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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Bondage Breaker: A Critique of Neil Anderson's Supernatural Systems Approach

Personal Assessment
I approached this book with skepticism.  Many years ago I was exposed to Anderson's Victory Over Darkness and, though I can't remember any details about it, I remember feeling like he was looking to find demons under every rock and failing to hold individuals personally responsible for their choices.  Since then I have not viewed him as a reliable source for instruction.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover balanced and scripturally well-supported arguments presented in The Bondage Breaker (2000).

I appreciated his assertion that the material and immaterial are not divisible (p. 34).  As human beings, our challenges are not physical or spiritual but both physical and spiritual.  When I have a bad cold, it affects not only my sinuses but my cognition and emotions and, thereby, my ability and even my desire to pray or read Scripture.  When counseling Christian clients, I need to be sure I am paying attention to the whole person - mind, body, emotions and spirit.

I also strongly support Anderson's focus on personal responsibility for right thinking.  My grandfather strongly believed that the way we are raised has only as much affect on us as we choose to allow - there comes a time for each person when they are individually responsible for their choices, beliefs and behavior regardless of childhood experiences.  God gave us the ability and the responsibility to cognitively assess our lives, to examine ourselves (reference 1 Corinthians 11:28, 2 Corinthians 13:5 and Galatians 6:4) so that we are without excuse when we come before His throne (reference Romans 1:20).

While I am in agreement with the majority of Anderson's (2000) concepts, I'm not comfortable with the formulaic steps as they are laid out in the book - both the seven "Steps to Freedom in Christ" (pp. 201-242) and the prayers for maintaining freedom in Christ (pp. 242-252).  In the first place, it's simply too "rubber stamp" for my personality.  People are too unique and individual and their personal challenges need to be handled according to their uniqueness and individuality.  Second, I have never liked formula prayers.  They feel too much like magic words to me.  Prayer needs to come from the heart, not from a book.

This book was a good reminder that our battles are as much spiritual as they are physical and I believe that incorporating this belief into my therapeutic practice will benefit my clients and make me a better counselor.  While it is unlikely I would walk a client through Anderson's (2000) seven steps, it is likely I will encourage prayers that affirm truth and renounce wrong thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that may have given place to demonic influence.

References
Anderson, N. (2000). The bondage breaker. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.

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