Book Review: “Ten Words To Live By” by Jen Wilkin

***DISCLAIMER – I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM CROSSWAY TO REVIEW. IT WAS A PRE-RELEASE COPY, FOR IT WAS RELEASED ON 3/31/2021.***

Jen Wilkin’s Ten Words To Live By: Delighting In And Doing What God Commands represents the third book I have reviewed for Crossway this year. Wilkin is currently on staff at The Village Church, a place pastored by Matt Chandler. The back of the book states she is a Bible teacher from Dallas, Texas. She calls herself a teacher on page 75.

I chose Wilkin’s book as the next book to review for Crossway because Wilkin is no stranger to controversy. In one “sermon” she gave in 2019, she stated, “Women’s bodies every 28 days tell them a parable about the shedding of blood for the renewing of life.” That’s a rather “ridiculous teaching” to teach from behind a pulpit at a conference. In his 2019 sermon “How The Fall Affects Us All“, false teacher and current SBC president J.D. Greear quoted Wilkin as saying this:

Jen Wilkin, who’s one of our favorite Bible teachers here and who’s actually leading our women’s conference, says we ought to whisper about what the Bible whispers about, and we ought to shout about what it shouts about. And the Bible appears more to whisper when it comes to sexual sin compared to its shout[ing] about materialism and religious pride.

The above statement is problematic in light of such texts as 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Revelation 21:1-8, but a lengthier discussion on that statement is for another day. You likely get the idea now for why I chose Wilkin’s book. For this review, I note the book’s highlights (good and bad).

The ten “words” Wilkin refers to are the Ten Commandments. Why she interchanges between the terms “words” and “commandments” is beyond me. I suppose there is no need to quibble there. In a short section prior to the book’s introduction, she cites the passage showing each commandment (Exodus 20:2-17).

In the introduction, Wilkin plainly states, “This is a book about the law of God in all of its life-giving beauty” (p. 10). She does dedicate a chapter to each commandment. She gives her hope for the book as follows (p. 15):

So, it is my fervent hope that this book will increase your zeal. There are good works to be done by the people of God, not out of dread to earn his favor, but out of delight because we already have it. That favor is our freedom, a freedom from slavery better understood when we remember its foreshadowing many years ago in the time of the Ten Words.

Wilkin does make a careful distinction of law and Gospel with this statement (pp. 18-19):

But take note: they are not words of life for everyone. For the unbeliever, obedience to the Ten Words can yield only the deadly fruit of legalism. As the author of Hebrews makes plain, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb. 11:6). These words bring life only to those who have been joined to Christ through faith. Our relationship has been purchased by the perfect obedience of Christ to the law. The life of Jesus fulfills the prophetic words of Psalm 40:8: “I delight to do your will, O my God; / your law is within my heart.” He who delighted in the law of God offers it to those who trust in him, that they might delight in it, as well. And so that they might please God. With faith, by the power of the Spirit, it is possible to please God.

While Wilkin doesn’t really go in-depth in this book in explaining what the Gospel is, she does make the important distinction above. It is important to understand that by default, we are all born dead in trespasses and sins.

Ephesians 2:1-10 explains:

2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The Bible is clear that people are born dead in trespasses and sins (2:1-3). God’s being rich in mercy makes one alive in Christ (2:4). Furthermore, it is by grace through faith that one is saved (2:5-9). It is not based on works (2:9).

If you do not believe what Ephesians 2:1-10 states, I would ask you please look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something, even if it was small? Have you ever used God’s name in vain? Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus also said that if you ever get angry at someone, you’ve committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-26). Just the mere thoughts of adultery and murder make you guilty of the very acts themselves.

Please understand that it only takes one murder to be a murderer, one lie to be a liar and so forth. David said in Psalm 51:5 that he was conceived in sin. Genesis 6:5 states that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. Clearly, man has a sin problem. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Man is in big trouble with God because of his sin. This is more amplified by the fact that perfection is the standard (Matthew 5:48). 

