Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Soul Print by Mark Batterson

Soul Print by Mark Batterson is one of the most confusing books I have read in a long time. Let me explain. There were times when I thought his book was great and times when I thought it was just flat out terrible.

Throughout much of the book, he said so many things that were very insightful. For instance, he says "The primary issue is who you become in the process. We fixate on what and when and where. God's primary concern is always who. And He won't get you where He wants you to go until you become who He wants you to be" (69). How true. God is so concerned about who I am as a person as opposed to what I do for Him. He says that his deepest desires is to be a better person in private than he is in public (72). That should be all of our desires.

I really appreciated when he said that leaders need to be transparent. "If leaders are transparent, it creates a culture of vulnerability. If leaders are not transparent, it creates a culture of secrecy" (101). I think that is so important for the leader to lead the people in being open. His point in that is that we all need to find our identity in Christ and not in other things. He very accurately pointed to Jesus at this point: "If you base your identity on Christ, you avoid the crisis altogether. Your security is founded in the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases. Your identity is found in the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus Christ becomes your cornerstone" (108). I need to learn this more and more and I know many people I minister to needs to as well.

Yet as I read this book, I found myself so confused because some of the things he said in the book were just simply strange. For instance, one of the major premises of the book is that "the key to fulfilling your future destiny is hidden in your past memories" (6). What he tries to show throughout the book is that we can be who we were meant to be once we discover or remember those moments in our life that we have hidden. He calls these events our soul prints. He continually talks about discovering your earliest memories, for they are markers of who you really are. I just simply don't get that. Sorry, but it sounds so Freudian to me. He says, "For better or for worse, our earliest memories shape our soulprints in lifelong, life-changing ways" (57).

He also makes strong statements that simply I would not see are true. He says "If David isn't an expert marksman with a slingshot, there is no way he defeats Goliath; he most definitely doesn't become king; and he therefore never produces a royal lineage that includes the Messiah" (31). So, the royal lineage was dependent upon a boys practice at throwing a rock? Come on. God could have had this little boy surprise attack Goliath and kill him any other way.

Another example of this is when he says "Judas didn't just decide as an adult to betray Christ. The seeds of betrayal were planted in the soil of his youth. That certainly doesn't excuse what Judas did, and he still could have decided not to do it. But choices have genealogies that often trace to our earliest memories" (58). That is really not provable. He makes it sound like he did what he did because of the choices he made when he was younger in life. Was it his destiny because of those earlier bad choices?

One aspect that I really didn't appreciate was when he quotes a friend of his as saying "If I don't take the credit, then I don't have to take the blame" (88). Then he challenges the reader: "Maybe it's time to quit taking the credit so you can quit taking the blame" (89). I don't get that. Yes, we should not take the credit, but I'm not sure passing the blame gets us anywhere either. I have always seen my life as this: If it is God-honoring, God gets the credit. If it is self-exalting, I get the blame. Job tried to blame God when things didn't go his way and how did that work? Sometimes things just don't go our way and God has a reason for it, but I wouldn't blame Him for it.

Overall, he is a fairly good writer. He keeps your attention. It is a very easy book to read. It is short. But I would say there are many other better books to use your time reading. But one last thing. I say it is so confusing because while much of the book is rooted in secular psychology, he does come around at the end with a very good perspective on the sufficiency of Scripture. He says, "The best form of self-examination is simply reading Scripture . . . If you want to discover your soulprint, you've got to begin and end with Scripture (133-5). I agree completely and totally. But which is it? Do we search out our earliest memories or do we search the Scriptures? Confused? So was I!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


  1. Teaching the book right now. You're right. Very mixed bag partly because. Mark is in love with himself. Having said that, if you pan you will find lots of nuggets

  2. Teaching the book right now. You're right. Very mixed bag partly because. Mark is in love with himself. Having said that, if you pan you will find lots of nuggets


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