Piper’s “THE FUTURE OF JUSTIFICATION” Key Arguments pt. 2

The series on Piper’s “The Future of Justification” is continued in this post by taking a brief look at Piper’s key arguments against Wright and the New Perspective. This will be done in two parts due to length, today’s post will conclude the key arguments section (part 1 can be found here).


 Piper’s Key Arguments

 

One of John Piper’s major concerns is what Wright teaches about the role of the imputation of God’s righteousness in Christ and the imputation of the obedience of Jesus to believers according to Romans 5:19. Wright argues that it makes “no sense” to say the judge imputes his righteousness to the defendant. He believes that righteousness is not something that “can be passed across the courtroom.”[1] Wright thinks that when God acts to vindicate His people, then they will metaphorically have the status of righteousness, “But the righteousness they have will not be God’s own righteousness. That makes no sense at all.”[2] The righteousness of the Judge and the defendant has two different meanings and looks nonsensical to Wright because of the framework and method Wright used to evaluate it is incorrect according to Piper. From Piper’s perspective, Wright treats the righteousness of God merely in terms of the actions of the Judge, and not in terms of His deeper attribute of righteousness and omnipotence.[3] Piper believes Wright’s paradigm to explain Paul turns out to limit and distort rather than clarify.[4] Piper brings the argument back to the glory of God. As Piper examines the teachings of Paul and using this law-court imagery, Piper concludes the reason God acts the way He does is not because God is unrighteous, but because God will act in a way that most fully upholds and displays the supreme worth of His glory.[5] Interpreting Paul and the Old Testament, Piper defines God’s righteousness as most fundamentally His unwavering allegiance to uphold the value of His glory. God also demands His creatures forsake their unrighteousness and glorify Him.[6] In contrast to Wright’s view of the defendant and judge, Piper makes the case that what makes God and humans “righteous” is their unwavering allegiance to treasure and uphold the glory of God. Thus, it is conceivable for the Judge’s righteousness to be shared with the defendant. Piper sees the Judge, who is also Creator and Redeemer, will find a way to make His righteousness count for the defendant since it is the exact righteousness they need.[7]

Piper concludes his volume by citing that the reason he wrote this book is to avert the “double tragedy” that is caused by Wright and the New Perspective. The first tragedy is where the obedience of Christ, imputed to the believer through faith alone, is denied or obscured.[8] Piper believes that inevitably a believer’s own works – the fruit of the Spirit – will take on a function that contradicts the very reason the good works exists. Piper argues Wright’s perspective elevates the importance of the works of love, that in turn begins to nullify the glory of Christ and His work that were designed to be displayed.[9]

The other tragedy that Piper hopes to avoid is the undermining of what makes the works of love possible, which is that Christ’s perfect obedience and sacrifice secured completely the glorious reality that the omnipotent Father is for His beloved children. Piper believes that if Christians deny or minimize the importance of the obedience of Christ, imputed to Christians through faith alone, their works will begin to assume the role that should have been Christ’s.[10] Piper argues at length about the supremacy of God’s glory and that God does all He can to uphold His glory and will not do or allow anything to take from his glory.


[1] Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 98-99.

[2] Ibid, 99.

[3] Piper, The Future of Justification, 71.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid, 70.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 71.

[8] Ibid, 187.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

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Piper’s “THE FUTURE OF JUSTIFICATION” Key Arguments pt. 1

The series on Piper’s “The Future of Justification” is continued in this post by taking a brief look at Piper’s key arguments against Wright and the New Perspective. This will be done in two parts due to length, so part two will come in the following post that will provide more arguments and Piper’s main goal with this book.


 Piper’s Key Arguments

Piper argues that what God requires regarding a person’s salvation Christ accomplished by becoming the pardon and perfection for that believer. The final suffering and death of Jesus propitiated God’s wrath against the believer. Also, Jesus’ whole life of perfect righteousness, culminating in His death, is then imputed to those who believe. God provided in Christ what God demanded from a person in the law.

