Book Review: What In The World Is Going On?

What in the World Is Going On?: 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore. David Jeremiah. Thomas Nelson, 2008.

WhatInTheWorldIsGoingOn

The world’s events are chaotic and uncertain.  The global trends that people are noticing also can be fearful.  From jarring headlines, distressing news shows, and dire predictions, it can be easy to wonder “What In The World Is Going On?”  David Jeremiah aims to answer this question through the study of ten points that he finds through looking at the news and Scripture to know the signs of what to come.

Jeremiah begins by describing the background of the creation of Israel.  He then continues by describing crude oil and the focus the world has upon the Middle East.  The author then moves to the connection that Ancient Rome has with the European Union.  Jeremiah describes the phenomena of Islamic terrorism next.  He then goes on to describe The Rapture, and how he views America in terms of prophecy.  The author then describes how he sees current events lining up with the anti-Christ, the war of Gog and Magog, the war of Armageddon, and the return of Jesus Christ to rule upon the earth.

David Jeremiah presents good research on each topic, as each chapter is fascinating and thought-provoking to read and most all of the topics are interesting and proper for the premise of the book.   As to be expected, Jeremiah does a wonderful job of interpreting the Scripture that he brings into play, when he does it.  What he presents is quite obviously well thought out.

However, Jeremiah places more of a focus on current events and the typical Republican political agenda than he does on Scripture at times, including twisting Scripture around to try to apply it to his scenarios.  The chapter on oil is pretty terrible as it’s been proven wholly irrelevant in 9 short years because oil production has been shifted to the Western Hemisphere from the Middle East.  This is shown in the fact that a number of oil-based economies are struggling now and looking to diversify away from oil. The chapter on the United States reflects the typical over-exalting of the nation as a “Christian Nation”, reflecting a “chosen nation” status.   The chapter on the Rapture is pure false teaching, reflecting Jeremiah’s belief in dispensationalist doctrine.

Overall, this book is an interesting book on several topics that would be of interest to most readers. However, it strays away from a purely Biblical focus in a number of the chapters in favor of commentary on current events, pure speculation, and twisting Scripture to meet his ends. While this works for entertainment, akin to a novel, the warning definitely needs to be sounded on taking much of this book as serious doctrine.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Growing True Disciples

Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ. George Barna. WaterBrook Press, 2001.

Growing True Disciples

I’ve said much in the course of both of my blogs about the state of Christian discipleship. Church organizations have chased after increasing attendance, giving, programs, and property over chasing after the will of the Lord has laid out through Scripture. George Barna shows the fruit of this process throughout “Growing True Disciples.”

Barna begins by casting a vision for discipleship that is outside the typical church vision – a vision of committed followers of Christ as opposed to simply “members”. He then goes on to explain some of the definitions and framework of discipleship, defining some Scriptural justifications for those things. The author then presents an overview of the current (2001) state of the church. Barna then provides an analysis of how things have gotten to their current state. He then presents a goal of discipleship. The author then presents some findings from studying churches that he deemed were doing good work in discipleship. Finally, Barna presents some models that he distilled out of some of the data for discipleship in churches.

In reading the book, the author presents a fairly decent framework of discipleship. As well, the author is very thorough about presenting the things the churches are doing that he feels is effective, and why they are effective. He presents a lot to think about regarding the topic of discipleship and gives a start on the best ways to accomplish those things.

However, Barna misses the seminal problem that caused all of these things. As I’ve noted in previous reviews of books about discipleship, the issue of what you are discipling them into gets completely missed in the book. Most churches, including many of the ones he’s studied and lauded are about discipling people into the church organization (i.e. the world) as opposed to discipling people into Christ. Goals often stem from what your life is centered upon. Or as Scripture says, we should not expect good fruit out of bad trees (Matthew 7:15-20). This fact is shown time and again as Barna advocates for business processes instead of Scriptural remedies. His avocation of covenant agreements is especially disturbing, in terms of the controls that he would place upon the average believer from men.

Overall, while this book has much value, that value is sullied by not recognizing the core issue of the problem that has plagued those who have been called out from Christ from the beginning. When man gets his hands into things and changes them for his own benefit and his own desires to control others, the entire nature of the tree is changed. Hence the fruit is changed. In my opinion, this book has value for the study presented, which in the last 16 years has without a doubt gotten worse according to my own research. But beyond that, it doesn’t offer much fruit in the way of leading towards a Scriptural model of discipleship.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon