The Resolution for Women was written as a companion book to The Resolution for Men and both are part of the follow-up material for the movie Courageous. The author, 31 year old (p. 234) Priscilla Shirer, is a popular women’s speaker and daughter of Pastor Tony Evans. Shirer began her career as a motivational speaker for Zig Ziglar (p. 112) and now often travels with Beth Moore and Kay Arthur (p. 189) speaking at Bible conferences for women. She is clearly an articulate and winsome communicator.
Both books are designed to encourage Christian men and women to make a number of resolutions which will aid in their spiritual growth and usefulness. I have some reservations about this approach (see my review of The Resolution for Men), nevertheless both books offer some helpful insights and instructions, although I would be more supportive of the material found in the men’s book. That is not to say that Shirer’s book is without value. As a matter of fact she wrote some excellent chapters on subjects such as satisfaction (pp. 17), the ministry of wives (she takes a clear complementarian view, p. 33), and the role of mothers (she says they are to function as soul changers, intentional encouragers and discipline dealers, pp. 211-226). The author writes a very fine chapter on forgiveness, demonstrating biblically that it is impossible to forgive ourselves, since that is God’s gift to us (pp. 132-136), and defining forgiveness as a “releasing into His hands the person, the circumstances, and the outcome” (p. 139; cf. pp. 140-142). She also instructs wives to work on changing themselves rather than trying to change their husbands (p. 187), something they are neither called nor able to do.
On the negative side I was disturbed by Shirer’s mysticism: “God birthed this book and the Courageous movie” (p. XI); when reading the Bible you may feel “God’s warm breath brushing across your cheek” (p. 80), and sensing God’s presence (p. 246) (cf. pp. 26, 73). Her chapter on self-worth and self-esteem lacked biblical support (pp. 52-64). She also draws from Kay Arthur (not Scripture) that men fear two things: inadequacy and being controlled by a woman (pp. 190-191). Men will not get over these things without their wives help, we are told (p. 194). And apparently to aid her husband with his control issues a wife should let him occasionally have his way, even though he is going to mess up (pp. 196-197). This section was not only condescending to men, it also missed the real problem, at least from the woman’s perspective – and that is dealing with sinful desires of the wife to control her husband. A good discussion of Genesis 3:16, Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7 and Colossians 3:18-19, would have been most useful at this point. Also, unfortunately, the author adds a chapter on the social agenda of the gospel which confuses the gospel message (pp. 164-179). Certainly we should do good deeds in our world but we must not blend that with the gospel. Finally she closes her book by saying, “The primary purpose of the resolutions is to assist and support leaving a legacy to be proud of” (p. 268). If that is the case this series has a serious problem. Our primary purpose should be to point to Christ and bring glory to God, not create a personal legacy.
Certain sections of this volume were quite good; others, as pointed out above, need to be read with discernment.
(Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011) 268pp + XII, paper $14.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher Southern View Chapel