Book Review: These Are The Days Of Elijah

These Are The Days Of Elijah: How God Uses Ordinary People To Do Extraordinary Things, by R.T. Kendall

[Note: This book was received for free from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.]

As someone who has written and thought about the relevance of Elijah to my own life [1], I wondered whether this book would add depth to my own understanding of Elijah. What I found in this particular and mostly encouraging little book (less than 200 pages) was not a great deal of scholarly depth, but rather an approach that seeks to humble the arrogant and encourage those who might think of themselves too modestly to be avenues for God’s glory in a wicked world. This book is likely to appeal most to those who enjoy a chatty but not entirely well-informed author to those who are seeking scholarly depth. There is a time and place for friendly chattiness, though, and no one ought to look down on it.

Make no mistake that this author has some seriously wrong ideas about aspects of the story of Elijah [2]. Among the most intriguing is that after discussing nearly every mention of Elijah in the Bible that one particular story is omitted, strictly the letter that he wrote after his chariot ride into the first heaven (the atmosphere) and his relocation somewhere else. There are reasons why this story is omitted, mostly because it contradicts his mistaken ideas. That said, the blunt honesty and friendliness of the author is such that even if his faults cannot be entirely excused, they do not remove all worth from this book as a source of encouragement to those who will read in this book an appreciation of Elijah as an honest man who struggled with many problems that I am all too familiar with personally. The author makes some very thoughtful comments on such matters as depression and its frequent roots in child abuse, something I know all too well. The presence of both error as well as a large amount of personal matters and internecine Protestant squabbles does not make this book worthless, but it does make this work clearly a personal one rather than a scholarly one.

That is not necessarily a bad thing. We do live in a world that is deeply morally corrupt and in need of people who are willing to be honest and sincere both about their humanity as well as whatever God-given insight they possess. People who are ordinary, and even more than a little flawed, need to know that God does not demand perfection of us before (or after) He starts working with us, but rather He demands commitment to doing our best and growing and overcoming by His strength and not our own. Any wisdom or strength that we possess in spiritual matters is due to God’s grace and mercy and is not something we can claim personal credit for. Particularly useful in this book is the examination of the difference between demonic oppression (which I know a fair amount about) and demonic possession (which I never want to know about) as well as the three states of any new relationsihp: vaneer (where everything appears good), disappointment (where problems appear and people often respond harshly to real or perceived faults), and reality (where people appreciate the imperfect but real understanding of the other). This book has a lot to offer, even given its occasional flaws, and the fact that it reads as a chatty and personal work makes it appealing given its honest and sincere imperfections. I can give it no higher compliment than to say that the spirit and approach of this particular book is similar to much of my own personal writing, and if that is good enough of a recommendation for you, then it will be an enjoyable enough read despite its flaws.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/i-am-no-better-than-my-fathers/

[2] Included among these mistaken ideas is the belief that Elijah’s frustration at being no better than his fathers was an edogistical desire to be the best person of all time rather than reflecting his unsuccessful desire to have led Israel to loyal and faithful obedience to God, a vastly more charitable motive. Likewise, the author has mistaken beliefs in once saved always saved, the afterlife, and Elijah’s supposed trip to heaven, which no man (save the Son of Man who came from heave and is in heaven) has ascended to.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Book Review: These Are The Days Of Elijah

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