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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant (book review)

The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant
by Terry Felber
Hardcover, 208 pages
© 2005, 2011, and 2012 by Terry Felber
Reprint published January 2013 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN  978-0-8499-4852-7
Reviewed March 2013

With a ringing endorsement in the foreword from Dave Ramsey, a respected authority on business and money management, this book promised to be interesting and enlightening.  It is not.  From its first, false premise to its anticlimactic conclusion, this book is a horrible and frightening disappointment.

The book is supposed to be a fable about training a young man by way of the example of his grandfather.  The grandfather took the route of a businessman and his best friend had taken the route of a priest.  The stepping-off point (into the deep end of the pool, obviously) was citing the Scripture reference of how God has made us kings and priests.  The reference is obviously to the Bible with capitalization of the reference to Scripture, calling it sacred, and how access was limited (it’s not, we can all access Scripture).  Indeed, in the book of the Revelation we are told how God has made us kings (or a kingdom) and priests.  However, we are all called to be both kings and priests.  This is not a choice of either one or the other.  The fact is that Felber takes us on a wobbly theological journey where we are to choose one vocation or the other – these roles are not mutually exclusive.  Even worse, the kings of Revelation 1:6 are not kings of business as Felber would assert.
The book goes downhill from this first theme.  There is just enough Scripture reference to make this book dangerous and just enough false theology to lead otherwise clear thinkers into believing that there are “twelve keys to successful living” (the book’s subtitle) that will make all well and good.  The goal here appears to be prosperity rather than fidelity.  Work hard, do right, provide for family and others, give back to God, and you will do well.
Why do we walk in faith?  It is not for prosperity but for obedience.  It is not to get but to give.  If we believe what is given in Scripture – really believe it, putting any designs of prosperity behind us – we will not work to get.  Anyone tempted to pick up this book will do far better to pick up a Bible to take away infinitely better lessons.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received for free from the publisher for the purpose of review but a positive review was not required. The opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. This disclosure is in accordance with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 16 CFR, Part 255.

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