Helpful Books (well, two out of three)

Over the last week, I have read two thin books and part of one full-length book about three topics of interest to Christians. Reviews follow. These first two books I recommend to anyone as personal or church resources and excellent explanations of Biblical teaching on their topics.

ABORTION AND INFANT DEATHS FROM OTHER CAUSES: “I’ll Hold You In Heaven”, by Pastor Jack Hayford. I was deeply moved by the thorough understanding and genuine compassion of Pastor Hayford as he writes for those who have lost a child in infancy, whether through miscarriage, abortion, or any other way. He says that at one time he felt very self-righteously angry toward women who had abortions, but God changed his heart. As a result, his church operates a Crisis Pregnancy Center where women can go to discover alternatives to abortion and get referrals, in a non-judgmental setting “for pregnancy counseling without imposing a spiritual demand on the inquirer”.

To those women who have had abortions, or men who have been party to an abortion, Pastor Hayford says, “God’s Word offers you something more [than hope of seeing your child again]; it offers forgiveness and healing [now] for the series of choices that led you into the abortionist’s chamber.”

Concerning those who have lost a child in infancy by ways other than abortion, Pastor Hayford says, “… I began to search God’s Word to seek a case for hope. I wanted to find truth that could heal and give comfort in the midst of the pain …”

One of my favorite authors was Elmer Keith, a living legend in the firearms community. When his first child came along, it was born dead, and his poor wife, seeing the futility of efforts to revive their child, cried out in agony of soul, “Oh, Elmer, was it all for nothing?”

To every woman, or man, for that matter, who has felt the tearing pain of that loss, Pastor Hayford takes you to the words of God to show you that it was NOT for nothing! Those who are or become believers in Jesus will one day hold that child again, in God’s Kingdom, and there will be no guilt, no pain, no loss, ever again. What is waiting there is unmarred love and joy.

HOMOSEXUALITY: “From Queer To Christ”, by George Carneal. I thought at first this book was proclaiming “It’s alright to be gay and Christian”. It’s not, but I had to stay with it for a while before I was sure of that. Carneal writes extensively and honestly about his 25 years “immersed in the world of homosexuality”, and it’s not a fun read. Carneal has a somewhat unusual background, being the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. He was not abused. He has two brothers and a sister, all of whom have always been heterosexual. What makes this book worthwhile, in my opinion, is that Carneal is excruciatingly honest about his experiences and – now – has an amazingly clear, in-depth understanding of Christian faith. How much of that was due to his exposure to a lot of apparently sound Christian doctrine as a child and how much due to his own later searching for truth, I can’t say. But I would have no hesitation about recommending him to speak in a church.

At the age of seven years old, he told his parents that he wanted to be saved, and was baptized on profession of faith in Christ. He does not say anything about being pressured to do this. It was his own decision.

I’m not qualified to speculate on why, from the first grade, he was aware of being attracted to boys in a way he knew was different from the way other boys felt toward each other. Other boys knew it too, even at that very young age, and he began to experience frequent bullying.

What this book did for me was allow me to understand homosexual attraction a little better. If you are acquainted with a homosexual and are on sufficiently friendly terms that you have witnessed to them about King Jesus, or if you just don’t know what to say, this is an excellent book. I’d also recommend it directly to any homosexual who was willing to hear Carneal’s story.

One more thing I got from Carneal’s story: there are homosexuals who are unhappy with their homosexuality, and / or unhappy with the sometimes blunt, insensitive, ignorant responses of the heterosexuals around them. This does sometimes include Christians. I can’t say how bad that problem is, and I can see the reasons that hetero Christians are not only repulsed by, but even afraid of, the presence of homosexuals in church, especially if they are still engaging in homosexuality. This book caused me to see that it’s probably desirable not to demand that homosexuals leave, if they’re willing to not be aggressively hostile themselves toward church members.

FALSE PROPHETS: Somewhere I saw mention of “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah”, written by Carl Gallups, who operates a sensationalist website which you can find by googling “PPSIMMONS News and Ministry”. I do not recommend either the book or website. Gallups is allegedly a Christian, yet he has written a book entertaining the possibility that dangerously unBiblical nonsense might possibly be true communication from God. He’s smart enough not to state definitely that it is.

The subject of the book is the late Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, who allegedly had a vision in which he was told who the Messiah was. He told those present that he would leave a note to be opened a year after his death, in which he would supposedly reveal the name of the Messiah who, he claimed, had “attached his [the Messiah’s] soul to a particular person in Jerusalem”.

Yeah. This train went completely off the tracks right at the beginning.

According to the author of the book, Rabbi Kaduri had a reputation for “kabbalah”, receiving mystical visions. According to Gallup’s alleged quote from The Jerusalem Post, some believe that amulets tap the power of “demons and spirits”, which are then “forced to take an oath” to get them to perform as requested. Per the alleged quote (do you sense my overwhelming skepticism?) Rabbi Kaduri was asked if he forced demons to take oaths. He allegedly replied, ” God forbid! It is forbidden to force them to take an oath. I only ask nicely. If they want to listen to me, they listen…”

Every sober, reasonably intelligent Christian with good Biblical knowledge knows that when you start talking about getting demons to do you favors, you are NOT in the Christian faith. That’s all anyone needed to know. But Gallups spends 210 pages creating doubt. His book ends with, “Was Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri correct in his predictions of the Coming One? One thing is certain … one day, and perhaps very soon, the true Messiah will come.”

Gallups is playing Balaam’s game, and he will one day join Balaam. “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:10-11)

Be alert, brothers and sisters. There are a a whole convoy of false teachers and prophets lurching around the world making a profit from teaching stupidity, heresy, and apostasy. Many of them have a slick shell. Many can recite Scripture slickly. The apostle Paul warned us: “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) King Jesus warned us: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:3)

Thankfully, I bought this book used, cheap, on Amazon. It didn’t hurt at all to tear it up and throw away the pieces.

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