N. T. Wright says, “Justification is not how someone becomes a Christian. It is the declaration that they have become a Christian.”[1] Justification “was not so much about ‘getting in’, or indeed about ‘staying in’, as about ‘how you could tell who was in’. In standard Christian theological language, it wasn’t so much about soteriology as about ecclesiology; not so much about salvation as about the church.”[2] Wright sees justification in the first century as not how someone might establish a relationship with God, but “about God’s eschatological definition, both future and present…of who was a member of his people.”[3] Piper believes Wright’s disconnected justification from the event by which a Christian is saved or enters into God’s favor. A main issue that Piper takes with Wright’s thinking is at what point is God totally for the believer; Piper sees that before conversion and faith in Christ, God’s wrath was against the believer, in contrast after conversion and union with Christ, God’s wrath is no longer against the believer. Piper counters Wright’s argument by claiming justification is the moment or the event when a believer put their faith in Jesus Christ and at that moment God is no longer against them but is for them, and counts them as acceptable, forgiven, righteous, and obedient because of their union with Christ.[4] At that moment, even though the person is ungodly, they are declared and constituted just. Where Wright, according to Piper, sees the call as the only decisive saving moment, Piper puts the call with the work of God justifying the believer.

Piper sees Wright’s view on the gospel as challenging and involves some provocative denials about how the gospel relates to becoming saved. Piper claims Wright does not deny that God uses the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection and lordship over the world to save people. Wright wants to stress that there is a difference between one of the effects of the gospel—namely, personal salvation—and the proclamation of the gospel itself.[5] Piper is concerned that expressing the gospel in this manner will confuse people because it does not include the good news about salvation. In particular, if the announcement does not include news about how and why a person will not be “destroyed” by the risen Christ because of their sin, then it is not good news but actually terrible news.[6] Piper argues that unless the meaning of Jesus’ death and what He achieved is explained, it is not good news. It is good news because now reconciliation with God can be enjoyed by faith, and a person moves from God’s wrath to God’s righteous child. Piper believes in Wright’s passion to liberate the gospel from individualism to making it more historical and global, Wright leaves it vague for the individual sinner.[7]

Piper takes issue with another one of Wright’s gospel nuances. N. T. Wright argues that when Paul talks about how a person can come into a living and saving relationship with the saving God, it is not justification that “springs to his lips or pen.” Wright believes that when the gospel message about Jesus, the cross, and his resurrection is announced to a person, that through this, God works by His Spirit upon that person’s heart to believe.[8] Piper counters this thinking by pointing to Paul’s gospel sermon to the people in Antioch (Acts 13:38-39). As Paul brings his sermon to a close about how people can come to an eternal relationship with God, Piper believes Paul brings this message to a climax with justification.[9] Piper strongly disagrees with N. T. Wright’s theory that justification does not come to Paul’s lips or pen about how to have a saving relationship with God. He says, “It’s not only misleading, it’s not true to the text and it’s going to hurt the church.”[10]

to be continued…


[1] Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 125.

[2] Ibid, 119.

[3] Ibid, 125.

[4] Piper, The Future of Justification, 181-182.

[5] Ibid, 45-46, for multiple quotations on Wright’s view of the gospel.

[6] Ibid, 46, 81-91.

[7] Ibid, 86.

[8] Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 116.

[9] Piper, The Future of Justification, 20.

[10] Ibid.

