***DISCLAIMER – I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE FROM MODDY PUBLISHERS TO REVIEW***
Chip Ingram’s Yes! You Really Can Change: What To Do When You’re Spiritually Stuck represents the fifth book I have reviewed for Moody Publishers for 2021. I chose this book because I have heard the concept of being spiritually stuck. Moreover, I have seen Ingram’s name often in visible evangelicalism. However, I have neither reviewed any of his overall teachings (sermons, books, etc.) nor reviewed any critiques of his teachings. Therefore, I wanted to educate myself on what he states in his books. I think reviewing this book helps accomplish that.
Ingram’s book is actually a “revised edition” of his 2003 work The Miracle of Life Change: How God Transforms His Children (unofficially page 4). This book is indeed revised, for he does make mention of the “coronavirus pandemic” (p. 141). Such a pandemic was not around in 2003.
This book has an introduction, eight chapters, a conclusion, acknowledgments and some notes. It wasn’t until I started typing this review that I actually found a typo on the table of contents; the “notes” section begins on page 197, not page 193. That was one of two I found in this book (pp. 165). I won’t discuss those any more than I already have, for they were not significant enough to distract me from reading this book.
Ingram spends chapters 3-8 going through Ephesians 4:1-32. I found that interesting because the Gospel is in Ephesians 1-3. Ephesians 4-6 represent stuff in light of the Gospel. Ingram does not spend the first two chapters at length going through Ephesians 1-3. Nevertheless, Ingram does make the Gospel a main point throughout his book. I discuss that in this review.
Before I discuss the book’s pros and cons, I wanted to note some important information in the book’s introduction. This helps us see Ingram’s aim for this book (bolding, italics and the single bolded ellipse done by me):
After more than thirty-five years of pastoring God’s people, my heart aches for those who are stalled, stuck, exhausted, fatigued, and frustrated. These fellow believers really love the Lord Jesus, but in moments of honest reflection would admit, “The Christian life is not working for me.”
This book is good news!
It is time-tested in my life and through my teaching to millions of people around the world who were stalled, stuck, exhausted, frustrated, and fatigued in their walk with God.
The teaching is rooted in one of the most profound chapters in the New Testament. It explains God’s supernatural transformation process. We will learn that radical life-change is for everyone, how it actually happens in everyday life, what part God does that we can’t do, and what part we do that He won’t do.
You’ll learn why we all get stuck at times and how to get unstuck when we find ourselves falling into old patterns or believing old lies.
This book is about hope!
It’s about becoming who Jesus saved you to become. It’s about change that’s real, powerful, supernatural and available to every child of God. … if you really want to know God, experience His love, and be changed from the inside out by His power rather than your “trying harder and harder”, this book is for you.
If you long to experience the fruit of God’s Spirit working in you and your relationships as you find yourself becoming more loving, experiencing more peace, filled with joy (even in difficult circumstances), finding kind words coming out of your mouth toward people who irritate you as Christ lives His life through you…then you’re in for the journey of a lifetime.
Ingram is basically stating that because the stuff in this book (a book about hope) has worked for him (being time-tested in his life and all), it’ll work for the reader that fits his intended audience (shown in italics). Moreover, he claims his teaching is rooted in (essentially) Ephesians 4. He’ll discuss in this book “inward change that leads to outward change” (p. 154). Is this book really the good news that Ingram claims it to be? Let’s find out.
PROS (is it plural?)
I think there were two pros in this book. I discuss the possible (if not certain) one at length. The definitely certain one I discuss briefly is the book’s simplicity and brevity. This book did not take me long to complete. Moreover, as I mentioned earlier, grammar errors were far and few between in this book. This was not a hard book to comprehend.
As for the possible pro, I appreciate the fact Ingram mentioned the Gospel multiple times in the book. He also discusses sanctification and justification on page 29. Here are some notable quotes:
We were dead in our trespasses and sins but have been raised to new life and are now seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:1-10). We were once “not a people,” but now we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special possession brought out of darkness and into the light (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Every believer from every time period is saved on the same basis: the work of Christ on the cross as the substitutionary payment for sin. Old Testament believers looked forward to it; we look back to it. Everyone can look to Jesus and see that God has done what He promised to do.