Now, some people try to justify their sin by trying to balance it out with the good deeds that they have done. However, if you were to try that in a court of law, the judge would throw the book at you. A good judge would not accept a bribe. He would cast you off into jail. God likewise will not accept a bribe, for there is no partiality with Him (Deuteronomy 10:17; Ephesians 6:9). Revelation 21:1-8 states the following (NASB):

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be anymourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The Bible is clear that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. No adulterer, no murderer, no idolater, no unbeliever (among others) will inherit the kingdom of God (see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Sin has a very serious consequence.

Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to solve the sin problem 2000 years ago (Isaiah 53:1-12). You and I broke the law. Jesus paid the fine (Matthew 26:14-28:20). This means that the judge can do what’s legally right in dismissing your case. He can say, “This person has broken the law, but someone has paid his fine. He’s out of here.” This is good news.

There are two things a person must do. He must repent. This means to turn from his sin (Mark 1:16; Luke 24:36-49; 2 Timothy 2:19-26; Acts 17:30-31). He must also put his trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, 17:30-31; Romans 4:1-25, 10:1-17; Galatians 3:1-14; John 6:26-29). These gifts of repentance and faith are granted by God (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:22-26). If you repent and put your trust in the Savior Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of your sins and grant you everlasting life (John 6:47). Oh may you know His mercy and grace today if you have never repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. 

CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS (Pros)

I wish to acknowledge two pros in this book. First, each chapter follows a consistent structure. The opening page shows the verse pertaining to the commandment being discussed. Each chapter features a number of sections that divide the content within the chapter. One consistent chapter section I found was “On Earth As In Heaven.” I’ll discuss that recurring section title in the “cons” part of this review.

At each chapter’s end, Wilkin gives several Bible passages for meditation, a number of questions for the reader to answer (the first one seems to be the same in each chapter), and a prayer to write to conclude the chapter. The prayer is rather ritualistic. I show an example of one as follows (p. 137):

Write a prayer asking God to help you to obey the ninth commandment. Confess where you have fallen short by using your words to defame or diminish the name of your neighbor. Ask him to help you speak of and to your neighbor with truthfulness. Praise him that he does not return our reviling with reviling, but with forgiveness. Thank him for calling you to put away unrighteous speech.

p. 137

In basically every chapter, there’s a five-fold imperative:

  1. Write a prayer pertaining to the relevant commandment
  2. Confess where you have fallen short pertaining to said commandment
  3. Ask Him for something presumably to help with obeying said commandment
  4. Praise Him for something
  5. Thank Him for something

This isn’t really a bad prayer to write. I would have liked it if any of the parts placed more emphasis on receiving forgiveness for breaking the commandment. Such an omission works with my working theory that Wilkin’s book is basically a lot of law without a whole lot of Gospel. Perhaps that is expected since she does admit this book is about the law of God (p. 10).

The second pro I acknowledge in this book is Wilkin’s speaking out against sin. It’s hard for her not to do that since she admits this is a book about the law of God. Nevertheless, one still has to recognize when someone won’t sugarcoat sin. Consider the following text:

We can also misuse the name of the Lord by speaking hallowed words while living hollow lives. When we preach a moral code that we ourselves do not strive to uphold, we become like those Jesus railed against during his ministry—a people who honor God with our lips, but whose hearts are far from him. This is the parent who requires her child to apologize to her, but who never apologizes for her own missteps. It is the mentor who dispenses godly wisdom to a younger believer that he has not himself learned to employ. It is the woman singing praise songs at the top of her lungs, eyes closed and hands extended, who has not cracked open her Bible in months. It is the man who prays publicly with great piety and eloquence but whose private prayer life is nonexistent. It is the greeter at the front door of the church smiling broadly and shaking hands, who earlier that morning berated his family for being slow to get in the car. It is the preacher who exhorts others to repent while himself harboring an unrepentant heart.

In each of these cases, a person uses words to indicate a relationship with God that is inaccurate. They identify with his name, but not his nature. They are those to whom Jesus asks, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” With their speech they cry “Lord, Lord,” but in their hearts they do not set him apart as such.

pp. 53-54

Wilkin does not shy away from calling out sin, and that is a strength in this book. Had she placed more emphasis in her chapter conclusions on receiving forgiveness for committing the sin, this could have been a stronger strength of hers.

CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS (cons)

This book has no less than two strengths. It also has no less than three cons.

First, Wilkin seems to promote Kingdom Now theology in addition to some morphed aspects of dominionism, a term synonymous with the heretical movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. This is especially so in some of the “On Earth As In Heaven” sections that conclude the chapters in her book. Here is one quote (p. 72):

But one day, when we are glorified, we will rest fully and finally from the very presence of sin. No more futile labor to self-justify through good behavior, no more Spirit-driven labor to be holy in thought, word, and deed. The banner over the seventh day of creation is “It is finished” (Gen. 2:1–2). The banner over the believer at the cross as a new creation in Christ is “It is finished” (John 19:30). And the banner over the re-creation of all things is “It is finished” (Rev. 21:5–6). Each time we declare “It is finished” in our Sabbath observance, we affirm our allegiance to the kingdom that is to come, ordering our lives on earth as it is in heaven.

Have you ever declared “It is finished” in your Sabbath observance? I certainly have not done such a thing. I’ve seen heretic Kenneth Copeland declare “It is finished” regarding COVID-19 in March 2020 (so much for that), and that was a blasphemous thing to do. I’ve written an article on how Christians are not to decree or declare. The texts Wilkin mentions aren’t prescriptive texts ordering the believer to decree or to declare, “It is finished.” While her quote is not the worst thing she can say, it’s certainly not helpful.

A second quote I observed came under a “On Earth As In Heaven” section in chapter nine (pp. 134-135):

In the new heavens and the new earth, there will be an end to the bearing of false witness against our neighbor, made in God’s image. Imagine that for a minute. If you have ever felt the sting of being maligned or the shame of having maligned someone, imagine a place where that never, ever happens. If you have ever felt the justness of being rightly represented or the satisfaction of having edified another with your speech, imagine a place where that always and everywhere is the case. Every time we refuse to revile, flatter, go mute, or misappropriate, we live in that future reality today. Every time we choose to speak truthful words, encouraging words, life-giving words, about and to our neighbor, we invite heaven down to earth. And we make it visible in the here and now.

This almost sounds like the Word-Faith heresy; no amount of encouraging words I give could ever invite heaven down to earth. While Wilkin’s argument sounds noble and plausible, it promises too much. GotQuestions.org states this in its article, “Will Heaven Be On Earth?“:

It is important to note that “heaven comes to earth” only through God’s miraculous intervention and re-creation. No amount of human effort, as noble is it may be in some cases, will ever be able to create “heaven on earth.” We cannot manufacture utopia. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Christians have access to God and experience freedom from many of the effects of sin, but we still only have a glimpse of what is yet to come.

As the article notes, Christians are not manufacturers of Utopia. They are also not little deities. Unfortunately, Wilkin places much emphasis on the kingdom of God here and now throughout this book. Consider also this quote:

Delight yourself in lawlessness, and your disordered desires will govern you. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you new desires. Make his law your delight, and meditate on it day and night. In doing so, you practice the meditative seeing that leads to holy desiring, that ends in the consecrated consuming of the very bread of life. The result of that feast is a right eye that honors others and a right hand that works to give them dignity. Such eyes and hands make manifest the kingdom here and now.

p. 109

Again, we are not manufacturers of utopia. We cannot bring heaven down to earth no matter how much we delight ourselves in the LORD. Wilkin’s “kingdom now” language is problematic.

A second con I notice is her bad handling of Scripture. Coincidently, these come under her “On Earth As In Heaven” sections. Consider this quote (p. 135):

It is here that I think wistfully of Pinocchio with his wooden nose sprouting branches and leaves. Had God created us to bear a visible sign each time we lied, perhaps we would hesitate as we should. Perhaps if God had been more like Geppetto, we would all employ truth with greater diligence. But God knows better than Geppetto. Nothing bears greater witness to the truth of our invisible God than our visible obedience to his commands. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet obey (John 20:29). Our actions are the incarnation of our belief.

