Many years ago a man told me that he would never recommend a restaurant to a friend because he could not guarantee that the same cook would be there when his friend visited. My family has learned to be careful of recommendations friends give for movies they have enjoyed and we always give certain caveats when we recommend movies. You understand the problem. The motel you loved may change management before your friend gets there. The car mechanic you recommend may have a bad day when your friend comes in. Recommendations are risky.
Well, I recommend books. I have some people who have dismissed my website and message because of certain books I recommend. It’s a risk I have decided is worth taking.
For example, I really like Brennan Manning’s books. I have heard him in person and was truly blessed by his message. I fully understand that he and I would probably disagree on some important doctrinal issues. But that isn’t the point. When I recommend his books, I am recommending the primary message of those books – that Jesus honestly loves people. The unity of God’s people, after all, is in Christ rather than in doctrine.
I do understand that some teachers have misused books and teachings of others. One person who visited my website has rejected the whole message because I happen to recommend Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life. The cultic church this lady used to attend took Nee’s teachings and used them to manipulate and control followers. Therefore, in her mind, anyone who recommends Watchman Nee must be in sync with her former cult. Not true, of course; but until she is able to step past her pain and fear, she will continue to dismiss anyone who fits her criteria.
So, is it worthwhile to recommend books when some are offended by those books. Of course it is. Books can connect with people in ways nothing else can. John Eldredge has been used by God to touch hearts in unique and wonderful ways.
Recommending a book, in my mind, is nothing more than telling someone that the book’s ideas are worth considering. You might decide that you don’t like the teaching, the style, or something else about the book. That’s ok. I just appreciate the fact that you were willing to listen and think. We learn and grow from each other.