Competently composed mini sermons mix with inspiring personal experience in a book that aims to redirect Christians toward the right path.
Rene Bates believes he understands why Christian churches have failed in their duty: because their leaders “seek to be educated and highly trained, but … haven’t been with Jesus.” In God’s Glory and the Exhortation, Bates says he has had various experiences of contact with God and his messengers, and the author states that “it’s time to know Him, not simply know about Him.”
Bates’s own religious conversion began with situations in which he believes God personally reached out to him. For example, he says that he saw his dying mother’s spirit leave her body and go to God. Some of the book’s fifty-six chapters involve signs of God in his life both before his conversion and after he was saved, including meetings with people he believes were agents of the Almighty, if not Jesus himself.
Some chapters are like sermons in which Bates explains long passages from the Bible. He believes he has been given true insight into modern Christianity, and he exhibits particular animus toward “false churches” that are “loveless, corrupt, compromising, lukewarm and dead.” He asserts that modern preachers are for the most part “religionists” who will say or do anything to keep their congregations happy and their salaries rolling in. Jesus, he asserts, “left religionists and went to sinners,” and Bates reminds readers that the way to Jesus is “the way of tears,” not pleasant feelings. In a “letter” toward the end of the book, he advises, simply, “Don’t try to lead, just follow.”
Mixing personal stories with scripture-based exhortations, Bates seeks to inform others of his philosophy, arguing that “it could change the way you view present day Christianity.” However, his text is repetitive and is based on inspiration rather than a well-organized set of ideas. One instantly grasps his central theme—the modern church, in the grip of prideful leaders, has taken a wrong turn.
This attractive hardcover book was written, according to the dust jacket, “after sixteen years of praying, waiting and listening”; a companion volume has been written but not published. Bates writes competently, and his book possesses only occasional typos.
In God’s Glory and the Exhortation, the author has a message he sincerely wishes to share. His message will resonate most with those who already share his point of view.
Barbara Bamberger Scott
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