There are no less than two things wrong with the above paragraph. First, we are not the Gospel. The Gospel is outside of us (1 Corinthians 15). The empty tomb bears the greatest witness to the truth of God, not a Christian’s obedience. After all, we sin daily and sin much (see Romans 7). Second, John 20:29 does not place an emphasis on obedience. Its’ emphasis is on belief. Here is John 20:1-31 (NKJV):

20 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believedFor as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

The emphasis in John 20:29 is on believing, not obedience. In fact, that chapter features seven references to belief and zero to obedience. Needless to say, Wilkin has butchered Jesus’ words in John 20:29. This is blasphemy.

A second instance of her mishandling Scripture focuses on her omitting “thy will be done” from the LORD’s prayer. Here are two quotes:

It is our Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to all who pray “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” When former thieves determine by the power of the Spirit to be faithful in small matters of generosity, they store up treasure in heaven that does not fail. No stock market crash can devalue such treasure. No natural disaster or lawsuit or foreclosure can diminish the value of the generosity expressed by takers-turned givers. When we refrain from taking what is not ours and rush to give what we have received, we make manifest the kingdom here and now.

p. 121

Jesus, who kept the first word in every way, taught his followers to pray that God’s kingdom might come “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Why wait until the next life to count as worthless what God counts as worthless? Why wait until the next life to esteem what God esteems? The first word invites us into the blessed reality of no other gods now.

p. 31

Notice the omissions of “thy will be done.” In fact, that very phrase is completely absent from Wilkin’s book. Here is the Matthew account of the LORD’s prayer:

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In thismanner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:5-13 (NKJV)

Why on two occasions would Wilkin clearly omit “thy will be done” from the LORD’s prayer? She is taking away from God’s Word in these instances (Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19). This is not good.

The third and final con I notice is Wilkin’s lack of discernment. In this book, Wilkin positively cites the late Dallas Willard on two occasions (pp. 93-94, 105-106). Dallas Willard was not a Christian, for he was a Bible-twisting mystic and universalist. Consider these statements he made in an interview (my citing of the article from “Sola Sisters” is not a full endorsement):

“Now, I believe that everyone who deserves to be saved will be saved no matter where they are or what they do.” 

“(God) is open and in touch with everyone in the world, and for all who seek them with all of their heart—and that is defined in terms of coming to love Him, and not just have the right beliefs about Him—but coming to love Him, and loving their neighbor as themselves.”

And then on Dallas Willard’s own website, he makes this universalist statement:

“I am not going to stand in the way of anyone whom God wants to save. I am not going to say ‘he can’t save them.’ I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can.  It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.” But anyone who is going to be saved is going to be saved by Jesus: “There is no other name given under heaven by which men can be saved.”

The Sola Sisters’ article cuts off at the sentence ending “…does not know Jesus to be saved.” I included the last sentence for more context. It shows Willard’s duplicity. His mysticism, universalism and unbiblical spiritual formation renders him as one to be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17).

It’s one thing if Wilkin is quoting Willard to refute him. It’s another if she is quoting him positively (which she does). Specifically, she quotes from his 1998 work The Divine Conspiracy. I researched to see how problematic this book may be. Sadly, my research did not yield much. However, it appears his work did influence narcissistic false teacher Brian Zahnd. On March 4, 2017, Lighthouse Trails posted an article on Zahnd and his book Water To Wine. Here is a citation of that book from Lighthouse Trails:

