Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Relentless by John Bevere

As a blogger for Water Brook press, I had the opportunity to review Relentless by John Bevere, scheduled for release 13/13/2011.  My copy, an advance reading copy- contained a couple of typos in the first chapter- which will probably be corrected in the final copy- an incorrect biblical reference- that should have been 1John 2:16-17 and not John 2:16-17 on page 3 and the insertion o an extra "e" on page 4, in the middle paragraph.  Aside from that, this effectively written book is certain to be uplifting, and possibly life-changing for many readers.  In contrast to Bevere's early writing style, this book has significantly more detail, and is more spiritually complex. 

Nevertheless, the influcence of prosperity teaching is clear, as the author asserts that with enough faith anything can be overcome- sickness, health issues as well as financial issues.  The author states that sickness is not used for a greater purpose and oftentimes those who eventually sucumb to sickness do so as a result of a lack of innner faith or spiritual ignorance, regardless of how steadfast they seem.  He goes on to cite cases of miraculous healings in the lives of well known individuals such as Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin and lesser known individuals such as his mother-in-law and others. In the bible,  apostles in the letters warned all of us as believers to test any teaching against scripture so as to be sure of its truthfulness and fidelity to God's word.  As for Bevere's teaching on this pint, I feel as if it may not entirely be backed by the scriptural message.  While God did not intend sickness and poverty and other bad things, in this fallen world they do happen, and one thing is for sure- that unless Jesus comes soon, everyone alive in this generation will eventually sucumb to a physical death.  In chapter 7, he apparently redifines and exands the concept of siun to include physical sickness in general.  Therefore with the concept of the forgiveness of sin, he includes also the healing of sickness.  The author believes just as Jesus healed physical infirmities in the bible, Jesus will also heal physical sickness, and financial poverty- literally- here in the modern day as well.  In fact, the author goes on to say that oftentimes, poverty will reduce the credability and authority of a Christian and therefore, poverty is often a poor witness of spirituality and faith.   He believes that a poor Christian is less likely to be an effective apostle of the good news than an individual who has enough money to pay his bills, and that "God is not opposed to our having money" page 94.  The author's assertions make me wonder if he is applying wordly wisdom or spiritual wisdom. One thing for sure, I do believe that many middle- upperclass readers will feel better to have their lifestyles validated and reconciled with the bible.  Paul warns of those teachers who make converts by saying pleasing words that "tickle the ears" rather than spiritual truths.

Putting the justification of money and financial issues aside- the author makes some very good points based on observations of the moral decline, that are worth reading and re-reading. He urges the reader to choose spiritual truth over mere security, and comfort and warns the believer against complacency with this world.  He dispells commonly held myths and flase teaching often held by cultic groups conccerning the end times in the bible.   He urges the reader to be vigilant and not to blindly accept and consume worldy media which invades and errodes spiritual growth.  He uses a good analogy to decribe an individual caught up with the materialism and immorality and greediness of this world to someone who is drunk from too much drink.  This spiritually complex book raised many issues- many of which were biblical, and some of which were debatable- such as the issue of physical healing.  In the end, Paul tells us as believers not to be devisive about lesser doctrinal issues and for those weak in faith there is less liberty and for thos greater in faith there is more liberty. But, if by our liberty in regards to food and drink and celebration of certain days above others, we cause another to stumble, then we hhave not acted out of love.  Just as many debate the issue of tongues, the issue of modren healings is also an issue for many.  But in the letters of the NT, it is clearly stated that certain miraculous gifts or miracles will pass away in these times and that the testimony we have is Jesus himself. 

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