Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Seeing the Voice of God by Laura Harris Smith

Seeing the Voice of God: What God is Telling You Through Dreams & Visions by Laura Harris Smith is certain to capture the attention of countless readers.  This book bridges the gap between the new age movement and Christianity through the lure of dreams and prophecy.

This thorough work is a compilation of evidence from scripture as well as collective dream experiences that support the idea of Charismatic and spiritual gifts such as prophesy and visions. Coming from a respected authority- this credible book bears great spiritual weight. For those who do not follow the Charismatic beliefs in spiritual gifts- this book will seem too sensational.

The title of Smith's book,  makes a pretty bold claim.  Especially bold are the promises to inform the reader about specific aspects of dreams and dream interpretation  through a variety of sources, visions and even literal messages from God. This book is a great springboard or outreach tool to introduce any reader to the gospel message as well as drawing in those readers who are interested in the occult, new age and astrology.  As far as marketing, this book will draw in many curious reader- religious and secular, alike.  Many readers, filled with curiosity- many of which might have only  limited experience or a superficial grasp of the actual text of the bible, will find it hard to resist a book with such monumental claims.  To add additional legitimacy and authenticity- the author provides a variety of sources.  There is even a dream dictionary styled in the same format as a concordance.  The dream symbols are referenced to bible verses where a similar reference may be found.  Nevertheless, some traditional readers who don't ascribe to Charismatic beliefs may feel that connections and parallels are made artificially and that the references in the bible are not referring to literal dream symbols.  This book is not simply the product of one person's visions or dreams but a compilation of shared experiences of other believers dreams' and sleep sciences- that support the basic scriptural message of the dreams and spiritual messages.

The book starts with providing support that God communicates to believers, based on scriptural anecdotes and accounts of communication through dreams.  In light of dream communication, the author identifies specific types of dreams and their messages for the present and also for the communication of future events.  The author incorporates common dream elements that just about all readers have experienced and applies those elements to divine communication and prophecy.  It is possible, some over zealous readers may even read into their dreams as being divine when there is in fact no divine message to be had. 

Nevertheless, Smith's  thought provoking book  raises spiritually complex issues such as the issue of the legitimacy of private visions apart from revealed scripture.  While it is true that some visions can be ruled out as false and inconsistent with revealed truth, not all can be easily scientifically or spiritually ruled out.  Some perhaps might be supernatural in nature.  Nevertheless that does not mean they should automatically be accepted as biblical in nature or truth.  I must admit I am skeptical when it comes to believing modern day visions and NDE.  For example, there are so many alleged apparitions of Mary in the Catholic church, that I believe most to be hoaxes, and in other cases, demonic in nature. 

 The reader places his faith by accepting the word of the  author of this book.    Once the reader decides to accept the author's word that the various  stories  are legit,  it is up to the reader to discern the source or supernatural power behind visions, dreams and if there is any spiritual significance.   This is where most readers will most likely accept with blind faith that these wholeheartedly are true accounts and that it is based on biblical truth. This is because most people want to believe that dreams do have significance spiritually and that God does communicate through dreams.. 

 Any responsible reader familiar with the bible will be aware that he or she is faced with the task of determining if the dream interpretations are spiritually based on truth, or if it perhaps is an indirect attempt of Satan to mislead believers into accepting false information.  Paul warned in the letters of the new testament, especially in the book of Galatians, that even Satan, and evil spirits can appear as angels of light, deceiving many.  So, if this is true, then is it possible that as accomplished and respected Christian speaker and authority might be deceived and misinterpret the collective experiences as being from God when it possibly isn't?  That possibility must be acknowledged by anyone who reads this book.   While Paul acknowledged the possibility of personal visions in the ancient church, he himself did not place on any believer the burden of accepting any other private vision other than the message contained in the bible. As Paul himself suggested in his letters, it is wise to be skeptical of private visions, and he himself never endorsed or encouraged any believer to believe any private vision or revelation. In a book about heaven, for the purpose of credibility and fidelity to bible, I believe any extraneous visions, dreams, experiences etc that are not divinely inspired/ biblical should be carefully considered  before taken to heart.

As far as the other details- knowledge and information could be obtained from evil sources for the purpose of adding "authenticity" and misleading believers into believeing the other aspects of the visions  shared.  The evil spirits are known for mixing truth with falsehood.  We are in a spiritual battle, and nothing is off limits as far as the evil spirits of this world are concerned.  they will try all sorts of tricky  deceptions. They will  try any underhanded tactic even going so far as using Christian elites, educators, leaders and the faithful, as tools to mislead others.  It isn't always obvious to everyone to sort truth from untruth unless they are firmly grounded in the Holy Spirit. Even those involved in the occult such as palm readers and fortune tellers, can sometimes fortell the future or the past with amazing accuracy with supernatural information supplied by the evil spirit realm.  In sum, the sole purpose of this book isn't in the after death experiences or sensational stories, but rather to deliver the life saving message of the gospel.  These stories serve as a springboard or bait- in the true sense in which Jesus refers to all apostles, followers and believers as fishers of men.

All in all there is no doubt that Smith  has written this book with authority and scholarship incorporating science, phsychology and scripture. The author has left no stone uncovered in his survey of the subject of dreams.  This book is so complete that it could even serve as an academic text on dreams.   Smith has accomplished her purpose- tailoring his book to a receptive audience in a package that is irresistible to countless curious, and spiritually hungry readers.

As a blogger   I received this book published by Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group publishers for the purpose of writing this review.  It is with caution I would suggest this book to anyone to read  as it is best for serious study for a reader that is willing to take the time to discern, in light of scripture, the validity of the messages from dreams and visions.

No comments:

Post a Comment