On a summer afternoon I was at home browsing my bookshelves. I was deliberately looking for a book that would “give me a breakthrough.” I couldn’t settle on anything. So I prayed, “God, show me what to read.” And I sensed…nothing. I went downstairs feeling a bit agitated and slumped into a chair. Within a minute or two my wife, Peri, walked into the room, handed me a book and said, “I think you should read this.” She knew nothing of my moments ago prayer, but she had just handed me a book, and told me to read it. This was my Augustine-like “take and read” moment. It sent chills down my spine. Somehow I knew it was the answer to my prayer. The book was Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy. The strange thing was Peri had not read this book and had no more idea who Dallas Willard was than I did. (As I said, I was embarrassingly ignorant of the good stuff.) Neither of us were sure how the book had even made its way into our house. But, oh my, was it ever an answer to prayer! The next day I was flying somewhere and I took out the book providentially given to me by an angel. I began to read. And my life changed forever. Hyperbole? No. Stone cold fact. Reading Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy was like having a door kicked open in my mind. It opened my eyes to the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is, well, everything! In his foreword to The Divine Conspiracy, Richard Foster writes: “The Divine Conspiracy is the book I have been searching for all my life. Like Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling, it is a masterpiece and a wonder… I would place The Divine Conspiracy in rare company indeed: along-side the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Wesley, John Calvin and Martin Luther, Teresa of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen, and perhaps even Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo. If the parousia tarries, this is a book for the next millennium.” That’s exactly what I needed! Augustine and Aquinas for the twenty-first century! Dallas Willard was my gateway to the good stuff. Directly or indirectly reading Willard led me to others: N.T. Wright, Walter Brueggemann, Eugene Peterson, Frederick Buechner, Stanley Hauerwas, John Howard Yoder, René Girard, Miroslav Volf, Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, David Bentley Hart, Wendell Berry, Scot McKnight, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, and so many more. (Kindle Locations 116-133)

I don’t recognize all of the names listed in the quote’s conclusion. However, the ones I do recognize are full of problems. Thomas Merton is a mystic. N.T Wright is the engine behind the problematic New Perspective on Paul. The late Eugene Peterson was a New Age heretic responsible for the blasphemous “The Message” paraphrase. Richard Rohr is a heretic who “deceitfully preaches a works-righteousness Pharisaical liberalism that both encourages one to shut off the brain and places heavy emphasis on feelings and subjectivity instead of knowledge of biblical truth.” If Zahnd’s reading Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy “directly or indirectly” led him to heretics and false teachers, why is Wilkin citing Willard’s book in her book? This is a problem.

Now you might be saying, “Come on Clint. She only quoted him twice in the whole book.” That’s a fair point to make, but please just think with me for a moment. In August 2020, I wrote a movie review on Good Fight Ministries’ Hollywood’s War on God. In that movie, Pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, exposes some of the Gnostic influences behind some of Hollywood’s more popular movies in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Consider this paragraph:

Schimmel starts this documentary with both a citation of John 8:32 and an interesting fact on D-Con rat poison. He notes how D-Con rat poison is composed of 99.995% “other ingredients” (presumably non-poisonous based on the impression he gave) and 0.005% poison (specifically Brodifacoum 3, which was the most common active ingredient in this product at the time). Despite the product’s being only at 0.005% poison, it would still kill rats. He then ties this example to the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as he explains how that book (which became a movie) has more poison than actual rat poison.

Rat poison will kill a body. False doctrine (something The Da Vinci Code has) can send a soul to hell. Dallas Willard’s theology is laced with false doctrine as evidenced by his mysticism, unbiblical spiritual formation and universalism. The bad source Wilkin cites, as evidenced by Brian Zahnd’s own testimony, can definitely lead someone to various false teachers/heretics. Sadly, Wilkin seems to be influenced by Willard. This is not good.

CONCLUSION

This book is not all bad, for Wilkin speaks out against real sin. She also cites a number of Scripture. Unfortunately, she also mangles a number of passages. Furthermore, her problematic “Kingdom Now” language and citation of Dallas Willard make this book one I cannot recommend. Wilkin may call herself a teacher. However, she is a false teacher. As a result, stay away from Wilkin’s Ten Words To Live By: Delighting In And Doing What God Commands.

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Check out the podcast episode of the book review here.

Published by Clint Adams

My name is Clinton Adams. I am a born-again Christian. I used to have the blog "faithcontenderblog.wordpress.com." After taking it down, I have since rebooted as "The Earnest Layman" as I earnestly contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). I also promote sound Christian doctrine and rebuke that which contradicts it (Titus 1:9). I mainly do book reviews. However, I also do other types of posts (normally extensive). Should you request a certain topic, I will most definitely consider it. :) If you ever have questions or comments on anything you read here, feel free to comment with your feedback on any of my posts. You can also email me at earnestlayman@outlook.com. If you really like what you read here, you can always follow my blog. Thank you so much for reading!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: “Ten Words To Live By” by Jen Wilkin

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