In Epic, John Eldredge compares life to a story. Not only do we each have a story but that each of us is a part of a bigger story: God’s Story. Eldredge says, “For when you were born, you were born into an Epic that has already been under way for quite some time.” For us as Christians, we understand God’s Story – that He is the Author and that we take part in His story.
According to Eldredge, this Story has four “acts.” Act One deals with “Eternal Love” – that we were built for relationship by a God centered on relationship; Act Two deals with “The Entrance of Evil” – that there is a Villain (Satan) who makes the Story not nearly as “safe as we’d like to believe;” Act Three deals with the “Battle of the Heart” – that in this Story, God is not a puppeteer but He allows us to make choices; and lastly, Act Four deals with “The Kingdom Restored” – that there is a happy ending, but only for the friends of God.
Eldredge is a very convincing and poetic writer. He paints a very readable picture and challenges us to see that there is a bigger story at work. Epic is a reminder to us that life has purpose if we follow the Author’s plan.
In spite of that, I found the overall scope of the book to be lacking. Although Eldredge attempts to clarify otherwise, it seems that he has made us out to be the star of the Story – that the Story is about us, rather than God.
Eldredge uses ample illustrations from pop culture (especially movies) to formulate his points concerning the four acts. As someone who loves movies and pop culture myself, I have no problem with using these types of illustrations. The problem comes in when these pop culture references appear to have the same weight as Scripture in forming his opinion about the Story. Thus, to the undiscerning, one might have a hard time picking out what is biblical and what is merely human fancy.
At best, Epic causes us to look beyond the mundane to see that there is a bigger picture, and that we have a part to play in God’s Story. At worst, Eldredge implies that we are the center of this Story, rather than God. Also, Eldredge’s hypotheses seem to be based more in pop culture than biblical doctrine. Thus, Epic seems to be filled with more fluff than substance, ironically making it closer in feel to a hollow Hollywood epic than the real “Greatest Story Ever Told.” – Todd Burgett, Christian Book Previews.com
This dramatic retelling of the gospel, the core message of best-selling author John Eldredge, illuminates the unique role we can play in the amazing story God is telling.
We don’t usually identify with the author of a great story. Instead we bond with the hero and heroine—the ones that the story is about. We share in their heartaches and triumphs. We cheer their accomplishments and mourn their losses.
When we think about our own story, we may see God as the author—an omniscient and omnipotent cosmic mastermind—but fail to recognize Him as the central character. In Epic, a retelling of the gospel in four acts, John Eldredge invites us to revisit the drama of life, viewing God not only as the author but also as the lead actor, exploring His motives and His heart. Eldredge examines the power of story, the universal longing for a “plot” that makes sense deep inside us, our desire for a meaningful role to play, our love of books and movies, and how all of this points us to the gospel itself.
It’s a story better than any fairy tale! Our human hearts are made for great drama, and the gospel, with its tragedy and grandeur, truly is epic. .