Keeping Your Cool When Your Anger Is Hot. By June Hunt. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2009. 296 pp. Paper, $12.99.
Author June Hunt is a well-known Christian counselor and speaker. I have heard her on radio and in person and have been impressed with her graciousness, humility, and Biblical knowledge. She is also a very talented writer. Each chapter in Keeping Your Cool begins with a Bible verse. In the Epilogue she presents a song that she wrote about controlling anger. She also provides a link where the reader can hear her sing it. She is a talented musician.
In this well-written and informative book, she compares anger to fire. Her illustrations are excellent. It is obvious that she has done a large amount of research about fire science and is very knowledgeable about fire and about human anger. She has a knack for explaining Biblical truth with concrete illustrations that are vivid, engaging and practical. I would recommend this book to pastors and teachers just for the illustrations as well as the practical insights about anger and some tips on how to handle it. Having said this, however, I hasten to add that the book has both minor and serious problems.
First, there are minor problems. One is that there is no index. Also, references for Scripture passages are, at times, in the text, and on other occasions the reader must consult the endnotes. There is the confusing and indiscriminate use of quotation marks (e.g., “pit” and “wrote down” in Chap. 1 and “best friend” in Chap. 3). A final small problem is that the quoting of The Message as Scripture gives the book an amateurish feel.
The major problems, however, are not in format but in three areas. The first is that the author indiscriminately mixes secular psychology with Biblical truth. She refers to one of her clients and to “…countless others who struggled with low self-esteem…” (p. 155). In the account of “Lily” we find one who, though she had formerly lived in sin, had “abandoned the rebellious, self-destructive path she had started down and devoted herself instead to a life of service to God.” Hunt says that her family forgave her and helped her develop new values and friends. Hunt’s main concern with Lily is that Lily never forgave herself (italics hers). She refers to 1 John 1:9, but “self-forgiveness” is not in that passage (pp. 151–53).
Unfortunately, she also alludes favorably to an atheist psychologist, Abraham Maslov. She refers her readers to one of his articles for a more complete understanding of his “Hierarchy of Needs.”
A second major problem is that Hunt has an unscriptural plan of salvation. Rather than simply believing in Christ for eternal life, we read a plan that sounds like a firefighter’s advice for those whose clothing is on fire: stop, drop, and roll. We are to stop running our own life. We are to drop and bow our head with a humble heart. We are to roll away the stone guarding our hearts and give Jesus control over our life. Hunt also gives us a salvation prayer, asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and be the Lord and Savior of our lives as we invite Him in (pp. 161–62).
The third major problem is that the author gives misleading impressions. An author may give tacit approval to someone by quoting or using him as an example to follow without any caveat. In addition to Maslov, Hunt quotes and uses as examples those who are not Bible believing Christians and who could lead immature and undiscerning believers astray. She favorably quotes a Jesuit contemplative mystic (p. 145). She uses a Mexican-American labor leader, César Chavez, as an example to follow because his mother was a “devout Christian” (p. 219).
As mentioned above, it is possible that a reader can gain some good illustrations from this book. However, because of the minor and major problems contained in it, I would not recommend it to anybody who is not well grounded in Free Grace Theology.
Berean Memorial Church