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Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins

Followup to “More Speculation About Angels” a review of the book by Terry Law, The Truth About Angels

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In 2006, I posted a review of the book by Terry Law, The Truth About Angels.  Another commentator on Amazon.com replied with a strange riposte to my basically negative review of Law's detailed metaphysical scenarios and his cooption of certain biblical passages to support his schema.

Kathleen Grone wrote:

Mr. Jenkins, I think, is disappointed because this is not another New Age Book, written for all religions and cult groups. This is a book written by a born-again Christian man and is based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and values. It is a book based on God's truth not on New Age speculation.

The fact that an author calls himself "born-again" does not give him the right to abuse Bible passages!  My point was that the ideas that this author uses as the reference point do not originate in the passages referred to.  He ignores the historical and textual context of the passages to make them say what he wants to propound.

I come also from a "born-again" tradition, and have spent my life studying and teaching the Bible, most of the time in Africa.  I like to see the biblical text and topics honestly dealt with on their own terms, not wedged into some modern system based on a reductionist rationalism that seems to say "I believe it, so it must be what the Bible teaches."

Make it Fit
Law makes the passages fit his system and theory.  This is very different from investigating the passage in its cultural context to discover what the original author himself might have meant in communicating this to the people in his time and setting.

Grone is probably right that Law's book is based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and values.  Many features of his metaphysical schema appear as early as the Book of Enoch, also known as 1 Enoch.  However, Law does not claim this is the basis of his book.  He claims his theory is a teaching of the Bible.  This is what I challenged.

Biblical Objections
It is amazing that Ms Grone would cast my objections to the perspective in the book in terms of New Age.  This means she has no idea what New Age is all about.  The whole basis of my comments had nothing to do with assumptions any "New Age" writer would reflect!

If I had taken a New Age view it wouldn't have mattered what Law wrote.  New Age is based on personal opinions and eclectic sources.  As it was, I clearly stated that my concern was that what he was claiming contradicted the actual text he tried to frame into his perspective.

It is specifically on biblical grounds that I objected to Law's mistranslation and misinterpretation.  I did not stutter in the original review.  I directly dealt with the terms and claims Law presents, finding that Law violates the integrity and meaning of the original biblical texts he cites.

New Age?
Did Grone not read my objections to the imposition of an external perspective on the biblical texts?  What I see presented in Mr Law's book are the current popular ideas about angels, fairly general in the culture, not particularly Christian.

I point out that he brings a system to the Bible and looks for passages to fit it.  I comment that he bases his portrayal on a lot of cases of maybe, probably, perhaps and external information.  That is pretty New Age!

Code-Word
Whether the author calls himself "born-again" or not is irrelevant.  This does not give him the right to claim a passage of the Bible says what it clearly does not say!  No term or title, even a code-word like "born-again,"  gives anyone access to absolute knowledge, particularly when the claim contradicts the actual claim of the passage being quoted!  And surely Ms Grone is aware that there are many different "Judeo-Christian" sets of "beliefs and values."

External Sources
New Age?  No, we have had enough New Age mish-mash and faddish believe-what-you-like.  Mr Law and Ms Grone do not seem to realize that the theory and schema of angels, demons and the spirit world do not come from the Bible.

The actual source of this scenario Law draws out is popular literature from late Judaism, heightened in Europe by the Germanic concepts of the lately converted that became so dominant in Western Europe after the German conquest of Rome and its territories.  Some relevant documents are found in the Qumran collection.  I discuss this genre of literature in my review of 1 Enoch.

Recent modern reflections of this scenario are multitudinous.  See the Nephilim novel series.  And all of Frank Peretti's novels.  Interest in the occult in general has risen in the last 60 years.  The fascinating topic of angels, spirits and unseen dominions is attractive.  A resurgence of Celtic myth in North America since the late 1800s has contributed to this interest.

Truth vs Source
Now let's be clear, again, on what I am actually saying here.  Whether these ideas of the spirit world are true or not is a different question.  I am not saying that Mr Law's idea of the spirit world, and the hierarchy of angels and demons is not true.  People from before the time of Jesus had begun discussing such possibilities.  Lots of people believe things that the Bible does not talk about.  The Bible just does not discuss everything.  There have to be things the Bible does not talk about that are true.  Or otherwise we could not accept anything modern sciences have discovered.

What I am saying is that the source of such ideas and beliefs is not the Bible.  Thus what we find Law doing is looking for some passages in the various writings of the Bible that have some wording that he can pull into his scenario.  No Bible text I have studied directly addresses these questions.  We see some secondary reflections in connection with other topics, but no primary focuses, unlike the explicit texts like 1 Enoch and Dante in popular literature.

Mr Law has found a few such secondary references or word similarities to use as hooks on which to hang components of his scenario.  The scenario did not start in what we now know as the biblical texts.

About Angels
It sounds like Mr Law has stated too much of what he believes, and not spent enough time probing the context to really observe what the Bible itself is really saying in these passages he cites — and perhaps in this case more important, what the Bible is NOT saying — about Angels.

[review] Original Review:  “More Speculation About Angels”

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[Review] 1 Enoch
[review] Devils and Demons and the Return of the Nephilim
[review] Nephilim:  The Truth is Here
[TXT] Principalities and Powers:  Notes On Demonic Hierarchies

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OBJ

Initial response written on Amazon 5 November 2007
Expanded 2 April 2008 and 9 November 2008
This article written and posted on OJTR 12 November 2008

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright 2008 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email: orville@jenkins.nu
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