Piper’s Thesis of “THE FUTURE OF JUSTIFICATION”

The Thesis of “The Future of Justification”

In the opening lines of the introduction, Piper lays out the intent and thesis of the book: “the subject matter of this book—justification by faith apart from works of the law—is serious. There is as much riding on this truth as could ride on any truth in the Bible. ‘If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose’ (Gal 2:21).”[1] Piper goes on to remind the reader that if Christ died for no purpose, then believers are still in sin, and those who have died in Christ have perished.[2] N. T. Wright believes the “discussions of justification in much of the history of the church,” since Augustine, got off on the wrong foot of misunderstanding Paul and “have stayed there ever since.”[3] Piper believes that Wright’s portrayal of the gospel, in particular the doctrine of justification, is so disfigured that it is difficult to recognize as biblically faithful. In Piper’s eyes Wright may think he has a clear grasp of the gospel and justification, but Piper is concerned that this belief system will not make the lordship of Christ good news for sinners or show how those overwhelmed with sin may stand righteous before God.[4] Piper’s hope with this book is to correct this misunderstanding and cause believers to seriously study and faithfully preach the gospel, including the good news of justification by faith apart from works of the law (Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16).[5] The dominant argument of this book is that John Piper believes the gospel is being lost not in outright dismissal of it, but in a gradual relaxing of it due to the obscuring of the biblical understanding of justification. Piper believes this distorting of justification is so dangerous that Wright may be reinforcing Roman Catholic soteriology.[6]

[1] John Piper, The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2007), 14.

[2] Ibid, 14-15.

[3] N. T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Saul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity?, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 115.

[4] Piper, The Future of Justification, 15.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, 183.

CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE FUTURE OF JUSTIFICATION

The next few post will look at a popular book on soteriology and having a critical examination of it, in the spirit of grace and love. This is not about condemnation of an author or a view, but about examining what the author is saying or arguing for and what can be learned from this. The critical interaction with the material will focus on four main goals:

    1. Briefly summarize the author’s thesis.
    2. Explain key arguments used to support the thesis.
    3. Evaluate the thesis and the means of presentation.
    4. Discuss personal and ministerial application of this material.

Over the next few posts, we will delve deeper into each of these different areas. The book that I will be reviewing “The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright” by John Piper. It can be found here  for free (Please note there are many resources available from Piper and N.T. Wright for free that are very valuable for personal growth; I would highly recommend checking out both sites to review their material). This book is in response to N.T. Wright’s view on the “New Perspective” on Paul’s theology and is Piper’s goal to correct the renowned Wright on his wrong views on justification. First, we will introduce this further and provide a thesis and foreshadowing of where we will be going during this series.


CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE FUTURE OF JUSTIFICATION
N. T. Wright, a world-renowned scholar and bishop in the Church of England who has spent years studying Paul’s writings, has developed a “New Perspective” on Paul’s theology in collaboration with other leaders of the same viewpoint. Wright believes the church has misunderstood Paul’s theology, specifically justification, and has set out to correct these errors by offering a fresh perspective on the doctrine of justification. John Piper, renowned pastor and scholar, wrote “The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright” as a response to and critique of N. T. Wright’s view of justification; Piper deems Wright’s take on justification as an alarming, confusing, distorted, and possible heretical understanding of the doctrine. Piper, concerned that Wright’s view distorts the view of God’s glory and grace, challenges Wright’s interpretation of justification and sets out to provide a faithful and clear exposition of this important salvific subject matter of justification. In The Future of Justification, Piper documents the errors in N. T. Wright’s view on justification and proposes a traditional solution that is true to the intent of Paul and what has been defined by the Reformers.

Lessons about Tribal Missions from the book, The Spirit of the Rainforest

Today, we conclude our series on The Spirit of the Rainforest by looking at how one might communicate the gospel message with the Yanomamo or similar tribal cultures. I do not claim to be an evangelist or a missionary. These are merely a few thoughts that came to me as I read the book and seemed to stand out. They are concepts that other missionaries have tried or were shown to work in the book.

Finally, we conclude the entire series by recalling what we learned and what stood out. For anyone thinking about tribal missions, I highly suggest reading Spirit of the Rainforest. It will provide an eye opening look at what missionaries have experienced or are going through. It is a brutally honest book that caused heartfelt pain and emotion in my own life.

