Splendour from the Sea by Phillip Keller

What a disappointment! This volume, written by the author of A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-Third Psalm which is considered by many to be a classic, does not obtain to anything near the status of the earlier work. Splendour is the account of missionaries associated with the Shantymen’s Christian Association of North America, principally those working off the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island. It is an organization and a work of which I was completely unfamiliar. Therefore I enjoyed learning of these dedicated missionaries, and was inspired by their faithfulness to God, and His to them. The accounts of God meeting needs and furthering the work are truly encouraging.

On the down side, and I mean way down, are Keller’s views of how God leads and works among His people, especially missionaries. These missionaries are lead almost entirely by mystical impressions (pp. 32,148,170-171); audible voices from God (pp. 44,104,135-136), and poorly interpreted and misapplied Scripture (p.51). Even the presence of the angel of Lord, not seen but felt, is affirmed (p. 184).

It is no wonder Christians are so confused about the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is no wonder that a Henry Blackaby can find fertile ground for his views on how Christian’s are to discern God’s will. It is no wonder people have romantic and ridiculous ideas about missionaries and their work. Books like these, which surely reflect long time and commonly held beliefs, have fueled the fires and spread misconceptions for centuries. Such books would be better left on the shelves. I recommend you do exactly that with Splendour.

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