Portrait

I was provided with a pdf copy of this book and asked to give an honest review. I will first admit that the book was so tedious to read that I started skimming to see if it got any better. It did not.

This book was published as a second edition in 2014 by “Minister Raymond D. Sopp.” There is no indication of Sopp’s qualification as a “Minister,” nor of how he claims to have been called by God to be a “Watchman.”

This book was published by Redemption Press (a subsidy/vanity publisher), whose website claims to “multi-layered editing services,” including content coaching, line editing, content editing, and proofreading. It seems that either Sopp opted out of those services, or the services are terribly inadequate. This is evidenced by a huge number of punctuation errors through the book; commas where they didn’t belong and missing where they should have been; various Bible passages strung together into paragraph filling an entire page.

There are a number of things that are different than you would expect in this book. It begins with an Acknowledgments page that only contains the sentence, “To God be the Glory!” Don’t acknowledgements usually include people. The “About the Author” page tells you very little about the author, other than he’s been a “born-again Christian for more than thirty-eight years.” Nothing about where he’s from, any training/education. But he did include his purpose for writing the book, which should actually be in the Preface several pages later. But before the Preface is a couple pages on his being called “as a watchman to God’s Church.” Even these pages are often difficult to follow.

The Preface also warns that we “might be spiritually blind,” but God has “supernaturally placed [him] in a position to have eyes to see the enemy or trouble coming from afar.” I’m sorry to say that when I read this the first thing I thought of were a number of cult leaders who told their followers that they had some special gift from God.

Sopp’s solution to the deception of the world, seen mostly through an emphasis of miracles in the modern church, is provided in “thirty-one commentaries-warning-admonishments.” He uses alternate words in his writing. He calls Jesus “the Deliverer (Savior)” of “the world (Egypt).” I never found a place where he said what Jesus was delivering us from or why he equates Egypt to the world.

Sopp quotes a lot of Scripture in his book. Unfortunately, it seems that he tends to pull verses out of context, applying them to his ideas. For example, Sopp states that we shouldn’t try to build the Church using the world’s techniques, and he then quotes Exodus 20:25 as his proof text, which was God’s instructions on building an altar. How he goes from not using tools to build an altar to not using worldly techniques in build the church is left unsaid.

As I continue to skim through this book, I assumed that I would eventually read some specifics that provided a “portrait of a Christian.” Alas, there was none. The book title doesn’t even seem to give you an idea of the book’s content, but then neither does the book cover. I’m sorry that the author has had trouble finding God’s love in the Church and it’s most unfortunate that he doesn’t see things getting any better in the future (page 307). Perhaps the author might approach the Church, which he claims to love so much, differently than his book implies. Maybe then he will experience the love that Jesus commanded we have for one another (John 13:34, 35).

What seems to be most amazing is that this book has nine reviews on Amazon of four or five stars. I’m not sure the reviewers actually read the book, although one does write that she “sometimes had a very hard time following him.” I would say that following him is difficult through the majority of the book. Because of all that I’ve mentioned above, and more left unmentioned, I can only give this book two stars and suggest that you invest your time and money in some other book.

About discipling4life

I'm a firm believer in helping other men grow in their walks with Christ, not just for a year or two, but for as long as we're all alive. I'm a registered nurse by training, and serve on staff with The Navigators Nav20s Mission in San Antonio, Texas.

6 responses »

  1. Beatrice LaRocca says:

    Thank you for sharing your honest and informative review of this book

  2. James Robert says:

    I appreciate getting to hear about  a book new to me. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Melissa W says:

    I am always concerned when someone claims to have had things “revealed” to them about the Bible. Always good to make sure it actually matches what the Bible says!

  4. Caryl Kane says:

    Thank you for your honest review!

  5. Minister Raymond D. Sopp says:

    I want to thank all of you for your gracious comments. I just want all to know, the book was written to challenge and provoke thought. If all the book does is to cause people to get into the Word of God to check me out — I’m blessed.

    In the front of the book: First edition 2004 — Second edition 2019

    God bless all of you,
    Minister Raymond D. Sopp

  6. Calvin says:

    Very well done, nice review!

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