The Last Days of God’s Temple, AD 70: Great review of Chronicles of the Apocalypse. Even better podcast interview.

This is one of the best book reviews of my novel series Chronicles of the Apocalypse.

The reason is because the reviewer, Jerry Bower, is both responsibly knowledgeable on the material AND read all the books.

PLEASE note, that the podcast link at the bottom of the page is even better than the review and one of the BEST interviews on the series ever. We talk about the historical event of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, Josephus, the origin of the book of Revelation, 666, various interpretations of the end times and how they fail, false prophets of today, but also the supernatural dimension of the unseen realm as described by scholar Michael S. Heiser. I explain how I incorporate Heiser’s divine council and Watcher paradigm and how it fits into Revelation in the first century.

Read the review here.

(And don’t forget to click the link at the bottom of the review to listen to the podcast)

If you want to go straight to the podcast online to listen, click here.

Book of Revelation Scholar Endorses My Chronicles of the Apocalypse Novel Series!

Kenneth Gentry, a significant scholar of eschatology and the book of Revelation endorsed my Chronicles of the Apocalypse.

See what he wrote here.

This is significant, because he is coming out with a commentary on the Book of Revelation THIS YEAR called “The Divorce of Israel.”

It is a game-changer on Bible prophecy and Revelation. I am not exaggerating.

It was Gentry’s scholarship that opened my eyes to the eschatological viewpoint in my novel series. And I footnote him a lot in my novels from that new commentary because he gave me an advance copy of it to read.

His books on the subject are already classics. Check out “The Beast of Revelation,” “Before Jerusalem Fell,” “The Book of Revelation Made Easy” and others at www.kennethgentry.com

His blog post on my series.

 

Book Review: Rock Gets Religion-The Battle for the Soul of the Devil’s Music

Mark Joseph’s fascinating third book in a trilogy about the difficult and oftentimes damaging relationship of Christian musicians with the worlds of mainstream secular music and Christian music.

I’m a friend and colleague of Mark Joseph, so when he asked me to read his book and give an honest review, I was a bit worried. I’m always worried in these cases because I face a potential conflict: If the book is good, no problem. If the book is bad (or worse, boring), I won’t lie and say it’s good. I owe that to God, the writer, and the public. But if that’s the case, then I worry about my relationship with my friend whose book I’ve just trashed.

So I just pray that it’s good and hope that they prefer honesty to boot-licking.

Whew. Rock Gets Religionis not only good, it’s excellent. It’s a well told tale, or rather an episodic series of entertaining tales about some of the most popular musicians in mainstream music and their struggles with integrating their Christian faith or background into their music.

We’re talking the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lacrae, Chance the Rapper, Megadeath’s Dave Mustaine, Kendrick Lamar, Avril Lavigne, Kay Perry, Miley Cyrus and others.

That’s right, fascinating details about the spiritual journeys of some who I never realized were Christians, and others who have, shall we say, somewhat altered their beliefs after becoming famous.

But there are also many insightful stories about so-called cross-over artists who were able to bridge the gap into the mainstream with their music despite their explicit “Christian” expression: Mercy Me, Switchfoot, Stacie Orrico, Evanescence, Mumford & Sons, The Fray and others.

Full disclosure, I was raised on the original Christian Rock of the 1970s and early 80s: Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, DeGarmo and Key, Stryper, Daniel Amos, Steve Taylor. But I lost interest in that world in the 90s and have not kept up with any Christian music beyond the popular worship songs that show up at my church. I saw some of the changes going on but I just haven’t cared much about it. Not for any spiritual reason. I just changed in my musical interests.

But what I found fascinating about Rock Gets Religionwas how author Joseph chronicles the very important philosophical/religious/moral struggle that artists go through in bridging those worlds of faith and music.

Sure, he addresses the moral fall that so often accompanies the consequences of success within the mainstream world of secular entertainment. And the all-too-common loss of faith exhibited be some of those very artists listed above.

But more importantly, this book wrestles with the philosophical struggle of what it means to integrate your Christian faith into your art, without being compromising or propagandistic. Every Christian artist knows this struggle.

One quote sums up the insightful exploration of this generational struggle well: Continue reading

Check out this Thrilling First-Century Epic & Meet the Apostle John on Patmos

I have to say I am truly humbled by this review of my newest book Remnant: Rescue of the Elect.

It is written by Kevin Ott at Rockin’ God’s House.

Here is a quote from him: “you get an intensely vivid sense for what it would have been like to be a Christian in the mad house that was the first century.”

You think we’re in a madhouse now? You have no idea. First century Roman empire led the Great Tribulation.

Check out what Kevin said about the novel, and the series!

Read it here.

 

American Gods: Secular Man Still Worships & the Gods are Crazy

The Starz network series, American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s horror novel is a supernatural story of the “old gods” who immigrated to America with various people groups rising up in war against the new gods of technology and culture that now rule our society.

It’s a great creative idea that in some ways reflects what I have been doing in my own universe of fictional writing. So I was naturally fascinated by the premise.

Unfortunately, it turns out to be a great idea gone bad. A mixed bag of profound spiritual wisdom and depraved humanist blasphemy.

