I like the way the book started out. There is something wrong with the world. We long for world peace but the only way that will happen is when there is peace within. That peace will not come without a struggle. McManus says his book is about that journey.
He writes about being a warrior in that struggle and then goes on at length about the way of the warrior. Warriors can be competitive yet still have humility and be selfless. A warrior can be both great and a servant. The warrior owns his defeat. The warrior knows what feeds his soul.
I felt McManus lost the focus of inner peace. Don't believers have the peace of God that passes all understanding? (Phil. 4:7) Why didn't McManus write anything about the peace that comes from God? “Peace can come only when it is fought for,” McManus writes. (3) Yet Paul promised in Phil. 4:6-7 if we let our requests be made known to God by prayer with supplication and thanksgiving, the peace of God would guard our hearts. Paul also said in Rom. 5:1 if we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God. Paul also said in Rom. 8:6 to set the mind on the Spirit is peace. Why would we have to fight for peace when the Bible is clear on how to have it?
McManus certainly has a way with words. “The warrior knows their strength only when standing in their weakness.” (129) His writing is entertaining and captivating. He tells good stories. He makes grand statements: “The warrior trains their mind to know the good and beautiful and true.” (92) But he never gives us the nuts and bolts of how to do the grand things he writes about. There is no practical strategy given nor specific actions to take. How do we war for that inner peace?
There is also a bit of concern about the theology included in the book. McManus writes, “The future is not determined; it is created.” (93) There are many problems with a statement like that, the primary of which is God and prophecy. If the future is not determined, then what in the world is prophecy? It is God who “works all things” to the desired end, not we who create the future. He also writes, “The warrior becomes one with all things.” (157) “The warrior is one with all things.” (195) Connected to God, others, and things? Yes. But one with all things? No. I think those of an eastern religion would be more comfortable with McManus' statements.
A glaring theological omission by McManus shows up when he writes about some people thinking the universe is against them. (161) He says “the universe is for you … because God is for you.” (162) The novelist Paulo Coelho “is not wrong,” McManus writes, in describing the entire universe as conspiring “on our behalf.” (171) McManus never mentions Satan, demons, evil, spiritual warfare, etc.
Men might like this book. It would allow them to think of themselves as warriors with the single intention of winning the battle raging within. (197) But there are no specific nor practical actions suggested in the book so they would not have to face the reality of actually doing anything to win the battle. They would not have to think about accepting Jesus as Savior nor participating in spiritual warfare nor allowing the Holy Spirit to actually transform their character. (McManus does write of “becoming one with Christ” but does not mention sin, forgiveness, salvation, etc. (184))
My rating: 2/5 stars.
Erwin Raphael McManus is the founder of MOSAIC, a church movement started in the heart of Hollywood with campuses across Los Angeles, Orange County, and Mexico City, and a global community that spans around the world. He is the author of several previous books. He and his wife live in Los Angeles.
Waterbrook, 256 pages. This book releases February 26.
I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.