With My Eyes Wide Open is the biographical account by Brian “Head” Welch, guitarist for the popular metal band, KoRn. Welch describes his conversion to the Christian faith, his departure from KoRn, and the days of bitter pain which followed. After several years away from the band, Welch tells the tale of his journey back into KoRn and some of the more recent events which mark his life. The author invites readers into his world – days that were marked by betrayal, loneliness, questioning, doubt, and a rebellious daughter to boot.
Welch writes with a level of transparency that is difficult to find these days. He does not shy away from sharing the painful details of his life, even as a Christian. The author is quick to point out how God’s grace transformed his life but also shares the low points of his Christian journey.
I have written nearly five hundred book reviews over the past few years. My aim is to honestly review books, commending the good and warning what may be antithetical to historic Christianity. This book is no exception. While the story presented here is inspiring and heart-warming, there are some troubling signs that need to be addressed in an honest review. I present these critiques as if Brian Welch and I had the privilege of enjoying a cup of coffee together. Perhaps one day we can make that a reality! In the meantime, I would encourage the author to three commitments:
- Be driven and motivated by God’s Word, not emotions or feelings. Throughout the book, Welch refers repeatedly to “signs” which inform many of his decisions. Feelings certainly have a role to play in the Christian life, but should follow the principles of God’s Word not dictate God’s Word.
- Get grounded in biblical and systematic theology. Read solid works by men like R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and Wayne Grudem. Such an approach will require breaking free from extreme charismatic groups that focus on mystical experience and downplay doctrine.
- Recognize that God generally works in the realm of the ordinary. He uses the ordinary means of grace found in the local church, namely – the faithful preaching of God’s Word and the administering of the ordinances for the building up of the body of Christ. Yes, God works in the realm of the extraordinary and continues to perform miracles and mighty acts that display his power. But the ordinary means of grace are no less powerful that a visible miracle.
It would be easy to cast aside these doctrinal concerns and focus on the redemptive aspects of the biographical tale. But setting aside doctrine is tantamount to compromise and must be avoided at all costs.
This is a book I wanted to like and pass along to music lovers. While “Head’s” conversion to the Christian faith is exciting, the doctrinal problems associated with the charismatic movement make it difficult swallow and even more difficult to endorse. In addition, the affiliation with the recent documentary, Holy Ghost raises deep concerns and should give discerning readers pause. Then and only then will the eyes of the readers have eyes wide open.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.