Ascent from Darkness:
Source: Review copy from the publisher that was requested through Booksneeze.
Book Description from Booksneeze:
A life of difficulty and disappointment set 33-year old Michael Leehan up for the worst decision of his life—to make a deal with the Devil to follow and serve him. Practicing the dark arts that include ritualistic cuttings and blood sacrifices, while fine tuning his manipulation and control skills, Michael launched into a twenty year downward spiral that included job loss and detachment from loved ones, and even jail time.
But God had another plan that included a group of Christian men to love him and pray for him—even when it became evident his assignment from Satan was to kill their pastor, Craig Groeschel.
The life Michael Leehan lives today is an incredible testimony of the transforming power of God's mercy and grace, but is also a wakeup call to the church to be fully aware of the spiritual war that is going on all around them, and to the ultimate battle for their souls.
"I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." Acts 26:18
Ascent from Darkness is a memoir of a man who made a pact with Satan to serve him and who found that pact destroying his life. Still, Michael was afraid of giving up the power he thought his pact gave him, and he wasn't initially interested in surrendering to a God he'd been angry at since childhood. And Satan wasn't about to let Michael go serve his enemy.
It's a compelling story. Michael managed to describe the emotional and life-changing impact of his actions without getting into gory details about Satanic practices. In fact, he's very vague about many of the rituals he did (which I think was very wise for multiple reasons--for example, you can't learn how to do a satanist ritual by reading this book. And the book would have been much darker).
If you have a hard time believing in real, evil spiritual forces, you'll probably have a hard time believing this book. If you think everything bad has a demon behind it that needs to be cast out, you'll probably be disappointed. While Michael makes it clear that spiritual forces are all around us, what he describes is very in line with what the Bible teaches about angels, fallen angels, and how Christ can free those who surrender to Him.
I think this book is important for Christians to read because most don't really think about the spiritual battles being fought around them. Also, Michael talked about how, as a satanist, he'd go into churches and quote Scripture in ways to mislead Christians or try to disrupt Bible Studies by bringing up controversial subjects or by seducing the women. He pointed out something that has long concerned me: how churches tend to get people to say "the sinners prayer" and baptized but then don't make a point of mentoring them in the faith. This leaves new believers vulnerable to lies about God.
This is an excellent book, and I'd highly recommend it.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt from chapter one.