Today I’m taking a break from my 30 Days of Forgiveness series to post a review for a book I just finished reading. I have continued the series on forgiveness over on Medium, however. So, if you’re looking for that, you can check it out here.
I hope you take the time to read this review first, though.
Since I’m currently undergoing training to become a certified biblical counselor, I jumped at the chance to read and review this new book, Moving Beyond Anxiety by David Chadwick. I thought it would be right up my alley.
But, from the beginning, I saw some definite problems.
The first problem
On the first page, the author confuses fear and anxiety.
“It is my belief that if you eliminate anxiety, fear will follow. If you change the root, you will affect the fruit.”
But the author has identified the root incorrectly. Classic anxiety starts with fear of either perceived or real danger. That fear triggers the fight or flight response. When the fight or flight response gets out of whack – when it gets triggered inappropriately or too frequently because of environmental stress – that’s when anxiety occurs.
If you want to deal with the root of the problem, you have to tackle fear first, not anxiety.
The second problem
Also on the first page, the author said that:
Anxiety is not a sin.
And yet the Bible clearly states, as a command (ironically, the author labels this a command, as well … shortly after he says anxiety is not a sin):
Do not be anxious about anything …Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
“…do not fear…”Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but when I read that God is telling me not to do something, and I do it … I think of that as sinning. Sin, after all, is missing the mark of what God wants for us … His best, for our good.
Fear and anxiety don’t fit into that pattern. So, any reassurance that these emotions/emotional states are not sin is misguided at best, and spiritually dangerous, at worst.
So, that’s just the first couple of pages. And I had extreme problems with it. What would I think about the rest of the book? I was willing to keep going so I could find out.
I’m the kind of person who will watch a bad movie or read a disappointing book right up till the end … just to see if it gets better. There’s always hope that it will get better.
It did get a little better
A little ways into the first chapter, the author used an illustration of two dogs. This illustration isn’t unique to him. I think it might be an old Native American concept, although the exact provenance is uncertain.
Since I am currently doing a Bible study about the fruit of the Spirit, and reading a lot about the flesh versus the Spirit as part of that study, I took that dog illustration and ran with it.
So, I owe the author a debt of gratitude for that bit of inspiration.
I also really enjoyed the chapter on “Casting.” The author gave a very clear picture of what casting our anxiety on God (1 Peter 5:7) looks like. Pretty much, you almost literally throw it at Him … as much as is possible.
I also liked the chapter on prepositions – especially the idea of God being behind us. I’d never really thought about that in terms of the armor of God. But, as the author says, we don’t need anything for our rear ends because God has our backs!
The chapter I underlined and highlighted way more than any other was the “Sing!” chapter. In fact, that chapter answered a lot of questions for me, as far as a current church situation I’m dealing with.
And I love that he included a list of the relevant Scriptures at the end of the book in the epilogue. That’s a fantastic resource.
Some final thoughts
Overall, I found the author’s tone somewhat dry and boring, so it took me a little while to get through this, even though this was a relatively short book. I also thought the writing was sort of choppy. Sections of the book seemed to be tacked on next to each other without much thought as to whether they sounded good together, and there were very few helpful transitions – oh, and LOTS of repetition.
And I found a couple of other things that I really didn’t like later on in the book. For example, the author flat-out quoted lyrics from “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and didn’t even cite the hymn. No quotation marks, no footnote, no parenthetical citation – nothing. And that was annoying. What was even more annoying was the fact that it happened for another song too before that, but I don’t remember which one it was.
The final verdict? Was this book absolutely terrible? No. Was it terrific? No.
Are there better books on anxiety out there? Yes … ones that are written better, are more interesting, and are less afraid to identify anxiety as the sin it is.
But will you find something worthwhile inside the pages of this book?
Yes, I definitely think so.
About David Chadwick
David Chadwick is presently the pastor of Moments of Hope Church in Charlotte, N.C. He
has been a pastor for almost 40 years. He played basketball under the legendary coach,
Dean Smith, at the University of North Carolina and was a member of the Final Four 1969
team. David also has a graduate counseling psychology degree from the University of
Florida and an MDiv and DMin from Columbia Theological Seminary. These post graduate
degrees have allowed David to combine therapeutic counseling theories with biblical truth.
David is the author of nine books and hosts a weekly talk show on faith and values on
WBT in Charlotte, N.C. He has been married to the love of his life, Marilynn, for 42 years
and has three children, Bethany, David Banner, and Michael. They have given David and Marilynn seven grandchildren.
For more information about the author and the book:
Book website: https://www.movingbeyondanxiety.com
Moments of Hope website: https://momentsofhope.org/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MOHDavidChadwick/
David’s video introduction for Moving Beyond Anxiety: https://vimeo.com/408616090/bb523284c
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the product/product information. Opinions are 100% my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.