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Broken: Seven Christian Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  88 reviews
This book examines seven of the most common spiritual traditions and how they use speculation, mysticism, and moralism to break Christianity. Author Jonathan Fisk calls them the seven “counterfeit Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible,” because they are seven myths that have infiltrated the churches in our age, seven teachings taught as ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published December 5th 2012 by Concordia Publishing House
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Aug 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
As a conservative Lutheran, I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. But I simply couldn't get past the various fonts, public domain clip art, the overuse of bold, and pop culture tangents. If there was a way to put a book on Ritalin, this one should be the first one in the school nurse's office.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
Part polemic, part takedown of the Rick Warren/Joel Osteen school of modern Christianity, pure Gospel, Jonathan Fisk's Broken is a great look at how the church has been affected by postmodern thinking. As the quotes in the title imply, the seven rules Fisk examines in the book aren't really Christian, but the same old pagan/mystic/self-worship heresies that have been around for centuries. After swatting away these lies (which are all variations on one big lie), he lays out the one Truth that all ...more
Ashleigh Leeds
Apr 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy this book, and I found it to be rather poorly written. While I generally agree with the overarching themes of the book, I felt like it took a lot of effort to actually find them. This book is piled with analogies that are more present throughout the chapters than the actual point of the chapter. This made it very difficult to read. His points were also presented so strongly that it comes across as arrogance, and seems very condescending in parts. Overall, I would never recommend ...more
Josh Davis
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did, given that Fisk is a Lutheran pastor and I support the theology presented in the book. Unfortunately, I just felt like it wasn't that well written. The author throws heaps of metaphors at you, jumping from one to another and sometimes it is a little much to put together---almost like he was trying to do too much.

It seems like the book is geared towards a younger demographic (the "hip" language and pages littered with graphics), but in all honesty, I'm
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. I watch Jonathan Fisk's youtube channel and I really enjoy his style but that style does not translate well to book form.

I had a very hard time following the author's train of thought. He starts on a topic and they goes on a long winded side track from which he might side track again. He is prolific in his use of font changes and pictures. I feel like he is trying to keep my attention with *pows* and *wizbangs* which are fun on his youtube channel but
Jan 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I had a lot of great discussion with the area youth workers cluster group I am a part of. For that I am glad for the book. Other than that I hated it. I did not like his analogies, I did not like his wordiness. If you can make a point if a few paragraphs there really is no need to drone on for pages and pages... think of the trees to be saved! Really, an editor with a big fat red pen could have reduced this book to a well written concise book of a much shorter length. Wasn't a fan.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book got really good reviews, but I had a hard time getting past the language of the book and figuring out what he was trying to say. I found myself wishing he would just make his point and move on to the next. He seemed to repeat him self a lot. I may pick this book up again and give it another try some day.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finished-2013
This was a difficult book for me in the sense that the Lutheran theology that is presented within the book is spot on and the book is written fairly well. I think the author's points came across very well, although sometimes he kept repeating over and over the point which got a little much. I enjoyed the use of his analogies and his fictional accounts to bring the point home. So, in that sense, I liked the book.

There were just points that came across very harshly and I know that was the intent,
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
No surprise from a strongly polemic book that I came away with both strong disagreements and several wows in agreement.

The seven rules to break make a compelling assault on man-produced " faith," but I don't find reality so black and white.

His overarching ever-rule to break is: you can find God.

As a Lutheran, I agree in the total grace of our God who finds us and saves us independently of our willing. However, there is much in scripture calling us to seek or describing God's hope that people
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
I really wanted to like this book as the concept is very helpful to understand - ie. the different ways people seek to approach God. But I just didn't like it. Argh!

And here are my reasons: The language is very pictorial and this confused me rather than clarified things for me. This was surprising to me as I find Fisk very clear and helpful when I hear him on Worldview Everlasting or on the radio.

The "rules" were at the beginning and end of each chapter but the chapter itself seemed to have
Lydia Ingram
Apr 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Holy heavens, I think that book may have just given me a seizure. I absolutely hate this guy's writing style. It's completely ridiculous. And beyond that, his tone (in his book, his videos, and other pieces I've seen of his) has a certain attitude of "Let me tell you why anyone who has ever come to any other conclusions from those of the LCMS is a fool who should be pitied." There's a reason why other people think our little denomination is arrogant and full of know-it-alls. :-(
I'm glad I
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written at a lay level, this book accomplishes what it sets out to do. The book also introduces the reader to some dangerous -isms in Christianity, ending with a call to return to the basics. A quick, easy, and thoughtful read.
Heidi Clark
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, well written and engaging book. Fisk's premise is that Christianity has been waylaid by 7 pseudo Christian teachings, 7 "rules", that threaten both the life of the Church and the salvation of those who believe the false teachings. Mysticism, Moralism, Pagmatism etc are each denounced as false forms of worship that Christians and Christian churches have fallen victim to.

Fisk's writing style is rather verbose and flowery at times, but he also often waxes memorably poetic. He
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017

Will need to reread some of its chapters for a deeper application in my own life and ministry and as issues come up in discipleship.

Really outstanding book that clearly differentiates what I may think as "being God" but is the worship of myself. It is really one of a kind, and especially useful for campus ministry and preaching.

Bonus : I highly enjoyed the creativity in the writing and in its artistic doodles on the pages.

