Lucas R. Leach and Ashley J. Leach. The Guide to Life: An Inspiration from the Bible. Revival Waves of Glory Books & Publishing, 2016. See here to buy the book.
Lucas Leach has a B.S. in environmental science, served as a Marine in Iraq, is an evangelist, and created the web site http://www.christlegions.com. His wife, Ashley, has a B.A. in English and a certificate in Biblical counseling.
Here are some of my thoughts about the book:
A. The book reflects the sort of Christianity that believes in generational curses, spiritual warfare against demons, the possibility that demons can influence believers if they are not careful, and the authority of believers to heal, raise the dead, and cast out demons. This book attempted to support these positions with Scriptures, yet left some questions unanswered. If believers were to continually possess the authority to heal, for example, why did Paul leave Trophimus sick at Miletus (II Timothy 2:40)? And, in making this point, I do acknowledge that cessationists have their own share of questions to answer. The Leaches refer to John 14:12, in which Jesus affirms that believers will be able to do the works that Jesus did, and more. Cessationist attempts to explain that verse have not satisfied me.
B. The Leaches make the point that believers do not have to pray to heal or cast out demons. We don’t read about the disciples praying before healing or casting out demons, right? They just did it, because Jesus gave them the authority! The Leaches address Acts 9:40, in which Peter prays before raising Tabitha from the dead: they say that Peter was praying for faith, even though the text does not explicitly say that. They also leave unaddressed Jesus’ point in Mark 9:29 that some demons can only come out through prayer. Still, it is odd that we see little in the Gospels about the disciples praying before healing or casting out demons. Maybe Jesus’ all night prayers took care of that, or the disciples’ prayers after Jesus’ resurrection.
C. The book seems to waver between believing in a God who cuts people slack, does not expect them to be perfect, has eliminated the curse of the law and now disciplines rather than punishes believers, and saves sleeping believers, and a God who condemns disobedient, unrepentant Christians to hell. Maybe the Leaches hold these things together in their own minds, in some way. It’s not impossible to do, I suppose. Still, it seemed that the Chapter 2 was saying that sleeping believers (who fail to repent?) go to hell and then go to heaven, whereas Chapter 3 (and much of the rest of the book) was arguing strongly against once-saved-always-saved.
By the way, the argument in Chapter 2 was pretty bad: it was interpreting the sleep of death in I Corinthians 15:18 and I Thessalonians 4:14 as spiritual sleep (the type in Romans 13:11-14). The arguments in Chapter 4 were all right, overall. The Leaches maintain that, when Jesus says that no one will be able to snatch his followers from his hand (John 10:27-29), he is talking about his obedient followers, and there may be something to that. They also argue that the exorcists who say “Lord, Lord” yet fail to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21-23) were initially saved, otherwise they would not have been able to cast out demons. That, I think, is jumping to conclusions. Did not Jesus say that the Pharisees who criticized him cast out demons (Matthew 12:27)?
D. The Leaches do well to acknowledge biblical passages that say that God does not hear certain prayers, due to certain sins (i.e., not hearing the cry of the poor). Those are not comfortable or reassuring passages, but they are in the Bible, and those who believe in the Bible should deal with them somehow. At the same time, the Leaches also should have addressed God’s faithfulness to and use of imperfect people, such as the disciples, who had their share of pride and strife.
E. There were edifying features in the book. The Leaches talked about what covetousness is and is not, and that spoke to me, since I am dealing with my share of jealousy. Ashley’s stories were especially good. I liked her story about an old man who went to a coffee shop where she was a waitress, and he had tried to make up for his own unfaithfulness to his wife by giving her shopping money. The story’s point was that we cannot earn salvation, and Ashley acknowledged that she, too, sinned. The Leaches’ picture of God’s quickness to forgive, in contrast with society’s punishments, was also effective.
F. The book seems to suggest that God’s healing will eliminate the need for anti-depressant medications. Maybe the Leaches are just saying that this is what happened to them and people they know, but I am leery about messages that may encourage people to give up on needed medication.
G. The book perhaps could have gone more deeply into how one can overcome deeply-ingrained sin. In my opinion, repentance alone is insufficient, for a person can say he or she is sorry to God and still have propensities towards sinful, or just human, attitudes. The book tried to address this, on some level, but it could have gone deeper.
H. The book needs editing. Some parts were well-written. Other parts, not so much.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Bookcrash. My review is honest!