Every believer has at least one spiritual gift because when you believed in Jesus, the Holy Spirit came into your life. You were sealed with the Spirit, adopted into God’s family, and forgiven of your sins (Eph. 1:13-14). The Spirit of God now dwells in you, manifesting the power and presence of Jesus. Part of His ministry within you is one or more gifts that will enable you to minister to others.
Notice the emphasis on the work of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and the concept of being raised to new life. It is important to understand that by default, we are all born dead in trespasses and sins.
Ephesians 2:1-10 explains:
2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
The Bible is clear that people are born dead in trespasses and sins (2:1-3). God’s being rich in mercy makes one alive in Christ (2:4). Furthermore, it is by grace through faith that one is saved (2:5-9). It is not based on works (2:9).
If you do not believe what Ephesians 2:1-10 states, I would ask you please look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something, even if it was small? Have you ever used God’s name in vain? Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus also said that if you ever get angry at someone, you’ve committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-26). Just the mere thoughts of adultery and murder make you guilty of the very acts themselves.
Please understand that it only takes one murder to be a murderer, one lie to be a liar and so forth. David said in Psalm 51:5 that he was conceived in sin. Genesis 6:5 states that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. Clearly, man has a sin problem. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Man is in big trouble with God because of his sin. This is more amplified by the fact that perfection is the standard (Matthew 5:48).
Now, some people try to justify their sin by trying to balance it out with the good deeds that they have done. However, if you were to try that in a court of law, the judge would throw the book at you. A good judge would not accept a bribe. He would cast you off into jail. God likewise will not accept a bribe, for there is no partiality with Him (Deuteronomy 10:17; Ephesians 6:9). Revelation 21:1-8 states the following (NASB):
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. 7 The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The Bible is clear that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. No adulterer, no murderer, no idolater, no unbeliever (among others) will inherit the kingdom of God (see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Sin has a very serious consequence.
Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to solve the sin problem over 2000 years ago (Isaiah 53:1-12). You and I broke the law. Jesus paid the fine (Matthew 26:14-28:20). This means that the judge can do what’s legally right in dismissing your case. He can say, “This person has broken the law, but someone has paid his fine. He’s out of here.” This is good news.
There are two things a person must do. He must repent. This means to turn from his sin (Mark 1:16; Luke 24:36-49; 2 Timothy 2:19-26; Acts 17:30-31). He must also put his trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, 17:30-31; Romans 4:1-25, 10:1-17; Galatians 3:1-14; John 6:26-29). These gifts of repentance and faith are granted by God (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:22-26). If you repent and put your trust in the Savior Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of your sins and grant you everlasting life (John 6:47). Oh may you know His mercy and grace today if you have never repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
I did appreciate Ingram’s mentioning the Gospel throughout this book. He certainly mentioned it more than other books I have reviewed in the past.
Unfortunately, I could not ignore the cons in this book, for they were both noticeable and problematic. I discuss no less than three.
First, Ingram has a lack of discernment. His citation of both two egregious false teachers/heretics and one bad Bible app is the basis for my claim. First, he positively cites Rick Warren (p. 74). I’ve done a number of posts (via book reviews and movie reviews) of the egregious heresies and false teachings linked to Rick Warren. What Ingram did here is no different than how Rick Warren cited false teachers and heretics in his own book The Purpose Driven Life. Rick Warren cited such heretics as Richard Foster and the late Henri Nouwen without warning about their dangers. While citing Warren, Ingram gives no warning whatsoever about Warren’s dangers throughout the years. This is an inexcusable gaffe on his part.
Unfortunately, the gaffe that was positively citing Rick Warren was not an isolated incident. Ingram also positively cites the late Dallas Willard (pp. 86, 168). Dallas Willard was not a Christian, for he was a Bible-twisting mystic and universalist. Moreover, based on my (so far) brief reading of Jim Osman’s incredibly important work (more on that in a future post) God Doesn’t Whisper, Willard appeared to be one of those guys who promoted the asinine and unbiblical idea of needing to hear audibly from God in order to be considered as one having a good relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ. This of course is a tacit denial of Sola Scriptura. Consider these two quotes (among many others) from Willard that I have read from Osman’s book so far:
God is with us in a conversational relationship: he [sic] speaks with us individually as it is appropriate – which is only to be expected between person who know one another, care about each other and are engaged in common enterprises
Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing A Conversational Relationship with God (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2012), 67-68 (CITED FROM JIM OSMAN’S GOD DOESN’T WHISPER (Kootenai Community Church Publishing: 2020), p. 16
We can expect (given the revelation of God in Christ) that if God wants us to know something, he [sic] will be both able and willing to communicate it to us plainly, as long as we are open and prepared by our experience to hear and obey.