A few critiques :
- Spurgeon once said illustrations are like windows
Joel Jackson
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
In “Broken: 7 Christian Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible” Jonathan Fisk speaks a prophetic word to the church. In this word, he counters the primary philosophic underpinnings of our culture with the Word of God. These philosophical underpinnings have not only come to reign in Western culture in the secular sphere, but they also have slunk their way into the church. Fisk discusses moralism, mysticism, rationalism, prosperity, IfWeCanJust, Lawlessness, and the idea ...more
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read this book as part of a summer reading program sponsored by Concordia. While reading the book, I found my reactions alternating between "Tell me something I don't know" and "Huh?" The dense writing and references to sources ranging from "Paradise Lost" to "Star Wars" made the book difficult, rather than easier, for me to understand. I found the most useful parts of the book to be the last page of each chapter, on which the author sums up the main point of the chapter: The rule to be broken ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was suggested to me by a friend who knows the author personally and sings his praises. Based off that, I read the book and while it had many good points (seven to be exact!) there were times it could be difficult to wade through his chapters to extract these points. Please on future books, lay off the crazy fonts! I agree that there is "Counterfeit Christianity" out there with forms of mysticism, moralism, rationalism & prosperity theology as some of the ways that Jesus's true ...more
Travis Doig
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Four stars because Rev. Fisk could have made the points he made in fewer words. I think he should have made this into a sermon series on you tube, because it reads like he speaks.

That said, this is a masterful work and worth reading by every Christian and non-Christian alike. It gets to the point of Christianity and highlights the fact that Christian faith is all about what Jesus has done for you. Great work!
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Compelling read about Law and Gospel from a LCMS Pastor's viewpoint. It took me about 2 chapters to get really in to the book; however, I was intrigued so I kept reading. I am glad that I did. This is a must read for any young person (i.e., college aged), who is questioning his/her faith and may have fallen away from the church.
Toni Wargula

The points were good as well as the last two chapters. otherwise as a nondenominational Christian, his explanations were a little insulting and the scripture that he used didn't really make sense or it didn't fit to what he was explaining.
Peter Walker
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
The ideas are provocative and "most certainly true." I just find the zany style a bit too much. There was no momentum to my reading of this book.
Corrine Burmeister
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful truth which brought me to tears at a couple points - I get so used to people railing against Christianity or to Christians themselves focusing on everything except the actual substance of Jesus’ words that hearing truth spoken in a book so purely felt refreshing and relieving. The only reason I won’t give this book 5 stars is that the style is a little cumbersome...hence why it took me 10 months to finish! Reverend Fisk has a stream of consciousness style that is as beautiful and ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended, borrowed
From the book "What this book is about: dissecting the tactics of the thief; the crow that steals the seed; by looking at the lies we've turned into rules."

Pastor Fisk takes us through seven lies, or rather seven things we worship, that get between us and Jesus. And yet, the book isn't an attack on the church, or an insult to the believer.

Ultimately, it's a reminder that our salvation not dependent on us, but on what Christ has already done for us. We don't need extra rules to make us holy
Jean-Daniel Veer
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to comment such a dense book. There is so much content. Great content.

It seems like there is much repetition, but there isn't. It's just applying the principle of each chapters to all of the different voices and expressions that are those of mysticism, moralism, rationalism, prosperity, ifwecanjust churchology and lawlessness. This "longness" is actually just superficial, it is actually a real thoroughness.

It brings out a lot of the things that unsettled me in the church. It brought
Eric Estes
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
[This introduction of "Broken" is taken from my congregation's newsletter "The Seed of Life" under the section heading "From Pastor's Bookshelf."]

This month’s selection from my bookshelf is not your ordinary Christian theological work or devotional book. Lutheran pastor Rev. Jonathan Fisk, the creator and host of the popular YouTube “addiction” Worldview Everlasting[1] has published his first book and its odd title is only a foretaste of the wildness within. Replete with postmodern graphics on
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a refreshing book!

Jonathan Fisk speaks the truth about Christianity in a most unique way, but always pointing us back to God’s word written and incarnated in His Son. All the other “rules” he describes so clearly and so recognizably just lead us away from God and His truth. My wife and I have spent the last 3 months reading this together after our evening meal. We have never failed to be challenged and encouraged. Pastor Fisk’s illustrations and stories and metaphors will not soon (I
Jarl Simonsen
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Biblical truths in this book are undeniable. My only struggle with the book was the over use of analogies/imagery/metaphors. I was often bogged down by all of the imagery that it was hard to find the author's point. I would have preferred a more direct approach in the writing. But the information is so helpful that I will recommend the book to others! I feel like every American Christian should read this book.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Some good commentary on American culture and some of the problems within American Christianity. Mostly solid theology and strong Gospel. A bit too heavy handed, makes sweeping generalizations, false equivalencies, and comes across as a bit pedantic. Worthwhile for the theology, not so much for the practical applications.
Tellef Granaas
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Broken and forgiven.

The rich language is sometimes difficult to grasp, but also delightful to read. I really enjoyed when pastor Fisk shared from his own upbringing and the difficulties he experienced at college. I recommend this book to everyone who has a hunger to learn more about the christian life. Thank you pastor Fisk for telling me this.
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“It is the thing of myth and legend and the greatest epic stories ever written. But it's not myth or legend or story, and that's why it's not even really a world religion. Christianity is just the way it is.

Whether you like it or not, one man has united the tribes, overthrown the tyrant, and established Himself as the master of the universe. Sufficient proofs have been left in the historical records to convince any critic who isn't too bigoted to read the evidence on its own merits.

Not believing it doesn't change it, and scoffing at it only proves you to be a fool. It's the most potent Word ever spoken because this Word hasn't been spoken by man alone, but by the very mouth of the Creator God.”
“By combining applied motivational speeches and creative musical arrangement with the latest and best gimmicks of technology, we listen to the promise that we can and will feel good by finding God (and find God by feeling good). We consume these carefully manufactured divine experiences like any other product, expecting them to be over on the hour so that we still have plenty of time to trot back to our lives of buying, selling, and trying to feel even more good in all the ways we possibly can.” 0 likes
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