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Radical, Profound, Must-Read Books!
12 September 2014
Over the past six years, God has brought a handful of significant, profound books into my life which have radically altered my understanding of reality. But don’t imagine that this transformation happened because of the books in and of themselves. God had already been speaking to me about many of the issues covered in them during the years previous to my reading them. However, I had struggled to put those impressions into clear language. Through these books, God gave me the words to describe what He had been telling me. And to my surprise and delight, these authors even expanded upon what God had been showing me, taking these concepts much futher than I would have dared!

These books make crystal clear the stark, night-and-day difference between being a follower of Yeshua (Jesus), and being a follower of the man-made religion called Christianity; between being a member of the Body of Messiah, the ekklesia, and being a member of the man-made institutional church. My whole view of what it means to be a follower of Yeshua, who God is, and what this life (and the next) is all about, has been completely turned upside down! Even better, my understanding of these issues is MUCH more aligned with the teaching of the New Testament.

In light of all this, I want to bring to your attention these life-changing, life-giving books. I’ve written quite a number of articles over the years in which I have shared lengthy excerpts from them. In this article I want to list all of those articles in one place, making them easier to find and reference. I will introduce each book in the order that I read it, so you can get an idea of the spiritual journey I have been on during the past six years.

Even when I quote extensively from one of these books, I have still shared less than half of its content. These books are so powerful and important that I strongly encourage you to follow the links on this page and buy your own copies of them, as the Master leads you. Based upon my experience, they might very well be the best things you have ever spent money on!

Immediately after my reflections on the 2008 elections, I wanted to better understand the dysfunctional relationship between politics and religion in America, so I purchased The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church.

Boy, was I fooled by the title! It is not only about Christianity’s misuse of politics in America, but it’s much more about what it really means to be a follower of Yeshua. Even without reading the other five books I will be sharing about below, just this one book has been used by God to radically transform me! Not only my thinking and understanding, but more importantly, how I relate to God and live out my journey with Yeshua.

The Myth of a Christian Nation has impacted my life so powerfully that I have written quite a number of articles sharing parts of it. A couple of them were published on this Web site, while the rest were posted on its sister Your Islamic Future Web site.
  1. The “Power Over” Kingdom
  2. The “Power Under” Kingdom
  3. The Militant Church
  4. American Jihad
  5. The Mush God
  6. Overcome Evil With Good
  7. Two Peas In a Pod
  8. The New Testament and Violence
  9. The Myth of a Christian Nation
  10. The Beautiful Kingdon
The second major milestone on my pilgrimage came in the form of Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices.

This hard-hitting, eye-opening book is more scholarly and historical than the previous book. Be warned: The authors slaughter a LOT of sacred cows before they are finished! I imagine that the burnt offering of all those carcasses is a pleasing aroma to Yahweh.

But then again, if you’re not eager to have your boat rocked, you won’t like ANY of the books on this page! Because it’s difficult to take extracts from the rich material presented in it, I’ve only posted a handful of articles based on this book.
  1. Pagan Christianity? (Your Islamic Future)
  2. Pagan Christianity? (Brian’s Bits)
  3. Pagan Temples Called Churches
  4. Pagan Priests Called Pastors
The third major literary / spiritual encounter on my journey has the extra-long title of So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore: An Unexpected Journey.

Even though this book is fiction, at first I had no idea it wasn’t an autobiography. In fact, the first edition of the book had the main character’s name, Jake Colsen, on the cover as the author instead of the actual author, Wayne Jacobsen. But I do still believe that it is based a lot on his life. And when I found that the first chapter takes place in San Luis Obispo, where I lived for four very formative years in my early twenties, I was captivated! It wasn’t until the second chapter that I realized it was fiction! That sure gave me a good laugh!

This book imparts deep, insightful, radical teaching through fiction, mostly in the form of conversations between characters in the story. The use of story — which intertwines the conversations with the circumstances the characters are in — caused the truths that are shared to enter my heart at a deeper level than a merely intellectual understanding. Even though you miss out on the flow of the story by reading only extracts, I have shared from this books in a handful of articles.
  1. So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore
  2. Living For a Living
  3. When the Body Usurps the Head’s Role
  4. True and False Accountability
The fourth major milestone on my pilgrimage would have been the second if I had read these books in the order that I had purchased them. I bought Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven way back in February 2010, but I didn’t start reading it until the summer of 2013. During the three years in between I just couldn’t find the motivation to read it.

My experience is a good example of a very important principle. You really need to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit to find out the order He wants you to read these books in, His perfect timing for each one, and to determine if He even wants you to read a particular one at all. These books are so powerful that if your heart is not ready for its message, rather than being transformed by it, you run the risk of being hardened in your heart instead. You definitely don’t want that! So be sure to let God’s peace umpire in your heart.

Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven is by far the most scholarly of these six books, being Mr. Ton’s doctoral thesis. About half the book is devoted to examining in detail, verse by verse, what the New Testament teaches about the topics in the title. The rest of the books gives briefer treatment to the title topics in the Old Testament, in intertestamental writings (Maccabees), during early Christianity, and during the Protestant Reformation. Mr. Ton concludes the book with a proposed modern Protestant theology of martyrdom.

Even though he wrote it while attending seminary in the United States, the author’s first-hand experiences of persecution in Communist Romania gives his writing a passion and relevance which surpasses the merely academic. This book is such a rich feast that you will want to eat small servings, and then take time to digest it. Even though I am a rapid and voracious reader, it took me six months to work through the entire book.

As I was reading, I looked up every scripture reference so I could study for myself what God’s word was saying. I spent some money on Greek reference materials so I could more fully participate in Mr. Ton’s references to the original New Testament text. Of course, you don’t have to go as far as I did in order to appreciate this book. But I believe that the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.

You would think that with all of the transformation of heart and mind which God has performed in me through the first three books, there would not be much left to do. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Even though those previous books impacted me greatly, I feel that this book, grounded so deeply in the New Testament, has had an even bigger effect on me. With the resurrection of militant Islam, I strongly believe that martyrdom is THE issue facing the Body of Messiah today. And it’s a reality that many who call themselves Christians are woefully unprepared to face. Get this book and get prepared!

In this exhaustive study of suffering, martyrdom, and rewards in heaven, the author meticulously builds his case, with each new idea connecting with the previous ones, making it difficult to pull short passages out of the book. Nevertheless, there are three articles on the Your Islamic Future Web site which share good-sized chunks of this must-read book.
  1. Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven, Part 1
  2. Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven, Part 2
  3. Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven, Part 3

The two most recent milestones on my spiritual journey could easily be regarded as a single milestone, because I read them back to back within a couple of weeks, and because they are written by the same author. As I shared in Part 1 of The Crucified Ones: Calling Forth the End-Time Remnant, I have NO idea how this book got on my shelf! Either an angel recently placed it there, or else I forgot about it, and it’s been sitting there gathering dust for a while. Either way, when the time was ripe, God opened my eyes and I saw it.

Like I said before, how many times can I be astonished, shaken and transformed by a book? I guess as many times as it takes! Once again, I was led to a book which not only articulated what God had already been speaking to my heart, but took me way beyond where I would have dared go on my own! Even though it feels very cutting edge, it was written way back in 1990. But of course, God’s truth never gets stale. I’ve posted four articles sharing a generous amount of extracts from this 115-page book.
  1. The Crucified Ones, Part 1
  2. The Crucified Ones, Part 2
  3. The Crucified Ones, Part 3
  4. The Crucified Ones, Part 4
Because that book was so excellent, I rooted around Amazon.com to see what else Mr. Newbold had to offer. I was immediately attracted to The Harlot Church System. This sounded similar to numerous articles I have been writing.

If his previous book seemed radical, this book is definitely strong medicine! Even the author realizes this, because he warns in the first chapter:
I will hit hard on the idolatry of the church system as we know it and experience it today. If you are not prepared to hear this message by the Spirit, you will no doubt take serious offense to it. The message of this book will be troubling to many of you who are victims of the church system, but will be most troubling to those of you who depend upon the church system for your livelihood and who find your significance, identity, validation, recognition, power, and security in it.

If you choose to continue reading this book, it will take you where you may think you do not want to go. You will journey beyond the façade of that Thing we call church and see how it is an invention of flesh. You will discover the demons that empower it.
There was so much awesome, vital material in this 166-page book that I have shared two entire chapters over three articles, and extracts from 15 other chapters across six additional articles.
  1. The Harlot Church System, Part 1
  2. The Harlot Church System, Part 2
  3. The Harlot Church System, Part 3
  4. THE Ministry, Part 1
  5. THE Ministry, Part 2
  6. The Harlot Church System, Part 4
  7. The Harlot Church System, Part 5
  8. The Harlot Church System, Part 6
  9. The Deep Things of Satan
Well, that brings you up-to-date on my literary / spiritual journey. I have no doubt that God will be bringing other life-changing, must-read books into my life at just the right time, like He did with the six books mentioned above. Once He does, you can be sure that I’ll let you know all about it!
This article is 16th a series of articles on this Web site related to Literature, Music and Photography which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
17  Oct  2009
24  Oct  2009
12  Dec  2009
2  Jan  2010
9  Oct  2010
10  Jan  2011
1  Sep  2011
13  Mar  2012
28  Mar  2013
29  Jul  2013
22  Sep  2013
26  Oct  2013
2  Aug  2014
12  Aug  2014
14  Aug  2014
Radical, Profound, Must-Read Books!
12  Sep  2014
19  Sep  2014
12  Apr  2015
21  Dec  2016
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