Should Catholics read “The Unseen Realm” by Micheal Heiser? Can Catholics learn from it? Are there red flags where he may go off and conflict with catholic theology. Hopefully this post is a place where can discuss the various things mentioned in this book in the light of the catholic faith.
I didn’t read it but as I can see it is protestant and wouldn’t recommend to read it as catholic - problematic Scripture interpretations.
There is hundreds of catholic books on Scripture, why not to read them?
I’ve read it, and I listen to his podcasts occasionally.
His historical, mythological, and cultural information about the pagan Middle East is reliable. He also has a lot of good points about Hebrew expressions, etc. He is a scholar and a Christian. If you want to find out why Ezekiel thought of thrones as being associated with wheels and weird animal heads, he’s good at explaining that.
However, he’s very Protestant, and he sometimes avoids obvious interpretations that go along with Catholic doctrine. He also supports “deliverance ministries” by Protestant laypeople that seem foolhardy. Also, he’s left Logos software and is now running his own laypeople adult studies school of theology and Bible stuff, at a Protestant church in Florida. (Which isn’t a bad sign, necessarily, but is an awful lot to bite off. And sometimes people go unstable in positions of power.)
The main thing, though, that separates him from the “cosmic Temple” historical theology that we see explored by Catholic guys like Brant Pitre, Steven C. Smith, and Scott Hahn, is that he is really into all his Divine Council stuff with the good and bad angels. (To the point that I’m not sure where he’s going and whether I like it.) He’s not teaching Christian theology with this; he’s mostly describing what early Jewish thought might have been. But…
A lot of people whom I have thought were levelheaded have gone off the deep end with stuff like this. But then again, there’s nothing explicitly wrong with it. I’m just worried about him. I hope it comes out okay.
On the bright side, a lot of Protestants who listen to him seem never to have considered before that the good angels are looking out for them and praying for them! So I’m glad for that.
He’s also a good starting place to look for references, even if you end up disagreeing. And a lot of his books are free on Amazon Unlimited, so there’s that.
If you like the deep historical ideas stuff, you might want to try Pitre’s Christ the Bridegroom and his other academic and popular books, or Steven C. Smith’s academic book The House of the Lord, or Scott Hahn’s academic book on covenants, Kinship by Covenant. Smith and Hahn have popular books too, and Smith has a podcast. N.T. Wright’s more historical stuff can also be useful, although he takes an Anglican view.
There’s nothing wrong with reading scholars, or people from different Christian traditions. But you need to take them with a grain of salt, rather than total trust. You can like and approve of someone and still have their books be wrong, or only partially right. Argue with books as you read!
Thank you for your thoughtful reply! This makes a lot of sense. I have not read it yet and so I have not covered the concept of the Devine council theology but it was attractive as it seemed to a point at a place in scripture where protestants can understand come to terms with concepts like intercession of saints and angels. Also the idea of the church having a hierarchal authority may fit in there somewhere. Is the Devine council theology heretical? Do the books you mentioned offer treatment of scripture as to address the notion of the Devine council?
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