Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

Book Review - Escaping The Matrix

Let me be honest up-front. I did not finish this book. I believe it is only the second book, of the 100+ I have reviewed, that I did not complete. I read the first several chapters and was so disgusted by what I was reading that I elected to merely skim the remainder of the book. After all, I’m a busy guy and have an entire shelf of unread books awaiting my attention. Why would I want to waste my time on what is, unfortunately, complete trash?

Escaping The Matrix by Gregory Boyd and Al Larson is, according to the cover, a guide to “setting your mind free to experience real life in Christ.” The reality is that unless Christ requires that we use the latest in pseudo-occult psychological techniques to free our minds, this book will do nothing of the sort. Indeed it cannot, because much of the teaching of this book directly contradicts the Scripture.

The first clue to the trouble within this book came only two pages in, where the authors explained that the key to living a life freed from the chains of the past is to be found in The Matrix movies. In fact, the majority of the book is structured around the themes of the movies, and the authors are as likely to proof-text their teachings with quotes from The Matrix as they are from the Bible. The reader is even treated to a quote from one of the movies at the beginning of each chapter.

Instead of providing a detailed review (something I have disqualified myself from doing, since I merely skimmed much of the book) I thought I would provide an overview of the authors’ technique for “setting faith for the true you” and then refer you to a review written by a person who is much more qualified to comment on these issues than I am.

Escaping The Matrix culminates in an exercise that is designed to “help you collapse the negative Matrix-oriented faith that you are currently doing and install a biblically grounded faith about God’s will for your life.” There are seven steps:

  1. Form a mental picture that re-presents you doing an emotion, attitude or behavior that you believe needs to be changed in your life. Once you have it, set it aside and perform a pattern interrupt.
  2. Ask God to give you a picture of what you would look like if you manifested the truth of who you are in Christ. Take a snapshot of this you and enjoy the photograph.
  3. Delete all background elements of your future picture and change it to be made out of diamond. Place the negative picture in front of the positive picture so you can see the negative through the positive.
  4. See Jesus’ hands grasping the positive picture and smashing it through the negative. Hear and see it burst ito pieces and fall to the ground.
  5. Now see Jesus and you sweep up the broken glass. Dump the pieces into a wastebasket and see and hear Jesus congratulate you for getting rid of a Matrix lie.
  6. Gaze on the positive picture and make it bigger and brighter. With your internal voice, say to your soul that you and the Holy Spirit together will make thie positive picture happen.
  7. Ask God for His wisdom to help you discern things in your life that need to be altered to ensure the true you is manifested.

I suppose we are supposed to set aside our reason and believe that this is biblical methodology. Strangely, however, I can find no examples such in Scripture. And what’s more, I know of no examples in all of church history. It seems Larson and Boyd have stumbled onto some critical knowledge that has been hidden from us until discovered by the Wachowski brothers and digitized into a series of sex-and-swearingf-filled R-rated movies. The Lord truly must work in mysterious ways for this to be true.

But instead of ranting and raving about this, I thought it would be more profitable to direct you to a much more helpful, educated review. Regardless of whether or not you intend to read this book, I would encourage you to read Dr. Mike’s Review at Eternal Perspectives. Mike uses great words like neuropsychology, experiential psychotherapy, and soteriology and suggests that “this book is the latest of a seemingly unending chain of psychologically- and psychotherapeutically-informed attempts to facilitate sanctification. Some of the points made are true and valuable; at the same time, it commits some serious, prevalent errors concerning the nature of salvation and sanctification in the Christian life.”

Needless to say, I recommend this book only as kindling. And even that is too good for it.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Mind & Media as a gift from Baker Books for the purpose of this review. I am not affiliated with Baker Books and was not paid for the review (not that I seriously think they’d pay me after such a reivew). Furthermore, I plagarized this disclaimer from Eternal Perspectives and remain unapologetic about having done so.


Escaping the Matrix
by
Gregory Boyd and Al Larson