Andy Stanley has written some great books. So when he puts out a somewhat average one, it is hard to be excited about it. His best books are those which are not based on a teaching series – like Communicating for a Change, and 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. Usually when a book is based on one of his teachings series, it lacks the kind of insight and practical guidance that his ‘straight to text’ books do.
This is true of The Principle of the Path, and unfortunately, it was pretty much what I expected when I received my review copy.
It is not that this is a bad book or in anyway contains falsehood or bad doctrine. For what it is, The Principle of the Path is adequate and even excels in its category. I guess that it just isn’t the kind of book I would pick up and after reading a page or two say, “I need this book!”
Stanley’s thesis is a good one: you get where you are heading. In other words, we don’t make mistakes because they fall out of the sky. We don’t get where we are heading or think we are heading because we’re not going toward it. So, if you can discover the right path and follow it, you will succeed.
This is a well known fact – the part about getting where you’re heading anyway. I’m not sure that we could necessarily say that the journey always takes us to success, but then again it depends how we define success.
I’m going to be honest. I’m not expecting Andy Stanley to be the world’s greatest exegete or to blow me away with some kind of revolutionary paradigm shift (I’ve already blogged on why I think those are manufactured anyway). I do expect a little more than a self-help principle with some Scripture attached.
Is this book essentially correct? Yes. Could it have been a whole lot better? Yes. Was it necessarily written for people like me? I don’t think so, and therein is probably the issue. This is a book for people who are looking for advice and direction, and Andy does his best to point them toward Scriptural principles. Kudos. It’s just that this kind of book is not my cup of tea.