Friday, March 21, 2014

book review—How to Believe: Restoring the Passion of Worship by Tommy Tenney


I got a free e-copy of this book when Destiny Image offered it for free.

At one point in this book, the author makes this comment concerning the things some preachers say in their sermons, “He (God) probably listens to our preaching and says , “Did I say that? I don’t remember saying it quite that way….”” (Kindle Locations 1007-1008). He may be right, but it is not merely ironic, but hypocritical, for him to say that, because throughout this book he is continually putting words and ideas in God's mouth.

For example, he says in this book that we need to build a Mercy Seat. Good luck finding where Paul or any other epistle writer tells the churches to do that, because they don't. They don't say a word about the churches needing to build any such thing. Oh, but this author must be oh-so-much-more spiritual and enlightened then those old fuddy-duddy apostles from 2,000 years ago, 'cause he can tell the church that it needs to do something that they didn't even consider.

He says that we shouldn't trust anyone who doesn't have a limp, like Jacob. That makes about as much sense as looking at the life of Moses and saying we shouldn't trust anyone who doesn't stutter, or the life of Samson and saying we shouldn't trust anyone who hasn't been blinded. He says that if we are in prison, we should sing and praise like Paul and Silas did, and God will open up the prison doors for us. Funny, though, 'cause in Acts 12, Peter was asleep when the angel came to free him from prison. And Paul wound up in prison again later on, related in the last few chapters of Acts. I guess he just didn't sing and worship enough, 'cause he stayed in prison for quite a while.

When it comes to the Bible, the author is much more interested in reading his own make-believe stories and ideas into the accounts than in looking at what the accounts actually say. “Read the second chapter of Acts and explain to me why the disciples stumbled and staggered out of an upper room so inebriated in the Spirit that people accused them of being falling -down drunks.” (Kindle Locations 816-817). He should read Acts 2, and show us where it tells us that the disciples “stumbled and staggered out of an upper room” in anything like inebriation. It doesn't. “Esther refused to trade the winking approval of men in the king’s court for the favor of the king himself.” (Kindle Locations 943-944). There is no hint in the account of Esther that she experienced “the winking approval of men”, that's something the author found only in his own mind. He inserts this in the account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman, “They (the disciples) said something like, “Jesus, we saw a Burger King right down the road there. We’re going to get something to eat. We’ll bring you something back, is that okay?”” There is no hint in that passage that the disciples were in the wrong to have left to get food.

“He will even put “His strength into captivity ” to come sit with us because He is so desperate for us to be with Him (see Ps. 78: 61).” (Kindle Locations 660-661).That verse in context teaches no such thing. Psalm 78:56-66 tells of times when God's people Israel rebelled against God, and the consequences of that rebellion. Verse 61 is referring to God's judgment against His people, one form of which was them being sent into captivity. “When lucifer fell from glory, I believe a crucial aspect of heavenly worship fell with him.” (Kindle Location 1071). You won't find that taught anywhere in the Bible, nor his notion that God needs us to provide music in Heaven.

“In Exodus 19, He invited everyone in the group to come up and hear Him speak for themselves. This was an opportunity to go beyond the anointing and taste of His glory for themselves. The children of Israel basically said, “Moses, you go talk to God and find out what He says. You can have the intimacy— just take some juicy pictures and bring the anointing back to us” (see Exod. 20: 19).” (Kindle Locations 760-763). Has this author even read Exodus 19 and 20? If he had, he'd see that what he's writing about those chapters is not what is said in them. Exodus 19:24 “24 And the LORD said to him (Moses), “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest he break out against them.””

Finally, I want to return to what he wrote about the disciples acting like drunkards (they didn't, btw). This tells me that, when he talks about experiencing God's presence or the like, he's referring, at least in part, to the kinds of ungodly, blasphemous things that happened in Toronto and Pensacola, things like the blasphemous “drunk in the spirit” phenomena.

About the only thing this book proves is that this author has no right to consider himself a Christian teacher. This book is garbage, the author's sole interests are in bragging about himself and teaching his own made-up ideas. You'd be wise to find the nearest trash can, and chuck this book into it.

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