Reviewed by Ella M. Rydzewski, editorial assistant, Ministry.

The Reincarnation Sensation presents its subject from a mainstream Christian perspective. Spreading out from its original roots in Eastern religion, belief in reincarnation finds fertile soil in Western society among those seeking to transcend a threatened world.

Many Westerners claim that their belief in reincarnation is based on hypnotically induced past-life regressions. But the authors point out that those who experience such regressions usually already believe in reincarnation or have been culturally conditioned to believe it.

Geisler and Amano describe 10 different models of reincarnation from Hinduism to "Christian" models. The Christian models are based on speculations that reflect a common desire not to die. Christian reincarnationists read their doctrine into numerous Bible texts, and the authors deal skillfully with these.

Reincarnation speaks to the human desire for love, mercy, justice, morality, and life after death. The part of the book that most interested me was the authors' discussion of reincarnations' abhorrence of the doctrine of hell. The authors point out that Christian reincarnationists seek to prove their belief by saying that it fits better with the idea of a loving God. The authors' attempts to justify belief in a loving God who torments people eternally sound hollow beside the reincarnationists' arguments. The reincarnationists appropriately call an eternally burning hell "penal overkill." And while the authors defend eternal torment, they accuse the reincarnationists of being unjust when they claim that people are punished for sin in a past life they don't remember!

Although reincarnation is definitely not a biblical doctrine, it seems that Christian reincarnationist Geddes MacGregor hit closer to the truly biblical viewpoint than Geisler and Amano. MacGregor suggests that "the notion that many people might be simply extinguished, fading gradually out of existence, seems to me more intelligible. Such people do not want existence. Why, then, should the gift be thrust upon them?"

Neither reincarnation nor the doctrine of eternal torment in hell is biblical, for both present a distorted view of the nature of God and man. This book should cause Christians to analyze the role their non-biblical traditions have played in setting the stage for the reincarnation sensation.

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Reviewed by Ella M. Rydzewski, editorial assistant, Ministry.

March 1989

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