Amusing 1-Star Reviews of Great Books

Sometimes I amuse myself by reading really bad reviews of really good books

“I do this in part for the amusement factor but in part to remind myself of the nature of Amazon reviews. I read a lot of books and do much of my research and purchasing at Amazon. I find myself prone to look at a book’s star-rating and draw conclusions from it. Reading the 1-star reviews reminds me to be careful.”

 

There was a time, and it wasn’t too long ago, when book reviews were primarily the realm of newspapers, magazines, and journals. Then came online shopping, blogs, and social media, and reviews would never be the same. For good and for ill, the Internet democratized reviewing, allowing all of us to have a voice. This brought about a shift that took the focus off particular reviews and reviewers and instead put the focus on the average of a quantity of reviews. Now a positive review in Christianity Today was less important than 100 positive reviews on Amazon. Today, publishers work hard to encourage Amazon reviews because a book with no reviews looks like a book with no readers.

Sometimes I amuse myself by reading really bad reviews of really good books. I do this in part for the amusement factor but in part to remind myself of the nature of Amazon reviews. I read a lot of books and do much of my research and purchasing at Amazon. I find myself prone to look at a book’s star-rating and draw conclusions from it. Reading the 1-star reviews reminds me to be careful.

Here are some 1-star reviews of books that have made a big difference in my life. They showcase why we ought to be careful when allowing Amazon’s star ratings to influence our purchases. In most cases I present these reviews without editing and without comment.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

“Never purchased! I don’t own this. Don’t know why it’s on my Amazon page? Would never by a book like this.” [Tim: You didn’t buy or read the book, yet you give it a 1-star review!]

“A friend recommended this book to me a while back, and I must say its one of the most depressing and mean spirited books I’ve ever read. If you watch a movie like Jesus of Nazareth, or even Chronicles of Narnia, you will come out happy and with a feeling that God loves you. If you read this book, you’ll come to the conclusion that God hates you.”

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

“o foolish jerry who has bewiched you. you stated in the spirit are you made perfect by the flesh.surrendering of the will not will power is the key to the christians walk. only god is holy. how do we become holy, the same way the temple became holy Gods Spirit resided there, ‘whos temple you are.’ he says he tried the let go and let god method of holiness and failed, so it was false. he then says try his method but do not be discouraged by constant failures and setbacks. read hebrews 4 and do not try to do it but trust god and apprehend it for yourself. by faith and faith alone. brother stop laying burdends on others you yourself can not bear.’”

“Obviously this man has not been baptized with the Holy Spirit. There are to many scriptures starting ‘to them that are sanctified’ and about the ‘the old nature crucified, mortified, destroyed or the works of the flesh. This man needs to be baptized with God Spirit. Also needs to learn about the two covenants that came out of Abraham. Get rid of bond woman and her son and the promise One will be able to reign in these temples of the Holy Ghost. Bad teaching on bridges part. Satan loves ministers like this.”

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

“Make no bones about it: Grudem’s Systematic Theology represents about the dullest and least inspired end of the evangelical theological spectrum. His method is only too obvious: Announce your conclusions; line up the prooftexts; shoot holes through everyone else’s prooftexts; proudly announce the matter settled.”

“No need to waste your money (that is what Wayne gets out of it). You have heard it all before ad nauseum. We need men of God with power – not more men with the same words that have been uttered countless times in countless ways for countless centuries. You don’t need dissecting of human reasoning to know Jesus – you need the Holy Spirit – and you won’t find that reading a book other than the Word of God with a submitted heart.”

“Calvinistic, charismatic, and evangelical all into one. This is all totally inconsistent. One cannot be an evangelical Calvinist (look into the PCA or any conservative Presbyterian congregation to prove my point. It is a total oxymoron)— and especially a loony Pentecostal, but somehow Grudem managed to mesh them all together and everyone thinks this is a great work. No wonder a slip shod seminary like Trinity in Illinois would use this as a required text. It makes everyone feel good because it is something for everyone. What is this? A Campus Crusade for Christ meeting? Jeez! Talk about the tickling of ears.”

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