Thinking Rightly About Loving God; Voskamp Gets It Wrong


Mysticism and the practices Voskamp endorses that promote it, do lead to a Cosmic Christ, that is a creation-centered one rather than the Christ who bodily ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God. The mystical Christ is immanent only, not transcendent. He is contacted by unbiblical, mystical means rather than through the gospel that saves us from God’s wrath against sin. . . .There is enough sensuality in the world without us having sensual desires stirred up under the guise of a higher order religious experience in the context of a panentheistic worldview. Voskamp’s book feeds into the romantic sensibilities of its postmodern readers, but it does nothing to promote the faith once for all delivered to the saints. One Thousand Gifts pushes the church even farther down the unbiblical road of mysticism that so many are already on. We need to reject this and instead return to objective, Biblical truth.
(Bob DeWaay, “Romantic Pantheism: A Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Critical Issues Commentary 120; 2012.)

The book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is no stranger to criticism. This is due in large part to those dangerous characteristics described in the quote above. It is a book fraught with mysticism and a romantic, sensual view of one’s relationship with God and Christ.

Those who desire to rightly understand God, His Word, and their relationship with Him must exercise discernment and shun, and even condemn, such teachings as are expressed by Voskamp in her book. Yet one year ago, Desiring God, the ministry of John Piper, responded with quite an opposite reaction. Far from condemning Voskamp’s unbiblical, offensive view of God and the love of God, Desiring God actually recommended this book to its readers.

In the article published one year ago, “How Can We Give Thanks in All Circumstances?” writer Jon Bloom makes the following statements:
The Greek word for “thanks” in this verse is “eucharisteo.” And the best person I know to unpack this word is Ann Voskamp…
Read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. She dissects the anatomy of gratitude like no one else and presses hard into how to live it out daily in the face of small trials and devastating tragedy. (Men, ignore the robin eggs on the cover. This book is red meat.)
Must one think of and approach God in sensual terms in order to truly understand Him, love Him, and give Him the praise and thanks He is due? Or does one need simply to turn to the Bible, not mystical experiences, in order to know the God who saves? How does one rightly think of the love of God?
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9–10)
And how does one rightly demonstrate his love for God?
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1–3)
Amen. Those who have been saved by God will, by the power of the Spirit of God, seek to live lives of holiness in a manner worthy of the gospel that saved them. Sensual, mystical experiences of lustful love are found nowhere in Scripture. Let us love our Lord, then, in the way that glorifies and exalts the immeasurable love He has demonstrated toward us.

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