Into the Book

Wrecked by Jeff Goins looked great on the surface. “Turn your comfortable world upside-down!” “Stop living for yourself!” the synopsis proclaimed to me. It looked really good. Maybe this would turn out to be another gospel-focused book: we definitely need more of them out there these days. So I bought it.

Oops. I guessed wrong. No matter how “good” Wrecked may be, it’s still missing the very core of its own message. Wrecked is a book written by a Christian. It’s about giving up your selfish life, and being compassionate and serving others. Goins, the author, calls this “being wrecked.”

What he completely misses is the fact that without Christ, such noble gestures are meaningless. Works don’t get us into heaven. We need salvation — by God’s grace — to even be able to do the sort of charitable acts that Goins talks about in this book. Without Christ to pay for our own sins, we won’t last long being compassionate on our own.

It was a colossal letdown to read this book expecting a Gospel presentation every other page. Goins came so close several times. I was all set up. Then he just kept going. God was only mentioned half a dozen to a dozen times at best. And unfortunately for the people Goins encourages us to help, a message of compassion and helping others is completely meaningless without the Gospel in it.

I’m not denying that Jeff is a Christian; I’ve read his blog a little, and this book, and I don’t doubt that he is a born-again Christian. Some may even argue that his keeping the gospel out of this book is intentional, so that it appeals equally to unbelievers and believers. But I’ll tell you something: a book that exhorts its readers to help others, without even telling these same readers of Someone who can help them — saving them from hell — is not much of a book. That’s an empty message.

And while the writing is good, and the message (what there is of it) is good, the book is practically useless. Sure, doing good may feel good, for a while, but without accepting Christ, it’s meaningless for eternity: whoever rejects Christ will still go to hell — no matter how many cups of soup or blankets they’ve handed out to the homeless.

~ Andrew

Published on 16 August, 2012. Last updated on


  1. Anne Lawson

    Andrew, thank you for your great review. I’m a pastor who is very passionate about the Gospel. I’m also a homeschooling mom and a librarian. I’m really encouraged to see a new generation that knows how to think, and to filter what’s being said and written in the Christian world through the lens of the Gospel. Like you, I’m concerned that much of what is being written is works-oriented. Thank you for writing and for being a leader in your generation.

  2. Andrew Joyce

    Thank you, Anne! You have no idea how much it encourages me just to get comments like this.

    What worries me about books like this is that they’re talking about good things. But without Christ in them, they’re only as good as Buddhism could ever be, for example.

    Thank you again for you comment!


  3. Bush Maid

    Very good review, Andrew. I appreciate your candidness. I agree; there is little point in reading a book that exhorts Christ-like actions without Christ in it. I’ll be sure to avoid this one.

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