Elisa's Reviews > Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

Captivating by John Eldredge
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Jul 08, 08

Read in September, 2005

This book has a fatal flaw: it depends on fluff and emotionalism, not Scripture, to draw conclusions. You may notice that the lion's share of passages from this book are not from an actual translation of the Bible... they are from a book by a man named Robert Alter wrote ABOUT the book of Genesis.
I am wary of any book that tells me who I am in Christ, but doesn't think the words of Christ are good enough to communicate that.

Secondly, and this is probably the consequence of the dearth of Biblical references, Captivating is not theologically sound. John and Stasi Eldredge spend several pages detailing how God created the earth in increasing measures of beauty and complexity and importance. The culmination, according to this book, is not with PEOPLE but with EVE. Page 25 says:

"She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve... Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God's final touch, his piece de resistance... Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, 'The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith in me.'"

Not something I would teach the girls in my high school small group.

Apart from the lack of sound scripture, the shaky theology, and the fact that these authors quote themselves in every chapter (from Wild at Heart), the other major fault of this book is that I think all 224 pages could be condensed into 20 or fewer. There was so much sugar-coated FLUFF in this book, that I couldn't take it seriously. The authors used entirely too many words, pages, paragraphs, and chapters to say, "You are a creature of inherent beauty, created in the image of God, and He Loves You!" That is not difficult to say.

I started reading this book because my boyfriend cared enough to buy it in an effort to understand women better -- and because he loved The Sacred Romance. He didn't read Captivating, and now I can save him the time.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay If you want Scripture-saturated writers, try the Puritans (e.g., Richard Baxter) and Jonathan Edwards! They have so much more weight to them than many things of this--or any--age.


Bigskygirl Slightly disgusted by the absolute negativity in your comment. Not every woman has the heart or soul exactly the same. Not ever woman see things from a self-righteous and arrogant standpoint. I have seen this book, along with wild at heart, help many people in their Christian walks, and aid in saving marriages.


Stefanieleale I am really getting sick of arrogant christians. This book is sound...is it too simple for u perhaps? Creation wasnt complete without woman and we as women have a wounded heart. I read the book and found it to be spiritually sound and uplifting. Just remember who Jesus chastised it was always usually the over spiritual theological people who instead of simply seeking him and his love or fluff as u called it they went around critisizing what He was doing. I encourage u to truly seek out his LOVE. Stasi and John Eldredge have allowed themselves to be used by God and have written books for His glory....what have u done or written?


Lindy Brown I mostly agree, Elisa. I enjoy John's writings, but this book was a bit annoying to me. See if Captivating lines up with God's view of women in Titus 2 and I Peter 3, etc. The Bible is the final authority. Books should, however, gives us some nuggets of thought to glean and I couldn't find many in this one.


message 5: by Ginger (new)

Ginger Williams All I can say is that not all women Know GOD loves them and some of us are hopeless romantics. That is the worldly dream to have people love us and sweep us off our feet. Some how some of don't realize our inner beauty and that GOD loves us unconditionally and that is part of what they are getting at in this book. How sad that when you read this you didn't feel the love they were sharing on the pages.


message 6: by Tiffani (new)

Tiffani Douglas I don't think the authors' intention here was to give women an excuse to feel arrogance at being the "crown of creation". I don't think the Eldredges' intention was to write that way at all, but rather to express the great worth that women have. This quote, more than any other, really struck me as I was reading through that second chapter: "The world is young and completely unstained. Adam is yet in his innocence and full of glory. He walks with God. Nothing stands between them...Yet something is not good? Something is missing? What could it possible be? Eve. Woman. Femininity." This IS closely tied to the creation story, and expresses a truth that I would have missed entirely if not for this wonderful book. You say they don't rely on scripture; from my point of view, their writing expounds on small pieces of scripture that carry a wealth of significance.


Scott This is not an exegesis. This is obviously written with the Holy Spirits inspired insight as are the rest of his books. If all you read is scripture through your flesh alone then may The Lord help you. This is a spiritual book for spiritually minded Christians. If you are not one of these people, this and his other books will make little sense.


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