Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit

I tried. I really did. I wanted to like this book, but you guessed it, I didn't. I have not liked one of Andy Andrews' books that I've read. (The Noticer, The Butterfly effect, The Boy Who Changed the World, and now "The Summit") I'm going to tell you why I don't recommend his books, and I'm speaking from a "Biblical" Worldview, not a "Christian Worldview" (whatever in the world that means! It's about as vague as the message in this book.)

First and foremost, the message in this book is NOTHING new. Second of all, I love reading, yet I fell asleep twice before getting to chapter four. There is NOTHING "mysterious, suspenseful, or emotional about this book." (I'm beginning to think that people just like Andy Andrews as a person, so they choose to like his books. After all, who doesn't like someone who has nothing but positive encouraging words to say.) But there is a serious issue with his writings. They "meddle" with Biblical principles. They add to them and take from them and the Bible has something to say about that. (Revelation 22:19) I don't take these words lightly because I take my God seriously. Let me give you some examples in "The Final Summit:"

Andy Andrews uses very well known descriptions of the Bible such as "The Valley of the Shadow of Death." Yet, the focus is all about self. Andrews says it's "where we experience loneliness and gain humility." He adds, "We learn to focus our thoughts on others and not weep for ourselves. But, the Bible in contrast says that in the Valley of the Shadow of Death is where we lack nothing. It's the place where God is with us; it's where we are comforted by Him. My point: don't take the "Valley" and make it something it's not. Use another example. The "Valley" is for those who are surrendering their self to God, not focusing upon self.

Another example is where Andrews talks about "wisdom." It's "wisdom" that very well may be the answer to the question, "What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?" Here's the problem. Andrews' definition of wisdom is the complete opposite of what the Bible calls wisdom. He states that "humanity must individually and collectively begin to seek wisdom in our personal and professional lives-ourselves and each other." First and foremost, the Bible says that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom!" (Proverbs 9:10) King Solomon was supposedly at "The Final Summit" . . . I'm surprised he didn't stand up and correct the main character David Ponder and "Gabriel." (the angel) You see, the answer to the question at the Summit is supposed to bring about miracles . . . correct me if I'm wrong, but God's primary concern is not for us to progress toward a "successful civilization." He says, "Seek first My Kingdom and ALL these things will be added to you!" (Matthew 6:33)

I probably would have gotten through this book with a mere sense of disgust. But, then Andrews brought in King David from the Bible who declared that "self-discipline" leads to reward. WHAT?!? I read it again . . . did I just read that?!? (I might add, there's several instances where Andrews talks about "forgiveness" and "repentance," but never alludes to WHO is doing the forgiving.) David, in Biblical Scriptures, always gave credit for his victory in battle to the Lord. (1 Samuel 17:45-47) It's not about self will, self determination, or self discipline! The Bible tells us that even a "man after God's own heart" can fall into sin. Yes, we must be self-disciplined . . . but clarification is needed here. We need to be self disciplined in the pursuit and ways of Almighty God. It is only being a Disciple of Christ that brings about self control. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) AND let's call it what it is . . . it's not a "lack of self-discipline" . . . it's sin!

I could go on and on with examples like this. I won't. However, I will end by saying that the ending of this book is atrocious. The "Personal Declaration" at the end made by those at the Summit who have "discovered" the two word answer to their question is ridiculous. As I read it, I couldn't help but think that maybe it was taken out of "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy." Ironically, many of the things stated come from Biblical principles. But, of course, there's always a "twist." Here's a statement from it: "I can make myself do something I would rather not do, in order to get a result that I do want." Huh? How about, "Stormy seas do not scare me." (In the Bible, it's Jesus that Calms storms . . . not us.) In addition, "My past is behind me and my future is bright because I know the secret of the present." What? 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 says that all that we know is "incomplete." We can't know the future . . . only God does . . . which is why we must trust Him. Oh boy, I could go on and on.
This is "meddling" with the Bible. This book was about as vague as referring lightly to God as the "Creator." He is Almighty God. The ONE and only. Some authors stand upon their faith . . . other dance around it, not wanting to "offend" anyone.

I was glad to see that Andy Andrews at least "mentioned" Andy Stanley at the back of the book. It was quite obvious where Andrews' mention of "The Principle of the Path" came from. So, although he didn't specifically mention that . . . he at least acknowledged Stanley's influence on his writing. (I'm just not sure if that's a compliment.)

Bottom line. I can't recommend this book from a Biblical Worldview. It has the ability to lead people astray. Quite frankly, if you're not pointing people directly to the Cross, you're pointing them in the wrong direction. And this book, as well as the other books I've read by Andrews are ALL ABOUT SELF. Jesus specifically said, "If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it." (Matthew 16:25)

By the way, after reading this book, I was NOT inspired to do "anything."

*I was provided this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review by the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.


Diane Kinney said...

I didn't like the book either! And I'm having a hard time writing the review as the book bored me and I really didn't get the point. I'm not a fan of Andrews as some of his books seemed endearing but really do not align with Biblical principles. Your review is right on the money. Now I need to write mine.

Unknown said...

Hey Cherie,

Thanks for the info about this book. I won't be reading it!

How are you doing? Have you finished your next book? I'd love to read it and to hear how you are doing.

If your life is like mine, it's been busy.

Hope you are doing well.


Laura Hartness said...

I wanted to like it as well. I didn't. Pseudo-Biblical fluff.

luv2bowljen said...

I am so glad I wasn't the only person to find that King David's assertion that 'self-discipline' killed Goliath absurd! I don't even know what to do with this book now that I've finished it; I certainly can't give it to anyone who might read it and think it is Truth!

Thanks for sharing your heart and being true to the Truth.

Cherie Hill said...

I want to thank EACH of you for your comments. It's DIFFICULT for me to write a negative review. As a writer, I know how difficult the task can be. But this book was just over the top for me!
I'm going to drop by and visit each of you!

Unknown said...

I agree. A good book is easy to review. I should have known better than to even have signed-up to review this book. I wonder why Booksneeze promotes books by Andy Andrews. There are few other others that have great books that do not get the attention he seems to get.

Annie Kate said...

Thank you so much for this review! I love the detailed objections...they were mine exactly, but I wrote a more general review. I'm going to add a link to you in my post, and I'm now following you.


Annie Kate

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Monica said...

I just reviewed this book, as well. I was SO disappointed with it!

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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