Book Review: “The Necessity of an Enemy” by Ron Carpenter Jr

Jonathan Esterman

3 Stars

October 17, 2012

This book is about how we need an enemy. They seem to get in the way of our plans and discourage us, but Carpenter’s argument is this: what if these obstacles are part of G-d’s plan? In this book, he defines our enemy as any sins in our life, any weakness, circumstances, other people, or any challenges. It’s not a specific target, but a more generalized one. In this regard, Carpenter believes, and shows, how our enemy can thrust us into greatness by their defeat. He believes that human nature is always flight, but never fight, and that fight only comes from the power of G-d in us. Not just this, but he promises his argument is Bible-based and has the biblical wisdom on how to succeed. But is he right?

Carpenter’s assertion seems wild, or at least charismatic. But his argument isn’t only about the necessity. Actually, that’s only part one of the book. He also addresses the plan, the target, who the enemy within is, what we do that destroys the work, and more. While lined with Bible verses for supporting the argumentative framework of this book, not every verse is in context, or in cultural context. For those that have enemies in their life, or at least want the fight, this book might be for you. The author’s voice is charismatic and persuasive to this necessity, but it feels like a spiritual fluffing of the feathers – one that isn’t necessary to be firm in Christ. This book isn’t for everyone, for sure. If you’ve been considering this book, then it most likely is what you’ve been seeking. But if you’re on the fence, this isn’t the book you need. After all, fight or flight is much more complex than a phrase – it’s an entire chapter of psychology material.