The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn (Lake Mary, Florida: Frontline, 2011), pp. 144, e-book, $10.00.

The Harbinger is one of the hottest selling books today.  It is a quasi-fictional story reminiscent of novels such as The Da Vinci Code or The Shack.  Each of these books involves mystery and intrigue, and has a serious message that the authors want to convey.  Dan Brown, in The Da Vinci Code, wanted to cast doubt on the Christian message and interject the teaching of ancient Gnosticism.  The Shack portrays a new-age, unconditionally accepting view of God which promotes universalism.  The Harbinger is warning America that God’s judgment is imminent unless the country repents and turns to the Lord and that very soon.  The need for repentance and true dedication to Christ in our society is not doubted by most Christians.  America, as a whole, has rejected the Lord, ignored His ways, and rebelled against His sovereign rule.  That we ultimately reap what we sow is a biblical...

Tribulation Force by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins

The second book in this trilogy is Tribulation Force, which picks up the story exactly where Left Behind “left” it. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed with this second volume. I was expecting the book to progress well into the Tribulation, but instead it digressed into a Jerry Jenkins’ love story (which my secretary says sounds pretty good to her). As Left Behind closed we were about to see the first seal of Rev. 6 opened. As Tribulation Force closes, the second seal is apparently being broken. Come on guys, we have 5 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls to go, and that doesn’t count the Battle of Armageddon. Forget the girl and get to the action. At least that is my opinion. Maybe the last volume, Nicolae, will be better....

Time Changer by Rich Christiano and Greg Mitchell

Ever since I read The Time Machine by H. G. Wells as a teenager, I have been fascinated with the ideal of traveling through time. I suppose I am not alone. But until now I had never ran into any literature dealing with time travel from a Christian bias. What would it be like for a dedicated believer of the 1890s to suddenly be transported to the 21st century? How would they view our spiritual progress? What would they think of modern Christianity? This little novel develops this theme in a predictable but delightful manner. I truly enjoyed Time Changer, and more importantly, it gave me pause to consider my own walk with Christ from a different perspective....

The Shack by William P. Young

One of the most popular and controversial Christian books of recent years is the fictional work by first time author William Young. Evangelical recording artist Michael W. Smith states, “The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God.” Author Eugene Peterson believes “this book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” On the other hand, seminary president Al Mohler says the book “includes undiluted heresy” and many concur. Given its popularity (number one on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback fiction), influence and mixed reviews, we need to take a careful look. Good Christian fiction has the ability to get across a message in an indirect, non-threatening yet powerful, way. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is the most successful in the genre and has been mightily used of the Lord to teach spiritual truth. What...

The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield

Now here is what we have all been longing for – the perfect blend between golf and Eastern mysticism. In The Legend of Bagger Vance the East meets the West, and that on the 18th green. Here is how it works. The ultimate goal of Eastern mysticism is oneness with the universe. The ultimate goal of golf is the perfect, (or as Bagger calls it) the authentic swing. When the two come together you’ve got it. What “you’ve got” I am not sure but whatever it is it’s yours. Not since Jonathan Livingston Seagull has the New Age movement made such inroads into the thinking of the unsuspecting. Fortunately (?) Hollywood has made a movie of this book for the nonreader. Actually the golf drama is quite good, as is the human-interest story. But Eastern mysticism is obviously the point of the book and that is too wide a...

The Inside of the Cup by Winston Churchill

This early 20th Century novel by the American Churchill, tells the story of an up-and-coming minister who almost loses his faith, only to be rescued by a new understanding of the gospel and the church. Sound good? It’s not, because the new gospel embraced was that of liberalism bordering on socialism. Churchill wrote The Inside of the Cup to demonstrate the impotency and failure of the conservative church and the form of Christianity she espouses. In the novel all conservatives are painted as power-hungry, money-obsessed, hypocrites, while liberals are painted as those who live in the spirit of Jesus. The only value to Churchill’s novel is that the reader might receive a better understanding of the mind and actions of liberal “Christians.” Along the way Churchill’s key characters deny virtually every important doctrine of Scripture: Heaven, Hell, eternal life, the virgin birth, inspiration of Scripture, the Gospel, creation, atonement,...

The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley

This lengthy historical novel by a Pulitzer Prize winning author is both interesting and different. The action is centered around one family living in Greenland during the fourteenth century. For those who enjoy learning about past cultures and how life was lived by its inhabitants, this will be an absorbing book. For those who don’t, skip The Greenlanders. Smiley attempts to write more than a novel, she also desires to interject a moral or two concerning religion, revenge, justice and need for law in a society. She succeeds in writing a pretty good novel that forces the reader to think a bit about the consequences of their actions. The book is long however, and a little slow. The are also lots of strange names to remember, most of which seem to begin with “Thor”....

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Considered the defining novel of the 1920s, The Great Gatsby is determined a masterpiece by the literary world. It has even been referred to as “the great American novel,” with Twain’s Huckleberry Finn being the only rival. I DON’T THINK SO!! Fitzgerald is not in the same league as Twain, and The Great Gatsby shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as Huck. It is an interesting novel of the decadence and superficiality of the era, and serves as a warning to our similar age and people. It is worth reading, but not all would agree that it deserves the status of a classic....

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Albom’s book has been on top of all the bestseller lists for months, and since it seemed to encroach into the Christian arena, I thought I would give it a read. Right up front it must be understood that The Five People You Meet in Heaven is not a Christian book—it is fiction. And viewed as a novel it is excellent. Albom is an exceptional writer and I found this novel hard to put down. It is a story that will make you think, cry and examine your own life. You could not ask much more from a piece of secular fiction. However, viewed as theology, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is certainly out of sync with Scripture. As with Albom’s other bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, this book is moralistic and thought provoking, but it is not the wisdom of Scripture. Albom’s portrait of God, life and...

The Fall by Albert Camus

Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, about the time The Fall was published. This interesting little novel reveals the haunted conscience of the secular man who is devoid of hope. Try as he may, man is incapable of finding relief from the ambiguities and emptiness of life, nor from the sins that haunt him. Although Camus speaks of God and religion it is obvious he does not know the God who cleanses from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. The book is of value in understanding how a secular thinker views the human condition....