Friday, March 15, 2013

book review--Burn by Eric Gilmour

New Agey gobblety-good with a thin covering of Christianese

There was a small village that suffered greatly during a time of severe drought, and the people of the village were starving. One day, a man, well-fed and well-off, came to the village, and standing in the center of the village, he spoke long and eloquently about steak, giving the succulent details about the many steaks he had eaten, and telling the people that if they could find steak, they would not be hungry. But he had no steak with him, and he did not know of any stores near them that had steak. The only advice he gave them was that they had to look within themselves, struggling to hear a faint voice within themselves, and if they do that absolutely and completely correctly, they would get the steak they wanted.

That little story pretty much sums up my impression of "Burn" by Eric Gilmour.

First, he is all law. "He is only made manifest in us as much as we can host Him in our lives through such a real, absolute surrender, utter dependency, and total reliance." (Kindle Locations 339-340). Ok, so, we have here Gilmour's law, that we have to have "a real, absolute surrender, utter dependency, and total reliance". But like the starving people in the story, at no point does he tell us how to attain those things. How, for example, do we reach a place of "real, absolute surrender"? Dunno. All he says is that that is what we need, but nothing is said about how to get there.

The language he uses in regards to this state he says we must attain is rather disturbing. "It is burning inside of His heart to possess His people. God possession is the formula to create the Jesus people. There is only one route to God possession: God obsession." (Kindle Locations 47-49). Possession? I'd be very surprised if Gilmour wasn't aware of how such language would bring to mind demonic possession. Is he saying that God is suppose to "possess" us in a similar way? Does the Bible say that that is how God does things? I would say, not in the least. "Have you an inward burning attraction to be absorbed up into your God?" (Kindle Locations 247-248). Absorbed into God? Wow, that sounds like something from Eastern religious mysticism.

And, at times, his language is as silly as the notion of getting steak by looking inside yourself. "As the rain rests upon the ground after the storm, it yearns to return back to the high place from which it has fallen." (Kindle Location 256). How does he know that? Has he gone outside and asked rain droplets what they want? "God can forgive you, but time will never forgive you." (Kindle Location 204). So, time is an even stricter judge than God? "Throughout this book we will look into the ascent of the soul into the state of unbroken awareness of His abiding presence and its effects." (Kindle Locations 207-208). The ascent of the soul? Please, slowly put down the Deepak Chopra books, and no one will get hurt. "The tree doesn't focus on bearing fruit, but on receiving the sap." (Kindle Location 549). I suppose he's asked a bunch of trees about that? "What called down an angel to release Peter out of jail? It was not power, but prayer." (Kindle Locations 877-878). That passage doesn't say that prayer called down an angel. "We possess divine interaction and exchange from each individual's specific unique color in which Christ proceeds." (Kindle Locations 1215-1216). We each have a "specific unique color"? Nothing about that in the Bible, but that sure sounds like the New-Agey idea of auras.

On top of all of that, there is his constant belittling of sound doctrine and correct beliefs, and even of the Bible itself. "The wisdom of God is an octave too high for the minds of men. Such heavenly wisdom is not wisdom that can be explained; it must be demonstrated." (Kindle Locations 94-95). Outside of having no idea where he gets the idea that God's wisdom is so high that only dogs can hear it, there is simply the idea that it cannot be explained. God wrote a whole big book called The Bible for nothing, I guess. "There lies in the midst of Christendom a great danger, a danger that is deeply woven into the fabric of modern American Christianity. It is not as much a danger of doctrinal error as it is an absence of the most vital underlying element of spirituality." (Kindle Locations 395-397). If someone tries to dismiss the danger of doctrinal error, you should check his own doctrinal luggage. "Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is unable to give life. As Jesus noted in John 6, "The Spirit gives life." Paul had the same understanding, stating, "... The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3: 6)." (Kindle Locations 424-425). I've seen Bill Johnson use that argument, and it's a bad one, no matter who uses it. Paul is not denigrating the Word of God, and it at least borders on blasphemy for Gilmour to even imply that. "The Gospel is not a verbal argument for the existence of God." (Kindle Locations 960-961). Makes one wonder why Jesus bothered telling the disciples to preaching and proclaim the Gospel, then. "They couldn't possibly be born from above by a nominal belief system or by adherence to correct thinking patterns. Doctrine has never saved a person." (Kindle Locations 996-997). So, correct doctrine and beliefs are unimportant? "Freedom is in a Man named Jesus-- not a belief system, religion, or an attempt to make a life change." (Kindle Locations 1005-1006). Again with the attacks on beliefs. At no point does the Bible treat beliefs and doctrine with such distain.

"Leonard Ravenhill said, "No one can change God's opinion of you but you."" (Kindle Location 580). We should be very glad that this statement is very wrong! Christ has changed God's opinion of those who repent and have faith in Him, taking us from being enemies of God and children of wrath to become children of God.

Geting back to his idea about having to have a "a real, absolute surrender, utter dependency, and total reliance", one might wonder if Gilmour is holding himself up as one who has attained to those things. I think we can question that about him, because if he is, I'll admit that I don't buy it. Why? Because of those with whom he fellowships and supports. For example, he proudly tells us of his connection with the Pensacola revival, and his admiration for Steve Hill. Now, Hill is someone who has fabricated many things concerning this revival, things that have been shown to be lies. Several times during the book, he uses quotes from Benny Hinn. Hinn is the worst of the worst among the Faith Healers, a known charlatan and fake, whose 'ministry' has been a blight and shame on the church. You may learn more about these men in these books, Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century and Counterfeit Revival.

If these are the people Gilmour looks up to, then there are ramifications. At the end of Chapter 6 of this book, he gives some "Testimonies" which he claims are of healings he was involved in. But because of his association with a known liar like Hill, and his admiration of a known fake like Hinn, I must say that I see no reason to believe his "Testimonies". Has he had these healings documented? Has anyone independent of his ministry verified them? Can he provide proof that what he claims happened is what really happened? Short of irrefutable proof, I'll consider him a fake like so many of such 'ministers' like himself.

In the end, this book is rubbish. His teachings have more in common with New Age gobblety-gook than biblical Christianity. His attacks on the Bible, correct beliefs, and sound doctrine should be instant and insistent warning signs that we should steer clear of him. There are so many more biblically sound teachers and ministers out there, why bother with the nonsense this guy is peddling?

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