Loud and Clear?

Joel Medley

3 Stars

November 22, 2017

Mark Batterson continues living the dream with his newest book -- Whisper:  How to Hear the Voice of God.  If you like his other books, then you will probably like this one.  If you do not like his other books, you probably will not like this one either. 

The book itself is divided into two sections:  (1) the power of a whisper and (2) the seven love languages.  The first section is where he spends his time talking about how God does not always use neon signs in the sky but can speak from a whisper.  His specific starting point is form 1 Kings 19 when Elijah was in a cave running for his life and the Lord passed by that mountain.  There were thunderings and earthquakes but God was not in them -- only in the whisper.  His point is that we need to calm ourselves in order to hear what God has to say.  The second section is where Batterson starts talking about all the avenues that God can show you His will -- Scripture, desires, doors, dreams, people, promptings, and pain.

The author does have the ability to turn a phrase and offer some thought provoking aspects; yet, as I alluded to before, if you love/hate his prior books, then you will love/hate this one.  My complaint with his prior books that I have reviewed is the same here -- light on Scripture and explanation. 
I will readily admit that chapters 1, 5, 7, and 9 were solid reads (that's odd...go back and read that again if you missed it because I believe Batterson would have been proud); so let's look at what I mean about the concerns of being light on Scripture and explanation.

His chapter called "Sign Language" contains a statement that Bible is not God's primary way of speaking to us today.  That's a dangerous statement as it implies desires, people, or visions carry just as much weight (if not more as I read the book) than Scripture. These "signs" that Batterson relies upon are temporal and prone to error while God's Word is not that way.  The Bible is not simply a "check and balance" (Batterson's words not mine) but the authority upon which to live our life.  If we consult other sources first, then we are pursing a whisper that may not be the voice of God.  Thus, in the first  manner, his book is "light on Scripture."

The second manner in which Batterson is "light on Scripture" leads us into my other complaint about "light on explanation."  When the author devotes an entire chapter to dreams and visions that God uses to show us His will, well, he quotes NOT the first Biblical passage.  He makes short allusions to the Bible stories but glosses over context and meaning that would help prove or disprove what he is saying.  What do I mean?  He says that dreams are God's "common language" to us and I do not see that proven in Scripture.  Yes, there are isolated incidents of God speaking through dreams or visions -- Joseph, Solomon, Paul, Peter, John -- but we do not see that occurring all the time.  In fact, if this was God's common language, why do we not have an incident of David - the man after God's own heart -- or Moses -- the greatest prophet of Israel -- having detailed and regular visions/dreams from God?  

If you love his books, please pause before wanting to eviscerate me.  I am simply pointing out some significant foundational issues that I would like to see shored up in future revisions.  There are thought-provoking sections (see my comments above) and solid statements to make you think.  I just struggle with the lack of exegetical explanation on the limited amounts of Scripture in his book.  For me, he uses the Bible as a "whisper" when it's truth should be "shouted." 

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I am offering this disclaimer:  I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.