Book Review: Escaping The Great Deception

Escaping The Great Deception, by Derick Frank with Françoise Frank

I was loaned this book by some friends of mine who found themselves highly in agreement with the book’s material with some minor exceptions.  I must admit that I found more to question within the book, but at the same time the book was a good one overall, dealing with the tricky subject of anti-Semitism within Christian church culture [1].  This book is a case where an author has a good idea but he hasn’t done quite enough research to fully defend his thesis or to place it in its proper historical context and where he lacks the sort of biblical knowledge to make this a truly excellent and monumental book.  As it is, this book gets most things right, but somewhat by “luck” instead of by firm knowledge.  Even so, there is much to approve of and appreciate here, as the author shows himself to be a staunch foe of replacement theology, and that is definitely something to appreciate.  Given that the book is so short and mostly on point, this is a book to recommend with some reservations (see below) but generally a book to appreciate.

This book is somewhat strangely organized.  It contains six chapters and five appendices that are bizarrely labeled as “footnotes,” perhaps because the authors seem not to be very familiar with the naming conventions of books.  At any rate, the six chapters in the book refer to a vision that the author claims to have had (1), a situation where the vision was put to the test in looking at the history of the Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformation (2), and the author’s attempt to penetrate what he calls the great deception (3).  After this the author seeks to sow the seeds of truth (4), protect and nurture the truth (5), and prepare for the harvest of righteousness when Jews finally believe in their Savior (6).  The five appendices of the books examine the problems with replacement theology (1), why Jesus hasn’t fulfilled everything yet (2), what happened to the law (3), who the land of Israel belongs to (4), and the need for repentance (5).  The author seems like someone who wants to have a ministry and has the germ of a good idea but needs both a deeper understanding of biblical law and a better understanding of Church History to really drive that point home.

Unsurprisingly, it is precisely these two areas where the book loses a little bit of its luster.  For one, the author appears unable to address the proper place of the law.  He wants to show himself obedient to the law as it is interpreted by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, itself a very noble and worthwhile goal, but there is too much of the influence of Hellenistic antinomian language for him to express himself well-enough.  And indeed it is that Hellenistic Christianity that represents the “great deception” that the author laments but does not quite know how to define.  We see in this Hellenistic Christianity a consistent hostility to Judaism, something which shows up as early as the late first and early second century AD among those who professed Christianity in the proto-Orthodox tradition.  The author wants to point to later developments alone, but one can find this tendency in the writings of Ignatius, Barnabas, and others from only a generation or two removed from the Apostles.  Anti-Semitism crept in rather early in the history of the Church and the author would do well to do a bit more research into this subject.  That said, the book gets most things right and is at least aiming generally in the right direction, and that is worth a lot.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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