Relentless by John Bevere
While it can be said that author John Bevere is relentlessly upbeat and nearly breathless in building a case for his premise, ultimately the book falls short of his objective. He says in the first chapter, “how we ‘finish’ is more important than how we ‘begin’” and the proceeds to propose a life in which we are to be in control of all of life’s events such that we arrive at the end of a life “well lived.” The trouble is that throughout the book, the sovereignty of God is abrogated to the will of man.
Bevere is relentless is promoting the idea that if we just have more faith, we won’t sin, we won’t suffer and we won’t do without the riches of this world. Yet we do sin, we do suffer, we do live in poverty, despite our faith. Are we not relentless enough? Or, do we live in the shadow of the Fall, in a corrupted world and corrupted bodies and continue to endure the consequences of the fateful decision in the Garden? Despite our relentless prayer, unending faith and our close abiding in the Lord, loved ones still dies, we continue to get life-changing diagnosis, people still walk into movie theaters and commit unspeakable atrocities.
If the author’s promises were rooted in the sound handling of the Scriptures, my troubles with the book would be muted. When he relates experiences of miraculous healing by claiming a particular verse and having sufficient faith, I think that he does the kingdom a disservice. Claiming Isaiah 53:4-5 as having to do with physical healing reflects an improper handling of the scriptures. This passage has to do with redemption through Christ; to claim it guarantees physical repair is inappropriate and leads believers down a false path driven by their own desires, not those of the Lord.
Casual readers of Relentless will be encouraged. Their faith will be challenged and, when the desired healing, riches, etc. don’t appear, the book will tell them that the faith they have is not strong enough. In the same way, Bevere states that a sinless perfection is possible in this life is one is just relentless in their faith. Worse off is the one who continues to have sin in their life. To them Bevere suggests that their very salvation is in question. At that point, I would have to say that I can’t recommend this book.
I’m grateful to WaterBrook Press who provided this volume for review.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor 2:9)
The latest by John Bevere, Extraordinary, takes off in a flash from that fundamental truth and winds through 200+ pages of confrontation and encouragement demanding that the Christian see the gift of grace as more than just fire insurance. Believers empowered by the Holy Spirit were not meant just to be saved in order to hang on by their fingertips until the end. Bevere exhorts the reader on every page to realize that they were redeemed for extraordinary purposes and that all of the power needed for this new life has been vested in them by their Redeemer. The question that is unspoken but living on every page is, why? Why are we willing to settle for the ordinary when the remarkable is within our grasp?
Extraordinary is a collection of short chapters, each touching on a specific area of Christian living. Bevere has an urgency to his writing as though he can’t wait to get the next thought down on the page and you sense this as you read. You can’t wait to see how a thought plays out and then you stop, confronted by the truth of the Scriptures that you have either passed over or conveniently set aside. More than once in each chapter I found myself opening my Bible to the verse or passage referenced and finding a new truth revealed.
Island Man and Christ’s continued question “Where is your faith?” are just two of the illustrations that will cause you to stop reading and consider your own life. So many of us have taken the promises of Jesus into our heads but they have not made their way into our hearts. He promised life-altering, world-changing, universe-shaking power through the Spirit and yet, we more often than not live as thought these promises were only for the Disciples or for a class of super-Christians alone in their monastic retreats. Bevere’s voice jumps from the page to grab you and shake your complacency away, cajoling and coaching you to take this power seriously and to live a life worthy of the sacrifice made on your behalf. Unlike the Island Man, we need to grasp the potential of what we’ve been given.
Don’t miss Extraordinary. You will be able to read it quickly but you will soon find yourself going back with your pencil to mark certain pages and sentences. Your bible will get a workout as well as you find new truths and see familiar ones in a new light. All of this will be wasted though if you just read the book. As St. James said of the truths in the Scriptures, “it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself.” Read and then act.
For more information about this book, Extraordinary.