As I read this book right after the birth of my daughter, I was struck by the brutal reality of what some people endure and go through. Thinking about the treatment of women, babies, and children, there were many times this book was a tough read. But, the reader is not left with just stories of bad things happening to people. The reader is able to see how the grace, mercy, and light of God can penetrate the darkest of places. There is hope. While it may not be now or any time soon, for the Christian, there is an eternal hope that far outweighs the pain and sorrow of this fallen world.


 

Communicating the Concepts of the Spirit World, Humanity, and Sin to the Yanomamo

The Yanomamo understand that there are some spirits that are “good” and some that are “evil.” They even recognize a hierarchy to the spirit world in describing the great spirit or the spirit that made other spirits. In communicating the concepts of the spirit world, I would establish a common ground that I also believe in the spirit world and that there are definitely “good” and “evil” spirits. These spirits can cause them to do good and know more about peace, love, respect, and doing good; or they can cause them to continue to do evil and live in a cycle of revenge, fear, and guilt. At this point, Ephesians 6:12 is helpful in talking about evil spirits and struggles, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” These evil spirits lie to the Yanomamo and trick them into believing half-truths that cause so much pain and misery. They deceive the Yanomamo and cause them to be afraid of Yai Pada, who is the only spirit that truly loves them, can help them and is not their enemy. Unlike the evil spirits who many times seem ineffective in healing or finding food, Yai Pada cares and provides for their needs. Even these evil spirits recognize that there is nothing they can do against the great spirit.[1] The evil spirits trick them into thinking the Yanomamo rule them, but it is actually the evil spirits that rule the Yanomamo.

The Yanomamo culture is one of revenge and bravado, but even those times when innocent people are killed, many warriors experienced guilt and were troubled with what they had done. They would not tell anyone out of fear of being labeled a coward, but inside they knew that the killing was wrong. This knowledge of wrong points to an awareness of good and evil and shows the depravity of humans as we are all inherently evil. The Yanomamo typically let the men eat first and then whatever was leftover would be for the women and children. Following the ways of Yai Pada, all of the villagers are seen as wanting to take care of and help each other to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Yai Pada is able to change the Yanomamo culture where once children were the last to eat, now they are first. Yai Pada can change the hardest warrior’s heart who has done much killing, hurt, and pain into treating others with love, helping others, and being able to sleep again without the weight of guilt.[2]

This killing, raping, and cycle of revenge is all part of the lies these evil spirits have told them. It leads to a discussion on sin and how the original humans did not obey the great spirit Yai Pada. In the beginning, Yai Pada created a perfect world that was very good.  He created humans in His own image and likeness. There was peace and rest as these first humans enjoyed fellowship with Yai Pada. But an evil spirit deceived these humans causing them to disobey Yai Pada because they were prideful and wanted to be just like Him. Every child born to these humans were born with this curse of disobedience and pride called sin. This sin nature is what causes all humans to do bad and be separated from God. Every time the Yanomamo hear about Yai Pada, the evil spirits get extremely uncomfortable inside the Yanomamo and do not want them to listen to these stories. These evil spirits know they sinned and are trying to get the Yanomamo to also follow their sinful ways, instead of the good and loving ways of Yai Pada that lead to eternal life.

It is important to communicate to the Yanomamo how Yai Pada changes lives. There are many Yanomamo that are miserable, angry, and restless; but, Yai Pada offers a way out. With Yai Pada there is no longer a reason to be scared because He will give peace, protection, and remove fear. In much the same way that Yai Pada protected Jungleman and said Jungleman belongs to Him, Yai Pada does the same for all Yanomamo. Once the Yanomamo believes, they enter a relationship with Yai Pada as their eternal Father and are adopted into His family. In fact, Yai Pada offers a way to every Yanomamo to get rid of that guilt, fear, and shame. As Shoefoot describes, Yai Pada became a Yanomamo himself. He came as a baby, grew up, and showed a completely different way to live. Even though he knew he would be killed, he did it anyway. His death was a death for all Yanomamo’s.[3] “Because he was Yai Pada, he was able to come back from the dead. That is how he cut the trail to where he lives.”[4] He was never unfriendly to the Yanomamo, but is the enemy of the evil spirits from Omawa. The evil spirit Omawa deceived them into this life of fear, killing, and pain to keep them from a life of peace, happiness, and love. Yai Pada is the friend of Yanomamo that put their desires and trust in him. Yai Pada offers the greatest sense of safety and protection, more than the Yanomamo has ever known.

