One Thousand Gifts – A Polemical Review


Heresies taught in this book:

Polemical Reviews

More than several evangelical leaders, pastors, and polemicists have rung the bell of warning concerning Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Below are excerpts of a few, with source links so you can research it further.

Tim Challies

Based on the people who influence her, it should not be surprising that her book ends up leading toward a higher plane of holiness or Christian experience that borders on spiritual ecstasy. This ecstasy comes by way of an almost sexual experience with God.

By the book’s final chapter Voskamp has realized that she still hasn’t put it all together, that something is still missing, and so, in her words, “I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God.” This closing chapter, “The Joy of Intimacy,” is her discovery of God through something akin to sexual intimacy. In a chapter laden with intimate imagery she falls in love with God again, but this time hears him urging to respond. She wants more of him. And then at last she experiences some kind of spiritual climax, some understanding of what it means to fully live, of what it means to be one with Christ, to experience the deepest kind of union. “God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. [C]ouldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin?”

Sometimes it is best to allow God to define the parameters of our metaphors rather than taking them to a much greater extent.

It is true, of course, that the Bible uses imagery of bride and groom to describe the relationship of Christ to his church, but it does not go as far as integrating the sexual component of marriage. Sometimes it is best to allow God to define the parameters of our metaphors rather than taking them to a much greater extent. Voskamp would have done well to limit herself here.

The sexuality of this chapter is not all that concerns me. I am also concerned with the kind of spiritual climax she experiences. Why should she have to travel to a Roman Catholic cathedral in a foreign land in order to truly experience the Lord? “My eyes follow the stone arches rising over us, granite hands clasped in prayer over souls. I think of all who have gone before, the hands of medieval peasants who chiseled the stone under which I now stand. I think of those long-ago believers who had a way of entering into the full life, of finding a passage into God, a historical model of intimacy with God. I lean back to see the spires.”

What does she not understand about the gospel that her ecstasies have to happen in a place dedicated to a false gospel of salvation by grace plus works rather than a gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone? Why should they happen in a place dedicated to Our Lady (which is what Notre Dame translates to)? She declares that in the cathedral she is on holy ground, but there is nothing more or less holy about this cathedral than any other place on earth. There must be something wrong not just with the destination but with the whole journey if it leads here, of all places (source link).

Ken Silva 

Voskamp would likely recoil from the notion that she is promoting pagan nature religion or mysticism. But she does put Christians on the same footing as the pagans by taking them on a journey with her to find God in nature and art. The concepts about God that are distinctively Christian in her book are borrowed from special revelation (the Bible) and brought with her on her journey of discovery. But she never makes a distinction between general revelation and special revelation and by integrating the two so seamlessly, elevates nature to the status of saving revelation…

Voskamp is not really interested in theology understood cognitively, but rather in romantic feelings about God… This [idea] is about seeing (an art for the spiritually enlightened) God in the moment and in all things (panentheism). It is not really about God’s relationship to time, but about our attentiveness and awareness that will cause use to see God (Voskamp: 77)… New Age ideas are found throughout One Thousand Gifts

Amazingly, Voskamp unabashedly teaches the path to mystical union that has its roots in ancient, pagan, Rome. This path is taught in the Catholic Encyclopedia.8[7] This threefold path is “common to all forms of mysticism, Christian or otherwise” writes Pastor Gary Gilley who rightly warns the church about it.[8] Voskamp extols the medieval mystics who were instrumental in the building of Notre Dame (Voskamp: 208)…

Mysticism and the practices Voskamp endorses that promote it, do lead to a Cosmic Christ, that is a creation centered one rather that the Christ who bodily ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God. The mystical Christ is immanent only, not transcendent. He is contacted by unbiblical, mystical means rather than through the gospel that saves us from God’s wrath against sin…

As fraught with theological error that this book is, its basic premise is true: as Christians we ought to be thankful people who give thanks in all things. The Bible teaches us that. But do we need to jettison Christian theism in favor of panentheism and objective truth in favor of romantic feelings and higher order experiences to become thankful? No! … There is enough sensuality in the world without us having sensual desires stirred up under the guise of a higher order religious experience in the context of a panentheistic worldview (source link).

The Authentic Gospel

Please watch this clip so that you may better understand the real Gospel.

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