Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: The Final Summit

Two days ago I received in the mail a copy of The Final Summit by Andy Andrews. Once again, this book was provided free of charge for review by Booksneeze. I am not compensated in any way, nor am I expected to write a favorable review.

The description on the back cover reads, “This is humanity’s last chance. Centuries of greed, pride and hate have sent mankind hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship-and that answer is only two words……Andrews (shows) us the one thing we must do when don’t know what to do”.

Here is my summation: David Ponder is a man of great wealth and, what the world would deem, as success. We learn that several years ago he was escorted through time by the archangel Gabriel, where he met and spoke with seven notable historical figures. Some of these include Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln and Christopher Columbus. Each person he meets leaves him with a bit of advice, which he clings to upon his return to his present time. The advice is coined “The Seven Decisions” and his decision to follow them is what leads him to become successful in life.

Eight months after his wife dies, David is feeling lonely, despondent, depressed. Gabriel appears to him once again and tells him he is to lead a summit that will determine the fate of mankind. God is “fed up” with the direction that mankind is hurtling toward and is about to put an end to it all.

David’s job is to answer a question. The question is what humanity can do to restore itself on the pathway toward a successful civilization. The answer, Gabriel tells him, is two words. He will be assisted by Winston Churchill and can request assistant from one other “Traveler”, or historical figure, at a time. They get five tries to get it right or the world will come to an end.

Okay, here’s the good news. As a work of fiction, this book is well-written, engaging and moves at a comfortable pace. The characters are well-defined and believable. The historical references, as far I know, are accurate. Sure, it is a bit of a fantasy considering a man is plucked out of time and placed into a room filled with people long gone and told by an archangel that the fate of mankind rests upon their answer to a simple question. But like I said, it is fiction. It is also enjoyable within that context.

I do however have one major theological grievance against the book. Let me say it this way: if you read this in hopes Mr. Andrews will reveal to you some great solution to the world’s problems, please don’t bother. You MUST remember it is fiction. I wouldn’t even call it Christian fiction, though I am sure some would categorize it as such. It is true that it emphasizes some admirable virtues and good morals, but those alone do not a Christian make. This brings me to my….irritation…if I may.

Jesus is referred to only once in the entire book, page 166, and even then is mentioned only as “the Boss’ Son”. Something simply cannot be Christian without Christ. There is talk of God and even King David and, as I said, Gabriel are important supporting characters, but no reference to Jesus and what He did for humanity.

The recounting of certain historical events is fascinating and entertaining, but I found it very disheartening that Jesus is really not even an afterthought in the theme of the book. Mr. Andrews paints God, and through the brief mentioning of Jesus as the Boss’ Son, as being unconcerned observers and enforcers. If the participants of the summit produce the right answer, then all is saved. If not, all is lost. There is way too much emphasis on what humanity can do to save itself and completely disregards what God Himself, through Jesus, already did some two-thousand years ago.

This book may very well be an example of how even Christians can get caught up in the grandiose ideas of humanism and feel-good ideas such as, “pulling yourself up by your own boot straps” and similar mentalities. It does offer some snippets of biblical truth, but since it leaves out The Truth, it holds no weight for me.

In closing, if you want to read a book merely for its fictional value then The Final Summit is a good choice. However, if you want something that reflects Truth, I’d advise you look elsewhere.

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