Monday, April 8, 2013

book review--Spiritual Avalanche, by Steve Hill

Not very good, but interesting

This book is not well written. It's rambling, disjointed, and Hill spends far too much space bragging about himself, trying to explain how important his vision is, as if no one else had noticed that things are very wrong in the church up until he found it out. The vision itself is rather unconvincing, and Hill seems to have to provide his own interpretation to it, very much unlike how God explains visions He gave to prophets in the Bible.

But for all of that, there are points of interest. When Hill finally gets around to explaining the heresies he's worked up about, which is about halfway through the book, I have to admit that, by and large, he's spot on with those things being heresies. His explanations are brief, and don't tell us who's spreading these heresies, but I'll give him credit for presenting real heresies.

When Hill writes things like "Instead of the true gospel, people are fed a lukewarm, pitiful, watered-down message of the cross of Christ..." (p. 26), I agree with him, this is a real problem.

There are, however, some contradictory messages. Early in the book, he writes this, "If you’re reading this and do not have a Pentecostal heritage, keep going. This is about fundamental truth, not nit-picking theological issues that have embattled the church for centuries." (p. 12). Yet towards the end of the book, in chapter 14, he basically tries to bring in the charismatic stuff. "You see, those who used to believe that stuff (tongues, modern-day prophets, et al) have been affected by the snow falling upon the mountain and don’t even know it." (p. 187).

At one point, he says "In the same way, Christians rarely concern themselves over the depth of any teaching. Why waste time examining the prophet and his prophecy? That’s already been done." (p. 63). But at times, he seems to discourage such examining of his own vision and teachings. "Although any outside comments are greatly appreciated, they are not necessary for me to continue this work. What has been revealed to me about the times we are living in is without dispute. There is no jury out deliberating on whether or not this is valid truth." (p. 123). "Regardless, I want you to trust the words you’ve read and allow your spirit man to consume and digest the words to come." (p. 41).

In chapter 10, Hill gives lots of warnings about false prophets, which is very good, very needful; however, when I look at the people who endorsed this book, I see...lots of false prophets. James Goll? Cindy Jacobs? Sid Roth? Mike Bickle? False prophets don't get any worse than those people.

One of my big complaints about the book would be that it's not really all that informative. True, he does point out some heresies, but he refrains from naming names, and doesn't really deal with what's being taught in any detail.

So, I'd like to suggest a few books for further research, if this discussion of heresies has piqued your interest. When Hill mentioned "The carnal prosperity message" (p. 80) as one heresy, it brought to mind Hanegraaff's excellent expose "Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century", which shows the truly awful things some have taught in order to simply get people to send them money. As well, you may want to check out "Counterfeit Revival", though Hill comes under a bit of fire himself in that book, and not without reason.

Another good one, concerning the feel-good messages being preached far too much, is Michael Horton's "Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church". And though I haven't yet read it, I know enough about John MacArthur to think I'm safe in recommending "The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception". As far as other resources go, listening to a week's worth of episodes of the Fighting For The Faith internet radio program will get you up-to-date very quickly on what kind of complete lunacy is being taught in far too many churches, as well as a lot of good stuff, too.

So, my three star review for this book is mainly my way of saying that I'm cautiously optimistic, but not buying what Hill's selling. There's really nothing new in this book for anyone who's kept their eyes and ears open, but if you're new to this kind of stuff, and Hill's book has opened your eyes and ears to what may be going on, then welcome aboard.

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