Okay, I admit it. My brother, sister, and I used to say it . . . “The devil made me do it!” When it came to some unwanted act in our home growing up, it wasn’t quite as common as “Not me,” “He did it,” “She did it” or “I don’t know.” These days, blaming the devil doesn’t seem to be nearly as popular as it used to be; at least not at our house. I guess it is better not to blame the devil and take responsibility for something, but these days the devil may not be as feared as he used to be.
In a 2009 poll of American Christians, a majority (60%) do not believe the devil is real (p. 6). Is he losing credibility or fallen from a feared place in our belief? C.S. Lewis said in his fictional classic on demons, The Screwtape Letters: “There are two equally opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight” (p. 7).
Author Mike McKinley wrote a new, short book, Did the Devil Make Me Do It? which explores questions about the devil, demons and evil spirits. McKinley states he has three beliefs as he enters this subject: 1) the Bible is true, 2) the Bible doesn’t tell us everything that we might like to know about the devil, and 3) Some passages are clearer and easier to understand than others. Topics covered in this book are:
1. Origins: Where did Satan come from?
2. Activity: What is Satan like and what does he do?
3. Control: What is demon possession?
4. End: How did Jesus defeat Satan?
5. Walk: How should we live in a world where Satan still prowls?
Although the book is written for all Christians, those who are critical thinkers and looking for answers will likely be a target audience. This book, along with three others, are part of the Questions Christians Ask series.
Did the Devil Make Me Do It? is a well-written, brief exploration of its topic. The format is such that specific questions are posed and answered. Many of the questions that are addressed are the same that I have heard Christians ask or talk about, thus I believe this book to be very relevant to its audience. In fact, my son (11) has been asking several of these same questions. Not only is the book for adults, but I think that teens and those younger with adult’s guidance could read the book and understand its content. McKinley’s answers are clear and complete (when possible) and rooted in scripture.
I reviewed another one of McKinley’s books, Passion. It is one of my favorite books that I have reviewed (Here is the link). I really like McKinley’s writing and teaching style; he is able to write in a way that walks his reader through difficult topics so that they are understandable and meaningful. McKinley also delivers with this title. The only criticism that I can think that anyone might have of the book (or potentially those in the series) is that they may want more depth on the topic, since many more pages and chapters could be written about the topic. However, I believe that the format works and it gives a excellent exploration of the subject that could be used for a Bible study and for personal exploration.
In short, Did the Devil Make Me Do It? is an excellent yet brief resource that answers its topic remarkably well. I recommend this title and give it five of five stars.
When Jesus walked the earth, he cast out demons and had powerful encounters with the devil. But who exactly is the devil, and where did he come from? And what is he up to in the world today? This short, readable book explains clearly and simply what we can say with certainty from the Bible and Satan, demons and evil spirits. Suitable for all Christians – especially those who are struggling with questions about Satan.
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: The Good Book Company (June 1, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
Available for less at these links!
You May also want to check out the other books in the Questions Christians Ask Series
Is God anti-gay? by Sam Allberry
Who on earth is the Holy Spirit? by T Chester & C de la Hoyde
What happens when you die? by Marcus Nodder
Mike McKinley (M.Div Westminster Theological Seminary) is the author of Passion, Am I Really a Christian? and Church Planting is for Wimps. Since 2005 he has been pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. Mike and his wife Karen have five children.
Note: We were provided with a complimentary copy of the book through Shaun Tabatt at Cross-Focused Reviews and the publisher for an honest review of this title.