Preparing for Eternity by Mike Gendron

Mike Gendron was a devout Roman Catholic for 37 years before he found Christ. Since his conversion, he has passionately sought to proclaim the truth of the gospel to Roman Catholics who are deceived by their church. To that end he founded and leads “Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry,” producing written resources and speaking throughout the world warning of the false doctrines of Rome and teaching God’s Word. Preparing for Eternity is a virtual encyclopedia on Rome’s dogma and its misalignment with Scripture. Gendron is comprehensive in his research. He draws from official Catholic resources, such as Trent, Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting them verbatim to demonstrate what Rome officially teaches. He then contrasts many of its doctrines with Scriptures, showing that much of Rome’s dogma is not based on the Bible but on tradition and extrabiblical pronouncements. There are few stones left unturned as...

The Road Back To You, an Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery, by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile

The Road Back to You is a primer concerning the latest fad in personality type-casting known as the Enneagram.  According to the authors, the Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that “helps people understand who they are and what makes them tick” (p. 10). The purpose of the Enneagram is “to develop self-knowledge and learn how to recognize and dis-identify with the parts of our personalities that limit us so we can be reunited with our truest and best selves, that ‘pure diamond, blazing with invisible light of heaven,’ as Thomas Merton said” (p. 24).  The authors continue, “The true purpose of the Enneagram is to reveal to you your shadow side and offer spiritual counsel on how to open it to the transformative light of grace” (p. 31).  In Christian-speak, it is a means of progressive sanctification, a rival to Scripture’s message and method concerning spiritual maturity....

Ecumenism: Another Gospel, Lausanne’s Road to Rome by E. S. Williams

For a no-holds-barred, well documented, and biblically sound critique of the Lausanne Movement, this work by E. S. Williams would be difficult to beat.  The concluding statement demonstrates well what the author intends to prove, “In light of the evidence presented in this study, we must conclude that Lausanne is a heretical movement that is perverting the gospel of truth” (p. 150).  In order to come to this conclusion Williams organizes his book around individual chapters devoted to his concerns.  He begins with the history, background, and founders (Billy Graham and J.R.W. Stott) of the original Lausanne Congress in 1974.  Their social/political action was combined with the gospel to provide the “whole gospel” (p. iv).  The social agenda has continued to be a key component of Lausanne and evangelicalism to this day (see pp. 8-11, 13-14, 40-45, 117-128, 148).  A strong charismatic element was added at Lausanne II held...

“Another Jesus” Calling, How False Christs are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer by Warren B. Smith

Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young and published in 2004, is one of the best-selling books in history, and has had a powerful influence within the church.  Young, who holds degrees from Wellesley College and Covenant Theological Seminary, has served as a missionary in Japan and Australia, and travelled in Christian circles all of her life, yet felt a need for something more than she had known in her Christian walk.  What she sought was new revelations from Jesus.  Her first extrabiblical encounter with Jesus, she claims, was while living at L’Abri following her college days.  There one night she experienced a unique presence that she interpreted as being the Lord.  She describes His presence as a warm mist which enveloped her (p. 19).  Some years later Young read God Calling, touted by some as a devotional book written by two women who claimed that they were channeling words...

God’s Super-Apostles Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec

This little volume presents an excellent overview of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement that promotes the fivefold ministry (pp. 13, 137) which teaches that God has given the church five continuing governmental offices: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Apostles as well as prophets are again active in the church today (there are about 400 of them – p. 16) and churches must submit to their authority (pp. XIII, 8, 10, 11, 96). Since NAR is a movement (pp. 3-6, 48, 125) rather than an organization, its adherents are not monolithic in their views but certain teachings can be identified including: New truths regularly being revealed by God through the modern apostles and prophets (pp. XV, 1, 50-61, 65-66). Supernatural power available to advance God’s kingdom (p. 3). Demonic warfare and the casting out of demons and generational curses (pp. 1, 49, 51, 79-90). Dominionism (p. 81), sometimes...

The Less Traveled Road and the Bible, A Scriptural Critique of the Philosophy of M. Scott Peck by H. Wayne House and Richard Abanes (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon Books: 1995), 248 pp.

M. Scott Peck, M.D., and his philosophy of life, has made considerable in-roads in the evangelical community, especially after his celebrated claim of conversion many years ago. His emphasis on discipline, love, religion and grace seems to fit well with biblical theology. Yet, as Wayne House and Richard Abanes document, all is not as it seems. Peck may claim to be a Christian, and he uses much biblical terminology and Christian lingo which at first glance may seem to be in line with conservative Christianity, but the fact is Peck’s teachings are often quite foreign to Scripture. For example Peck: Sees God more in line with Hindu pantheism (pp. 27-32, 107, 209-211), and New Age “we are god” myths (pp. 129, 179, 209-211) than with traditional Christianity. Sees the Bible as a mixture of truth, myth and error (pp. 60, 200-205), and no more inspired than he is (p....

