*Note: This book review was written elsewhere by the same author and republished here. It was not written on the date that this webpage was published
Bruce Wilkinson's The Prayer of Jabez was a very popular book. It was probably because of this that he decided to rewrite the message in The Prayer of Jabez for Teens. It approaches the issue in a way that would draw in teens. In the preface, he basically appeals to the teenage desire to be with the majority, saying, "Young people around the world are leading the way in a prayer revolution. They're seeing God do miracles. And you don't want to miss out on what's happening." Since it is for teenagers, less doctrine is taught in this book than in the original, and so the heresies, though there, are much more subtle and the book is a lot more nuanced.
The book appears to teach against being content with what God has given you at some points. He says on page 48, "It's easier to settle for what we already have, even if we don't like it." He then attacks the notion of contentment by teaching the Prosperity Gospel. On the next page, Wilkinson says, "But God wants us to want to receive everything that He wants to give us and do through us. After all, His reputation and good plans for the world are at stake." This also erroneously teaches that God's providence depends on our actions. Earlier in the book, on page 21, Wilkinson says, "[God is] a God who wants to give you more than you've ever thought to ask for." Towards the end of the book, on page 108, Wilkinson writes, "God wants to bless you because He loves you, and besides, He's a giving God." This entire unique strand of the Prosperity Gospel that Wilkinson is putting forward is based off of a few verses that are little more than an out of context footnote in a geneology. The rest of the book consists of personal stories and anecdotes that try to prove the doctrine "Because it works for me some others". Very little scripture is provided throughout the book.
Overall, the book is nothing more than trying to market heresy to teenages. It uses manipulative tactics to push the Prosperity Gospel onto teens. This Prosperity Gospel is a dangerous teaching, as it distorts the promises of salvation by adding health and wealth to it. If you would just be obedient, God would give you money, they say. Paul would disagree. So would Peter, John, Mordecai, John the Baptist, Stephen, and, most importantly, Jesus Himself. Material wealth is not a sign of God's favor, and to say so mutilates the true meaning of salvation.
For a presentation of the true Gospel, please go here.
Brandon C. Hines
Brandon is a young writer, theologian, and polemicist. He adheres to the 1689 London Baptist Confession and believes in Calvinism, Covenant Theology, Credobaptism, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the Essentials of the Christian Faith.
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