Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Exposing God Amidst the Chaos by James Bars and Blake Bars

Our view of God has a great impact on our life. The authors have written this book to reveal their view of God and His character. I am disappointed that the view of God they portray does not follow clear Scripture teaching.

The authors write about God, “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, know this – He is completely devoted to your success and wholeheartedly loves and cares for you.” (7) I think the “completely devoted” idea is a bit exaggerated.

The authors deny the never ending punishment of hell, saying it doesn't make sense. (13) “What if hell isn't a permanent fire, but a fire that purifies – permanently?” (16) Sometimes it's a little difficult to understand what they are communicating because they ask a series of questions, much like Rob Bell did in his book about hell. I think, however, that the authors say a person who is not a believer is just gone, ceases to exist, after death. (18) They clarify that later by saying the rebellious will perish eternally. “They won't be able to exist in His presence.” (35) This is known as the doctrine of annihilation, something that has been debated theologically through the centuries.

God in His great mercy,” they write, “offered Lucifer repeated opportunities to turn from the path of death. Again and again repentance and submission were presented to the great deceiver as his hope of life – he wouldn't listen. Jesus warned and counseled him.” (23) And, “All who joined Lucifer's rebellion were given ample opportunity to return to their previous state of peace, until the situation grew into open rebellion.” (29) I honestly don't remember ever reading that in the Bible – and I've read it through many times.

The authors clarify that God really didn't do all the Bible says He did. “Even though God did not begin the rebellion against His kingdom of love, He takes responsibility for it. Search the Scriptures and you will find Him taking responsibility for all kinds of acts that you know were not His doing. Yet, He says that He did them.” (24) I am surprised that my “knowing” negates what Scripture says.

God assumes responsibility for everything that happens in His creation,” they write. “The buck stops with Him.” (53) Yet, they also write that Scripture reveals, “Satan is the deceiver and responsible party behind the devastation that plagues your soul...” (54) I am confused. Satan is responsible but God assumes responsibility?

The authors also write, “[God] has taken responsibility for each and every broken human being's mistakes. He assumes all responsibility.” (24) So, I don't have any responsibility for my actions? I won't have to give an account? Not even my “idle” words, as Jesus claimed? Then why would I need a Savior?

The authors want us to know that, “It is not your fault that you were infected with a terminal illness. You are not to blame for being born broken.” (31-32) In other words, it is not our fault we are born with original sin, with a bent to sin. If it were only so.

The authors repeatedly say that God is not angry at us. “He is angry for you.” (33) They ask if the “wrath of God” has been misunderstood. They write, “God is not vengeful and wrathful.” (38) I was just reading Jeremiah 42:18a the other day: “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: As my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt.” (ESV) And what about Romans 12:19? “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord.” (NIV) Those Scriptures seem pretty clear to me.

One major aspect of God the authors have neglected in this short book is His holiness. They write, “God, however, will always be who He is – truth, love and light.” (25-26) They neglect God described as “holy, holy, holy.” And God's holiness is very important in understanding His character and actions.

I cannot recommend this book as I feel it is a misrepresentation of what the Bible clearly says.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

James Bars and Blake Bars began working together in 2007. Both graduated from Eastern Oregon University, James with a BS in Business and Blake with an MBA. Blake currently manages a health food store. James is a human behavior consultant, Christian counselor, and board certified Master Life Coach. You can find out more at www.MyNewMadfats.com.

Home of Love Publications, 88 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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