Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review: First Things That Last Forever

In her book First Things That Last Forever, Fran Rogers's main purpose is "to acquaint the reader with my ministry as an author," (Kindle location 49).  Near the end of her book, she also states that the "purpose of this book and all Father and Family Books are written to publish this legacy [eternal life] of His Kingdom," (Kindle location 439), and she closes out her book by saying that "[i]n this little book we have shared a basic knowledge of the legacy of God's kingdom for His people," (Kindle location 516).

Based on the author's multiple statements of purpose, it is unclear exactly what message she is trying to communicate to her readers.  The purpose statements she has made are unclear.  First, the term "legacy of God's kingdom" has no biblical meaning, but the author uses is several times without any explanation or definition.  She uses the term mostly when talking about her purpose in her book and ministry.  She does not use the term in her writing until Chapter 4, "Jesus ~First, Last, and Forever".  From the context, I assume that the term has something to do with the believer's blessing of eternal life (Kindle location 408), but it is never clearly defined.

In Chapter 1 the author looks at the Lord's Prayer so that we can "learn from Jesus' teachings what we should ask for," (Kindle location 93).  In Chapter 2 she talks about seeking first the Kingdom of God because of the correlation between praying and seeking (Kindle location 154).  In Chapter 3 Mrs. Rogers discusses the first and greatest commandment to love God because it is the law of God's Kingdom (Kindle location 319).  And in Chapter 4 she contends that the first and last things are revealed in and through Jesus (Kindle location 392).  The thread tying all of these ideas together has not been clearly identified by the author.  Mrs. Rogers does give a summary of the things the reader can hold on to (Kindle location 456-473), but I still do not know exactly what the "first things" are and how they relate to what she has written.  The author does not clearly and coherently present her ideas to her readers; therefore, the book is confusing and her ideas do not build logically as you read through the chapters.

Mrs. Rogers assumes that most of her readers are believers (Kindle location 118), but then she acknowledges that some readers may not be and quotes Scripture from Romans 9:16, John 1:12-13 and 1 John 3:1-3.  However, she does not give a clear Gospel presentation.  In addition, she gives false assurance to the reader when she says: "If you have come this far in reading this little book, then you must be one of the heirs [of Christ]," (Kindle location 428); but then she turns around and says: "At this point if you are not sure that you are His child, then believe that God, our Father has brought you this far to see your hope, for now and eternity, in Christ, His Son," (Kindle location 428).  Again, this is not a clear Gospel presentation.  She goes on to say that "I will not give you a step-by-step formula so that you may acquire a birth certificate into God's kingdom," (Kindle location 446).  "Acquiring a birth certificate" is not a phrase found in the Word of God and may cause confusion in some readers, Christian or not.

Finally, the author makes many contentions about what a particular Bible verse means, but she does not cite any footnotes.  In addition, Mrs. Rogers does not include a bibliography to her book.  At times, she does support her ideas with other Bible verses, but not always.  It appears that she has considered other outside sources and states that "[s]ome commentaries use the following interpretation to explain this petition," (Kindle location 126), but again there's no footnote to see what commentaries she is referencing.

After reading Mrs. Rogers's book, I am still not sure what point she is trying to make.  Her attempt is commendable, but she does not convey her ideas very well to her audience; therefore, I do not recommend reading First Things That Last Forever.

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures," (1 Cor. 15:1-4).