Ibid., 250 (same page on Osman’s book)
Why would Chip Ingram cite a deceased heretic who worshiped a god that was limited by one’s openness and preparedness (or lack thereof)? This is absolutely poor discernment on Ingram’s part.
Finally, Ingram positively cites the atrocious YouVersion Bible app (p. 136). While the app is alright in the sense that it gives free access to a plethora of translations, it also gives access to Bible reading plans from some egregious false teachers (like Jen Wilkin and Michael Todd) and heretics (like narcissistic works-righteousness preacher Craig Groeschel and blasphemous Bible twister Levi Lusko). The YouVersion Bible app is hardly a “great resource” when it exposes unsuspecting consumers to some of the worst false teachers and heretics in visible evangelicalism. Based on the three instances of an obvious lack of discernment in this book, I’m convinced Chip Ingram’s discernment level hits a 1 on a scale of 1-10.
The second con I found was Ingram’s being a vision-casting leader. It’s important to understand that the concept of vision-casting is absolutely demonic and unbiblical. I pointed this out in my movie review on the important movie Church of Tares. One of the subjects of critique in that movie was a false teacher named Erik Dykstra. In my book review of Galen Woodward’s Changing Church, I noted the following as it pertained to Dykstra:
At the 40:20 mark of the important documentary Church of Tares is a snippet of (what was then) the Crossing “Church’s” (now known as Free Grace United) explaining their vision to the congregation. Below is my transcript of the segment. The segment features both heretic, cult-leader and false prophet Erik Dykstra alongside one of his campus “pastors” (said campus “pastor” doing 99% of the speaking). I believe the campus “pastor” is Jason Keech, for this photo from the Zimmerman location’s website looks like the dude from the Church of Tares snippet I transcribe:
Campus Pastor: We are united under the visionary. Now, the visionary here is Erik. The Crossing is built on the vision that God gave Pastor Erik. And we will aggressively defend that vision. Now what does that mean, “Aggressively defend that”? That means that we do church the way he wants us to do it. And me as a campus pastor I can’t go up to Zimmerman and decide that I’m gonna preach on Sunday because that’s not the vision that we have for this church that God gave to Erik. And we defend that. When people go, “Well, maybe we should do it this way.” And we’re like, “No no no no no no no no you don’t understand. God gave Erik this vision. We do it this way. Cause, we don’t wanna argue with God, basically, we don’t wanna be like.” You know Erik’s not God, we’re not saying Erik’s God. He’s not God.
Erik: I’m not God.
Campus Pastor: But he’s got a vision from God. And we have decided with our lives that we’re gonna follow that vision and we’re gonna stick to that, and if we ever just decide that we don’t wanna be a part of that vision, then we can go find a church and serve somewhere else. And that’s, that’s ok. We’re not telling anybody that they have to unite under this vision that, that Erik got from God. You can do whatever you want, but we think that it’s a really cool vision. We’re on board with it. And we’re gonna defend it and we’re gonna stick to it.
I can say without a doubt that Erik Dykstra didn’t get a vision from God since he is still a habitual Bible twister (discussing that at length is for another day). Notice though that the visionary basically can’t be questioned. To question the “visionary” is to question God.
If you don’t believe that vision-casting is unbiblical and demonic, that’s fine. Please consider what Mark Driscoll had to say in what has unfortunately become an unforgettable soundbite. I cited this same transcript in my movie review of Church of Tares:
Here’s what I’ve learned: You cast vision for your mission and if people don’t sign up, you move on. You move on.
There are people that are gonna die in the wilderness, and there are people who are going to take the hill. That’s just how it is.
Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff-necked, stubborn, obstinate people.
I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (chuckles), and by God’s grace it will be a mountain by the time we’re done. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options. But the bus ain’t gonna stop. I’m just a guy who is like, “Look, we love you, but this is what we’re doing.”
There’s a few kinds of people. There’s people who get in the way of the bus, they gotta get run over.
There are people who want to take turns driving the bus, they got to get thrown off because they want to go somewhere else.
There are people who will be on the bus, leaders and helpers and servants. They’re awesome.
