Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Heaven is Now by Andrew Farley

Heaven is Now teaches a lot about Old Testament laws being obsolete because Jesus came and died for our sins, which erased the Old Testament laws and caused them to be replaced by grace. At the end of each chapter there is a “Heaven Speaks” section, which is read like Jesus is speaking to the reader directly from Heaven, and an “Awakening to Heaven” section which are prayers that the readers can pray regarding what they read in each chapter. The author uses a lot examples in relation to films and past experiences to get his points across to help readers awaken their spiritual senses in the areas of feeling (“Feel the Freedom of Grace”), hearing (“Hear the Spirit Bearing Witness”), seeing (“See the Finished Work of Jesus”), smelling (“Smell the Fragrant Aroma of Christ”), and tasting (“Taste the Goodness of the Lord”).

It seemed like the main purpose of this book is to teach people that they don’t need the Old Covenant rules and regulations but that they only need Jesus’ grace. I am a firm believer that God writes whatever Old Testament laws on people’s hearts that he wants to although I am in no way implying that he writes the Old Testament laws on everybody’s hearts, which is why I disagree with this statement: “But doesn’t God ask us to keep the law with his help? Pause to consider that one for a moment. Has God placed within you an innate desire to avoid pork and shellfish or to refrain from work on Saturdays? Of course not! That’s not the new covenant message. No, it’s not on God’s heart for us to keep the law, nor is he helping us keep it.” (Page 31).

God has given me a desire to avoid pork and shellfish and to refrain from work on Saturdays (I attend worship most Saturdays). I also try to avoid buying or selling anything on the Sabbath and I enjoy celebrating the Biblical feasts. So yes, he does put the Old Testament laws on some people’s hearts. In my opinion, God can write whatever Old Testament laws that he wants to write on people’s hearts, and these happen to be the Old Testament laws that are on my heart, plus many more that are more common. I do not follow these laws because I am trying to earn God’s love; I follow them because they have been written on my heart and I want to follow them.

I am concerned that this book might be offensive to some Jewish people. To me it seemed that it taught that the Old Covenant laws were made for Jewish people only, that they cause people to sin more since it is impossible to uphold all of the laws, and from what I remember it does not give much of an invitation for Jewish people to accept Yeshua (Jesus) into their hearts. In fact, I don't remember seeing an invitation to them at all although I could have missed it.

In my opinion, the author did a good job though of pointing out various Scriptures that imply we are no longer under the Old Covenant system but didn’t focus as much about pointing out that God puts certain laws on people’s hearts and minds, even if they come from the Old Covenant. This book also did a good job of showing me that Jesus did not continually make sacrifices like some people did in the Old Testament, and that his death was the first and only sacrifice that he made. It also introduced the idea to me that we shouldn’t need to search through the dark for God’s will for our lives and that God’s will is not about where we are but what (or who) we bring with us.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars because on one hand it seems like it could be offensive to Jewish people and on the other hand there is some truth to what the author says in other areas. I would gladly loan my copy of this book to any Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus) I know to see how the information taught in this book is taken by them. If they tell me it wouldn't be offensive to Jewish people I might be inclined to reread this book and review it again at another time.

I received this book free from Baker Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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