Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The Kingdom of the Occult": A Book Review

“The Kingdom of the Occult” is the work of Jill Martin Rische, eldest daughter of Dr. Walter Martin, and Kurt Van Gorden, a minister and missionary. Dr. Martin, deceased in 1989, nevertheless, plays a major role in this work as noted by his daughter in the introduction.

Years ago, I remember my father pacing the foyer of our home, leafing through a notebook of references on the occult. It had always been in the back of his mind
to write a companion volume to “The Kingdom of the Cults”, but something always prevented him from beginning the new project.

Rische and Van Gorden have taken the skeleton formed by “The Bible Answer Man”, edited transcripts from lectures to add some muscle, and then put on their own flesh to produce this body of work. And it is SOME body!

Cover to cover, the book is 733 pages in length. It includes a very solid index, a lengthy bibliography, plus two appendices. Sandwiched in between are 18 chapters loaded with material on almost any occult practice one might encounter. Some of these practices, of course, are the usual ones which come to mind when we talk about the occult: Satanism, Witchcraft, and Astrology. But there is much more here to sample than these standard dishes. One chapter (60 pages in length) deals with Kabbalah (probably my favorite chapter). There’s a chapter discussing Psychic Phenomena. And, the authors even have material on the occult practices associated with UFOs!

Basically, each chapter takes a specific occult practice and provides a brief introduction. Then the authors discuss the basics of this practice. If there are variations within this practice, those are also shared. Included in the material are case studies (often conducted by Dr. Martin himself). The chapter comes to a conclusion by presenting a Scriptural response to this religion. Finally, the authors provide some recommended resources to help the reader if they need additional information.

In order to review this work, I read the book from beginning to end. This was quite an effort, in fact, it was pure torture! Several months have passed since I received the book and began my trek through the chapters. If you are looking for a book to sit down and read straight through, this is NOT that book.

But if you want a solid reference work on the various occult practices, this is the one for you. Although I believe Dr. Martin’s “The Kingdom of the Cults” is a better work, “The Kingdom of the Occult” deals with many difficult (and strange) religious groups and it does so in extensive detail. If you are involved with individuals or groups caught up in one of the occult movements and want to better understand the movement so you can reach the people involved, this IS the work you need.

As a reference work, I heartily recommend “The Kingdom of the Occult”.

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