Thursday, March 28, 2013

book review--The Voice by Don Nori

faulty premise leads to other faulty teachings

I received a free copy of this book through the Destiny Image Book Review program.

The main problem with this book is that it's based on a faulty premise. "Yes, the Voice of God speaks to true intercessors", p. 38. "The Voice has much to say; as we hear, feel, and respond to the Voice, Heaven and Earth are forever changed." p. 41. We must let the River of His Voice literally gush forth from deep within our spirits, and then flow out to the spiritual wasteland that is all around us." p. 12

The problem with this striving to hear some kind of voice inside of us is this--the Bible never tells us to do that. When God spoke to the prophets and apostles, He did not do so through some ultra-quiet, difficult to hear inner voice. He came in instances like the burning bush, He gave them dreams and visions, He spoke directly to them. Even when he spoke to the prophet Elijah in a still, quiet voice, he did not speak to him with quiet inner voice, but with a voice that the prophet heard with his ears. God's messages to them were clear, they did not have some vague inner feelings that they had to try to create some interpretations for.

Seeing this faulty premise, it's easy to see how much of the rest of the book goes astray. For example, he tries to create a type of elite "true intercessors" that the Bible says nothing about, and the things he teaches about these "true intercessors" are rather odd. "True intercessors don't take prayer requests." p. 40. Really? Ok, I'll be sure to not tell any "true intercessor" my concerns. "There is only one allegiance, to God alone. Personal desires have no place counseling God." p. 40. Considering that it is God Himself who has invited us to "let your request be made known to God", then I can only think that there is certainly a place for letting God know our personal desires. It may be said that our prayers should be about more than just our wants, but there seems to be no biblical call for us to try to be so spiritual that we ignore our own needs and wants.

Another thing he contends has to do with the Most Holy Place. "For instance, if Christ dwells within, why do we sing, "Come into the Holy of Holies" when we are the Holy of Holies?" p. 134. "Our hearts are the Most Holy Place within which the Presence dwells." p. 180. However, he gives no scriptural support for this contention that we are the Holy of Holies, or that our hearts are the Most Holy Place; in fact, the Bible is rather uncomplimentary about the state of our hearts, calling the heart "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, more than we can understand".

In his chapter titled "Quiet Anarchy", he writes this about the word "anarchy", "This is the word that many folk fear. If you are one of those people who fear this word, close this book and go home. I am sorry. You are not a world-changer." p. 113. Since I see no place in Scripture where we are called to be world-changers, I see no reason to embrace any form of anarchy; in fact, anarchy is a very ungodly concept. It is the Apostle Paul who told the church that they needed to "do all things decently and in order". The New Testament tells us to obey and submit to rulers. We are not to be leftists who think that chaos is a good thing.

The author makes some strange, unsupported contentions. "At one time, such anarchy was seen as pure heresy, rebellion, and immaturity. At one time, though, anarchy was a way of life for all those who truly loved God and sought diligently for a greater truth; to be a believer in Jesus was to openly oppose the government in power." p. 114. Really? Tell us, please, when and where this time was. No, please, do tell, my curiosity is piqued. I'm actually studying early church history right now, and I really haven't seen any time like this, where the church was fomenting anti-government sentiments.

Or this one, "History shows us that the greatest steps in spiritual renewals and advancements were made by those who were regarded by many as heretics, madmen, or worse." p. 123. Since the author does not show us his claim to be true, then why should we believe that history shows it? Who are these "heretics, madmen and worse" that he wants us to admire? Why does he not name them, so that we may determine for ourselves if they are people to be respected and admired?

Probably the most questionable part of the book is the chapter called "Brink of Heresy", as he pretty much says that experience trumps doctrine. "Whether or not they accept the experience is not the issue, for the experience is my reality, and I will not deny it." p. 137. Welcome to Postmodernism, where the only truth is what you experience to be true. Peter Rollins or Tony Jones could write that statement, and I'm not complimenting this author when I compare him to those two.

"It's actually too bad that Bible scholars don't subject their mountains of theology to the same tests as they use on the rest of us!" p. 139. What a nonsense statement! True Bible scholars do subject their doctrine to the same test, "What do the Scriptures say?". That's the test, that's the only test, and that's why this author's teachings fail. "The decision to put their studies above what they witness with their own eyes is both frightening and arrogant." p. 139 The decison to put experiences above sound biblical doctrine is unwise, and arrogant.

While every now and again he does come up with a bit of something that's interesting, it's simply not worth wading through all the unbiblical ideas and mystical mush that he tries to feed us. His unsupported claims make his book come off more as propoganda than any kind of serious biblical teaching. His claim that experience trumps doctrine is a sure road to failure.

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