Moving In The Apostolic: How To Bring The Kingdom Of Heaven To Earth, by John Eckhardt
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Have you ever known a kid, usually a boy around the ages of ten to twelve, who openly expressed meglomaniacal desires for power and seemed entirely unaware of how immature and inappropriate his enthusiasm for the powers he wanted were? I have known such children, and perhaps I may have been such a child myself, and as ridiculous as one finds the power fantasy, one cannot exactly hate or be too angry at the child for expressing it because of the sincerity and honesty of the wish and the knowledge that such a thing would never happen. That is precisely the way I feel about this book and the similar pronouncements of the author here in this second edition of a work that has been quite popular within the Pentecostal community. I cannot say that this book is a good book and there is a lot that I would disagree with in particular about the author’s view of apostolic authority in the contemporary church , but there is something winsome and innocent and even naive about the author and his open transparency about what he is about that is worthy of respect even with intense disagreement.
In terms of its contents, this book is made up of ten chapters that total a bit less than 200 pages. Each of the chapters discusses something about apostleship. In its structure, the author uses a fairly rigidly deductive approach in that he has some premises and then draws conclusions and inferences from those premises. His main premise here is that the Church has suffered because of a lack of attention to the continued importance of the apostolic office, a lack he is willing to remedy as a self-appointed apostle. This book is full of assuming facts not in evidence (including the ideal of apostolic authority existing beyond the first century) in the face of silence concerning any sort of replacement of dead apostles during the first century church. The author over and over again talks about power and the desire to cast out demons, the expectation of opposition to his message, and beliefs about hierarchical ranks within the church with apostles at the top. Little to be found is any kind of discussion about copying the beliefs and doctrines of the early church, aside from some vague statements about the need to be doctrinally sound (according to whom?) that lack any kind of biblical specificity. No, this author is all about having the power to heal diseases and engage in flamboyantly public spiritual warfare and affect the course of nations, with legions of subordinate leaders anointed by him to spread his glory and help him create a spiritual empire, with wealth and recognition flowing in despite the opposition and conflict resulting from his message and his leadership. And given the fact that this book has multiple editions, it is a message that has certainly resonated with some readers.
In looking at this book as a whole, despite my disagreements with the author and his position, his anti-biblical and anti-intellectual approach, his uncharitable desire to cause division within other churches in order to bolster his own charismatic church planting efforts, and so on, I find that there is much to appreciate in the author’s bluntness and directness. This is not a book being written to me as an outsider, and not necessarily a very friendly one, of Pentecostal Christianity . Nevertheless, this book is an important one in showing the reasons for the proliferation of nondenominational charismatic churches around the United States (and possibly other countries as well) and the specific appeal of Pentecost to this grouping. Like Simon Magus, these would-be apostles see the power of the Holy Spirit and want that power for themselves. There is no heartfelt desire to repent, to change their ways and start obeying the commandments and laws and statutes of the Bible, but rather a desire to be powerful like the apostles are, and to be counted among their number. Few books are as open and honest as this one is in expressing that desire for power, even if what it seeks is not admirable or godly.
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