Book: This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
Description: Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous plot to subjugate the townspeople—and eventually the entire human race. A riveting thriller, This Present Darkness offers a fascinating glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare. (from Amazon.com)
My thoughts: Wow!
This was an amazing book. It describes the spiritual warfare going on Ashton, partly from a spiritual point of view (i.e. angels' and demons' perspective) and partly a human point of view. I found it fascinating. Spiritual warfare is never something I'd thought about before reading this book. It was a cool wake-up call and portrayal of the situation. The aspects of it that stood out the most to me were that humans actually had very little power to control what was going on around them--a lot of things were controlled by either angels or demons, including (or perhaps especially) overcoming temptation--and the power of prayer. How awesome is that, that God gave us this power that can change the tide of the battle??
The other thing I really liked about this book was how it handled anything vulgar. There was a fair amount, actually, but Peretti would always say something like, "There was something extremely vulgar painted on the side of his house", rather than actually saying what was painted there. Didn't really how nice that was until Peretti did it here.
One thing I disliked was the fact that it seemed like God actually had almost no part in people's day-to-day lives or in spiritual warfare; rather, it was all controlled by angels and demons, and angels got their strength from prayer (man did this book make me want to pray!). It is true that the power of prayer comes from God, and it was God that determined the timing of certain battles (telling the angels not to fight until a certain point and whatnot). Another was the fact that there was this understood, unspoken idea that people aren't responsible for what they do while possessed. Maybe he was just trying to show forgiveness in that no one ever asked or mentioned it... not sure. It's a bit like Paul's attitude in 2 Corinthians 12, but it is pretty clear throughout the Bible that God will hold us accountable for our sins.
The one thing that I most disliked was the association throughout the story between liberalist and nature (or nature-loving) people and the demons/evil. However, loving nature is a perfectly Biblical attitude, as long as nature doesn't come first. God created nature and loves it (Genesis 1, for instance), and He is in nature (see Job 37-39, Psalm 8, Psalm 104, and Romans 1:18-20, to name a few). I don't think it's pagan of me to think that. Along with this association came the association of anything "Eastern" with demons (meditation as a way to communicate with demons, for instance). That aspect of the book was not well-done.
However, that was probably the only aspect of the book that I truly disagreed with. Overall this was a wonderfully well-written and thought-provoking book. Highly recommended!