This is a “comment” that I received on the original article I posted on The Circle Maker promo video. The word comment is in parenthesis because this is more like a discourse. I am always up for addressing what people say but to put my full reply in another “comment” would just be foolish. I do have an e-mail address on the contact page (just sayin’). Oh, and this is very long so if you get through it you get 2 gold stars!
The following was posted by a person who called themself rightorwrong I will respond inline as I think that will be the best way to approach this.
Discernment is needed – ON BOTH SIDES here. The article reviews a promo video for a book and critiques the book and the promo. I read in the comments that “at the time this was posted the book had not been released.” This article was posted December 2, 2011. Actually Circle Maker was released November 22, 2011, ten days BEFORE.
The book may have been published on Nov. 22nd but at the time it was not available as I tried to find a copy and could not. I notice on Amazon it gives this publication date but other websites give a December release date. I thought about whether or not to wait on it but decided to go ahead and do the article because I was sure that there would not be video clips in the book and that is by far a huge problem with the video. That and given that it was a promo video released by Zondervan in order to get you to go by the book the context of the video is all that is needed to decide whether to go get it or not. My thinking was if this blatant visual image is in the video then I doubt the care in writing the book would be any better. Later when I had a chance to read the book my suspicions were vindicated.
Maybe a copy wasn’t available, but before commenting on something, it is appropriate to put in context and read the book. 1Tim 5:19 says “do not entertain an accusation against an elder except by 2 or 3 witnesses.” I think Mark Batterson would qualify as an “elder/pastor” by most biblical standards. At most a promo video is one witness. To be biblical you should have another (at least read the book).
I am a pastor. This comment does not bring up a second witness about me before accusing me of dealing unfairly with Batterson. However Mark is not on trial here, his book and teaching are. If someone is teaching a falsehood then you don’t have to address what type of person they are you address what they are doing or teaching. I e-mailed Batterson a copy of the article before I posted it and I called the church about the same issue. I got zero response from Mark or the church. Again the promo video is enough to tell people to avoid the book. In fact you will fare much better in your walk with the Lord if you never read it.
Batterson makes it very clear early in the book that he is opposed to “positive confession” and other new age practices. His actual quote is ““Drawing prayer circles isn’t some magic trick to get what you want from God. God is not a genie in a bottle and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish, if it is not, you won’t be drawing prayer circles, you’ll end up walking in circles. Drawing prayer circles starts with discerning what God wants, what God wills, and until His sovereign will becomes your sanctified wish your prayer life will be unplugged from its power supply. Sure you can apply some of the principles you learn in the circle maker and they may help you get what you want, but getting what you want isn’t the goal. The goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles and dreams he wants for you.”
Many people would agree with most of that however this is problematic especially when he admits that you can use this to get what you want. (2nd sentence from the end) If getting what you want is not the goal then why do you: 1) Dream big (people do not get what they pray for because they do not know what they want) 2) Pray hard (anything less than a bold audacious prayer is an insult to God.) 3) Think long and never stop praying until you get what you pray for. On top of all this the entire book misses the main purpose for prayer. Mark thinks you pray to ask God for things you want. You pray to change yourself to judge your own thoughts motives and actions and conform them to God’s commandments. He gets the idea for the book from Honi the Circle Maker. He has based his entire prayer life on a legendary figure in Jewish history and a questionable one at that!
I understand and appreciate the concern about drawing circles being associated with ritualistic witchcraft. BUT, I don’t think witches “own the right” to draw circles (be they 3 or more, clock-wise or not). The gay and lesbian crowd have adopted the rainbow as their logo. If I use a rainbow in my church logo some may accuse me of supporting homosexuality, but they have forgotten that God invented the rainbow and it existed 5000 years before the gay lobby stole it.
Good, next week I am going to put a swastika on the top of my church building because Neo-Nazis do not “own the right” to use it. I will put a lovely, sappy, Christian meaning to it, and if someone says something about it I will just blow them off.
