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Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive Hardcover – July 20, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eldredge, who helped to redefine the Christian men's movement with Wild at Heart, broadens his scope to offer this more general spirituality title on being "fully alive." Such a state of total animation is achieved only when Christians can integrate all four "streams" of their lives: discipleship, counseling, healing and warfare. (This last part may surprise some readers, but Eldredge insists that awareness of spiritual warfare actually "may be the most critical" aspect of being fully alive.) Throughout, he argues that there is glory hidden in each Christian's heart, an echo of how Christ has "ransomed and restored" every person. The goal, then, is to capture and maintain a sense of liberation from that restoration. Eldredge fans will find that he has not departed much from the formula that made Wild at Heart so successful; he culls examples from popular culture (The Perfect Storm, The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz) and tells vivid stories from his own experience. Despite the careful formula, the book rarely feels formulaic; it has an unguarded heart and an opinionated lucidity that may surprise readers. Eldredge is honest about the fact that life can be arduous, confusing and filled with despair, but he also affirms a deep Christian hope. Established Eldredge fans will be pleased with this new offering, and it will gather some new readers, especially women.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A Christian teacher with the Focus on the Family Institute and the author of WILD AT HEART, Eldredge uses his broad knowledge of the Bible, mythology, and modern Christian writing to make his point:  Conflicts and challenges in this world will put us to sleep if we don’t pay close attention to them. Engaging with the world releases the vitality and energy of the heart that is our birthright. This is a long stream-of-consciousness presentation, breathy and full of the author’s intensity. In this audio offering, his ideas will either start a revolution--with "all the power of a new Reformation"--or be an object lesson on how to turn a decent lesson into a polarizing expression of professional hubris." 
T.W. © AudioFile Portland, Maine
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Later Printing edition (July 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785265538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785265535
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a powerful book, and not one that avoids controversy. Let's start with perhaps the most debated premise of this book: "The heart is good". The first reaction of many I know is to quickly exclaim that this is heresy. Well, perhaps not. Lets look at what he means when he says the "heart is good".
First, he is referring to the "redeemed heart" specifically. Using the backing of Scripture (Romans 10:9-10, Ezek 26:36, John 3:7, Gal 6:15, Luke 8:15, Luke 6:44-45, and more) he claims that our hearts are transformed through Christ. This is an entirely Biblical concept.
Second, the heart is not the same as the flesh. Eldridge acknowledges that "part of me doesn't want to love my neighbor..and it is that part I must crucify daily" (page 130) and "Yes, we still have to crucify the flesh on a daily basis" (page 76), and even "I take up my cross and crucify my flesh with all its pride, unbelief, and idolatry" (page 224). Obviously, Eldridge understands and acknowledges that the flesh is sinful, so what does he mean by the "heart is good"? One example is found in Romans where Paul speaks to this very issue: "It is no longer I myself who do it, but sin living within me..For in my inner being I delight in God's law." Romans 7:17-22. (page 76) If it is "no longer I myself" who sin, and my "inner being" delights in God's law, then what exactly is his "inner being", and who is "no longer I myself"? Paul speaks of his redeemed heart and the battle with the flesh. It is critical to note this distinction.
The third element is that our heart reflects God's glory.
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Format: Hardcover
You must fight for your life, because whether or not you are aware of it, you exist in the midst of a war. This is one of the themes of Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. In it, Eldredge asserts that one of the major lessons of the Bible is that "things are not what they seem."

According to Eldredge, the obstacles and suffering we all face are the result of humanity's enemy battling for our hearts. You have not blown it and God has not let you down, but this enemy daily attempts to prevent you from living in the glorious fullness of your redeemed heart, writes Eldredge.

In Waking the Dead, Eldredge argues that God has redeemed our hearts, made them good according to his image. He also argues that most people fail to live up to their heart's redeemed state. Waking readers from the dead is about lifting them from the mire or status quo of their lives up to the level of the Spirit-filled life illustrated in the lives of believers in the New Testament.

Throughout this book, Eldredge expands on a quote by the early Christian writer Irenaeus, "the glory of God is man fully alive." The problem, Eldredge says, is that Christians succumb to the pressures and emotions of this world and to the lies of Satan and fail to experience the abundant life.

Through a plethora of references to scriptures, quotes, and to stories and movies such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, The Perfect Storm, and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Eldredge shares eternal truths of redemption and glory to illustrate the state of Christians in this world. He also shares many personal stories that relate how God has worked in his life and through his ministry.
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Format: Hardcover
Is this book biblical? Should we be using "The Matrix" to learn lessons of the Christian life? Are our hearts "good," as Eldredge asserts, or has he bought into a humanistic spirituality?
The answers, for those who choose to read to the end of this short work, are within. Yes, this book is biblical. Although it's no masterpiece of homiletics or exegesis, it does hold to the heart and spirit of Christianity. Yes, it uses lessons from popular movies and novels to convey spritual truths--and quite effectively, I might add! Eldredge makes it clear "The Matrix" will not save us. He does, however, use it to highlight ideas.
In regards to the goodness of the human heart, it's true that I started to wonder how far he would take the concept. Was he suggesting that sin is no longer a struggle for us? Was he trying to say that the human condition is not seditious and in need of redemption?
Quite the opposite. Eldredge makes it clear further on that we must be in relationships of accountability, that we must be confessing our sin and dealing with it on an ongoing basis. What he does want to communicate is that Jesus came to purchase our freedom, yet we still live with slave mentalities. God reached out to cleanse that which he made pure in the beginning, yet we walk around with self-deprecating words and expressions instead of moving forward in God's kingdom.
By the end of this book, I was convinced that the ideas were true to the heart of Scripture and that we could all benefit by the honesty and openness of living with hearts that are good, while never hiding from the impurities and assaults of life that try to drag us back into darkness.
Easier said than done. But we have to start somewhere. Why not start by "Waking the Dead."
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