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On some levels insightful, but bad theological foundation
on March 29, 2003
I think it's obvious there's nothing wrong with observing our world and the happenings within it and speculating what God's perspective might be. And there's nothing wrong with contemplating a piece of art, literature, music, or film and recognizing in it symbolic correspondence to transcendent truth as revealed in Scripture. And author Ken Gire does this well. If he had left it at that, I probably would be as enthusiastic about this book as the next reader.
However, in "Windows of the Soul," Gire goes a step further and teaches that such endeavors are actually communications from God, "moments of revelation." The book is Gire's attempt at giving Christians insight into how to perceive such "revelations." Gire goes as far as to imply that such "revelations" possess an importance equal to that of the Bible, even referring to them as "God's word." Gire implies that Biblical revelation sometimes fails to satisfy our spiritual longings because, through it, "we are fed the experience of others. But they are not OUR experiences. I can read a psalm about David crying out from a cave in the wilderness, and I should read that psalm, but it is not MY psalm. It is not my psalm because it is not my cave, not my wilderness, and not my tears." Thus, Gire feels a need for a new category of revelation.
I sense Gire is well intentioned, but I believe, in this respect, he's teaching a form of mysticism, not Christianity. [Webster: "mysticism - the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)"] And while I recognize that the defense of these ideas isn't the primary intent of his book, the theological extrapolations Gire offers are tragically sloppy and at times involve the assignment of new, unorthodox meanings to Biblical accounts and terminology.
Some might suggest that Gire's paradigm is just an elaboration on the concept of "general revelation," the Biblically supported idea that the world implicitly communicates certain things about God and His nature. However, the variety of channels described in "Windows," as well as the content of the messages Gire speculates they deliver, far surpass the traditional understanding of the nature and role of general revelation. (And Gire writes as if he's aware that what he's proposing is unconventional.)
READER BEWARE : I believe it is accurate to say that Ken Gire is advocating a theology and discipline not taught in Scripture.
When it comes time to contemplate the "furniture" of life and apply Biblical teachings to what you observe and experience, "Windows of the Soul" does document some good exploration in that regard. However, when it comes time to hear God speak, don't let anyone convince you God's revealed Word in Scripture is insufficient for the task.