There’s also sometimes nice people who sit on the bus and shut up. They’re not helping or hurting. Just let them ride along.
I also noted this in my movie review:
Basically, if you’re in the way of the vision-caster (i.e., not on the bus), you’re getting run over by the bus. Needless to say, vision-casting is an absolutely demonic practice that no pastor should practice. Period. A pastor is a servant, not a vision-caster.
Unfortunately, there is evidence that would put Chip Ingram in the camp of vision-casters. Consider this quote:
Back when I was learning how to equip the saints for ministry rather than doing it all myself, a member called to point out that I hadn’t visited her in the hospital. She was in for relatively minor surgery, and she wanted to know why I hadn’t come. This was after months of casting a vision for equipping small-group leaders with their responsibilities, but old mindsets don’t fade away easily. She was having a hard time letting go of the expectation of pastors doing everything and visiting everybody.
Ingram admits to spending months casting a vision. There is no biblical text to support casting a vision. He goes on to tell the story of his asking the lady if she had a small group (p. 118). While everyone in her small group did visit her in the hospital, she was still unimpressed that Ingram had not come to visit (p. 118). Ingram then went on to say this to her:
“My job isn’t to pastor you. It’s to make sure you are pastored well. Your group ministered to you much better than I could have.”
We talked a little more about how the group had prayed for her and met her family’s needs. We laughed about how much more she enjoyed their cooking than she would have enjoyed mine. But she still couldn’t let go of the fact that I hadn’t come. The unbiblical model of ministry was deeply ingrained in her — and still is in many others.
If it were humanly possible, I would sit down and have coffee with every member in the congregation after each service. That fits my desires and my gift mix. But believers don’t receive the ministry they need to receive if a few people are doing it all. They also don’t provide the ministry they need to provide. Both receiving and providing ministry are vital to growth, and the traditional but unbiblical model of church leadership hinders that process. It puts everything in the contractor’s hands and misses out on the craftsmanship of all the specialists who could contribute.
It’s important to understand that Chip Ingram is a teaching pastor (bottom of back cover of book). If that lady is attending a church that has him as the pastor, I would argue that it is his job to pastor her. A pastor is to shepherd the flock of God among him (see 1 Peter 5:1-3; see also 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Acts 20:17-38, John 20:15-19). I’ve heard it stated that a pastor can effectively only shepherd about one hundred people. If Ingram’s church is at a point that he cannot effectively shepherd the lady that wanted her to visit her during her minor surgery, then perhaps his church needs to split into smaller churches (but a discussion on that is for a different day). Overall, it is clear that Ingram is a vision-casting leader. Here are some more quotes (albeit not as strong as the above) to support the claim:
When we know who we truly are, we see God, ourselves, and our world differently. And when we see differently, we live differently. We move in the direction of the vision God had given us.
So it’s vital to cultivate that vision, to understand what Scripture says about you and live in light of that identity. If you don’t believe you have been made righteous, you will never be able to live righteously.
Nowhere in Scripture are Christians commanded to cultivate a vision per se. Ingram’s “vision” talk is a distraction at the very least.
Here is one more quote:
The Bible is not a book of advice on how to become a little different, be a little better, and grow a little more. It doesn’t encourage us just to have greater willpower, stronger disciplines, and deeper motives. It gives us an entirely new source of life, casts a new vision, and calls us into new experiences. It really does speak to us as new creations.
I agree that the Bible is not a book of advice on how to generally improve morally (my paraphrase of his above first sentence). Having stated that, the Bible testifies of Jesus way more than it does cast a vision of some sort (see John 5:39-47; Luke 24). Ingram really should ditch this “vision” talk, for its popularly-linked concept (vision-casting) is an abominable and unbiblical practice.
