Feminism

Redeeming Love Review: Non-consensual Marriage

Plot summary:

  • Michael gives in to “God,” goes back to Pair-a-Dice for Angel.
  • He discovers that she’s been beaten.
  • Marries her while she’s nearly unconscious and delirious.
  • Then he takes her back to the farm, where she recuperates.
  • Angel tries to learn how to cook and lay a fire, but fails.
  • She tries to seduce him, but he refuses.

***

I’m going to skip most of chapter six, which is mostly just Francine getting Michael back to Pair-a-Dice and the Palace to “get” Angel, where he finds her beaten and nearly unconscious. This firms up his belief that he’s been ordered by God to take her away, but he decides they have to get married before they leave town.

Right now I’m wondering why on earth Francine thinks they have to get married right then. The next few chapters reveals that he’s not intending to have sex with her until she’s not doing it as a “chore,” so there’s no motivation to marry her for that reason. Everyone knows she’s a prostitute, so it’s not to “protect her reputation” (like what frequently happens in other Christian romance novels). So why marry her right this instant, when it’s absolutely clear that she’s in no state to consent to being married and he knows that she wants nothing to do with him?

I don’t want to be so cynical to assume that Francine has these two get married at this point so that Angel is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t want, but there’s no other narrative reason I can see that makes sense. It’s possible she has them get married so that she doesn’t offend the delicate sensibilities of the modern conservative evangelical reader, but as far as story telling goes this is pretty horrible. It’s especially horrible considering the fact that laws of coverture where still in place. By marrying her, knowing that if she knew what was going on she never would have even said “why not?” (note there: she doesn’t say “yes,” and Michael is such an abominable monster where that is good enough for him), he now actually, literally, legally owns a woman he knows doesn’t want to be married to him.

And that’s how this whole situation starts.

There’s one significant issue being woven into these chapters that needs to be highlighted. At several points, Francine gives us something like this:

Angel couldn’t tell whether her sarcasm had gotten to him or not. It occurred to her belatedly that she might anger him and this wasn’t the best time to do so. She swallowed more soup and tried not to show her fear. (105)

and this:

What did he want from her? And why did she sense he was more dangerous than all the other men she had ever known? (110)

Angel’s backstory has made it clear that she’s experienced a lifetime of abuse, and people like me see Angel’s reactions to Michael’s every facial expression and vocal tone as hypervigilance, but frustratingly that’s not an interpretation we can take for granted in Redeeming Love. People like Francine aren’t entirely ignorant about what some of the consequences of abuse might be, it’s just that they look at something like hypervigilance and see bitterness instead. In this story, the reader “understands” that Michael is nothing like the abusive men Angel’s experienced. We’re supposed to take him at his word when he says he’ll never hurt her, that he loves her. Instead, we’re supposed to look at Angel’s mental commentary as a sign that she is bitter, and her own understanding of the situation isn’t to be trusted. She’s over-reacting.

The reality is that the opposite of this is true. In my experience, many Christians, especially those who ascribe to “nouthetic” or “biblical” counseling, take Francine’s point of view: trauma can result in bitterness, and that bitterness can poison a victim’s entire way of thinking … but they couldn’t be more wrong. In reality, victims are usually more capable of spotting abuse than people who haven’t been traumatized. Couple this over-writing of how victimhood is typically experienced with the fact that this section is called “Defiant” and she starts these chapters with quotations like “I am dying of thirst by the side of a fountain,” it’s clear that the reader is supposed to see Angel as stubborn, bitter, and inherently untrustworthy as a narrator.

What makes it worse is that Michael is doing things that are abusive.

“By the way. My name isn’t Mara. It’s Angel. …”
“The name Mara comes from the Bible,” he said, “It’s in the book of Ruth.”
“And being a Bible-reading man, you figure Angel is too good a name for me.”
“Good’s got nothing to do with it. Angel isn’t your real name.”
“Angel is who I am.”
His face hardened. “Angel was a prostitute in Pair-a-Dice, and she doesn’t exist anymore.” (105)

One of the first things an abuser has to do is erase their victim’s innate sense of personhood and their right to their own sense of self. They intentionally strip their victim of their own identity, and replace it with what they want their victim to be.

