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A Tale of Three Kings Paperback – 1980

4.6 out of 5 stars 462 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Books (1980)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000KEL2D0
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (462 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,620,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. T. Howell on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
In "A Tale of Three Kings" author Gene Edwards examines two relationships in the life of David - Saul and Absalom - and from them he draws insights that believers can apply to their own authority-related issues. Instead of approaching these Scriptural accounts like a traditional devotional writer, he retells the stories in a semi-fictionalized fashion. This approach yields some beautiful, moving prose that almost reads like poetry in places, but it also leaves the door open to the author inserting his own conjecture into the story. I'm willing to accept a little artistic license, but Edwards goes over the top in my opinion. For example, in the prologue he spins a pure fable in which God tells Gabriel to allow the yet-to-be-born spirits of David and Saul to choose their destinies. This "Mall of Unborn Destinies", as Edwards calls it, sounds more like Mormonism than Biblical Christianity. I doubt that the author meant it that way, but it illustrates the pitfalls of the fictionalizing approach.

Aside from style-related problems, Edwards does cull some meaningful insights from the story of David and Saul in Part 1. David's refusal to rebel against Saul, especially when he had the chance to kill him, is a powerful illustration of how we need to react to our authorities, even those who are abusing their position. The author makes some excellent points about how God used David's suffering to bring him to a point of brokenness, and how David always treated Saul as God's anointed despite his wicked behavior.

His observations in Part 2 are less helpful. He makes some good points about David's humble heart and how we need to examine ourselves and trust God when someone is challenging our authority, but he wrongly portrays David's reaction to Absalom's rebellion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do you work or live with a tyrant? Got a spoiled brat in your life? David did. Had both. He served a crazy king who tried to kill him and had a vain, self-absorbed son who tried to usurp him. Both nearly succeeded.
How David coped with these insane situations with God's love, grace, and wisdom have changed my life. The patience, respect for God, surrender, and trust in the Lord spoke powerfully to me through the years of history between us. David's unique reactions revealed Jesus Christ to me in a new way.
David's struggles dwarfed mine but the lessons of his life challenged me to become a better Christian - a man of honor - a man of God.
Gene Edwards has a gift for cutting through difficult topics on a unique slant. He brings a new level of understanding to old problems, stories, and issues. There were times when reading this book that I had to stop, lay it down, and catch my breath as new revelation washed over me.
A strong recommendation for the thoughtful believer who is willing to go to the next level of faith.
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Format: Paperback
A Tale Of Three Kings is a an awesome piece of Christian literature. If you are tired of all the "holy spirit, healing, prosperity, achieving wealth through biblical principles" type books, than Gene Edwards is your man. In this book, Gene lays out a refreshing perspective on brokeness that is not quite traditional in mainstream "Sunday school, pulpit preachings". Through his wonderful and simplistic story telling style, Gene goes into the depths of the hearts of three kings, namely King Saul, King David, and King Absolom. Not only will this book aid in your journey towards the deep things of the Lord and His ways, but it will cause us to look into our very hearts and ask the question, "which heart of these Kings do I have....." Indeed men fix things that break, but after we read this book we emerge w/ the understanding that God breaks men to fix them.
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Format: Paperback
This book is easy to read and memorable. It just isn't true.

Despite its lop-sided popularity (you can scan a galaxy of 5-star Amazon reviews), A Tale of Three Kings represents an inaccurate and, thus, harmful perspective on spiritual authority and those who have been wounded by its abuse.

Gene Edwards first published A Tale of Three Kings in 1980. It describes three Israelite kings: Saul, David, and Absalom, and how their behaviors supposedly represent Christian responses to authority and rebellion. We should be like David, says Edwards, who refused to touch God's "anointed" in the person of King Saul. Edwards says that we should also be like David when he refused to do anything to stop Absalom's rebellion (a questionable assertion we'll discuss below). Christians who resist abusive leaders or usurpers are acting like Saul and Absalom, says Edwards.

Yikes.

The book served as Edwards's heart-felt response to spiritually-abused people whom he perceived as leaving the church because they refused to submit to authority (p.ix). Edwards's solution for these abused and broken people, amazingly, was not healing but rather more brokenness. Hence his subtitle: "A Study in Brokenness." Being abused? Great, submit to it and you'll get better.

Written in a historical-fiction approach, the book relies on Edwards's interpretation of Old Testament Bible stories, his own conjecture, and his belief in the one-to-one application of these stories to contemporary believers.

Before I examine some of the inaccuracies in this book, let me state my motives.

Motive 1: As a follower of Jesus who holds firmly to the inspiration of scripture--and as a graduate of a conservative seminary, as was Edwards--I value adherence to the Word of God.
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