Dreams and Visions,Is Jesus awakening the Muslim World?,by Tom Doyle with Greg Webster (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 270 pp., paper, $15.99

Tom Doyle is a missionary in the Middle East and Central Asia and attended both the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and Dallas Theological Seminary (p. 133). Dreams and Visions is endorsed by the likes of Anne Graham Lotz, Charles Dyer and Janet Parshall. The argument of the book is that Jesus is presenting Himself, via dreams and visions, to Muslims throughout the globe (including America – pp. 238-239) in order to draw them to Himself. Doyle believes this is the most important movement of God in our time (p. 8). Why dreams? The author suggests a number of possibilities: The Muslim religion was started by a dream to Muhammad and dreams are part of the culture in Middle Eastern countries. They were used supposedly by the gods in the region to reveal their wills; dreams are an accepted form of communication by the Muslims (p. 130). Muslims have...

Wandering Stars, Contending for the Faith with the New Apostles and Prophets, by Keith Gibson (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2011) 306 pp., paper $12.50

Keith Gibson has written a comprehensive, well documented and most helpful book detailing the modern prophetic movement.  Much attention is given to Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Rich Joyner and the so-called Kansas City Prophets, including the International House of Prayer ministry.  Also included is C. Peter Wagner and his International Coalition of Apostles which boasts approximately 500 “apostles” who claim comparable authority and giftedness to the New Testament apostles.  Gibson explains the roots and teachings of the Latter Rain Movement and its founder William Braham.  Prominent early prophetic leader John G. Lake is given attention as well. Wandering Stars is filled with information on the false teaching and ridiculous prophecies of many false prophets.  Gibson has read and listened to thousands of the never-ending prophesies that are published on such sites as the Elijah List.  While modern prophets uniformly claim that their revelations are “for revealing the strategic will...

Dreams and Visions, Muslims’ Miraculous Journey to Jesus by Rick Kronk (Italy: Destiny Image Europe, 2010), pp. 185, paper $11.69.

It is widely reported today that many Muslim people are coming to Christ as a direct result of dreams and visions apparently given to them by the Lord.  Rick Kronk, who has spent 20 years ministering to Islamic people, believes these reports are legitimate and has written this book in an attempt to prove his thesis. Kronk begins his book with a story of one Muslim who was converted through dreams.  This is followed by a brief but helpful chapter on the history of Islam and an overview of its core doctrinal beliefs.  Kronk offers a 2009 report claiming that there are now 1.57 billion Muslims in the world or 23% of the world’s population (p. 31).  Without question Islam has caught the attention of the world and its influence is undeniable.  Yet the author believes many Muslims are also coming to salvation these days and, of the ones...

How to Go from Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in Ninety-five Difficult Steps by Christian Smith (Cascade Books, 2011), 205 pp., paper $24.00

Christian Smith, a self-confessed former evangelical and professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, was accepted into full communion of the Catholic church in 2010 (p. 2).  He writes this book not as a “theological treatise, nor an apologetic argument for Catholicism” but as a “how to book” (p. 3).  He offers 95 steps that will lead evangelicals back to Catholicism. In order to draw evangelicals to Catholicism he must first vilify evangelicalism which he does throughout the book.  He in fact identifies many true flaws in the evangelical sub-culture, but in doing so he grossly over-generalizes, misrepresents, and makes groundless accusations.  He characterizes evangelicals as stupid (see pp. 77-78), mindless followers of the herd, who if they would only come to their senses would all head toward Catholicism immediately. The discerning reader wants to cry out about every third page that what Smith writes is simply...

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David B. Currie (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996) 215 pp., paper $9.99

Rome Sweet Rome by Scott & Kimberly HahnBorn Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, by David B. Currie In recent years we have witnessed a softening perspective of the vast disagreement between the Roman Catholic Church and evangelicalism.  Some leaders in both camps now proclaim that we are all brothers in Christ and any remaining differences are either minor or resolvable in time.  In addition, there has been a steady trickle of evangelicals returning to Rome, including a number of celebrated cases.  Two books that reportedly aid in the return to Rome are the subjects of this review.  I have chosen to review these works together because of their substantial overlap.  Both sets of authors were deeply ingrained in evangelicalism but ultimately chose to join the Catholic Church, and for many of the same reasons. I will begin with Rome Sweet Rome because it is less a theological defense of Rome’s...

Rome Sweet Home by Scott & Kimberly Hahn, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), 183 pp. plus xiii, paper $9.99.