Then this happens:

“Look,” she said tightly, “I want to start getting up and about on my own. With something on.”
“I’ll provide what you need when you need it.”
“I need it now.” (113)

He does give her clothes to wear in this scene, but it’s brutally clear that he did it because he decided she needed them, not because she said she needed them. Another thing abusers have to do is make sure their victims are dependent on them. Sometimes this takes the form of financial abuse, sometimes they make their victims feel that they’re incapable and incompetent, but it’s all about making sure they can’t leave you. This particular scene is troubling because it’s one of the ones that connects Michael’s character to God’s: a common Christian concept is that God provides us exactly what we need when They decide we need it, and not a second earlier.

Oh, and then this:

Michael studied her with patience. She was small and weak but possesed and iron will. It shone from her defiant blue eyes and the rigid way she was holding herself. She thought she had enough to overcome him. She was wrong. He was doing God’s will, and he had plans of his own, plans that kept growing, but he had said all he was going to say for a while. Let her think on it.

“You’re right,” he said. “I don’t own you, but you’re not running away from this.”

He’s saying he doesn’t own her, but he does feel entitled to her. He explains his “plans” in a bit– additions to the house, watching their children grow up– but at this moment there’s something missing from his statement: she’s not running away because he won’t let her. If you’ve read Redeeming Love before, you know that the implied threat there is ultimately carried out.

This is what makes me say that Michael is an abuser: his overwhelming sense of entitlement. That is the single biggest problem that all abusers share. Universally, abusers feel entitled to their victim. They believe that they have the absolute right to marry a woman who’s been beaten into delirium and rename her and threaten her and tell her she’s going to have his kids while she is vocally objecting the entire time. Can you even picture a man who you barely know sitting across from you on a coffee date telling you that you’re going to marry him and have his children and oh, by the way, you keep saying you want to leave but I’m not going to let you?

The fact that Francine and a vast majority of the people who read Redeeming Love think that Michael is an excellent stand-in for God is detestable and horrifying.

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  • Beroli

    It sounds like, from Rivers’ perspective, differences in actions are entirely irrelevant. Only having the proper authority to do them matters. Angel has no rights and there’s no reason not to marry her immediately; even getting her to say “why not?” is just a formality when what matters is that God told Michael they’re to be married. I suspect if Rivers was to address “how Angel could have told Michael is critically different from the earlier men who abused her,” it wouldn’t even mention anything he does–it would begin and end “she could have asked God to confirm that God told him to do it.”

  • Amy Campbell-Blair

    So I read this book for the first time like 6 years ago before I learned about things like structural violence, patterns of abuse, victim grooming, etc. And even before I had all the words and terminology to express to myself and other people what exactly was wrong with Michael I still absolutely disliked him. It almost feels like he gets a pass on his treatment of Angel by the author and the readers because he “saved” her from a bunch of men abusing her and since she’s not grateful it’s understandable that he’s frustrated with her?

    “The fact that Francine and a vast majority of the people who read Redeeming Love think that Michael is an excellent stand-in for God is detestable and horrifying”

    This. I have never completely understood this. Nothing Michael does even fits the definition of love even as its defined in the Bible. The thing is though I think a lot of Christians have a pretty harsh and terrible idea of what love looks like in action so maybe it’s not so surprising that they would think Michael is an excellent representation of God’s love for us.

  • Faye

    If Michael is meant to represent God, then the marriage-on-the-spot thing might be Rivers’s way of saying that we’re so sinful, we have no free will and can’t choose to follow God. The marriage is non-consensual because, supposedly, salvation is non-consensual.

    Also, if you took Michael’s quotes out of context, I would think they came from Christian Grey.

  • Melody

    My mind wandered to several things I wanted to say during my reading this piece so bear with me 😉

    – The whole getting married immediately is very weird nowadays or the proposing of marriage before you even know each other. Perhaps it was more common in the past (the whole virginity thing) and at least that’s what historical movies / books seem to tell us. I thought of say Jane Austen and Darcy who proposes when Elizabeth doesn’t even really like him yet. Or of the Forsyte Saga where Soames asks Irene who agrees (mostly for financial reasons and she is bullied into it by her stepmother as well). So perhaps it was less strange in Hosea the Bible book than it is in a contemporary setting. So in a book that plays in the here and now, it signals a much more creepy vibe than it might have in a past setting. Like some old-fashioned courtings do sound more like stalking if you would transplant them in a contemporary setting.

