When Through Deep Waters – Rachelle Dekker

dekRachelle Dekker, When Through Deep Waters (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2018), 370 pp.

When Through Deep Waters is the latest book from thriller writer, Rachelle Dekker.  This gifted writer tells the tale of a young woman who tragically stares into the face of evil after the death of her young daughter. Gripped with deep spiritual and psychological sorrow, Alicen McCaffrey makes her way to the Clover Mountain Retreat Center in Deer Lodge Montana for help and healing.

Dekker does a marvelous job recounting Alicen’s pain and the guilt associated with her circumstances. In the midst of her misery, Alicen encounters strange psychological phenomena that readers must decipher on their own. Victoria is another character who emerges in the story. At first glance, she appears eager to help Alicen but not only has baggage of her own; she plans her own brand of evil, in the final analysis.

When Through the Deep Waters beautifully showcases the writing ability of Rachelle Dekker. She writes with the precision of Stephen King and the perception of C.S. Lewis. Dekker has a unique ability to paint pictures with words, tell stories with extraordinary clarity, and hauntingly draws readers into the narrative.

Dekker forces readers to wrestle with evil and spiritual warfare. But the higher purpose of her writing is to alert readers to the reality of grace, which is precisely where this review takes an unfortunate turn. The theme that reaches a crescendo in this book is self-forgiveness. When Alicen discovers grace, what she ultimately discovers is the importance of “forgiving herself.” This notion is a reoccurring theme in the evangelical world – a mantra that I hear often in personal conversations and read in many so-called Christian books.  However, “forgiving oneself” is never found in the pages of Scripture. Instead, sinners are both invited and commanded to “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved …” (Acts 16:31, ESV).“ Sinners are never once commanded to “forgive themselves.” Rather, they are invited to come to the cross to receive forgiveness. “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered,“ says Romans 4:7. And Colossians 2:13 reveals that “God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.” Instead of “forgiving ourselves,” Scripture calls us to trust in Jesus, our Substitute (2 Cor. 5:21). He is the only One qualified to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness.

When Through Deep Waters is a book I wanted to like. The storytelling is compelling. And the characters are interesting. But the underlying theology is not helpful and leads readers down a path that is not an accurate presentation of the biblical gospel.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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