Posted in tolle lege book reviews

Tolle Lege: “The Physics of Heaven” and “The Story of The Cosmos”

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I’ve been working my way through these 2 science-y sounding books.  One is an inspiring scientific examination of the physical properties of the heavens and the other is a New Age fairytale.  Both claim the church needs to take something back from the world.  One claims that thing is the arts and sciences.  The other claims that thing is sorcery.   I want to talk about the former first. 

The Story of the Cosmos” is a fantastic compilation of beautifully written essays on astronomy and the glories of God as declared by the heavens.  The editor is the host of one of my favorite podcasts, “Good Heavens,” Daniel Ray, and the book reads much like their show (which I reviewed here).  Both the book and the show are casually conversational, scientifically informed, theologically sound, witty, eclectic, awe-inspiring, nerdy, and poetic all at the same time.  Each chapter is stand-alone and they cover a variety of topics such as how the glory of God is revealed in the cosmos, how that creative glory is also expressed through art and literature, and how the intricacies of the created cosmos point to the existence of a Creator. 

You don’t have to be a Phd to enjoy this book.  It’s completely digestible for the laymen interested in astronomy.  If a non-scientifically minded philosophy major like myself can grasp its key concepts, anyone can.  And if you’re still not convinced that it wouldn’t be over your head, just get it for the pictures.  The photos are numerous and stunning and will keep you thumbing through the book just to gaze at the glossies.  “The Story of The Cosmos” is definitely a book to be savored and shared.  Check out the fantastic youtube trailer by clicking here!

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Share it!

 

And then there’s the latter: an heretical New Age fairy tale called “The Physics of Heaven” put out by a number of influential leaders of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding California, with contributions by “Apostle” Bill himself, his wife Pastor Beni, “Prophet” Kris Valletton and infamous guests like Bob Jones.  Folks, if you’ve heard about any of the questionable practices attributed to this signs and wonders movement, and wondered if they could possibly true, this book will not only confirm your worst fears, it will magnify them a thousand-fold.  And if you’re wondering how or why so many people can possibly buy into these lies just look at the kinds of things they are promised if they do.  Here’s just a sampling of what I’ve learned from this book so far:

  1. If you are a seer, you can join a Holy Spirit think tank and emerge with new perspectives never before pondered (from the forward by Kris Valletton, Prophet of Bethel Church)
  2. You can be transformed by the new sound which will be released from heaven.  If you receive and embrace the new insights and revelations about sound you can finally become the child of God creation has been waiting for (pgs 2,3).
  3. You can literally move mountains because you have the zero-point field within you and around you which is sustained by an underlying sea of quantum light (pgs 5-7).
  4. You can do even greater works than Jesus including living longer.  You should live to at least 70 or 80.  If a child gets cancer you can tell that cancer to leave because children are not meant to die early (p8).
  5. According to Bob Jones, some people are given special shields or badges with the number 341 on them which authorizes them to do healings, holy confiscations, prayer, petitioning, teaching and ushering in prosperity —which will be transferred from one group to another (pgs 21,22).
  6. You can smell God’s breathe.  And it smells like apples (p23).
  7. Vibrations are open portals to heaven.  You can find 300 in the Old Testament and 28 in the New Testament (p24). 
  8. Your genetics are the same as God’s were and you can change your DNA through the new sound that is coming in our praise (p25).
  9. You can reclaim or recover realms of anointing, mantles, revelation, mysteries, insights and realms of God that were left by the dead (pgs 30,31).
  10. You can reclaim the following practices which have been stolen from the church by the New Age movement:  spirit guides, trances, meditation, auras, power objects, clairvoyances, and clairaudience and more (p 49).
  11. Through the mysteries of sound, color, light, vibrations, and energy, you can carry energy that has the force or power to empower others to do things like move deeper into God or take trips to heaven (p 53).
  12. You can sense the unseen and unheard through vibrational frequencies found in nature such as crystals and essential oils (p 62).

Oh dear, I really wanted to get in one more but that would be number 13 and I’ve heard that’s an unlucky number. It produces all kinds of bad vibrations (whatever those are), so I better stop and pick up with number 14 next time.  That’s right folks.  There’s more.  I’m only a third of the way through the book 😦  But just in case you’ve heard enough and have no interest in reading another post on the subject you can just take my advice regarding “The Physics of Heaven” and shred it.

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Shred it.

Posted in tolle lege book reviews

Tolle Lege: Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer

A couple weeks ago I was cleaning out a closet while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, “Mama Bear Apologetics,” as they discussed their new book by the same title.  Listening to them talk, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that book.  Their motto, “You mess with our kids, we’ll demolish your arguments” resonated deeply with this former-philosophy-major-now-mother-of-5.  When they called on us to “rise up, Mama Bears” I could just feel that inner roar welling up.  But then I spotted a mouse in the back of the closet and ran screaming out of the house.

My middle-son, Nathan, came out to see what was wrong and from across the yard (I really had run that far) I warned him about the dreadful creature inhabiting the closet.  Nate disappeared back into the house and a minute later returned holding a pellet gun in one hand with the lifeless form of the perpetrator dangling by its tail in the other.  Not my proudest Mama Bear moment. 

After re-establishing the “no shooting guns in the house” rule, I finished the closet (actually I had Nate pull everything else from the back of it, just in case), and immediately ordered the book.  Here’s why I think every mom needs to do the same.

