Monday, March 28, 2016

Criticism of The Unseen Realm - Satan & Hell

I reviewed Michael Heiser's The Unseen Realm HERE

While I tried to be fair with the main premise of the book in my review, I found many secondary issues which I couldn't ignore. I was familiar with some of these prior to reading The Unseen Realm. But having looked further into what Heiser believes and teaches in a number of key areas (e.g. Genesis) gives me concern because of his popularity among the younger generation.

Heiser comes across as the chic scholar to go to. He's influenced people like Peter Goodgame. One example is his view of Satan. Take this article from Brazen Church The Real, Biblical Satan is Not At All What You Think. Then read Peter Goodgame's short essay towards the end of the comments section.

It has become fashionable to rethink Satan, hell, Penal Substitution etc (See the Brazen Church articles). Goodgame once told me that: "There are so many views out there that humility is the key so that we do not deceive ourselves." While the context was eschatology, his meaning has a broader application.

Humility is not what I'm seeing from these revisionists. At least one observer has called these people "pseudo-theologians." Frankly, I agree. Neither do I see consistency. Brazen Church features a polemic against the rapture with one objection being that it wasn't taught until the 1800's. William C. Watson's recent book debunks that argument. Yet their About page contains these observations:
We’re a community of Jesus-followers who, at some point or other, realized we had been lied to about God.
It probably wasn’t an intentional lie, but the reality is that when people embrace something as “true”, they tend to filter out information that disagrees with their belief and then impart that belief to those around them.
In our pursuit of God, as we studied Scripture, investigated the teachings of early Church fathers, compared notes on modern theologians, and analyzed Church history, we discovered that man’s view of God has never stopped changing. You might even say it is constantly evolving.
So church history doesn't always matter!

Back to Heiser's book...

The Unseen Realm is plugged by the likes of Tremper Longman and Darrel Bock, among others. Some sort of caveat should have been issued regarding Heiser's other views, unless they agree with them. Tremper Longman likely does. But that isn't the way the review system operates. Unfortunately, the book doesn't just stand alone on its subject - it draws readers into other areas. And I think that's a problem.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant has written criticisms of Heiser's book. So far his review is incomplete but hopefully one day he'll return to it. What he's written is worth a look:

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #1: filters and mosaics

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #2: who is ha’satan?

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #3: perfection and freedom

This is worth a look as well - response to Brazen Church (several parts):

What is hell, and is it biblical?  

Note especially the final installment where Tennant exposes the reliance on mystic syncretist Julie Ferwerda.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Flow of the Psalms

Read a great review of O. Palmer Robertson's The Flow of the Psalms at The Domain For Truth. I liked the review so much I bought the book!

Dr. Walter Kaiser talks about The Structure of the Psalms HERE
Dr. Walter Kaiser, President Emeritus at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, begins the week proposing that the book of Psalms is not a collection of isolated psalms self contained, but contains an intentional structure focusing on the Law, The Messiah and God’s creational sovereignty over all things.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Learning About Evangelical Zionism

In this day and age the word “Zionism” too often has sinister connotations. Thanks to the activism and disinformation of a number of popular Christians and organizations, Zionism has come to be associated with occupation, oppression and human rights violations. Yet aside from these allegations, many evangelicals deny that God has a distinct prophetic plan for Israel. What does the Bible say about Israel’s future?

Perry Trotter of Evangelical Zionism has produced a set of seven videos which go to the heart of some common anti-Zionist claims. The videos are brief, to the point and easy to understand...keep reading