Rome Sweet Home by Scott & Kimberly HahnBorn Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, by David B. Currie In recent years we have witnessed a softening perspective of the vast disagreement between the Roman Catholic Church and evangelicalism.  Some leaders in both camps now proclaim that we are all brothers in Christ and any remaining differences are either minor or resolvable in time.  In addition, there has been a steady trickle of evangelicals returning to Rome, including a number of celebrated cases.  Two books that reportedly aid in the return to Rome are the subjects of this review.  I have chosen to review these works together because of their substantial overlap.  Both sets of authors were deeply ingrained in evangelicalism but ultimately chose to join the Catholic Church, and for many of the same reasons. I will begin with Rome Sweet Home because it is less a theological defense of Rome’s...

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Islam by Patrick Sookhdeo

In less than 90 pages Patrick Sookhdeo gives his readers a handy primer to Islam.  Covered is Islam’s origins, history, major beliefs and customs, as well as guidance on witnessing to Muslims and caring for new converts.  A useful glossary of Islamic terms is included, as well as a short chronology of Mohammad’s life and a historical development of Islamic sects. With the exception of the implication that some Muslim’s come to Christ through the means of dreams and visions (p. 73), I believe this little volume provides an excellent understanding of the Islamic religion. ...

America, Oil, And the Islamic Mind by Michael Youssef

This is an excellent little primer outlining the basic beliefs of the Islamic religion. In addition the reader is given a brief history of Islam and a peek into the mindset of the Muslim people. The biggest drawback is that it was last updated following the Gulf War in 1991, so what has happened since is, of course, not discussed. Still, I found Youssef’s understanding of how the Islamic people think, and why they are in constant conflict with the West, to be up to speed with modern times....

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

Written at the turn of the twentieth century, James’ famous work remains a classic and standard in the field of religious experiences. James approaches his subject from the realm of science as a psychologist, not as a Christian. His objective is to detail, analyze and evaluate the various experiences found commonly in all religions. James demonstrates that certain experiences, feelings, practices and claims are shared by all religions from Christianity to Hinduism to the most grotesque forms of paganism. The question is how are these experiences to be evaluated? If a Hindu, a Protestant and Catholic (sounds like the beginning of a bad joke) all have similar visions or experiences upon which the validity of their faith is based, how are we to know which of these religions are true? Perhaps an even more fundamental concern for James (who is not particularly interested in truth) is from where did...

The Father’s Blessing by John Arnott

It has been called “the Toronto Blessing” and “the Laughing Revival” by its friends and various other things by its foes. Whatever it is called, it all began on January 20, 1994 at a church called the Toronto Airport Vineyard, pastored by John Arnott. Arnott believes that God is throwing a great party and six nights a week hundreds of people gather to become drunk in the Spirit and enjoy the festivities. The parties that God seems to be throwing would rival anything that the world has to offer, what with people laughing for hours, falling all over the floor, making strange noises, shaking, shouting, having visions and falling into trances. A mere twenty months into the “revival” Arnott penned this book billed as a firsthand account of a refreshing move of God. This “anointing”, as it is sometimes called, has spread throughout the world (Arnott claims some 5000...

Preparing the Way by Cal Pierce

Preparing the Way is the account of reopening the so-called “Healing Rooms” in Spokane, Washington. The healing rooms were originally the ministry of John G. Lake in the early twentieth century. Lake claimed that thousands of miraculous healings took place in those rooms as the Spirit of God swept over Spokane. For 80 years the rooms had been closed when Cal Pierce claimed he was led of God in the late 1990s to reopen the rooms and release the healing power of God, not only in Spokane, but ultimately throughout the world. According to Pierce the power of John G. Lake has been given to him and God is once again healing multitudes—and this is only the beginning. Pierce claims that God is using him and the healing rooms to prepare the world for the pouring out of God’s healing powers. By way of critique it is instructive to...

Pagans in the Pews by Peter Jones

In this carefully researched and documented book (there are hundreds of footnotes), Jones builds a case for a new spirituality invading not only society but the church as well. This new spirituality is really not new at all, however; it is the revival of ancient Gnosticism. Gnosticism, which had its roots in the mystery religions (p. 64), was the first major heresy faced by the early church beyond the New Testament era. It has gained new life today because of the collapse of secular humanism and the emptiness of postmodern deconstruction (pp. 42-43). Something must fill this void and that something appears to be a casserole of Gnosticism, Eastern mysticism and stripped-down Christianity. The result is a new spirituality which bares no resemblance to biblical Christianity. As a matter of fact, Jones points out that in order to change civilizations built on the Bible, you must change the Bible...

