of those for whom I would kill my daughter. . . . The sheet will be blank. I don't need a pencil. The list has no names. But God's list contains the name of every person who ever lived. For this is the scope of his love. And this is the reason for the cross' (p. 114).<P> This view (known as 'unlimited atonement' in theological circles) is the guiding light for the rest of the work and it influences the rest of Lucado's theology. He attempts to consistently apply the implications of this view and man, as he is the center of all GOD's striving, becomes in the hands of Lucado a creature that GOD is dependent upon and cannot live without. In pondering the question as to why Christ did not resist being nailed to the cross, Lucado answers, 'What kept him from resisting? . . . He knew the price of those sins was death. He knew the source of those sins was you, and since he couldn't bear the thought of eternity without you, he chose the nails' (p. 34) In this, GOD is seen to be utterly in need of man, apparently unable to bear an eternity without us. GOD is, therefore, rendered incomplete without His creatures, for, as Lucado continually repeats throughout this work, 'He did this just for you.'<P> Man becomes an end-in-himself and that is why Lucado can suggest many times that Christ died for us because there was so much that is beautiful and good in mankind. Why was Christ willing to go to the cross? Lucado teaches that it was because 'he sees the beauty within the beast' (p. 20). This is a message he adopts throughout the book and it further affects his view of the nature of sin, for man cannot be 'totally depraved,' thoroughly wicked, while yet retaining a beauty that Christ could not live without. Lucado views humanity, rather, as a victim of the 'beast within.'<P> In a personal aside, Lucado describes a moment when 'the ugly part' of him 'showed his beastly face' (p. 14). Notice that he refers to this 'side' of himself in third person, as though he were not responsible for his actions but is simply doomed to struggle with someone else inside of him, who is not the real Max Lucado. Lucado offers the same excuse for his readers, whom he includes among those who have surely 'wrestled the beast within' (p. 15). He urges us to just 'accept the fact that there is something beastly within each and every one of us. Something beastly that makes us do things that surprise even us' (p. 17). I leave the reader to judge whether this is Scriptural.<P> Not only, according to Lucado, are we a victim of a 'beast' within us but we appear to be also victims of a sort of moral clumsiness. For Lucado, the 'sins' we commit are seen merely as a lifetime of 'mistakes' (p. 141) and, among the 'mistakes' we make, Lucado lists 'lusts,' 'lies,' 'greedy moments,' (34) and also includes 'drinking too much,' 'cheating at marriage', 'cheating at work' and 'mismanaging money' (141). These are all 'mistakes,' which implies that we do not really mean to do such things. This implies that we are perhaps victims of ignorance rather than truly wicked.<P> As sin is not given a very serious treatment by Lucado, seeing it as little more than a mistake, it is just as easily forgiven. The result is a view of GOD's attitude toward man's sin that

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