When you take something that has been associated with magic for thousands of years (including the time period of Honi… hmmmmm) and try to make a godly method of prayer with it you are spitting into the wind. If you use a different prayer model (like the perfect model, Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith) you don’t run into these types of problems.
Too often “discernment ministries” lack discernment by manufacturing guilt by association. Another post above already draws out the false conclusions, but let me offer one more. The Jehovah’s Witness include Jesus as a part of their faith (as do the Mormons, and many New Agers). Since all of those people are wrong, anyone who includes Jesus in their religion must also be wrong and we should avoid Jesus. Guilt by association, you know? Obviously I’m being facetious, but hopefully you will be careful with the conclusions you draw.
That is exactly it they are preaching a false Messiah based on the word of a false prophet. Just like Mark is teaching a false practice of prayer based on false model of prayer.
Please be discerning and do the Christian world a favor – do your homework. Read the book before blogging about it. Understand the context. Batterson DOES SAY some things that could be grossly misinterpreted if taken out of the larger context in which he writes. But to understand what he is saying, one must read the context.
I did all the homework I could at the time, and I have kept up with it. The point is not to do a full diagnostic on the life and times of Mark Batterson. It is to warn others what to stay away from. This is definitely something to stay away from. It has some good ideas in it, but the problem is that the good things just make it easier to accept the false things. This is not a good foundation for prayer. The prayer model is flawed, and from a flawed source. There are so many red flags in the video it was enough to make a recommendation not to buy the book.
Also, you suggest banning the book and writing the publisher – without having read it. Very premature. If after you have read it you still feel that way, by all means make the suggestion, but to do so before reading it certainly is judging a book by its “digital/video” cover.
I encouraged Christians to pull it from the shelves as it is not biblically based it is based in legend. There is no reason that anyone Christian, Jew, or otherwise should use Honi the Circle maker as a model of prayer.
Under your heading above “Circles Concentrate Power” you imply that Batterson says the same (that Circles Concentrate power) – but he doesn’t. Not even in the quote you use – you imply it by your questions because it fits with drawing the connection you want to witchcraft. You then go on to pick apart the straw man you have constructed.
Concentrate power = multiply miracles. I am directly correlating the two and I don’t think it is a stretch to say that more miracles equals more power from God or that the circle is the reason for it.
Batterson’s book is challenging us to be bolder in prayer and attempt great things for God. The idea of drawing circles is little different than the Old Testament practice of setting up memorial stones to remember what God has done, crossing the Red Sea, the Jordan, etc. Joshua and the Israelites marched around Jericho for 7 days. Was there magic in their march? no, nothing magical, simply God giving the citizens of Jericho 6 days of grace to leave before being destroyed. Just because we draw a circle doesn’t mean we are practicing magic.
Those are pretty weak examples as memorial stones are not set up to get God to do anything, and the march around Jericho was not initiated by Israel to try and get God to give them the city. God told them to do that so it was Israel obeying the command of God. And Israel was not commanded to march around the city and pray but to march around the city and blow shofars! Where does God anywhere in Scripture tell anyone to circle things in prayer? Nowhere! The only place you get it is from Honi the Circle Maker, and now Mark!
I do talk a lot about the circles but that is because it is the key feature of the book. I am not against someone drawing a circle. I am concerned that by using unbiblical models of prayer the uninformed Christian could easily be lead astray, and that the world will not see any difference between something like this and The Secret or some other such nonsense.
I do appreciate that you are trying to be charitable and say that Batterson may himself be deceived. I appreciate your gentle nature. Just be sure to also do the critical thinking necessary before jumping to conclusions.
Thanks for the detailed ‘comment’. The two main issues with the book are these:
1) Honi the Circle Maker is used as a model of prayer. It’s like writing a book on how to lumberjack like Paul Bunyan. Thus we get this nonsense about drawing circles which is riddled with problems.
2) That the main purpose of prayer is to grant us our God-given dreams. Or that the main purpose of prayer is a way to get things from God (even if they are good things). When in reality the main purpose of prayer is to judge the motivations of our own hearts and conform them to God’s will.