No Laughing Matter by Larry Thomas

This is a surprisingly good little book on the so-called “Laughing Revival,” especially in light of the fact that the author himself is a Pentecostal. While Thomas does not totally break free from the errors of the Pentecostal movement (he believes the sign gifts are still operative today) he nevertheless takes a strong biblical approach to the bizarre manifestations and claims being made in many circles today. You will find in No Laughing Matter a short history of revivals along with their link with today’s extreme Charismatic fringe, as well as with the Latter-Rain movement of the past. There are good appendixes on the subjects of being slain in the Spirit and identification of the “Jesus” with who people claim experiences. A major drawback to the book is that it lacks footnotes and documentation for many statements, quotes, and claims. This renders the book rather useless for research, although...

Good Morning, Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn

Good Morning, Holy Spirit was the best selling Christian book in the world a few years ago, which says more than I care to know about the state of the so-called evangelical church today. This is a semi-autobiographical look at the life of Benny Hinn, the popular Word of Faith evangelist. Along the way Hinn propagates his theological views of the Christian life, especially as it relates to the Holy Spirit. There is far too much heresy found in this volume to index in a short review. Hinn teaches typical Vineyard style views concerning the charismatic gifts: tongues, prophecy, visions, healings, and miracles. He believes that the Holy Spirit can and will speak to us audibly if we will but meet the conditions, and will even show up in bodily form on occasion....

For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen

Yungen has done vast research into what is commonly called the New Age movement—“The age of Aquarius, supposedly the Golden Age, when man becomes aware of his power and divinity” (p. 108). The New Age movement, which came to the surface of our awareness in the 1970s, is a fusing of Eastern and Western thinking. New Age thought teaches that everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this God-energy, then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself. According to one writer, “Simply put, God functions in you, through you, and as you” (p. 17) (emphasis his). In the early days of...

Counterfeit Revival by Hank Hanegraaff

Hanegraaff has done a great job exposing the “counterfeit revivalists” within the Christian church. He pulls no punches, names names (in case you miss the point), documents like crazy, and lets no one off the hook. Along the way you get a solid history lesson on all three “waves” of the Spirit this century (Pentecostal, charismatic, the Vineyard), and revivals of the past (demonstrating how they differ from so-called revival today). Much of the material deals with the outer fringes: the laughing revival, Benny Hinn, John Arnott, and Rodney Howard-Browne. But the more mainstream (Vineyard, John Wimber, Jack Deere) are steamrolled as well. If you are looking for a biblical exposition dealing with the subjects of spiritual gifts, revivals and the like, this is not your book. If you are looking for something that clearly refutes the extremism of today’s evangelicalism, enjoy....

Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels

Elaine Pagels is considered one of the leading authorities in the world on Gnosticism. Her earlier work, The Gnostic Gospels has been a standard reference on the subject for over twenty five years. In Beyond Belief, Pagels personalizes her journal, detailing her Christian roots, followed by disappointment with Christianity and her resulting interest in the alternatives, especially Gnostic beliefs. The reader is given a number of valuable pieces of information in Beyond Belief. There is a brief history of the early church fathers such as Tertullian, Irenaeus and Athanaius doing battle with opposing teachings of the time. Some of the debate sounds highly similar to debates of our time. While not obnoxious about it, Pagels obviously believes that orthodoxy was created by men wishing to solidify and retain their power base. As a result, Gnostic “Christians” were forced to flee and their “holy books” destroyed. But apparently some Gnostic...

A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen

Ray Yungen has written a very valuable book exposing the encroachment of New Age mysticism upon the evangelical church. Through the porthole of “contemplative prayer” numerous Christian leaders (e.g. Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, etc.) are calling us back to the desert Catholic mystics of the Middle Ages for a deeper level of spirituality. These leaders seem unaware or unconcerned that the Catholic mystics drew deeply from the well of Eastern Mysticism. As a result, unsuspecting Christians are being served a casserole of Eastern Mysticism, occultism and mystical Christianity all under the guise of deeper spiritual living and prayer. Contemplative prayer is not biblical prayer, no matter how spiritual it may sound. Contemplative prayer, rather, is turning our minds off—putting it into neutral, in order to experience silence, at which point we somehow encounter God. All New Agers, occultist and Eastern Mystics teach this type of praying, along...

A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth is little more than the standard New Age (New Spirituality) fare which would be highly familiar to those having knowledge of this doctrine. What makes A New Earth unique is its adoption and promotion by Oprah Winfrey who has become perhaps the biggest cheerleader for New Age spirituality in modern times. Because of Oprah’s endorsement, millions of Eckhart Tolle’s books have been sold and New Age ideas have spread to a whole new segment of Western society. Tolle clearly states that the purpose of his book is “to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, awaken” (pp. 5-6). “Awakening” is “a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate” (p. 259). Thoughts and beliefs are things to transcend (pp. 18, 21-22, 70, 91, 121, 186, 193, 276) as we escape our ego (identification with form, primarily thought forms) (p. 22), stand outside...