Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
RAR 8:2 (Spring 1999) p. 179
Surprised By The Voice Of God: How God Speaks Today Through Prophecies, Dreams And Visions, Jack Deere. Grand Rapids: Zondervan (1996). 384 pages, cloth, $24.95.
I must confess no small amount of weariness in reading this book. One cannot read Deere without seeing his concern for Christians to experience real spiritual growth. He genuinely wants to see the church undergo revival—but then so do a lot of people who do not share Deere’s charismatic avidity. I reviewed Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit in Reformation & Revival Journal (Vol. 4, No. 1, Winter 1995) and have since corresponded with Dr. Deere in the hope that some of our differences could be addressed. In my earlier review, I took sharp issue with how Deere portrayed non-charismatics as having not only bad doctrine (in his opinion) but also serious moral and spiritual problems. Deere continues exhibiting this trait in his most recent book. Evangelicals unsympathetic with Deere’s charismatic claims are again depicted as being proud (pp. 236, 239, 255, 256, 268, 308, 317), decidedly unspiritual (people who simply don’t love God enough; p. 215), inflicted with a deistic mind-set (pp. 251–69) and, in most cases, having a warped allegiance to the Reformers (p. 249), which to Deere’s turgid way of seeing things makes them the theological heirs of the Pharisees (p. 28).
Theologically (pharisaically?) speaking, the chief weakness
RAR 8:2 (Spring 1999) p. 180
in Deere’s books, in my opinion, is that according to Deere Scripture is insufficient for one’s Christian life (pp. 252–54). This theme appeared in the first book and is repeatedly played in the second as well (pp. 67–68, 112, 268, 327). No one, Deere never tires of telling us, can live an acceptable and meaningful Christian life merely by relying on Scripture and the other traditional means of grace. Those who do, demonstrate a perfidious faith, and are in fact guilty of dishonesty in their handling of Scripture (pp. 256–57) and, no doubt, have some ugly sin hiding somewhere in the deep recesses of their souls (p. 317).
Deere argues, in a way that leaves me gasping for breath, that since Jesus heard the voice of God (audibly) then so should we.
What do we have in common with Jesus, the apostles, Stephen, Philip, Agabus and other New Testament prophets, and all the charismatically gifted believers in the New Testament churches like those at Corinth, Rome, Ephesus, Thessalonica, and elsewhere? According to the apostles, what we share with them is the very same power that gave them the supernatural ability to hear God and work miracles (p. 47).
It is hard to believe one’s eyes here. D...
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