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Posted November 6, 2009
Wisdom Hunter Book Review
"Wisdom Hunter" by Randall Arthur was quite an interesting book. If you have had any dealings with legalism in your faith or have wondered what legalism is, this is a fiction book that opens the factual truth of legalism.
I really enjoyed reading the front "From the Author" page. Randall Arthur states:
"When 'Wisdom Hunter' became a bestseller upon its release in 1991, I thought the success of the book was a fluke. To my further surprise, the book was nominated shortly thereafter for the CBA 'Book of the Year' award. I learned quickly that the subjects of legalism and spiritual dictatorship were provocative topics worldwide, transcending all denominational and cultural borders.
Almost two decades ago, 'Wisdom Hunter' was born, not out of a long-held ambition to write a best-selling novel, but from a personal need to write the things I learned and experienced as a young, legalistic missionary in Europe. The story was developed out of great anguish and written with an unquenchable passion. I am not an authority on the local church or the Christian life. I am simply a wisdom hunter - one who was hungry enough to rip the mask off my 'American Christianity' and delve into truth.
After the first release of the book, I eventually worked up the courage to present a copy of 'Wisdom Hunter' to the president of the mission agency under whose administration I had served for seventeen years. He read it that day, and he fired me that evening. Over the following three months, eighty-five percent of the churches that supported my missionary efforts severed their relationship with me. I knew the book would be controversial. Still, its message was worth the pain of losing my job and most of my income.
Would I do it over again? Yes, without hesitation.
Through the years, I have received thousands of letters form readers around the world who have been touched by the book's timeless message and unconventional ability to transform hearts and minds. The book lives on primarily because people read it and then vigorously promote it from pulpits and stages: in magazines, newsletter, Websites, conferences, camps, classrooms, discussion groups, and Internet forums; on television and radio; and especially one-on-one. Today, many people are aware of the problems caused by legalism in the church, and some changes have occurred. However, there remains a need to address these issues that render us ineffective as Christians. It is my desire that this edition of 'Wisdom Hunter' will do just that.
To those who have read the book and are fans, I say thank you. I am humbled and honored. May we always be students that dare to question. And may we never lose our heart for God.
If you are reading 'Wisdom Hunter' for the first time, I hope it will be a refreshing and thought-provoking experience. May it stir an unquenchable thirst for truth in your soul.
From my heart to yours,
Now don't you really want to read this book?!
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Posted January 2, 2012
Posted February 12, 2011
Recommended, but not for children
Although I cannot say that this is one of my favorite novels, or that it is something I would readily recommend, it does deal with a important issue: Corruption in the Church.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Although I cannot say that I have seen legalism on the rampant scale that it is portrayed in the book, I will readily admit that I have come across various people who struggle with it - myself included.
Legalism - I think it mostly stems from pride. From not being willing to have grace with our brothers and sisters in Christ who might not be on the same page with us in some areas.
(Obviously, this does not apply to salvation areas - what I am writing about here is matters of conscience.)
For a variety of reasons, I would not recommend this book for children.
My rating: 7 out of 10 stars
Posted December 15, 2009
A mystery about the fact that God isn't in a box
When I read the introduction I was under the impression that there was something controversial about the story, but I didn't find anything out of the ordinary at all. The story is about a right-wing pastor who is rather dictatorial in his beliefs: my way or the highway type. He loses his family and suddenly realizes that perhaps he has been wrong about how God works. He quits his church and goes on an odyssey to find his grandchild. The journey takes him across the States and to the Mediterranean and Europe. Finally, in Norway he discovers a church that is really based in the basics of Christianity. There he learns how wrong he had been and that his early teachings had taught him to put God in a box. There are a few memorable passages like where it is pointed out that all the disciples were completely different kinds of men who made each other strong. The mystery is a good story and the religious theme continually points out that we need to be careful about the type of church that we attend, it is good to ask questions.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 8, 2009
A great story about questioning faith and gaining a new perspective
I've read so many books lately that they've all seemed to kind of run into one. Shortly after reading one I loose some of the intricacies of the story. This book, was definitely not one of those. I was completely blown away by this story. I wish I would've heard about this one years ago, when it originally came out. But I'm glad that I was given the chance to read it, even if it was 18 years late.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
While there is alot going on in this story I felt that the main idea was that Jason, a pastor, questions his faith when his life is thrown into a chaotic string of events. So many things that Jason questioned about his faith are things that I have too questioned. This one just really resonated with me as I could relate on almost every level with Jason.
The story not only has a great premise, but there are some pretty action intense scenes, as well as some very emotional scenes. I was literally drawn into this story from the opening line and was hooked till the end. I didn't want to put this book down. It was a fast read, but it really made me think. Character development was great, dialog was realistic, descriptions were perfect.