    – The hypervigilance I suffer myself sometimes and I agree with you that she totally makes a mess of it. The I’m dying of thirst beside the fountain quote makes me pretty angry: it’s all about sex…. He’s supposedly saves her, but of course he only wants her for that too. The other quotes you give are equally creepy. She has every right to be cautious as he is a pretty creepy nasty guy (Haven’t read the book, but the quotes you selected sound bad enough.)

    – It makes God look like a controlling *** as it makes Hosea and this guy Michael. I think the problem is very much with the whole idea itself. The Bible book may be sort of progressive in rescuing a prostitute who may or may not have been killed for her profession otherwise. And which is a whole metaphor for God still loving his people even if they go astray. Transplanting it to this day and age makes it very different as her agency is non-existent (which is probably the case in Hosea, apparently women only speak 1 % in the entire Bible, men something like 30 % as the rest isn’t dialogue) and what she wants doesn’t matter at all. She’s the damsel in distress, cardboard bad girl and she better be grateful he saves her or else! No-one asks if she needs saving or even if she needs it, if she actually wants it.

    • Melody

      I knew I’d forgotten something: about the hypervigilance. I recently started watching game of thrones and one thing that I did find interesting was this dialogue about Tyrion meeting a woman who was (about to be) raped and who later seduces and marries him. It wasn’t real as it was a fake set-up and he is made fun of. He later tells the story to a woman who explains that he was pretty naive as no woman who had been (almost) raped would then seduce some guy on the very same night, right after it had happened.

      If someone is writing about abuse victims they should do it right. Making Angel sound bitter when she is having normal responses for someone in her situation isn’t good storytelling either.

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    I keep thinking about how I learned that ‘safe people don’t demand that you trust them’ back when i was first introduced to the concepts of boundaries and safe people and so forth, and suddenly the whole world made so much more sense. Yeah, Michael is big time Not Safe.

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    I think the reason Michael ‘has’ to marry Angel before taking her home is modern evangelical morality. There was a Christian movie recently called ‘Old Fashioned’ where the man refuses to even be alone with the woman at all, like until they say their vows. In the old West men didn’t have virtue to lose in the same way, and people didn’t much bat an eye with a prostitute in a man’s house, he was still marriage material, and fine as a person. But 21st century evangelical culture wants to dig into not just what men actually do, but even what they sometimes think about doing.
    I think the marriage is to preserve Michael’s purity in the reader’s eyes. Also, readers accept him ordering her around if they are married, consummated or not. It basically takes away any leg Angel has to stand on that she wants personal space, to make decisions for herself, ect, ect.

    • Erik K

      I hate watched Old Fashioned with a few friends – don’t ask – and the thing I remember the most about the movie was how unbelievably boring it is. So there’s that.

      You know, in case you were tempted to watch it. Which you shouldn’t. But if you were, make some coffee to help you stay awake.

      • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

        I haven’t watched it, because I thought it would probably have ridiculous tropes about how men and women really are that would annoy the heck out of me. Glad to hear it was boring. Stupid movie makers.

        • Erik K

          Your instincts are good. It did have a lot of ridiculous tropes about how men and women really are. That was the high point of the movie.

    • Stephanie Gertsch

      I watched a Cinema Snob’s review on YouTube. There’s a scene where the couple kisses in a deserted field. They’re not even consistent in their wacky ethics.

  • Cat

    I’m actually really curious as to how Michael’s behavior compares with that of love interest characters in “bodice-ripper” type novels. I haven’t read those since I was a teen, but if I recall, the romances often started with a forced seduction (read: rape) or kidnapping for some noble reason that the heroine only found out about later. So I guess I’m wondering if abusive roles aren’t already part of the genre?

    • Erik K

      There are a lot of romance novels where the romance starts with a rape. These are problematic, but yeah, abusive roles are part of the genre. It’s worth underlining, however, that this is a book that draws in God and brings sharp and heavily emphasized parallels to Angel/Michael = Us/God. When this happens, it gets a lot more disturbing. Rivers isn’t writing a normal romance – she wouldn’t describe it that way.

