Rekindle The Altar Fire: Making A Place For God’s Presence, by Chuck D. Pierce and Alemu Beeftu
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
How important is an altar fire in the Bible? This book is so intent on the altar fire that one wonders if the authors do not have their own literal replica alters in their homes. This extended metaphor is certainly an interesting one and makes for an interesting book, but there are definitely a few things that the authors have not considered in their subject matter. For one, their intense focus on the home altar and its importance to believers as the effect of arguing for a priesthood of all believers without using the term, by turning ordinary decisions of people into decisions that have the air of priesthood about them. This decision has multiple consequences, in that the author’s focus on Bethel and on personal altars fails to mention the sin of Jeroboam in changing holy dates and times as well as putting people into the priesthood who were not Levites, which is similar to the authors’ own point of view. Similarly, the authors’ focus also resembles that of the Pharisees with their attempt to usurp the prerogative of the priesthood during the time of Christ. Being compared with legendary sinners in Jeroboam and the Pharisees ought to give one a sense of pause.
This book is about 200 pages with fourteen chapters. The authors begin with a discussion of why altars are important (1). This leads to a look at the fire for salvation and revival (2) as well as defining the altar of God (3). After this there is a discussion of how to protect the altar from ruin (4) as well as the building of the altar of worship (5) and overthrowing false altars (6). After that the author talks about making the altar a priority (7), keeping the home fire burning (8), repenting when one has lost one’s way (9), and asking God to return the fire to the altar (10). After this comes the authors’ attempts to understand God’s kingdom (11), rekindle one’s prayer fire (12), decree using bold prayers (13), and a final reminder to keep the home fires burning (14) as if one was a priest of one’s home altar, which appears to be a main point of the authors.
Even so, this book, for all of its sins of omission in not mentioning key elements of the altar and the priesthood that would cut against the authors’ points, is certainly an interesting point. Indeed, the authors’ awareness of the history of the sacrificial system is quite extensive and worthwhile as reading material even given the book’s shortcomings. And even with the book’s omissions, it does make for worthwhile thought provoking material. And that is good enough to get at least some recommendation from me. I liked this book more than this review might seem to indicate, because I think the subject matter is genuinely interesting. Likewise, the authors have a lot to say that is interesting about their own travel to places with heathen ancient altars and their experience with the heathen altars of the contemporary world. These are interesting areas of study, and many of us have traveled both to ancient cities that had holy sites dedicated to false gods as well as places where false gods are worshipped at present, and if one has beliefs that are similar to those of the authors, one is going to want to compare this false worship with genuine biblical worship, so there is some value here in what the authors have to say even if the authors do not make enough clear enough.