Anderson Neil The Bondage Breaker Overcoming Negative Book Report

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Anderson, Neil. The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, Habitual

One of the most fascinating aspects of Neil Anderson's work of non-fiction, The Bondage Breaker, is that despite all of the different aspects of Christianity, spirituality, history, and contemporary culture that he details, the book revolves around a relatively simple precept. This tenet is the founding one of Christianity and the principle that has seen many an adherent through any assortment of beneficial or malefic circumstances. Quite simply it is that Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross, and in doing so gave a redemptive power to the world and to all who were willing to believe in him and his sacrifice. This power is referred to in Anderson's work again and again as a means of overcoming sin, evil, and self-indulgence, and to triumph in the spiritual warfare that the author posits occurs daily between Christians and minions of Satan.

There is a definite progression in the way that Anderson has structured the chapters in this manuscript, which starts in a relatively innocuous position of simply informing the reader of the nature of spiritual warfare as it is waged today, to actually providing a step-by-step process to triumphing in such an encounter. Viewed from this perspective the manuscript is partitioned in a way so that it gradually empowers the reader and presents more detailed information about the nature of this spiritual struggle. Initially, the author merely propagates the notion that there actually is a contest being waged between the forces of evil and those of God. The first chapter is largely dedicated to the worldview of the contemporary Christian, which the author believes must incorporate the fact that evil exists and is most threatening to people within their minds. Yet even at this early stage in the book, the author's motif -- that a faith in Christ can arm Christians with the necessary prowess to overcome all forms of adversity -- rears itself, as he emphasizes that in a world in which agents of Satan (demons) are present, and in which differing ideologies such as naturalism and New Age religions vie for their attention, a reliance on Christ's sacrifice is the most vital tool believers have.

Many of the early chapters in this work present information about exactly how Christian's can rely on Jesus and his sacrifice to see them through the spiritual warfare that they will inevitably undergo. In fact, Christ's ultimate sacrifice serves as a model of sorts for what is required of Christians to prosper -- not only in this world, but also in the next. Anderson believes that Christians must continually sacrifice themselves by eschewing worldly things, temptation, and their own selfish appetites in order to achieve a greater fulfillment in life and a degree of righteousness that, while still tempted by the forces of evil, will ultimately see them through them. Additionally, the author denotes the fact that a central reliance on Christ as the pillar of one's faith and a similar sacrifice in one's own life throughout the course of one's days enables individuals to assert both the power of Christ and his authority throughout their spiritual war.

In fact, this sort of agency is the ultimate expression of Christ's sacrifice, and one that all Christians can access if they do so in the proper way. The four primary characteristics of the right way of asserting the agency that Christ's sacrifice is capable of imbuing Christians with includes humility, faith, the word of God (accessed through the Bible) and a reliance on Christ himself (1). The author alludes to the similarity between the second and fourth of these characteristics, which is an important distinction that he repeatedly makes throughout the course of this manuscript. Man is inherently flawed due to the notion of original sin; therefore, any attempt he (or she) makes to utilize his own power will fail. Instead, proper adherents must always rely upon Christ and his sacrifice to triumph in any sort of tests or encounters with adversity -- which relates to the chief theme of this book.

Another recurring theme that populates the majority of chapters in this work is the idea that spiritual warfare is actually fought in the mind. Although most people sin with their bodies and in their actions, Anderson emphasizes the fact that the mind controls the body and thus is most susceptible to the insidious efforts of the adversary -- which can take the form of the proverbial devil or of demons. In fact, the mind is where some of the key concepts that fuel many sinful acts initially formulate -- whether they pertain to self-centeredness, lust, or other precursors to wayward actions. In this respect, the mind functions as the battleground for this war and metaphorical ammunition largely takes the form of thought. The adversary attempts to implement thoughts that can lead to sinful actions. Simultaneously, however, people can harvest beneficent thoughts pertaining to Christ and, specifically, to manifestations of the word of God to counteract wayward thoughts.

Anderson also dedicates a substantial amount of text to understanding the nature of the forces of evil -- the devil and his demons. He does so to emphasize the austerity of this war in which the enemy can think and rationalize much like people can. The book concludes with the author detailing seven steps to freedom from the bondage of sin. These steps include disavowing non-Christian ways and confessing and repenting before God (2). By ending the book with this information, the author illustrates the fact that this work is really a self-help manual to practically assist Christians with the forces of evil.

EVALUATION

One of the boons of this manuscript is that the author deconstructs the progenitors of such evil and the different machinations they employ to achieve their objectives. Anderson expounds upon the notion that the devil is tireless in his pursuit of spreading ill will and ultimately corrupting those who are attempting to follow the path of Christ and Jesus. This point is fairly important because it not only denotes the fact that there is a war, but also implies that such spiritual warfare will always take place (and virtually always has taken place). Moreover, the author contends that the demons that serve the devil are extremely organized and vigilant in their quest to debauch people, and that they have similar capacities to plot, evaluate, and strategize similar to those of the most diligent of humans. This point alludes to the fact that the adversary is extremely capable of achieving its objective if people are not vigilant and dutiful in their cognizance of the nature of the plight against them. Furthermore, it emphasizes the fact that there is a definite point of interaction between God and good and the work of the devil. Anderson states that "Satan is the god of this world, and 'the prince of the power of the air'…Thus Satan and his demons are present in the atmosphere of this world, but so is the omnipresent Holy Spirit -- which means they sometimes coexist" (3).

One of the most utilitarian aspects of this book is the fact that Anderson delineates some of the specific machinations that the devil and demons utilize to subvert man's nature and to lead him astray. Essentially, the most widely used and efficacious ploys for the forces of evil involve temptation, accusation, and deception (4). Deception is typically manifested in the form of false prophets, deceiving spirits, and self-deception, and is of considerable use to the adversary because it has the potential to obscure the truth and misguide people. The author similarly stratifies temptation into three categories which involve pride, lust of the eyes and lust for flesh (5). Accusation, however, largely pertains to the notion of blasphemy and the forsaking of God and the holy spirit. Doing so is a violation of one of the 10 commandments, and one of the ways that the devil and demons can get people to deteriorate their relationship with God.

The thing that Anderson does best in this manuscript is denote just what exactly it takes for one to withstand the purported assault of the devil and his underlings. The seven steps to freedom in Christ greatly aid readers in understanding the author's methodology for liberating themselves from the bondage of sin. In some ways, these steps represent the culmination of Anderson's vantage point regarding what Christians have to do to keep their faith and to remain loyal to God in the faith of adversity, since they emphasize the same virtues of humility self-effacement that is part of their sacrifice modeled upon that of Christ. It is quite clear that the author is cognizant of the difficulties that many Christians face while striving to surmount the forces that would bind them to worldly things. However, the main boon form this manuscript is that Anderson is able to offer instructions as to how one's conviction in Christ is able to aid one in doing so. Virtually none…[continue]

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