      Besides, in most of those novels, the “hero” usually feels bad about the rape (at least in my memory) or acknowledges that he might have “rushed” things. I don’t believe Michael will have the same moment, but my memory might’ve failed me. We can watch for that. *grin*

  • Amanda

    Protestants, with some exceptions, pretty broadly believe in total depravity. They may or may not say that, but from my observations, in practice they do. (Catholics, to the best of my understanding, do not believe this). In this worldview, the best option really is for God to totally control you – it’s viewed as the only way that you won’t be a terribly awful person. Sin is because an area of your life isn’t under God’s control, it’s under yours, in heaven we’ll have perfect bodies so that means we won’t have the choice to sin, etc. It underpins why there’s such a thing as accountability partners. It probably is involved in complementarianism although I haven’t totally thought it through. So from that perspective it makes sense that Michael would marry Angel asap and be super controlling. And yes it is very disturbing. I am sorry to say that at one point I actually read this book and liked it *facepalm*

    • Kevin

      From what I’ve observed, “total depravity” is especially prominent in Calvinism(it’s not so “total” in Arminianism). However, since Arminianism doesn’t stress God’s sovereignty like Calvinism or believe in the eternal security of the elect, they have a list of sons that can cost you your salvation and that won’t. This can lead to legalism and abuse. I don’t know which viewpoints Rivers comes from, though.

      The Orthodox Church, from what I’ve read, doesn’t believe in total depravity; they stress “salvation by deification” and believe in Christus Victor rather than penal substitution.

      • kittehonmylap

        Total depravity isn’t the same as “completely evil,” though- it actually refers to the idea that your sin isn’t any one part of you (your hand or eye or body or soul) but all of you. But it doesn’t mean that all of you is completely sinful.

        • spacegal2003

          Interesting. That’s not the way I’ve heard it described by others. I thought it was the idea that you are totally sinful and that only God can make you good. Which doesn’t explain how atheists can be good, but that’s another issue. Good to know there are other explanations of ‘total depravity.’

  • Jackalope

    Oh my gosh. Just… ugh. I read this book ages ago (my very first week in college, so almost everything I remember about it was what was happening in RL at the same time), and I was disturbed at times but wasn’t always sure why. And now, looking back, how did I miss this??

    Also, if someone has spent a long time in dangerous situations, it is NORMAL for that person to be hypervigilant. It is even HEALTHY. If you are in a situation where you could be injured or even killed at any time, the sanest response you can have is to be constantly aware of what’s going on to try and keep yourself safe. It’s true that this may lead to you overreacting when you’re back in safe space, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a normal response to a bad situation.

  • I’m reminded of a guy I met during a church retreat, just a few months after my abusive boyfriend broke up with me. I was reeling, severely depressed, and dealing with rape trauma. I met a guy who seemed to take to me right away, because we both came from Jewish backgrounds, and because we met at a church retreat, *clearly* this was a sign from God that we were destined for each other. He was a quintessential Nice Guy, with mutual friends to vouch for his character, except…I wasn’t into him. At all. No sparks, no physical attraction, nada.

    He made it his intention to “pursue” me all summer long, though. Once he heard about my situation, it’s like he took it on himself to prove that good men still existed. Except when I wanted to be alone, he refused to go away, insisting that company was good for me (we worked at the YMCA and lived in the staff cabins, so alone time was VERY difficult to come by). He insisted on paying for my meals even though I told him I wasn’t comfortable with that. I told him I wasn’t interested in dating, yet he still had it in his head that this was just a phase, and when I came out of it, there he’d be. And he was a hugger, which made me uncomfortable. When I met my now husband, and things clicked naturally, he went from devastated to furious, and emailed my MOTHER to tell her I was making a huge mistake.

    He reminds me of Michael in that he never did any one thing that would set off alarms for most people. He was, after all, “nice.” And yet that was such a problem for someone like me who was relearning the necessity of boundaries and autonomy. You can be technically kind to someone and provide things they need, and still cause damage.

    • Kevin

      The late pastor of my church used to tell people, “You owe me”, to get them to do what he wanted. He loves to quote Paul in Philemon, “You owe me your life.” However, Paul’s point was to tell Philemon not to be a jerk to Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave. (In that era, Philemon could have killed Onesimus, or branded him with an “F”, forever marking him as a fugitive. Some scholars think Paul was hinting to Philemon to free Onesimus.)

      • Kitrona ✪

        I’m really glad he’s the “late” pastor. That’s horrifying.