Mice are in the house.  They creep in unbeknownst to us, take up residence, and reproduce at an alarming rate.  They chew away at the fabric of our minds and leave their filth in every corner.  They are the ideas which Paul calls us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to trap, take captive and conform to Christ.  Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies” edited by head Mama Bear herself, Hillary Morgan Ferrer, will help moms shine the light of truth into the cluttered closets of young minds and identify intruders. 

Each chapter is authored by a different Mama Bear and focuses on a particular ideology, such as Naturalism, Skepticism, Moral Relativism, Marxism, Feminism etc…  Rebekah Valerius in her chapter called “The Truth Is, There Is No Truth” discusses how sneaky an intruder mindsets like post-modernism can be.  Parents think they’re “helping their children build on a foundation of truth” but all the while the children are reinterpreting it, not as THE truth, but rather YOUR truth.  Which is fine until you “claim that your truth should be theirs—then you’ll have pushback.”  She continues,

“Postmodern principles are insidious in that way.  They are like viruses that lay dormant for years.  We may not even know our kids are infected until it is too late.  That is why we need to expose the lies early and show how a postmodern mindset leads to chaos, not freedom” (139).

It’s like that mouse quietly making its home in the back of my closet, getting all nice and fat with my pantry supplies, wreaking havoc in my forgotten linens until one day I’m surprised into flight by its presence.  Thankfully my cub at least had the presence of mind to put his tools into use to demolish it himself.

Oh, and lest you think that by sheltering your kids in the church and Christian schools they will somehow avoid dangerous ideologies like these, Alisa Childers has an excellent chapter on how unbiblical thinking has invaded even the church.  New Age Spirituality, Social Justice Marxism, Self-Helpism, Feminism, Emotionalism have all made themselves quite at home in Christian closets, propagated by Christian speakers, writers, music, social-media etc… 

Identifying and rooting out these ideologies can be a daunting task.  It’s like standing in front of that long-neglected, cluttered up closet and not even wanting to open the door.  Who knows what’s lurking there in the dark.  

But that’s why this book is so great.  Using the acrostic “R.O.A.R.” it will help moms Recognize the massage, Offer discernment (“affirm the good and reject the bad”), Argue for a healthier approach, and Reinforce through discussion, discipleship, and prayer (54).

The Mama Bears have finally built a better mousetrap.

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You can visit their website here

Rebekah Valerius also blogs here

I also listen to Alisa Childers’ podcast here 

 

Posted in tolle lege book reviews

Tolle Lege: Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology by J.P. Moreland

It was a joy to hold in my hands this week a book that I think makes up for that evolutionary bit of nonsense Crossway published earlier this year called “God and Galileo” by David Block and Kenneth Freeman (you can read that review here).  What Block and Freeman claim Galileo’s 400-year-old letter teaches us about faith and science is that the one must bow to the other in matters of the physical universe.  “Science needs to be falsified using the scientific method, not by simply quoting the Scriptures…It is the domain of scientists to verify or disprove scientific theories.  It is not the place of theologians to falsify scientific ideas using bare scriptural arguments (80).”  Even though this quote lies within the chapter titled “The Fraud of Scientism,” the book itself as a whole is just one grand example of the very thing they weakly identify as fraudulent.  In fact, in rereading that chapter, I never was able to pinpoint a direct argument against scientism, other than their refutal of the current theory of a multiverse.  

God and Galileo” really serves to exemplify the kind of weak scientism that J. P. Moreland claims has crept into the church in his book “Scientism and Secularism” (Crossway, 2018).  According to his definition, “Scientism is the view that the hard sciences—like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy—provide the only genuine knowledge of reality (26).”  Moreland further distinguishes between strong scientism, which “implies that something is true, rationally justified, or known if and only if it is a scientific claim that has been successfully tested and that is being used according to appropriate scientific methodology (29)” and weak scientism, which “acknowledges truths apart from science, granting them some minimal rational status even if they don’t have scientific support (30).”  Block and Freeman do this very thing by making  sharp distinctions between “the nature of truth and the truth of nature”(66),  “intellectual discernment and spiritual discernment”(97), and “material and spiritual” systems (104). There is  a book of Scripture and a book of nature (43) and “the book of nature can never be suppressed”(81).  I would argue that Romans 1:18-23 suggests otherwise but I’ll leave the arguing to Moreland who does a far superior job than I ever could.  Oh, and I must mention in speaking of Moreland’s superiority, that there are sections of his book I’ll have to go back and reread because they were honestly way over my head.  I’m thinking specifically of chapters 7-9 which dealt with non scientific knowledge and first philosophy (pretty pathetic of me since I was a philosophy major but clearly I need to review).

Moreland’s greatest strength, and the thing that I think makes this book a necessary read, is that he not only puts forth a clear and thorough examination of scientism but how in its weaker form it has infiltrated the church.  “Weak scientism, when believed and put into practice, leads to a constant revision of doctrines that the church has held for centuries under the pressure of scientistic political correctness (72).”  The implications reach far beyond the origins and age of the universe affecting the foundations of human identity, gender, the nature of sin etc…(73).  The effects of scientism have been marked and destructive and yet we’ve been practically incognizant of its presence, so subtle has been its infiltration.  Moreland contends that truth need not be compartmentalized with science always taking the superior position over theology.  There needs to be a reintegration of the Christian world view into every discipline.  For too long, “Christians compartmentalized their faith, kept it tucked away in a private compartment of their lives, and did not integrate their Christian ideas with their work” (185).  

This book serves as a huge encouragement for Christians who have been left grasping for reasons to have confidence in a Biblical worldview and courage in applying that worldview to all of life.  

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* Even though I was given a copy of this book by the publisher I am under no obligation to write a favorable review.