I have already recommended this, and will be recommending it many many times in the future. I normally will lend my books out to people, however I think this one will not leave my possession. I can see myself reading this many times over.
I think this is one that just about anyone can read. It does deal with a few difficult subjects, but the struggling with religion was (at least in my opinion) the basis of the story.
Posted October 27, 2009
Novel exposing the truth of legalism needs a bit more polish
Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur is a thought provoking look at legalism within the Christian church and having a true relationship with God. Pastor Jason Faircloth has been praying with absolute surety for 516 days that God will return his runaway daughter, Hannah, to him, she will repent of her rebellion, and he will forgive her. When he instead receives a phone call on Christmas that she has been killed in a car accident, leaving behind a granddaughter, Renee, he will never know because the father wants nothing to do with him. In the wake of her death, Jason's wife accuses him of Hannah's murder and wills herself to die as well. With both of them gone, he questions his faith in God and the faith that he's been teaching the congregants at his church for the last fifteen years. He abandons the church and his old faith, heading off into a new world to discover what it really means to love the Lord and with the everpresent hope of finding Renee. Initially published in 1993, this book ruffled some feathers with its presentation of legalism within the American church, and it's still relevant today. I had a difficult time truly relating to Jason; he went from hardline Pharisee to accidental drug smuggler and escapee from jail. Some of the story seemed a bit far-fetched, but once it settled down in Norway, I enjoyed Jason and his faith, although his almost stalker-esque pursuit of Corinna seemed unusual. There are some rough spots in the writing. The dialogue and descriptions could use a little polish, but the story still has a powerful message that needs to be heard in today's climate of moral relativism on one side and us vs them mentality on the other.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2009
A Bit too preachy and overdramatic for my taste
Legalism in Christianity has always been such an interesting subject to me. This is just my personal opinion but I just always wonder where these rules came from and who decided that they were right. What's even more interesting is that a lot of times when someone describes Christianity, legalism rules are always brought up as the stereotype of the religion. This book brings up the topic and questions it and shows that it's not always the right way to follow. One topic that came up that I found extremely thought provoking was whether these rules were what God said, or whether this is just one person's personal views and opinions. This book started off extremely interesting. There's suspense and drama but it's balanced very well and the story is page turning. You don't know what's going to happen and, I sound sadistic, but it's quite moving to see Jason going from extreme legalistic pastor to a guy who has no idea what he wants or what to do.
Then about halfway through the book, it just went downhill. Story lines were never answered. Characters did complete 180s. The tone of the book became extremely preachy. First off, Corrina just disappears. There was so much of the book focused on her and the storyline is just dropped. I'm half convinced Jason invented her in his mind. Then that once scene involving the "bath powder" was just really unbelievable naive on Jason's part. The situation with Cody and Renee could have been handled a lot better in my opinion. I know the book takes place in the 70s so the laws that are effective now weren't as strict back then. However, the situations that take place just seem so over the top. It just makes me feel like the author was making it as dramatic as possible just to create effect. As for being preachy, there were parts of the book that felt like a sermon, mostly Jason's journal entries and the scenes with the church in Norway.
One thing that really bugged me was how the character of Yoma was portrayed. He's supposed to be a refugee from Burma who escaped after becoming a Christian and becomes a pastor. That's all fine, but the author has him speaking in third person all the time. This makes him sound like Yoda which is really annoying. He's the only Asian character in the whole book and it feels like a horrible stereotype. I even asked my Dad, who's from Burma, if anyone who immigrated from there spoke that way and he said no.
I just felt like this story could have been so much better. While legalism is a topic that is focused on heavily in the front of the book, it just dies away as the book progresses. There's too much drama that happens, I mean literally everything that could have possibly happen in a soap opera happens in this book. I mean rape, drugs, suicide, alcoholism, incest, you name it's in here. The problem is how it's presented. The target audience is blatantly at Christian readers. To be honest, if I were not a Christian and picked up this book, I would lost interest very quickly. The writing is not really top notch. However the book does present a good argument and I did appreciate the topics that were brought up. If you are interested in reading more about legalism in the Christian church this is a good book to pick up. It just could have been better for me.
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Posted October 25, 2009
Wisdom and lots of enjoyment as well
I found this book very enjoyable. As a pastor, it's always a challenge to read a fictional account of other pastors, good or bad. The plot of Wisdom Hunter drew me in right from the start and held me through to the tearful ending (happy or sad? You'll have to read it and find out). Pastor Faircloth's search for answers and meaning after the opening tragedies seems very real and genuine. There might be some settings he gets into which I simply can't imagine ever happening, but the bring him to a breaking point - a breaking point at which God can finally speak and he'll listen.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
There were two flaws I found this book, however. First was Jason Faircloth's "wisdom journal." This is essentially his journal/diary of discoveries he makes along the journey. The observations have everything to do with the legalistic background which Jason comes out of. These moments, while probably true in real life, not just in a fictional novel, get very preachy. It's almost as if the author has made these discoveries himself and just has to have an avenue to get them out to the world. Perhaps, if he would have simply summarized these discoveries in one or two sentences, they might have been bearable.
The second weakness I found was in the International Community Church Jason discovers in Norway. If this were real life, I would rejoice that Faircloth finds his way back to a true church of loving believers. However, since the author got a bit preachy with his critique of the legalistic church from the beginning of the story, why does he not then allow the true, loving church to "preach" the Word into Pastor Faircloth's life. There is much wisdom shared, experiences referred to and love shown, but very little of the Word shared to bring Jason back to God, back to the church and back even to pastoring.
Despite these two weaknesses, I found this book very readable, very enjoyable and I can highly recommend it.
Posted October 14, 2009
This story just might change your life
Pastor Jason Faircloth thought he had God all figured out. He knew the rules, and he made sure his congregation knew them too. There was no excuse for failure. He expected the same at home, but his teenage daughter could not abide by such standards and ran away. Jason prays faithfully that God will send his daughter home, and he is certain that God will grant his request in time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Jason is visited out of the blue by a lawyer who brings horrible news: his daughter died giving birth to her daughter. Her husband is shipping her body back to Jason and his wife, but he has declared that the Faircloths will never see their granddaughter.
Jason didn't even know his daughter had married, let alone was expecting a child. He cannot understand how God could allow such tragedy to happen to him, a man who has given God everything. Jason is suddenly lost in his faith. He no longer knows what to believe, except that he cannot go on as he had been. He leaves his congregation and sets out in search of the one thing he hopes will bring meaning to his shattered life: his granddaughter.
This book was amazing. Jason's journey for new faith reached out and grabbed my soul. I've never read a story where the character experienced such a life change as a result of tragedy. It was inspiring, though-provoking, deep, and a wonderful look into Christ's heart. This book gives new insight to 1 Corinthians 10:23: "`Everything is permissible'--but not everything is beneficial. `Everything is permissible'--but not everything is constructive." Jason's journey to understanding humanity, love, and forgiveness changed the way I will look at it forever. It also changed the way I teach faith to my children. This book was heartbreaking and touching. I highly recommend it for readers looking for a gripping story that just might change their lives.
Posted April 19, 2001
I read this book at a time when I was questioning a lot of what I'd witnessed in the church. I had grown tired of spiritually abusive pastors, shallow people, and mindless followers. This book shows the struggle a former pastor experiences after he is confronted with the result of his legalistic attitude. I found it to be a great read and very helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 3, 2001
A must reading for all Pastors, Associate Pastors, Music Ministers and Youth Ministers
This book is absolutely rivating. Wish everyone could see that our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ cannot fit in the pre-molded, pre-fab box that we try to stuff him into. Once Faircloth got over on the other side of the world, he discovered that God was over there too working in ways he had not thought of. Unfortunately, too many pastors don't believe that God can work outside of that pastor's realm. Maybe we need to take another look. In some ways, been there, done that. But God is faithful, and regardless of how we find Him and where we find Him, His Word stands fast. In this book, Jason Faircloth discovers that. He discovers that all he is ever been taught, believed and preached has been challenged...though mistakes were made and his faith was shaken, in the end he comes to the conclusion that God's Word is truth. I read this book...all some 300 pages of it in less than 24 hours. I just couldn't put it down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2000
this book is interesting if you are just looking for a story to read. i found it to be rather shallow and left me wanting something deeper and real. guess that is a problem with christian fiction.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2000
Lord have mercy, You can run but can't hide!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The book wisdom hunter is a good book for all Christian, it deal with ethics and moral which is lacking today in our society. We need to get right with God, you can run but you can't hide from his presence. Rev Jason get it made but he did not get it right with the Lord, He laid his foundation on a weak soil, i.e his ego and not on God who called him, when you are call to serve, your service to God and humanity should start from your home which is the basic of all sound moral society. Please read this book, you will learn from Rev. Jason's mistake. The end result for him is good, you can be conservative but pay attention because the devil is looking to grab you anytime you made mistake.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2011
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Posted December 25, 2011
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Posted October 20, 2010
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Posted January 17, 2010
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Posted March 1, 2011
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Posted January 7, 2011
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