Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Book Review: Uprooting Anger

Book Review
Uprooting Anger, by Robert D. Jones
Reviewed by Rev. Matt Mitchell

Where did my anger come from?

I didn’t know I was an angry man until the autumn when my 2-year-old decided to stop sleeping at night and my wife contracted mononucleosis and had to sleep a lot. At the time, I thought my surprising rages came from groggy days and sleepless nights.

But my friend Bob Jones contends that my sinful anger came from the residue of corruption in my new but still imperfect heart. In Uprooting Anger, Jones insightfully teaches what the Bible says about anger’s true cause and gospel cure.

The greatest strength of this incisive little book is the careful, nuanced thought the author has dedicated to the biblical data, combined with field-tested practical application. Jones was an EFCA pastor for 18 years, and it shows. His extensive counseling experience provides a wealth of true-to-life illustrations.

Uprooting Anger covers a lot of ground. Not only does Jones provide a biblical definition of anger, a diagnostic for gauging the righteousness of anger and a detailed roadmap to change, but he also delves into specific problems with anger—such as anger against God and anger directed at yourself. A whole chapter is also devoted to helping others deal with their anger. This is a body-life book, practical theology at its best.

Along the way, Jones dispels some of the psychological fog that floats through our culture. For example, he claims that the Bible nowhere teaches that we should “forgive ourselves.”

If I were writing the book, I might have put the last chapter first: “Why You Must Deal With Your Sinful Anger,” but it also makes a fitting close. This is Jones’ first time out of the harbor as an author, so his prose wobbles a bit in places and shows some unnecessary repetition, but the content is pure gold.

I recommend it for just about anyone. It’s perfect for both hotheads who bite people’s heads off and “bloodless-murderers” who kill others with a cold look. Why not form a “12 Angry Men” discipleship group and go through the study questions and application assignments together? I want to. Now I know where my anger comes from and what to do about it, but I still need the body of Christ to help me actually uproot it.

[Reprinted with permission from EFCA Today, Spring 2007, published by the Evangelical Free Church of America. EFCA Today is online in .pdf format. This book review appears on pg.2 of the document, pg.21 of the magazine.]