        • Kevin

          One incident in which he said that to me involved a friend who was at the point of leaving the church. The pastor asked me what I knew and refused to believe that I didn’t know anything. (He claimed to be an apostle/prophet like in the Bible and to know things “by the Spirit”[TM]; I didn’t know about gaslighting at the time!) He said I owed him, referring to a book called God’s Armorbearer, which says not to hide things from your pastor. (Used as an excuse for people to be backstabbing snitches!) The pastor told me getting this in alignment would bring my marriage; he said he decides who marries, and expressed frustration over everyone’s wanting to get married.

          The frightening thing is when my one friend put down the Kool-Aid and realized how bad things are, he found the Gospel Coalition a safe space. He and his wife went to a church whose pastor has been quoted by the Gospel Coalition(and whose church’s bookstore has books by the Gospel Coalition). When they told the leaders of this church about the church they left, the leaders said it was worse than LDS and JW! What does it say when leaders of a church connected to the Gospel Coalition(notorious for ignoring abuse) acknowledge that a church is abusive!? Maybe part of it is our church isn’t part of the Calvinist old boys club; it is NAR.

    • Kitrona ✪

      Dr. Nerdlove (who can be problematic but overall seems to be pretty good) just had a post, “Nice Is Not Enough”. Which is true; nice is the bare minimum, and if that’s the only way people can describe (general) you, then (general) you are boring and probably bored, too. His advice was basically letting your true personality and enthusiasms shine through a little, on the basis of “not everyone will like you, but not everyone was going to anyway, and the people that do like you will really like you.”

      Having people vouch for your character when all you are is “nice” is creepy, though. Like, if you need people to vouch for your character, it must not be particularly evident what your character is, and/or your character is actually creepy but you’re hiding it and there’s nothing else about you to attract people. Which, given that he emailed your mother… yeah, I’m going with the second one.

      (I had a friend who was actually perfectly nice, very sweet, helpful, etc. but I had a boyfriend at the time and he never said anything about wanting to date me. When I went to visit my boyfriend, he called my dad to ask if he thought the friend had a chance. Bwah? Like, first of all, the only adjectives someone can use to describe you are equally applicable to a golden retriever, which is fine but also points to a lack of substance. And second of all, involving parents in someone else’s love life is just weird. But he never got mad about the situation, at least.)

  • Ysolde

    So far it’s Twilight and 50 shades all over again in a sort of Christian form. I don’t understand why anyone would be able to read this book and not identify Michael as an Abuser.

    • Kitrona ✪

      Because there are a lot of people, particularly fundies, who not only don’t know the signs of abuse, but are taught that abusive actions are “loving” if they’re done by someone with the “proper” authority.

      • Ysolde

        Much like my father “lovingly” threw me out of the house when I told him I was a girl.

        • Kitrona ✪

          Yup. Like that.

      • Kevin

        In our case, we were taught to give leaders the benefit of the doubt, that anyone can make up charges and the leader is SOL. Also, there was a tendency to blame women and to insist that the system is biased against men, and that all women have to do is rough themselves up and cry, “Abuse!”

        After having been on Twitter and read blogs like this one, I can see how that trains people to ignore the warning signs of abuse (and encourages Stockholm Syndrome in victims).

        I saw other connections upon learning about gaslighting, as people were told things about themselves tied with, “This saith the Lord” and threatened with he’ll or that God would strike them dead or give them a terrible disease, for not submitting to authority.

        • Kitrona ✪

          Oh, fuck that sideways. That’s horrible. I’m so glad you’re out of that mindset!

          • J.B.

            Late response, but reminds me of how those who felt disgusted at Trump’s election were told to “give him a chance”, one thing that the id tweets seem to have overcome.

    • Beroli

      I think the target audience for this book is exclusively people who don’t know the signs of being an abuser, and would largely consider being a Christian incompatible with being an abuser.

      • Ysolde

        This is true, but at the same time both Twilight and 50 Shades were also gigantic hits. I don’t understand how modern women can buy these books and ignore the clear and unmistakable signs of an abuser. Maybe that just explains how so many women can end up in such a relationship and why it is so difficult for them to leave.

        One of the hardest jobs in a Women’s shelter that I have volunteered at is watching them go back and ignoring your own temptation to interfere. It’s up to the paid staff to do any counseling and the volunteer staff is just there to make the place warm and comforting.

      • Melody

        “[A]nd would largely consider being a Christian incompatible with being an abuser.”

        That’s a huge part of it too, I think. I used to believe that Christians were (generally) better people, more moral etc. etc. and, of course, that was also the kind of thinking I was brought up in. Seeing more and more evidence over time that this was not the case, and it was often-sadly-the other way around, has helped in no longer believing that and being a little smarter in recognizing manipulation and such.

