Music: The Power of the Cross
As we approach Easter, the following hymn brings a sense of awe and worship.
Girls with Swords
A book review by Kylie Pidgeon
In Girls with Swords, Lisa Bevere presents the valuable biblical truth that the Word of God is both our weapon and our shield in a real and present spiritual battle against the forces of evil. Bevere states that as a Christian, there is no neutral territory on the spiritual battlefield. She says simply and plainly to her audience: “Lovely one, you are a target.” Convinced of our need to take up arms in this inevitable warfare against Satan, the metaphor of fencing is introduced. Just as a literal sword consists of a strong hilt for protection, a long blade for reaching the opponent, and a sharp point to cut to the heart, so the Word of God can be applied in self-defence, protection of others, and attack.
It is refreshing to have a book written that assumes a primarily female audience without being restricted to exclusively female subject matter, and Bevere has a knack for inspiring and bringing courage to her audience by use of phrases like “warrior-daughter” and “your moment in history.” Images of martial artists are conjured throughout the book, as fitting illustrations of those who demonstrate commitment, determination and dedication to their art, with the result of becoming skilled and safe warriors. The central argument of the book is powerful, that as warrior-daughters of the King, we must be prepared to fight for the cause of our God against the onslaught of the enemy. Bevere expresses God’s desire that His royal daughters will learn to skilfully wield their weapon in battle, that is, be armed with the Word of God to rebuke and encourage others, and protect against Satan’s inevitable attacks. To all of this, we say: Touché!
However, the epic language and inspirational phrases come at the expense of clear reasoning and sound theology. Bevere herself describes the work as a compilation of “imagery, scriptures and word phrases.” Imagery, is unfortunately elevated to a position equal with scripture, as equal weight is given to conclusions derived from stream of consciousness type narrative as is given to the Bible. And as for “word phrases”, well, yes, words do usually come in phrases. As much inspiration is drawn from popular culture, like The Terminator and Lord of the Rings films as it is from the Word of God. It is ironic that the Word is central to winning the battle, yet the importance of the Word is underplayed in this book.
At times bordering on the comical, statements appear such as “Acting human isn’t large enough to steward what is inside of us”, with a following conclusion that we all have secret hero identities. Perhaps more sad than comical, the Word of God is divested of its power, as it is assumed to be dormant until we choose to wield it. The call to be a hero is described as though it is the primary purpose of the Christian life, while the Cross of Christ and pursuits such as glorifying God, obeying Him and loving and serving others are more of an afterthought. Sadder still, heroism is itself the goal, rather than the God for which heroes are (often reluctantly) called to fight.
Bible verses appear throughout the text, yet are often invested with meaning convenient to the author’s own conclusions. Some verses are very poorly interpreted, for example Genesis 3:15 is unhelpfully used as evidence in order to conclude that women endure more of Satan’s attacks than men. And while it certainly is nifty that a difference in spacing and punctuation changes God’s word to God sword, musings such as this should not be held on par with carefully and thoughtfully interpreting the scriptures. Ephesians 6:17 “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” is mentioned but not expounded, and surely should have been given more focus. The metaphorical and the literal are unhelpfully blurred at times, and after a couple of phrases like “I believe it is time that the church is known for its skill with swords” it becomes excusable to imagine ministers everywhere practicing their attacking lunges and swishing large metal objects around in their offices.
Overall, the central message of being armed and ready for spiritual battle is conveyed, however such a passionate yet careless account could well leave you standing on the front line, brandishing your broadsword, before realising that no-one has explained what exactly a battle entails, or what the elements of swordcraft are. So by all means, grab Girls with Swords for a good reminder that we all face a spiritual battle, but when it comes to faithful and careful bible teaching, be sure that you are… (wait for it)… En garde!