The fact I’ve had this book since March 1, 2012 should offer a hint at what type of review this is going to be. Spirit Wars by Kris Vallotton is a a fairly in-depth account of the author’s experiences as he’s engaged in spiritual warfare. I ordered the book two years ago, but I’ve had a hard time going through it – but probably not for the reason most readers would suppose.
So let’s get this out in the open: I believe in demonic forces around us, and I believe that we are living in a world that is at war around us at all times. And I believe we have a roll to play in that war. So my frustration with the book actually had nothing to do with the aspect of spiritual war at all. My frustration with the book – and why it’s taken me two years to read through it and finally post a review – is a fundamental belief that Kris has that I’m just not willing to accept yet; it’s regarding our nature as Christians. This is an area of huge debate in the Christian world, but I’m just not willing to swallow Kris’ assertion (I guess he would say I don’t have enough faith) that we can choose to live a life free of sin.
I get what he says about not having a sin nature that is married to the Law anymore, and I can buy the fact that we are no longer practicing sinners because John as much as tells us that in his letters. At the same time, I have great difficulty accepting the statement that we can literally go weeks without sinning. So I’m not accused of taking him out of context, here’s an extended quote from pages 44-45:
This deceptive perception that born-again believers are still sinners by nature raised its ugly head awhile back when I was teaching a group about the divine nature of born-again people. I was telling the class that we are no longer sinners, but instead have become saints through the power of the cross. (editorial note: I don’t have a problem with this paragraph).
To illustrate my point, I said, “There is a river that flows through our souls, and it runs toward the throne. If we don’t paddle, we will end up at God’s house! You have to make an effort to sin because it is no longer in your nature.”
A tall young man in the middle of the room just could not take it any longer. He abruptly stood to his feet and with all the passion he could muster shouted out, “Have you ever had a day go by that you didn’t sin?”
“Yes, of course I have,” I shot back.
“How about a week?” he pressed, staring me right in the eyes with a stern look.
“Sure,” I continued, smiling at him. “In fact, I have gone several weeks in a row without sinning.”
I suppose I could get into an extended theological argument at this point, but I won’t, accept to say that, at least at this point in my Christian walk, I’m not willing to accept that anyone can go for “several weeks in a row” without sinning. Sinning is more than just what we do, it is also what we don’t do, and what Kris is claiming here is that he has lived – literally – a perfect life for “several weeks in a row.” Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Is Kris suggesting that for several weeks in a row there he never once broke that law? He is suggesting that for several weeks he always loved his neighbor as himself and never once allowed the temptation to think more highly of himself to take root?
It’s for that reason I struggle to recommend this book and will be giving it a 1/5 stars. He bases his entire work on this concept, and I just can’t accept it as true (at least not yet). And if the foundation is bad, I can’t recommend the builder.
For the record, I did receive a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily favorable, review.