    • Jackalope

      For me it’s because I was so much younger and at a distracted point in my life (first week of college, see above). There were things that made me uncomfortable but I wasn’t able to dissect it enough to see all the issues.

    • Jackalope

      After thinking it through a bit more, I think some of the issue is that much of the book is from Michael’s perspective and most people don’t like to think of themselves as abusers whatever the truth might be. So if you’re reading along and he’s THINKING things like, “God, I’m so worried, how will I ever help her make it through this…. What am I going to do?” it’s easy to have sympathy for him and not notice that he’s being totally abusive. Which seeing only the abusive quotes pulled out of the text makes it easier to notice. Not saying this to excuse him in any way but if you’re inside someone’s head it’s easier to be on that person’s side even when they don’t deserve it.

      • Ysolde

        This is very true in addition I think we as a society don’t really focus on consent. So quite a number of people probably don’t think about how consensual something is or isn’t especially if it has a “happy” ending.

  • Yeah, even when I read this and enjoyed it as a conservative evangelical/fundamentalist teen, I remember being frustrated with Michael. This woman has been through hell and back. DO YOU NOT HAVE COMPASSION? Listen to her for once and do things that make her feel safe.

  • Erik K

    It seems relevant about now. I did some looking for interviews with Rivers about this book, just to see what she was saying about it.

    “Which is your favorite book of those you’ve written?

    My favorite book is Redeeming Love. It was my first as a born-again Christian, my statement of faith, and the most exciting year I’ve spent writing anything. I felt God’s presence throughout the months of work, as though He were telling me His story through thousands of Scriptures as well as explaining the inner heart-ache and quest of each “my” characters.”

    “Which character is your favorite?

    My favorite character is Michael Hosea from Redeeming Love. He is like Jesus – the lover of my soul. I have another favorite: Hadassah from A Voice in the Wind. She is the kind of Christian I want to be.”

    source: http://francinerivers.com/faqs/ – her website.

    There’s a lot more interviews that say the same sort of thing, including how she wanted to show the difference between “real love” and “erotic love” in this book. Which, of course, just makes the book more disturbing. >_<

  • Kevin

    I find hypervigilance to be interesting: I grew up in a NAR church, that was highly controlling. (I say a little more below.) My said friend is wary of any churches associated with apostles and prophets (and told me he’s not sure apostles are for today). A lot of people who claim to be apostles promote authoritarianism and say you must respect them due to their being apostles and/or prophets.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    I think Rivers probably made her protagonists get married to protect readers’ sensibilities. A good chunk of readers probably think it’s wrong for people of the opposite sex to live together even if there is no sex intended. It’s not modest to have that kind of intimacy. And sex can always “happen.”

    If Michael marries angel, she can’t lure him into sin. He can rape her with impunity.

  • keefanda

    Since the author Rivers said that this book is in her mind a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and her and perhaps more generally between Christ and Christ’s Bride (see where Jesus says that Jesus chooses us), what strikes me about this metaphor is how this dynamic relates to the concept of Universal Salvation (flirted with recently by evangelical Rob Bell in “Love Wins”, a book presently discussed by a weeks-long study group of which I’m part). Google “God is not a divine rapist” or “Is God a divine rapist?” (with quotation marks) and start skimming. This claim or question is relevant because if Universal Salvation turns out to be true (I for one would like it to be true), then certain questions can pop up given that logically, a whole bunch of changes in especially the most bad people’s natures have to happen before entering Heaven or else Heaven will be no better than this place to the degree that said changes don’t take place.

    One such question is this: Is our cooperation or consent required to some degree for these changes to happen? If so, then how is God going to pull off Universal Salvation without doing something to at least the most bad that looks like some sort of divine rape thing or something that looks sort of like what the Rivers book talks about? If not so, then maybe God is off the hook? (But what would a total absence of required cooperation or consent look like?)

  • Chris Diaz

    Doesn’t it pain you to read this garbage? Why do you do it?

    • I’ve been doing this style of review for about three years to nine different books at this point, so if it hurt once, I’ve grown used to it. 🙂

      I do it because these books are still popular. People are still reading them, still loving them, still encouraging other people to read them. I believe it is worthwhile to point out that these books have ideas in them that are harmful.