For the third and final con in this book, a number of things did not make the cut for in-depth discussion. Among them were Ingram’s heavy emphasis on the concept of experience (pp. 9-19, 22-29, 33-36, 48, 53, 63, 66, 70, 80, 83-84, 91, 96-98, 103-104, 108, 121-124, 161, 167-169). J. Gresham Machen’s important work Christianity & Liberalism has some insightful things to state as it pertains to refuting the concept of individual experiences (a point of emphasis for Ingram). Second, Ingram is one of these guys that Jim Osman would call an HVG teacher (Hearing the Voice of God). Ingram either outrightly claims direct revelation from God or tacitly promotes the two-way conversational practice (pp. 31, 170, 177, 184). Third, you’ll recall my pointing out Ingram’s making the Gospel a main point throughout the book. Unfortunately, he seemed to engage in double speak by saying the Easter story “has been boiled down to the minimum of Jesus coming, dying for our sin, rising from the dead, and offering us forgiveness if we accept Him as our Savior — all wonderfully true, and a powerful message, but not the whole story. The gospel goes much deeper” (p. 96). That tacit swipe bothered me. However, the thing that bothered me the most was Ingram’s giving the impression that sin is not something Christians do a whole lot. Consider this quote for starters:
If you don’t believe you have been made righteous, you will never be able to live righteously…You aren’t permanently stuck in any of the problems that seem to keep you down, even when you feel as if you are. You aren’t a “sinner” anymore, even if you sin sometimes; the New Testament doesn’t use that term for those who have been redeemed.3 Along with all who believe, you are a saint, holy and beloved, a child of the living God, adopted into the royal family, with His whole kingdom in front of you.
p. 45; the “3” superscript refers to a footnote on page 197 that states, “James 4:8 is a possible exception, where James urges the double-minded and proud to repent. In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul seems to be referring to his background as a persecutor (cf. 1 Cor. 15:9). The New Testament almost always uses “sinner” to refer to our past or those who are not yet redeemed.
I don’t know about Chip Ingram, but I sin daily and I sin much. I certainly sin more than “sometimes.” What Ingram has said is extremely problematic. Consider the tense of verb Paul uses in 1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV):
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Paul is using the present tense verb in describing himself as a sinner. The note on 1 Timothy 1:15 on page 2069 of the Lutheran Study Bible has this to say about the phrase “I am the foremost”:
Paul led persecution against the LORD and His followers. The present tense of the verb indicates that Paul’s self-designation remains valid, even though he has been fully absolved and saved by Christ Jesus. Christians do not cease to sin until the life of the world to come. In this life, we remain saints (people made holy through faith in Jesus) and sinners.
It seems Chip Ingram denies the doctrine of Simul Justus et Peccator. Christians are simultaneously righteous and sinners. The apostle Paul explained this concept best in Romans 7:1-25 (NKJV):
7 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it isgood. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but howto perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Notice the present tense verb Paul uses in verse 24. In the LORD’s prayer (which should be prayed daily by Christians), Christians say, “…Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors…” (see Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:2-4). Finally, consider 1 John 1:8-10 (ESV):
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
I could go on with more Scripture in running this particular con of the book into the ground. Sadly, Ingram’s statement up above was not a one-off comment. Consider these related comments (albeit not as blatant as the one up above):
Over time, Kyle stopped feeling like a failure, even though he still failed at times. He learned how to receive grace and forgiveness, grow in his relationships with other believers, and exercise his spiritual gifts for others just as he benefited from theirs.
Notice again the sugarcoating of failing. As mentioned, Christians sin daily and they sin much. They sin more than just “at times.”
If we claim that the Spirit of Jesus is living through us and empowering us but still see ourselves as sinners who are inevitably going to fail, there’s a contradiction between the truth and our faith.
Notice again a denial of Simul Justus et Peccator.
One of the biggest problems believers face is that when we emerge from our cocoon in rebirth, we still tend to see ourselves as worms. Some theologies continue to stress our wormlike nature as sinners and never really move on to discussing the divine nature we’ve received and the resurrection we can now experience.
Consider what Psalm 22:1-8 (a Psalm of David) states (ESV):
22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Compared to God, we are worms. Even King David (who type and shadow pointed to Jesus Christ) considered himself a worm. What makes us think we’re better than him? In reality, all Christians come to the kingdom on bended knee.
Part of me wants to think this book is like one of those shootouts you see in sports (a lot of offense without much defense). Unfortunately, the errors in this book are so problematic that the offense (or in this case the Gospel main points Ingram has in his book) basically get lost in the shuffle. Therefore, Ingram’s book is not the good news that it claims to be. After reading this book, I would have to say that it is a good idea to mark and avoid Chip Ingram (Romans 16:17). Moreover, stay away from his book Yes! You Can Change: What To Do When You’re Spiritually Stuck. Interestingly enough, continuing to sit under the teachings of someone like Ingram will lead to getting spiritually stuck.