One of my favorite things about my blog, specifically, is the opportunity to review books. I love getting e-mails from publishers asking if I would be interested in reviewing new authors and I hope that one day this can continue to expand. Nicky Cruz's book The Devil Has No Mother covers, in depth, examples today of how the devil tries to intercept God's attempts in creating and showing the good in people.
When I first was asked to review the book, I think I was under the impression that it would be more along the lines of Nicky Cruz's book Run Baby Run, which focuses on Cruz's earlier life as a gang leader and what caused him to turn to Christ. That in itself sounds incredibly inspirational. However, The Devil Has No Mother is not that.
I actually had a difficult time reading it because I prefer a different style of Christian book. The overall tone is very dark and within good reason because the emphasis of the book is to declare that the devil is evil and scary. Cruz grew up in a family that practiced witchcraft style beliefs and that may have also contributed to the darker tone of the book and why he emphasizes so much evil in the devil. However, the overall book felt very much like a giant scare tactic and I had recently heard a sermon about how this type of rhetoric often scares away people who are interested in being Christians or are "baby Christians." I could see why because I was immediately turned off from the book by several chapters that Cruz had put together.
Although the devil is an evil entity, I think why many Christians turn to God is because he is an all-loving God and He is the light of the world. TDHNM felt very much like 256 pages of judgment and was not the type of Christian book for me. One chapter focused solely on books and television programs today. It was very obvious that Cruz had never watched or read any of these programs and at one point he admonished the Harry Potter book series as saying that it encouraged children to practice sorcery. Although people may disagree with me, I love Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling's books have encouraged so much literacy and a love for reading around the world. I grew up with the books, as did many other people my age, and it is something I hold as a dear memory from my childhood and one that I did not choose to practice sorcery with. He also spoke against shows like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood because they're vampires. Although I think Cruz may have some good points on why these shows are not necessarily appropriate for children, since they're highly sexualized, I think he discredits Christians for being able to separate fact and fiction.
I think one of the saddest points of the book was how this mentality has influenced his family. One of his daughters, a psychologist, had asked him if the faults of their ancestors who practiced witchcraft were going to influence their relationship with God in the future. That was actually more tactful than what was said in the book. It basically was are we going to burn in Hell because our ancestors practiced black magic? Throughout the book and reading Cruz's story, all I thought was that there is so much history behind Cruz's family. He grew up in Puerto Rico and that type of spirituality was reminiscent of the culture. I was more fascinated in those stories than most aspects of the book. Of course he said no but what concerned me was that his daughter, in her later 20's, had to ask that question. I obviously am not part of his family nor grew up in it but I think there is something to say about raising your family in fear versus understanding the love of God.
With all of that said, this book was not my cup of tea. You may enjoy this or recommend this for people who are questioning the extent of the devil's evilness, but it was not the type of Christian book that I would recommend. Instead of leaving it as a discussion of the devil, Cruz injected judgment of other people on every single page and it kind of felt like he went from one extreme of being a gang leader to the other of judging everyone on their sins, despite the fact that we are imperfect people.
I am so excited to review a Bible study that I have and I think many of my readers will definitely enjoy the next Christian book review I have up :)