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The Biblical View of Self-esteem, Self-love, Self-image

Jay E. Adams, Harvest Home Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1986, 143 pages, $5.95, paper.

Reviewed by Elfriede Matejisik, Ph.D., public aid caseworker, State of Illinois, and instructor, Truman College, Chicago.

In this book the author refutes Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" and examines the tenets of the evolving self-esteem movement. He sees this movement as threatening the basic Christian concepts of sin, guilt, and the Protestant understanding of grace. He frequently quotes from television pastor and author Robert Schuller, who calls for a "new reformation" and a "sweeping change in theology."

In quoting large segments of his opponents' writings, Adams is in danger of converting the questioning reader to the philosophy he is disputing. Besides rejecting what he terms a "false belief that borders on heresy," the writer also dis agrees with the commonly held view of the value of sinful man in God's eyes. He regards free grace and love as contradictory to Paul's statement in Romans 5:6, 8, and 10. He expounds on the sinful state of man in enmity with God.

The book is not convincing to this reviewer, lacking good journalistic quality and credibility. It is valuable for the warning it gives about accepting easy solutions for the human dilemma as often expressed by advocates of the self-esteem movement. For this reason the book can make a positive contribution to the library of a minister or educator. However, fundamentalists should beware of accepting the author's interpretations unquestioningly and would do well to use Adams' work as a basis for their own research.


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Reviewed by Elfriede Matejisik, Ph.D., public aid caseworker, State of Illinois, and instructor, Truman College, Chicago.

October 1988

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