Ascent from Darkness How Satan's Soldier Became God's Warrior By Michael Leehan attempts to be an uplifting story that illustrates that the saving power of the cross can in fact really change people. Yet, after reading it, one can not help but feel discouraged about the spiritually poor state of many Christians, and churches. This is a modern day story of a changed life. As if the bible itself were not full of examples of changed lives: Saul who used to persecute the early Christians, and King David who repented after committing murder and adultery are just two of many examples. For those who continue doubt in this modern day that faith has the power to change here is another story, albeit, a bit extreme. It is true that no one, while still here on this side of eternity is too far gone to be born again and to make real and relevant changes- showing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is only after we have died, and entered eternity, when that choice is solidified and unchanging. Nevertheless, don't let this book fool you- you need not be evil incarnate to go to hell. Just because you aren't a depraved, blatant satanist, does not mean you have any advantage. Passive regection is sufficient to miss the mark. To be saved you must be born again. Being "good" won't save anyone.
Nevertheless, this obviously is an extreme story. Most people are not Satanists, and you don't have to be a Satanist to be damned to Hell. The more prevelant danger is apathy and disbelief. You don't have to be evil incarnate to be spiritually dead. Simply the passive regection of God is sufficient. Furthermore, I found this story very discouraging in a way. Despite the fact that the author noted that "Christians" seemed to be everywhere he turned, he also made many, many references to lukewarm or nominal Christians. In fact on several occasions he said it was easier to pick up a date in a bible study than in a bar! His statement that oftentimes that churches neglect the spititual health of their flock and that after they get baptised, that the new Christian is ignored, is exactly on the mark. Regrettably, it is true, more often than not- that once someone gets baptised they are on their own- left to themselves and usually in a spiritually vulnerable and weakened state. How discouraging to hear this said of people who are supposedly Christians. It is enough to make one think, is there truly anyone saved? Reading this book may deter readers from attending churches- which are filled with hypocrites and bible studies filled with frustrated single women are mainly looking for relationships, dates and one night stands. Perhaps this is not the author's intent, but his description of church, bible studies and christians in general, is certainly unappealing as being a place of spiritual growth.
Furthermore, the near death experience of the author at the start of the story reduced some of its credibility of the manifestations described by the author. Paul in the NT does not require anyone to believe in private revelation. I believe his experience seems to build a case for mental instability and addictive personality. The story is lengthy and at times repetitious, but then again it is a true life story.
The author's vivd depictions of the power of Satanism could be dangerous and even a source of temptation to weak minded or recovering persons. Though the author intended the use of detailed description to try to scare the reader from the occult, I feel that it may do more to lure the curious into the occult. For such individuals I would not reccomend this book- it might be too much of a temptation. In some ways I thought the author was "advertising" the power of Satanism. To his credit, the author is gifted with words and insight when it came to describing the influence of the occult in his life.
As the bible says, now is the time to believe and now is the time to be saved. As a part of the booksneeze bloggers I recieved this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review. The opinions expressed are my own.