Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Final Quest: A Blessing in the Midst of Controversy

I have been considering the controversial nature of some of God's people. Isn't it interesting that His people throughout history have been often embroiled in great controversy. Some people love them and some people hate them. The prophets in the Scriptures were often abused, jailed, and even killed in the midst of such controversy.

I can truly think of no more controversial person in history than Jesus of Nazareth. This One who so impacted history that even history itself is delineated by reference to Him (B.C. & A.D.). Jesus confronted the religious people of the day and turned the tables at the temple. Jesus was then and still is very controversial.

That said, I realize that somebody being controversial, is not therefore justified by being in such a state - the controversy it self does not prove that they are in the right. There are others throughout history who have been controversial but not in such ways as those of Jesus or the prophets.

Matthew 5:11-12
5:11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:26
"Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

These two statements of Jesus should remind us to keep a tight reign upon our mouths, lest we take part in persecution which may in fact be unjust.

All that was introduction to this controversial subject.

I seem to find myself in the midst of a controversial conundrum of sorts. My background with the more charismatic side of Christianity and my being impacted by reformed theology have stirred up fairly unusual mix as far as Christianity goes. Basically I'm a mut... In the midst of my "mut"ness I find myself not always fitting in (not that one has to always fit in: God seems to have displayed His enjoyment of diversity in its vast display throughout His creation).

So here I go with what will most likely be a very controversial book recommendation.

I have just finished reading The Final Quest, by Rick Joyner (for at least the 3rd time). I have read it's sequel, The Call, a few times and am about to dive into it again. These books have had tremendous and very positive impact upon me in several ways. These books have had a drastic impact on my understanding of humility and the spiritual war - called life. Though I will not now (for sake of time) go into further detail as to what I have gleaned from these books I can say that it is unusual for me to revisit a book for a third time unless I find it very beneficial.

So why is this so controversial? The author is from a charismatic background. He relays, admittedly to his best recollection, several dreams and visions he experienced. The focus of these dreams and visions highlight the Christian life and the spiritual battle that Christians are involved in.

In certain circles of Christianity dreams and visions are looked upon with great scepticism. In the defense of those who carry this scepticism, I would certainly agree there has been an overabundance of abuse of such things. However, just because there has been abuse does not negate any possibility that there may in fact be God given dreams and visions (as is displayed in both the Old and New Testaments). Just because there are counterfeit twenty dollar bills does not negate the fact that there are genuine twenty dollar bills.

To Christianity's great shame, it is not very difficult to find someone who is saying (or writing) something negative about almost anybody. This should not be the case. That said, a doctrinal issue may be addressed with love while the individual propounding such an issue is treated with all due love and respect.

All things considered I gladly give these books my highest recommendation. These books may push you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it is very good to be pushed outside of comfort zones.


mwh said...

Thanks for sharing this Ben. I can really sympathize with you concerning the distastefulness of controversy, the feeling of being an outside, and the sickness that comes from watching brothers and sisters in Christ bash each other over doctrinal differences. Lamentable!

I've not read any of Joyner's books, but I've heard about them. I know they're controversial, but you can't judge a book by what other people say about it. I liked what you said about the $20 bills--a doctrine, position, movement, etc... shouldn't be judged by it's most extreme, fringe aberrations. Even Jonathan Edwards argued this during the first Great Awakening.

Thanks again. I've been out of the blogosphere for a week or so, so I'm behind on reading your posts. I'm catching up today.

cgl said...

I will take you up on the offer to borrow the one you aren't reading. If you found it intriguing enough to read it three times, I would like to read it.

Unbreakable Joy said...

I just stumbled onto a blog post by Sam Storms about influential books. Storms had this comment to say about The Final Quest:

"The Final Quest by Rick Joyner. Few non-charismatics will have read this book (and that’s o.k.), but its impact on the Pentecostal, charismatic, and third-wave world has been incalculable."

found at: