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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book REview - THE NExt Great move of god

The Old Testament is sometimes discarded by Christians as unnecessary history and is replaced by what is seen as the more relevant New Testament. While the New Testament is obviously integral to God's Word, much is missed when the Old Testament is forgotten. The Next Great Move of God: Christians Returning to Their Hebraic Roots by author and pastor Dr. LaSalle R. Vaughn, helps readers appreciate the Hebraic roots of Christ and the beauty of the Old Testament.

The book covers many interesting twists and turns. In the just the first chapter, the author discusses the churches in the book of Revelation, the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, Constantine the Great, the Spanish Inquisition, the land of Israel, and the Old Covenants vs. the New Covenant. Altogether, these might appear to be rather random, but the author uses all of it to encourage readers to dig deeper into God's Word. It is still as scattered as it sounds, but it flows like a fascinating conversation.

The second chapter introduces readers to our Hebraic roots by revealing the principles behind the salt covenant, the shema, and time alone with God. I had never heard of a salt covenant before and was surprised to realize that it mentioned in bible verses I know I have read, but somehow overlooked. The salt covenant is a covenant of loyalty and trust. This chapter digs deeply into covenant relations, our relationship with God, and our relationships with others.

I am less enthusiastic about chapter three, entitled "Symbols of Our Faith". Dr. Vaughn discusses the alphabet of the Hebrew Bible with skip sequence counting and other symbolic and numeric interpretations. While I do not discount the possibility that there is significance to this, I have always had mixed feelings of fascination and discomfort when reading about it. The chapter does go on to discuss other interesting topics, such as the ark of the covenant, the menorah, the shofar, the tallit, and the Western Wall. The history of these symbols is beautiful, but I worry that some might take this chapter as a license to become distracted by these elements as a 'religion' rather than a faith. The author does not in any way say that these elements are necessary, but presents them only as edifying additions.

Chapters four and five discuss current times and coming times with much insight in an easy-to-follow manner. Chapter six presents an interesting study on eight keys to the heart of the kingdom. Most of these are basic beliefs shared by all Christians, but the author implies that not incorporating the seventh key, the Feast Days of God, can limit one's access to God's Kingdom. A brief description of the Feast Days is shared, but no explanation for why they are critical for Christians to celebrate.

Chapter seven adamantly insists that America is a Judeo-Christian Nation. There are many deep truths in this chapter, but I disagree with the chapter title. Our nation was founded on Christian values, but we are not a Christian state. To the many non-Christian Americans, insisting that it is so (when the Constitution clearly says that it is not) does little to persuade them to accept our beliefs.

My unrest with the book is summed up in the final chapter, when Dr. Vaughn says: "In order for a non-Jewish believer to embrace the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they must embrace Ruth 1:16. Embrace the Jewish people, as your people, and their God will become your God." This sentiment was felt in many other places in the book, if the words were not put as plainly as they are here. I vehemently disagree with this line of thinking. No where in scripture are we commanded to embrace a Jewish culture as our own to become the children of God. We are heirs through adoption. Through Christ, God has loved us as His own. We are commanded to believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord and then we shall be saved. This is the requirement. To explore the Jewishness of Jesus is a rich and rewarding study. To incorporate elements of worship shared with God's chosen people can be edifying to our faith. To insist they are necessary for a proper relationship with God goes against scripture.

The Next Great Move of God is chock full of interesting studies that lead readers to delve deeply into God's word and to appreciate the holiness of God. There are areas with which I disagree, but we should always be on guard and ready to compare what we read and hear to scripture, knowing God's word is the unchanging final authority. The good far outweighed the bad in this book, where the bad only served to make me dig even deeper into the Bible.

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