I’m on a committee at my church that reviews books and materials for Biblestudies, which is a great fit for me and a way I really enjoy serving. Recently I read through Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free and the companion study guide. I have read the book before, but can’t find the review on my blog, which might mean I read it before I started blogging. Although the vast majority of the book is thought-provoking and well done, there were several points where the tone is needlessly callous or perhaps just not well thought through, so ultimately we decided not to use the book for our studies. However, if you can overlook the problem areas, you might get a lot out of it.
The title might be a little off-putting to some, as if the book is about how women are so stupid we fall into traps, but that is not the author’s intent. I think she is right that men and women are deceived differently because we have different tendencies and different temptations and different fears and so on. The author does a good job of identifying common ways that women start believing things that aren’t true about themselves, God, and life, and how that can cripple us or keep us from our best.
The lies Nancy Leigh DeMoss identifies are similar to the underlying sins Tim Keller talks about in Counterfeit Gods. When we have a sin problem, there is a deeper idol at stake, Keller says, and DeMoss would agree, but she calls it a deeper lie we’re believing. They mean the same thing but one type of terminology might resonate more than the other for you. I think it’s often helpful to view a problem from multiple angles so I appreciated DeMoss’s insight.
Some of the problem lies DeMoss identifies are:
- “God is not really good.”
- “God’s ways are too restrictive.”
- “I’m not worth anything.”
- “I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings.”
- “My sin isn’t really that bad.”
- “I don’t have time for everything I’m supposed to do.”
- “I have to have a husband to be happy.”
- “If I feel something it must be true.”
The book discusses 40 different lies, and gives Scriptural rebuttals and ways to break out of those mindsets.
The committee I’m on had some reservations about this book because of the sometimes strident positions DeMoss takes on controversial issues. After reviewing those sections more closely, I think DeMoss has good points, but the way she states them up front and some of the words she uses are stronger than is warranted. I can see how her language would be off-putting and even hurtful to some women, rather than being thought-provoking and encouraging as I think was the author’s intent. I also felt that in one or two instances she cites Scripture to back up her point, but the Scripture doesn’t exactly say what she explains. As with any book, I think it’s important to read carefully and think through points where you are challenged and offended in light of the Bible. In some of these instances, I think a close read conveys the author’s good intentions and even in areas where I disagree with her I think it’s worthwhile to think issues through in light of scripture.
Overall I think this is a good book and would be helpful for a group or individual study if the leader is ready to caveat sometimes and prepared for some people to be hurt by certain parts (I’m not saying hurt as in convicted, I’m talking about hurt as in the author didn’t seem to understand how hurtful certain topics can be, especially when the author takes a flippant tone about a serious issue). It’s not as good as Counterfeit Gods, in my opinion, but it does have a lot more in-depth study attached. Because I had some real issues with the way the author presented her points at times I’m not sure if I should recommend the book, but it does have some good insights so I think I’ll say I recommend it with reservations.
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