Tuesday, April 28, 2015

‘God’s Indemnity’ (Book Review)

Many Christians are eagerly waiting for Jesus’ return. I’ve lived through a few predictions about when this was to have occurred, and I have heard a few more dates offered that are still in the future. But I’d never heard anyone before suggest 2017 was the magic number. So with my curiosity aroused, I read Cheryl Williams’ God’s Indemnity: Would 2017 Find You SCALPED or Fully Covered? (Outskirts Press, 2015).

The book wasn’t what I was expecting. The author’s intent is not to provide a succinct theological argument for Christ coming in 2017…or even “soon.” There isn’t the lengthy analysis of Matthew 24 or numerological calculations based on the Book of Revelation that we associate with authors like Hal Lindsey or Tim LaHaye. While Williams does see signs of the times in the ebola outbreak and the rise of ISIS, her belief rests more on gut feelings and interpretations of her own dreams. She takes Jesus’ imminent coming as a fact, and says that that fact needs to be in the forefront of people’s minds so that they will repent of their sins in time. (That’s where the SCALPED acronym comes in.)

While Williams might intend to get readers fired up about Jesus’ second coming, I suspect that it will have an opposite effect. She acknowledges that people are disillusioned by nearly two thousand years of expectation, yet she doesn’t provide any real basis for hope in her own prediction, which I’d say is vital for the success of her book. While that author never explicitly self-identifies as a Seventh-Day Adventist, the tell-tale signs are all there: Sabbath (Saturday) observance. Creation versus evolution. Even a comment about Pope Francis that seems to attack him directly instead of the Roman Catholic doctrine in question. (But she refrains from calling him the Antichrist.) As someone obviously coming from some sort of Millerite background with its history of failed predictions, she needs to put more effort into defending her date if she hopes to convince anyone.

I think God’s Indemnity represents a lot of hopes and dreams for the author, but it ultimately proves only to be an unfulfilling read. Even aside from the theological issues, there’s a general need for editing and thoughtful reconsideration of many subpoints. There’s also a problem with the term “indemnity” (i.e., insurance). Williams’ use of it apparently stems from a confusion with “assurance.” The book certainly discusses “assurance” in God, but I can’t say it discussed “insurance” at all. And if God told her in a dream to title it God’s Indemnity, then He would’ve meant the latter.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Bostick Communications. There was no obligation to write a favorable review.