This is an awful book.

Ok, perhaps that’s a bit unfair; I’ve read worse, but not much worse. On with the review.

The subtitle of the book (The Gospel According to Mike) is spot on. The gospel presented in this book is certainly according to Mike. Reading the introduction you might be tricked into believing that it’s the biblical account, but unfortunately that simply isn’t the case. I was hoping (again, from the introduction) that this was going to be a well-developed study of a topic I love: the Church is one new man in Christ. But I’m genuinely sorry to say that it is far and away the worst development of that idea I’ve ever seen, for two main reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly, Williams’ attitude to the Bible would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. In his eyes the New Testament is only useful as commentary on the Old Testament; apparently Paul says quite a lot of good stuff (when Paul agrees with Mike), but the other authors got quite a bit wrong. It’s lucky Mike’s around to correct them. He misquotes Scripture (spends half a chapter talking about what ‘the lion will lie down with the lamb’ means – that isn’t in my Bible). He adds his own words to make Scripture says what he wants it to say. He ignores Scripture’s own interpretation of events and adds his own interpretation because the Bible authors didn’t really understand what was happening.

Secondly, Williams’ misrepresentation of Christianity is embarrassing. After discovering this ‘true gospel’ he apparently searched for five years, but couldn’t find one single person who believed it – alarm bells should have been ringing by this point! For Mike, evangelical Christianity is characterised by ‘Word of Faith’, prosperity gospel preachers, people who evangelical Christians would most likely distance themselves from. He ridicules anyone who doesn’t agree with him, saying that the only Christians he respects are members of Westboro Baptist Church (again, alarm bells) because Christians demand that everyone must agree with them. Which is sort of what he is saying in this book anyway.

If I’m being honest here, there were some little nuggets of usefulness in this book. Some of his observations are alright, but all I’d recommend this for is a training course in discernment. One example of this would be Williams’ ridiculing of Christians who believe that the rainbow showed God’s mercy for all humanity at the flood (i.e. not just believers). He clearly misses the point that the flood killed everyone¬†except those on whom God’s grace rested (i.e. believers).

In short, please don’t buy this book. I got it for free from SpeakEasy¬†in return for an honest review.

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