Thursday, April 10, 2014

Does God still speak directly to people today? A review of The Turning by Davis Bunn

I always enjoy reading whatever Davis Bunn writes. The Turning was no exception. The characters are believable and as usual well developed. Their lives are interwoven through a series of events and a calling they could not ignore. The story is a definite page turner as the reader gets involved in the lives of the main characters.

Here is a plot summary provided by the release team of The Turning:
The message was unexpected but instantly recognizable. 
A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within.  Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command.  And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey.
Their actions were demanding, but not particularly grand.  Only later would they see a pattern emerge - one that links their tasks together and comes to challenge the cultural direction of the nation.  They realize that one small personal response unveiled a new realm of moral responsibility.  And this affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions.
But power and money are at stake.  Malicious elements soon align themselves to counter the trend.  To succeed they must also undermine its source.  Can we really believe that God speaks to people today?  Surely this must be dismissed as superstition or delusion.  These well-intentioned but misguided individuals should not be allowed to cast our society back into the Dark Ages.
The public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on knowing and doing God's will.  The five encounter threats, but try to remain steadfast in their faith.  Had God indeed imparted wisdom on selected individuals?  Is this sweep of events part of his divine purpose? 
The movement may herald a profound renewal - one that some are calling The Turning...

The plot line could be ripped from the headlines of any newspaper in the world. The battle for hope against despair and hopelessness is an underlying reason for many of our current world issues. Bunn addresses this in a unique way that moves the reader to explore the foundational truths of God in a genuine way. He weaves theology and Biblical truth throughout the novel in a way that adds to the story in a natural flow.

The only issue I had with the book was the abrupt ending. If there is a sequel in the works then my problem would be lessened but still a concern for me. Without spoiling the book for the reader, I found the end to lack the powerful punch of the rest of the story. It reads like the publishers were pushing for a completion before Davis had a chance to fully complete the story. Even if there is a second book in this series, the ending should have been developed more fully. Many of the characters' stories are left hanging in the wind and even the central plot is not resolved in my opinion. I was left wanting another chapter or two to wrap things up.

I had also heard this book was a part of a different kind of project but the book reads like any of Davis' other books. I expected that the little prayer book mentioned in the story might be a separate product released by either Davis or the publisher. And while it might be forthcoming, I am not aware of any such product. Maybe I just got the info wrong from the outset. I still would love to see that kind of concerted effort in the future.

While the efforts of the Mundrose agency in the book was used to influence culture in a negative way, the concept of creating cultural trends is something believers should take seriously. My friend, who is now home with the Lord, Bob Briner wrote a book titled Roaring Lambs years ago that addressed that very issue. If you haven't read it, I would highly suggest that you find a copy and read it. Believers have the chance to change culture but only if we are willing to get involved in the media because the media does influence culture. I think we need to be the ones who really set the tone for culture in ways that draws them to the positive message of hope in Jesus. The Turning points people to the powerful effects of a media campaign and the battle between the Christian worldview and those who believe that hope is dead.

About Davis Bunn
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Defined by readers and reviewers as a "wise teacher," "gentleman adventurer," "consummate writer," and "Renaissance man," his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.
Twitter: @davisbunn

Video trailer for THE TURNING, by best-selling author, Davis Bunn.
Davis Bunn talks about his upcoming novel, THE TURNING.

Read chapters 1-3 of “The Turning” by Davis Bunn for free: (Like his Facebook page to start reading.)

I received a complimentary copy of The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest review.

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