- Paperback: 162 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (Jan. 4 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1492125059
- ISBN-13: 978-1492125051
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 304 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
He Who Has an Ear: Who the Seven Churches of Revelation are Today Paperback – Jan 4 2014
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About the Author
A singer/songwriter for over 25 years, Laura J. Davis turned to writing full-time after an emergency surgery caused the loss of her singing voice. Her debut novel about the life of Christ through the eyes of His mother, Come to Me, is a Reader's Favorite Award winner. Her latest book, Learning from the Master, Living a Surrendered Life, is a companion study guide to Come to Me. When she isn't writing Laura is reviewing books and teaching bible studies. You can reach her at www.laurajdavis.com.
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Review by Fred Ash, M.Div.
Laura Davis’ book is insightful and informative; some will find it controversial.
Once you get past the first two chapters on the topic of church leadership (which could have been summarized in a paragraph or two or even included as an appendix) the book gets down to its real purpose—explaining the meaning of the letters to the seven churches as recorded in Revelation.
The author has done her homework and presents a lot of material on the background of each church. But her main objective is to show how each of those churches is representative of various types of churches today. She constantly challenges her readers to compare each of the biblical churches to their own church: “Think of your own church. Are you staying true to the gospel of Christ or are you aligning yourselves with the world?”)
After expounding the virtues and vices of the various churches she asks such questions as:
“What can we learn from the church at ____________?”
“Who represents the church of __________ today?”
She is not shy about identifying who she thinks those churches are. She also identifies some Christian leaders whom she feels are not following the right path. Among them she mentions such popular speakers as Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers and Tony Campolo among others.
In the chapter titled The Faithful Church the author has an interesting section on the topic of the Rapture. Besides her opinions relating to the speakers noted above, this section is probably the most controversial, especially with those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. Davis says, “For years I believed in a pre-tribulation rapture. But it wasn’t until I began to study the Bible in earnest that I came to see the errors in this doctrine.” She traces the origins of the doctrine from 1820s Scotland and gives a convincing argument based on Scripture that Christians will go through the tribulation and should be preparing themselves now for the inevitable.
The book reads more like a Bible study than an exposition. For that reason it could easily be used for a small group study of the first chapters of Revelation. However, because of its controversial parts, the leader of such a study would have to be very careful that those taking part don’t began fighting over their various interpretations of Scripture.
While this is not a scholarly work, it does cause readers to think about their beliefs and to evaluate their church. Definitely worth reading.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book may make you uncomfortable. If you pick up a book like this, chances are you are already a Christian. You want to understand Jesus’s plan for His Church, and you care about that plan. And yet, it soon becomes obvious just how many false ideas and doctrines have started to creep into even the most well-meaning congregations—and lives.
Davis began her careful study of the Bible after learning Kay Arthur’s Precepts study method. I’ve only dabbled in that, but that’s enough to know that it's a daunting, in-depth system that teaches you to interpret Scripture with Scripture and study the Bible in-depth for consistent precepts, rather than taking verses out of context or skimming the surface. I like that Davis ended the book by encouraging all of us to study and learn from the Bible, not just from books written by Christians—not even hers!
Toward the end of He Who Has an Ear, Davis also asks the reader to consider which of the messages to the seven churches might apply to him or her personally. It was easy for me to find my biggest caution: the lukewarm church. I care deeply and might not have considered myself lukewarm, but Davis’s discussion of the lukewarm as quiet, unwilling to confront, and often fearful really hit home.
Davis also gives sound guidance for what to do if you believe you are in a church that has fallen into error--advice that cautions against simply church-hopping in a never-ending search for perfection.
Laura Davis in “He Who Has an Ear: Who the Seven Churches Are Today” masterfully takes us through Christ words to these churches. She provides historical background, context, and challenging applications. She also addresses controversial questions which arise from these texts such as: “Who are the seven angels of the churches?”, “Is the solo-pastor model biblical?”, “Is the pretribulation rapture view biblical?”, and “Who are the wolves/false prophets today?”
Laura clearly not only has the gift of teaching but also the gift of exhortation, as I felt challenged throughout. Here is an example of her ability to both apply and exhort, as she considers characteristics of lukewarm Christians (cf. Rev 3:16):
“Lukewarm Christians are comfortable.
The Laodiceans were wealthy. They enjoyed a life of leisure. No scrambling to pay the bills for them. Good food, beautiful clothes, and all the luxuries they could want were at their fingertips. They had the wonderful blessing of extra money that they could have given to feed the church or help in whatever way needed. The problem with lukewarm people, however, is that they tend to give just enough to take that edge of guilt off their conscience. Today’s lukewarm Christians are pretty much the same. They give, but not until they have paid their bills and set aside money for the next vacation and/or that new electronic gadget they are looking forward to. After all, they have to make sure something is left over at the end of the month.
Lukewarm Christians are quiet.
They don’t share the gospel. They are hoping people will recognize they are Christians by their lifestyles. Unfortunately, they live so much like the people around them no one realizes they are believers.
Lukewarm Christians are careful.
They tend to compromise and conform because they hate confrontation. Better to “go with the flow” than actually take the moral high ground, stand up for Jesus, and cause a ruckus. In Laodicea where false gods were worshipped, it was better to keep quiet than cause a fuss. Today, in our politically correct society, some churchgoers don’t want to cause a scene and look bad for saying something “wrong” (perhaps in reference to homosexuality or abortion). They don’t want to be labelled a right-wing Christian fundamentalist, Christian fanatic, or Bible thumper. Lukewarm Christians would never take a risk like that.”
As you read this book, it will both inform, challenge, and encourage. It is definitely a worthy read! Lord, please give your church ears to hear!
The author shares in a very direct manner what is and is not in these seven letters along with what her research revealed. Then, towards the end, Laura helps readers see how we can apply what the Word says to our lives today. Sometimes I would read a section quietly then share it with my husband which led to some great talks between us. This is one book to sit down and just read and think about what is presented, and then put it in your personal library for future reference.
Always keep your Bible close along with a highlighter or pencil to write anything the Lord may prompt you to mark as you read. One of the author’s admonitions throughout the book is to never take anyone’s word for what the Bible says, but to check it out for ourselves. This is very wise counsel which if readers will practice can protect them from falling into teachings that aren’t biblical.
I recommend buying copies to pass out and share with people as you study from your Bible just the seven letters written in the early chapters of Revelation. The book contains ideas that will challenge heart, minds and souls and will make studying the topic challenging yet fruitful if applied to living daily to please Him!