Sunday, May 17, 2009

Book review: Erwin Raphael McManus- Soul Cravings

Soul Cravings
Erwin Raphael McManus
256 pages
Published By Nelson Books 2006

In Soul Cravings, Erwin Raphael McManus attempts to communicate how our desire for intimacy, meaning and destiny point to the existence of God and our need for him. Given that apologetics books tend to focus on the historical evidence for the Christian faith, it is nice to see someone trying a different angle. McManus is a skilled writer with a good grasp on culture. He says some good things such as about how creation and our need for love point to God. He also correctly argues against some popular ideas like reincarnation.

I do however have some concerns with the book. For a book that is meant to introduce people to God, the gospel is not presented anywhere near clearly enough. It tends to be quite vague. The overall impression you get from the book is that our big problem isn’t sin but a lack of self-actualisation. The few times the cross does get a mention it is framed as a declaration of God’s love. This is true, but is on its own nowhere near a sufficient explanation. He expresses a disdain for religion that could easily be misinterpreted. If a non-believer wanted to know more about Christianity, I don’t think this book would be particularly helpful. It may well make them more confused.

This book was an idea that had a lot of potential but its lack of clarity makes it fall short. I don’t recommend it.


  1. Well put.

    I came across a series of McManus sermons that I really learned from, so I bought the book excitedly, but came to the same conclusion as you.

    I honestly couldn't even finish the thing. It was like a bunch of poetic prose that doesn't really say much, and doesn't really ring all that true against the filter of the Gospel.

    But I did enjoy another book he wrote earlier... darn if I can remember the title right now though...

  2. i've read this one. and thinking back now, what you say is so true.

    our greatest need is salvation, not self actualization. because without salvation, all the "self-esteem" in the world wont make a bar of difference.

  3. Zack, i too came to this book having enjoyed some of his other books so it is definitely a disappointment. He's one of those authors who you need quite a bit of discernment with because some of his stuff says some really good things but some of it has serious problems.

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