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Behind the Masks by Dr. Wayne E. Oates, Book Review Example

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Book Review

“Behind the Masks, Personality Disorder in Religious Behavior” by Dr. Wayne E. Oates was published in 1987 that draws insights on psychological issues in order to identify number of common personality disorders concerning to the everyday language due to which the human interaction becomes so difficult. He also investigates how such disorders can turn to destructive religious behavior. With the discussion of pastoral approaches of care that merge understanding with firmness and empathy, Oates presents how the Christian faith resources can help to unmask such disorders so that the emerging or developing person must be real. He ends with an agenda of six fold type concerning to the overall church ministry in order to affect, prevent, and deal with such harmful religious behavior.

The book “Behind the Masks…” provides concepts of psychological nature in such practical manner that can be easily discussed and understand by the pastors of church, teachers, ordinary counselors and parents, which is filled all through with a loving theology of Christianity. The legacy of Oates as a testament, “Behind the Masks” is still under the publication process even after 23 years of it very first publication, and is still studied and used at the graduate colleges level in America and Canada.

In this book, Oates provides these disorders related to personality in eight separate and different chapters. He presents a deep look into the dangers, characteristics, and ways of dealing with people who are suffering from such eight techniques of life which are unclear, and Oates encourages his target audience with the offer: “We will be concerned in the following pages with gently, humanely, but persistently unmasking these approaches of life … [to assist] the inward and outward person be at one”. He ends the book by discussing the Christians’ formation and transformation.

Oates explicitly speaks about the three main issues in this book. The first issue is that people suffering from personality disorders have usually overlaid with Christian faithfulness mask on their personality disorder that allows such people to suppose influential and authoritative positions in our church organizations, in both planned and common positions of leadership. The second issue is that generally the churches are unaware about the people in their worshippers who are going through such personality disorder masks that have always direct to consternation and confusion in worshiping activities. The last and third issue is that the effect of such personality disorders move from the church environment into the work-places and homes of such affected people and victims.

Oates presents a striking statement on why clergy and worshippers suffering from disorders are not changed closely through participation in revival services or corporate worship. Such large meetings lack the personal confrontation power that can be found in one-on-one or small groups.

The book develops two major themes. One of these two themes is “masked individuals” that can be found all through the communities of church. It is official on clergy and leaders of church to stay alert and recognize their availability in order to reduce the possible influences they can put on the community of church, and to assist them to restore into a more caring affiliation with church community and Christ. The second theme is that the people facing such disorders are usually unable to identify the disorder and work and at home. According to the Oates this happened where the major role of church has to work in assisting the people tackle and take off the mask in order to discover healing in the Christ’s love and through affiliation with some other believers.

The issues identified by Oates approximately two decades ago are even relevant for the today’s churches, mainly in the main-stream worshiping churches undergoing from considerably reduced earning because of the decline in membership and economic recession. As the size of staff at church reduced, more authority and influence is being practiced by some clergy and by more common leaders.

Oates carefully includes, all through the book, the references of Old and New Testament paragraphs in order to establish a model for Christ-centered for all counselors. Yet, Oates also illustrates some main practitioners and psychologist, and this present a great balancing technique in the book and creates it a very helpful reference instrument. If this book was written for this reason only, I would suggest this masterpiece strongly as a great source for the secular and religious care-giver, counselor, student, or leader of church. Moreover, I would suggest this because it is written by such great person whose mental power was luckily large as it was like his heart. In conclusion, I would end with a statement presented by the Rev. Stephen E. Yon about this masterpiece “this book will assist to understand distorted behavior of those people who worked in the church. But more significantly, this book can assist as the starting of a personal assessment procedure for the reader as well.”

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