In exchange for my honest review, Booksneeze gave me a complimentary copy of The Final Summit by Andy Andrews. All I can say is that this review is definitely going to be honest and I'm glad I didn't pay money for the book. .
Books like this are a growing problem in so called "Christian" literature and I was disappointed to see how many reviewers on Amazon gave the book a glowing report. I was also surprised to see how many well-known Christian media personalities endorsed this book. Where was their spiritual discernment?
Plot: David Ponder returns in this sequel of The Traveler's Gift. He is whisked away by the Archangel Gabriel to a meeting hall ( somewhere in heaven) where he meets other 'travelers.' They are assembled here to save humanity from God's wrath and the subsequent end of the world. They can only do so by correctly answering a question: What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?"
The time travelers get five chances to answer the question before earth meets its doom in the same manner it did when the flood destroyed the earth in Noah's time.
Ok, already spiritual red flags should be popping up in your head. Did you catch the first theological blunder? What must humanity do? The time travelers-which include famous historical figures such as Winston Churchill, who's portrayed as a buffoonish hot head, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, King David and George Washington Carver, each come up with their humanistic solution to save mankind.
Did you catch the second theological blunder? King David, a man after God's own heart informs people that all we need is self discipline. Really? Why'd he bother writing Psalm 51? Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right Spirit in me.. Others give equally self-saving answers 'restore hope,' 'seek wisdom' etc..
In the end (SPOILER ALERT) all their answers were wrong, or rather they were part of the right answer. Guess what the answer that will save humanity from God's wrath is? Go ahead guess! Ok I'll tell you: What humanity needs to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civlization is (drum roll please) DO SOMETHING!
That's it. That's the answer. Do something. Am I the only one who finds that answer a bit nebulous?
I understand this is a work of fiction but that doesn't mean the author doesn't have a very real message in it, otherwise why did he bother writing it?
I suggest Mr. Andrews read Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?
Man can't save himself. Period. That's why in Isaiah 59:15, 16 it says:
The Lord saw that there was no justice, and He was offended.
He saw that there was no man-He was amazed that there was no one interceding:
so His own arm brought salvation,
and His own righteousness supported Him.
Why else did Christ come into the world if it was in our own power to save ourselves? John 3:16 is well-known but I want to put it here because it's my favorite passage of scripture:
For God so loved the world
That He gave His only begotten Son
That whosoever believes in Him
Will not perish, but have eternal life!
So my main objection to this book is that it is, in fact, a humanistic book and not a Christian book. If this book was published by a secular company it wouldn't matter but why is a Christian company promoting a book that has a decidedly unChristian message?
My other objections is the way Andrews anthropormorphises Gabriel. He characterizes him to be petty and arrogant. Those are sinful human traits. When you give a sinless being sinful characteristics you are bearing false testimony to one of God's glorious beings. Andrews also makes King David out to be awkward and bumbling not to mention ignorant of a Biblical solution for the problem. In addition to that, many people who, according to history, never became Christians are there in heaven. That's a universalist belief, not a Christian one.
The only positive I saw was the obvious historical research that went into the book, although the only person I didn't know about-and he was worth getting to know- was Eric Erickson who, according to Andrews was an Ally Spy who was the primary reason for Germany losing the war. However, if I were you, I'd google for information on Erickson rather than buying this book to find out about him.
Last but not least, the book is boring. Most of the book takes place at a meeting with everyone brainstorming to arrive at the correct answer. I've been to plenty of meetings, I really don't need to read about one.
In conclusion, The Final Summit is a boring, poorly developed book filled with bad theology. I hope I have allowed you to make an informed decision about reading this book or not but you may notice that I haven't provided a link for anyone to buy it through my blog.