Review of "The Book of Life"
Recently, I met Bernard Wilson. Those who live in my area may recognize him as the author of The Book of Life. He knows that I do not agree with him or with his book. However, he graciously gave me a copy of his book to read. I read it and wrote this review, which I will be giving him.
Bernard Wilson has seen a lot of life. He has seen the world change in his lifetime. He grew up in the depression and saw his dad lose his farm during that financial crisis. Later, Wilson joined the US military during WWII. There, he experienced the effects of war and seemed to ponder the causes. He married during the war and raised two girls afterwards. After sixty years of marriage, his wife died. The cause is not listed in the book. Throughout the book, he seems to be yearning for the life of his youth, before the pain of war and the pain of life had touched him. He asks, “Why is it we never see the bright blue sky or feel the pure fresh air… as it was in the 1930’s?” (page 66). Whether the reader believes the thesis of the book, one cannot deny the experiences Wilson has gone through, making him want to recreate his childhood and to guard against pains he experienced early on. Unfortunately, to do this, Wilson twists Scripture and denies the foundation of Christianity throughout this book.
Wilson insists that due to humanity’s misuse of the earth and each other, the earth will soon be destroyed by global warming. The only way to stop this catastrophe would be humanity’s acceptance of the Lord’s plan, as related by Wilson, the self-proclaimed Messiah and special messenger of God. This plan of the Lord is the abolition of money. With a money-free society, all economic and environmental problems would be solved, along with the extinction of immorality, crime, war, and poverty. This is the salvation of the world, resulting in eternal life as humanity works together to heal all diseases.
There are many problems with these claims. The first and biggest problem is his view on the Bible and inspiration. He does quote 2 Timothy 3:16 (though he misspells the reference as Timothy 1:3), “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” He admits that “all scriptures are true” (page 4). However, he does not accept the fact that God inspired the entire Bible as a cohesive unit. He believes that the Bible was not meant to be read consecutively, but “here a little, there a little” (page 4). He quotes Isaiah 28:10 for proof. However, this verse relates the people of Ephraim mocking the teaching of God. The result of their mocking is judgment by God through confusion. Not really the best verse to use as the instruction of God for how to read Scripture.
Wilson doesn’t stop there. Not only does he believe that Scripture should be read in piece-meal, but he believes that only the one who has been led by the Spirit of Truth can know how to arrange the puzzle pieces of the Bible into the plan of the Lord. He believes that the Lord, even though He inspired the writers of Scripture, actually hid the truths of Scripture from all of humanity since Creation (Page 61). Only Wilson, the chosen of the Lord, taught by “the Spirit of Truth” (which was never defined), knows divine knowledge.
Wilson claims that he is the only one who knows the Spirit of Truth (page 61); that he is the chosen Angel, as seen in Revelation (page 4); that he is Elijah (Elias) (page 4); that he has lived 6000 years (page 66); that he is the brother of Jesus (page 47); and that he is the Messiah (page 17). How can he claim all these things? Sometime in the mid 1990’s, a women appeared to him in the middle of the night, looked at him without saying anything, and then disappeared. This was the sign of him being chosen as the vessel of the Spirit of Truth. He verifies his knowledge with three main predictions: 1) a major earthquake would hit the world around 2012, causing a major catastrophe like the volcano in the Canary Islands to fall into the sea (page 13); 2) Wilson would start looking younger, beginning with growing a full head of hair (page 47); and 3) That he will be raptured before the rest of the world as a sign for the truth of this book (page 48).
Unfortunately, for any prophet, the proof of their veracity is if what they say comes to pass. So far, all three of Wilson’s predictions have not come true. The Bible is clear, if a prophet predicts something that does not happen, he should not be believed. He is a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).
If Wilson was a prophet, having special knowledge from the Spirit of Truth, he would speak consistently from what has already been revealed. Wilson admitted that all Scripture is true (page 4). However, he contradicts Scripture in the name of the Spirit of Truth.
Wilson claims that God is only human (page 7). However, this contradicts Jesus who stated “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Wilson claims that Jesus was not the Messiah, though He did come to earth, die and rise again. He even states the Jesus is part of the Trinity (page 62). If Jesus was not the Messiah, why did He come to earth and why did He die? What was the purpose?
Matthew 1:1 says that Jesus is the Messiah. He came so that we might have life in His name (John 20:31). Wilson claims that the problem with society is money (page 7). If all of society moved to a money-less system, all crime, immorality, global warming, poverty, greed, wars would end. Life would be peaceful. However, Wilson chooses not to believe Romans 3:23, which states that all are sinners, to the depths of our person. Even if money were taken out of the equation, humanity would still be proud, greedy, angry, immoral. We need more than a check on our actions, more than a band-aid for this Earth. We need a savior for our souls.
Wilson claims that salvation for the Earth is a communist system with no money. Everyone shares everything in common and everything we need, from food to vacation, is free. We’ll be able to solve our own problems of global warming and disease by pooling our resources without compensation (pages 40-42).
This is not the salvation the Bible speaks of. Paul was asked: “What must I do to be saved?” He answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). Humanity needs saving from their sins and their desire to sin, apart from money. Jesus came to earth so that he would die, taking the penalty for our sins. Everyone who believes in Him will be saved. Upon believing in Christ, the believer receives the Spirit of Truth, so that each will be able to know God and Scripture (1 Cor 12:13).
Once someone places their faith in Christ, their names are written in the Book of Life. Wilson claims that the only places “Book of Life” is found is in Revelation 20:12,15 (page 3). However, the phrase is also found in Psalm 69:28; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; and Revelation 21:27. Each of those passages refers to a believer’s name being written in the Book of Life. This book, according to Scripture, is the list of those who can enter into Paradise with God, through the saving work of Jesus Christ. This is directly opposite of what Wilson teaches in his Book of Life.
I can see that Wilson is responding to pain in his life and that he has a desire to restore that which he has lost. However, if Wilson truly believes that Scripture is true, He would not contradict Scripture so much. Unless Wilson accepts the gift of Jesus Christ, aligning his beliefs with the Bible, his name will not be written in the true Book of Life, and he will be doomed to an eternity apart from God. At that point, all he wishes to keep will be lost. I pray that he will accept Christ.
1/10/2017 02:29:21 pm
This review is great. Bernie is a customer of the business I work for and his stories and ideas are often so outlandish we all just tune him out.
1/16/2017 02:22:02 pm
Thank you for your comment, Sara. I'm sure many people just tune him out, which is sometimes necessary. I hope someday soon that he will see the truth and change. Maybe this will happen through love that is shown to him.
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Pastor of Calvary Bible Church, Neligh, NE. Missionary with RHMA. Husband to Maggie. Father to Grace, David, and Daniel. Saved by Jesus Christ