Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: David Murrow's The Map

David Murrow’s second book, The Map: The Way of All Great Men, immediately draws the reader in with an “a la Da Vinci Code” title and relatively fast-paced fictional story of his around-the-globe chase to uncover a map hidden in the gospel of Matthew and reveal it to the world before other interested parties discover and suppress its secrets. Ten chapters in, though, the text shifts from fiction to non-fiction with the author revealing he discovered “the map” while in his pajamas, not on this dangerous quest.

The remainder of the book attempts to explain why Matthew is the only gospel not written in chronological order. Murrow concludes that Matthew intended the Jewish male reader to view the gospel text as a symbolic map of three distinct “journeys” for how to live a life like Christ—the journey of submission, strength, and sacrifice.

If the reader can get past Murrow’s insistence that he’s discovered a “map,” which sounds more hokey pop-culture than hard-core theology, he does have an interesting view of why Jesus’ life experiences are structured so differently in Matthew’s gospel.

Overall, he has two worthwhile points that a new (or old) disciple of Christ would benefit from. One, that some new Christians jump over the journey of submission and go straight for a journey of strength…eventually burning out and doing more harm than good in the church because they never learned to submit first to God’s voice and commands. And two, that most Christians stay in the journey of submission, never making the turn to the journey of strength where they work for Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ultimately, though, Murrow has one major flaw—until a half-thought in the very last chapter, he ignores how Christ’s three-part journey could apply to women. He gives several good examples of men in the Bible who exhibit this three-stage walk with Christ; yet, he ignores women like Queen Esther and Ruth who also are good fits for his theory, merely choosing to say that few of the women’s stories are told in detail.

While I understand Murrow’s calling is obviously to minister to men, and I respect that, his comment that he’s unsure if women are required to walk the three journeys in the same order as men is disconcerting. To imply that the Bible shows a pattern for how male Christians should walk in the footsteps of Christ (from submission to strength to sacrifice) and then to imply that female Christians might not be required to walk that same journey in that same order as their Lord did, honestly, seems shortsighted and unscriptural.


  1. I found my way here through book sneeze. :) I agree with your last paragraph. My pastor recently made a good point from verses like Romans 8:23 which says, "And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." It is important that it does not say "sons and daughters." In the context of the time period, daughters would not receive an inheritance. However, if we (women) are adopted as sons, then we receive the FULL inheritance!
    Great review!

  2. I found you through Book Sneeze. Your blog is beautiful, as are your words! I look forward to reading more from you.

  3. I read this entire book and I have to say that if anyone is truly in Gods Word this book should NEVER be in any church. This book basically stated it comes to the rescue which places it above the bible. Honestly I would only recommend you don't waste your time reading it. There is no map in the book of Matthew; this is the first time this has ever come to my attention as a true believer. May we ask the Holy Spirit to allow us to discern. Many will be fooled into following false doctrine.