I first discovered Chuck Black when I read Sir Quinlan in 2010. I found that he and I had a few (minor) theological disagreements at times but was captivated by his imagination and story telling ability. This is what ultimately won me over as a Chuck Black fan. The ability to communicate profound truths in story form is a rare ability.
Black’s latest book, Rise of the Fallen is no exception. I think there is an inherent danger in writing on the topic of spiritual warfare; a danger which I have seen devour a handful of believers. That is the temptation (unintended by the author) to create a fixation upon the spiritual realm and a propensity to blame demonic forces for every temptation which we face. The truth is, we do quite well finding sin on our own and in most cases, when we fall into sin it is our own evil desires which led us there. James puts it this way:
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
James 1:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV)
Clearly James is saying that God does not tempt us. We do know from scripture that Satan can tempt us, but as verse 14 points out, we can’t blame the enemy either for at the core, it is our own evil desires which lead us astray.
All this to say that my warning to anyone reading this book, or any similar book is to keep your heart in check. If you find yourself blaming anything other than yourself for moral laxity then you have misread not only Chuck Black but also scripture.
This aside, I found Rise of the Fallen to be very intriguing. The book is written in such a way that you follow a modern day story and are constantly being taken back into Biblical history starting at the creation of the angelic beings. Black brilliantly weaves history into a modern story line and exposes that there are real battles which rage around us. While I do think that some will take this too far, the error for most people is not that they blame everything on the spiritual realm, but rather, that they are completely blind to it altogether. Rise of the Fallen, like Black’s other books seeks to expose our spiritual blindness.
Overall I recommend this book to discerning readers. Those from a Reformed theological persuasion may not agree with the Dispensational presuppositions in the story, but I would encourage you to enjoy the book anyway. I would also highly encourage you to read the author’s opening remarks where he admits that he is writing on an area in which scripture is largely silent, and that he has taken a lot of speculative positions in creating a fictional story about a spiritual reality. I appreciate Black’s “Readers Guide” that he includes in the back of his books. This allows the reader to, as he put it, “carefully delineate the truth of God’s word from the fiction of this story”.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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