Jim Croft, Charismatic Superstitions & Misconceptions (Mobile, AL: Evergreen Press, 2001), 115 + xi pages, ISBN 9781581690583.
A valuable insight into a book can often be gained through reading the introduction, where you may find the author’s original purpose and mindset for putting pen to paper (or, in the twenty-first century, fingers to keyboard). This proves to be true in the case of Jim Croft’s book as well. In the very first paragraph of his introduction, Mr. Croft expresses his concern over what he calls a “perplexing enigma” that seems to exist in the lives of many Christians, a dichotomy between Sunday living and Monday-Friday living:
Many believers have the impression that the primary way that they can please God is to fill their lives with as many overtly religious activities as possible…. During church services, they glow with the vibrant confidence that they have heavenly approval. It is as though they believe that they are fulfilling the zenith of life’s purpose solely when they are singing hymns, testifying, and listening to sermons. The enigma is that when life’s necessities call them to be occupied with other equally legitimate pursuits, the quality of the confident glow that they have heavenly approbation seems to mysteriously wane (p. vii).
Mr. Croft sees this enigma as being expressed (at least in part) in the fact that statistics indicate that there seems to be little difference between Christians and non-Christians, when it comes to such areas as the escalating divorce rate and the increasing use of prescription and over-the-counter medications for depression. Why do so many believers in Christ turn to the same methods of escapism as non-believers? This is a question that has haunted the thoughts of Christians everywhere, laypersons and leaders alike.
One of the contributing problems, according to Mr. Croft, is the perpetuation of the distinction between one’s “spiritual” life and “secular” life, which keeps Christians from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised his disciples:
Biblically there is no such division [between the secular and the spiritual] because all aspects of life are described as spiritual, even though they are not all primarily religious. God’s divine influence and pleasure can be experienced in every arena of life, though every arena may not be overtly religious in its content and exercise (p. viii).
Charismatic Superstitions & Misconceptions is Mr. Croft’s answer to this dilemma. He seeks to examine and refute the kinds of teachings and doctrines that contribute to this unbiblical dichotomy between the secular and the spiritual.
However, the seventy-nine doctrines and beliefs that Mr. Croft examines left this reviewer wondering, “What does this have to do with the enigma presented in the introduction?” For example, some of the “superstitions & misconceptions” that Mr. Croft considers are: “There is no such thing as the Trinity” (p. 6), “All religions are basically similar in that they all worship the same God” (p. 88), and “The Bible gives hints that there could be validity to belief in reincarnation” (p. 89). While it is indeed important for such beliefs to be examined according to God’s truth revealed in the Bible, such doctrines do not really have anything to do with a “secular vs. spiritual” dichotomy.