Disenchantment

American Gods focuses on a convict, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), just released from prison only to discover his wife, Laura (Emily Browning), and his best friend died in a car accident while in an adulterous affair. On his way to the funeral, Shadow meets a peculiar old man, named Wednesday (Ian McShane), who hires him as a bodyguard of sorts. Shadow soon discovers that Wednesday claims to be a chief of the old gods who once laid claim to America through those who found their way here in the past, willingly or not. And we see vignettes in each episode of these gods arriving on America’s virgin shores—or really, raped shores. Odin with the Vikings, Bilquis and Anubis with some of the slaves, a Leprechaun with the Irish, Jinn with Muslims and others. In the story, these are real beings with real, though limited supernatural powers.

It’s a common fantasy theme about the “disenchantment” of the natural world that science and technology creates in modernity. The “old gods” represent the sense of wonder that the ancients had of the life in a world interpreted as containing a goddess of spring, a god of storm, a goddess of sex, and so on. In modernity, and in this story, these gods have become like neglected elderly homeless who scrounge around in lives of squalor as the new gods of technology, like “Media,” “Technical Boy,” and others occupy us with obsessive entertainment and electronic diversion that amounts to sacred devotion to the profane. We’ve lost the “magic” and “wonder” of life. We think we’ve become enlightened and put behind us the ignorance of religion, but we remain decidedly religious creatures who worship new gods under the guise of secularism. The goddess Media sometimes appears as Lucille Ball, sometimes as Marilyn Monroe, icons of worship no less religious than Bilquis the old god of sexuality who calls upon her sexual partners to verbalize worship to her as they engage in sex with her.

Spiritual Profundity

And that is the brilliance of the story, as in the original book by the same title (Although in this case, the show is better than the book). It brings alive a profound truth that modern secular man seeks to deny, namely that secular modernity is just as much a culture of religious worship as the old world. We humans are homo religicus, worshipping beings. And the world of media that traffics in narrative imagination is just as much an artificial creation of the human craving for the transcendent as are the religions of old. We have replaced one mythology with another mythology and mistaken the latter as progress.

Ah, but therein lies the rub… Continue reading

Dragon King: 1st Place Winner Multicultural Fiction 2016 Best Book Awards

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I know, I know, it’s almost an insult to be in a “multicultural” category, since that is usually about identity politics.

But not in this case. Trust me.

The story is an East meets West historical fantasy about a Greek warrior meeting the first emperor of China.

The Greek’s secret reason is because he’s heard there are dragons in the mysterious East. But what he finds is even more dangerous.

It is a clash of kingdoms. But there is a higher kingdom that both East and West are inferior to.

Check out the novel here on Amazon.

And here for iBooks, Kobo, Nook and others.

 

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Last Days in the Desert: Boring Arthouse Existentialist Satan Jesus

Ewan McGregor as Jesus

A eatureictional drama of Jesus during his 40-day fast in the desert. He meets a family with one male son and a sick dying wife, and makes a wager with the devil to try to help them through their family problems. Starring Ewan McGregor as Jesus and Ewan McGregor as Satan.

In my book Hollywood Worldviews I write about how the depictions of Jesus in movies throughout the decades often reflect the zeitgeist of the era. I wrote: “A survey of the portrayal of Jesus in the movies yields an interesting mixture of both historical and mythical, human and divine, sinner and saint. In fact, one might say that the history of Jesus in the movies is precisely a history of the theological struggle between Christ’s identity as God and his identity as man.”

A Jesus by any other name

In HW, I called the Jesuses of the movies by their social constructs as depicted in the films:

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965): Leonardo-DaVinci’s-humanistic-Renaissance Jesus.
King of Kings (1961): Youthful-blue-eyed-Aryan-WASP-moviestar Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977): Hypnotic-eyed-possibly-drug-addict-Jesus-who-never-blinks.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1972): 70s-nonviolent-peace-demonstrator scapegoat-for-the-military-industrial-complex Rock n Roll Messiah.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1982): Confused-epileptic-temper-tantrum-sinner Jesus.
The Gospel of Matthew (1995): Smiley-faced-California-surfer-dude Jesus.
Jesus: The Epic Miniseries (2000): Politically-correct-lovey-dovey-pacifist-television Jesus.
Judas (TV 2004): Dr.-Phil-Scooby-Doo-Shaggy-Malibu Jesus.

Look, I realize how impossible it is to portray the God-man in any way that everyone will approve of. That ain’t gonna happen. (It would take a – a miracle! And then most people wouldn’t believe it anyway)

My definition of the Jesus of The Last Days in the Desert as being a “Boring-Arthouse-Existentialist Jesus” is certainly no disappointment with the very weighty performance of McGregor (The Satan part is addressed later). His acting was profound and very human. He really brought it with this portrayal of Jesus being tempted by the lust, the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life without being a sinner. Fair enough. A Jesus who, like many holy men, fasts in order to draw close to the God he feels out of touch with. A Jesus who wrestles with existentialist issues of presence and purpose, most akin to the Gethsemane scene of the dual natures in conflict.

Or is it?

The director, Rodrigo Garcia, who claims to not be a Christian, said that he could only understand Jesus’ human side. He questioned how could one portray the divine side anyway? Again, fair enough. At least he didn’t try to subvert Jesus into his opposite like the most recent abominable Noah and Exodus movies do with God and their human heroes.

Or did he? Continue reading