Just as Eldredge offers tough words for his fellow evangelicals, some evangelicals push back—sometimes even questioning whether he's an orthodox Christian.
Journal-keeping is important in Eldredge's spiritual life, and his entries include what he considers direct, personal communications from God. In Wild at Heart, he writes about feeling exhausted and beat-up while flying home from a trip to England, and asking God in his journal, "What of me, dear Lord? Are you pleased? What did you see?"
"This is what I heard," Eldredge writes. "You are Henry V after Agincourt … the man in the arena, whose face is covered with blood and sweat and dust, who strove valiantly … a great warrior … yes, even Maximus."
That passage, among others, drew a sustained critique from Rut Etheridge III, a seminarian and a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. Eldredge's books have attracted some brief critiques, including a CT review of Wild at Heart and Waking the Dead ("Battle Cry," November 2003) and an essay in Modern Reformation magazine. But the most thorough and blunt criticism comes in Etheridge's nearly 11,000-word essay, "God in Man's Image," which appears on the website of Church of the Good Shepherd, a Southern Baptist congregation in Fishers, Indiana.
Etheridge told Christianity Today that he wrote the paper when some of his students at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis asked what he thought about Wild at Heart. Though he intended the paper for his students, Etheridge agreed when his friend Shane Anderson, pastor of Good Shepherd, suggested posting it on the website.
Etheridge writes that Eldredge expresses an "alarmingly ...1