The Yanomamo understand the practice of putting the bow and arrows on a tree after they are done with unokai. The tree takes the killing tools and makes their hands clean so the Yanomamo’s can touch themselves again.[5] That is what Yai Pada’s death did. It changed the Yanomamo’s from being his enemies to making them his friends so they can follow his trail. Just as Yai Pada took the sins of the Yanomamo and forgave them, so too can a Yanomamo now be saved from the fire pit and forgive others because of Yai Pada’s gift.

Conclusion

Spirit of the Rainforest provides readers with real life examples and stories of spiritual warfare that is oftentimes overlooked or not thought about in American culture. Honey provides a great reminder for all of believers that our mission field is all around us; it shows how Christ’s love and power can make a difference not only in a person, but in a village and an entire community. The change in Shoefoot led to a change in a village and eventually the surrounding area. A simple but profound change of rebuking the old ways for following Christ with all our hearts can make us stand apart to live for God’s glory and be examples of Christ. Spirit of the Rainforest challenges Christians to be examples and obedient to God no matter where we are at.


[1] Ibid, 119.

[2] Ibid, 230.

[3] Ibid, 159.

[4] Ibid, 160.

[5] Ibid.

Cross Cultural Review: Spirit of the Rainforest

Continuing our series by looking at the book, “The Spirit of the Rainforest.” This post will take a brief look at the aspects of the tribal Yanomamo culture that is not necessarily better or worse than those in the West, but is something that Americans can relate to with that culture.


Neutral Aspects

The Yanomamo tribes and American’s view the spirits or God as a tool used to get their way, envisioning a “genie” to grant their wishes. Both cultures experience Satan’s lies that God does not exist or is an enemy as he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:4). Americans struggle with many negative aspects found in the Yanomamo culture like vengeance, murder, and mistreatment of minorities. While the Yanomamo are much more aware of the spirit world including the good and bad spirits, a hierarchy to the spirits, and even inquiring of the spirits, the spirit world of the American culture has deceived many to move away from spiritual matters including to believe there is no God. Shoefoot even identified many signs and symbols of the spirit world while visiting America.[1]

Instead, many Americans are worshipping the counterfeit gods of money, sex, fame, and success without ever realizing what they are doing. Despite the differences between environment and culture, both suffer with sin and desiring more material possessions. Yanomamo men are more concerned about displaying courage and bravado[2], while in much the same way, Americans fall into the trap of displaying a false sense of success. Christians, like those of Honey, are often tempted to follow the surrounding culture and give in to its temptations. But as Christians, we are asked to stand apart and stand up for what is right, true, obedient, and to be faithful to God.

[1] Ibid, 251.

[2] Ibid, 44, 59.

The harmful Yanomamo culture as portrayed in Spirit of the Rainforest

Today, we will continue the series of “Spirit of the Rainforest” by looking at the negative aspects of this culture from an outsiders perspective. This is a commentary on the appearance of a culture that was portrayed in the book.


 

Negative Aspects

A major negative aspect of the Yanomamo culture is a degrading and disrespectful view of women. They are often raped and captured as part of village raids. If they try to escape and leave their husbands they are maimed or killed. Women are promised to whoever presents himself as a good son-in-law by hunting meat and serving the parents, regardless of a woman’s desire and age. The men assert that the women are only here for the men, not the men for the women.[1] The men seem only to care about sex and when the woman is ready for sex (meaning of age).[2] This is further illustrated in the story of Longfoot and Yoshicami when she was sick, he left her because he could not “get any more sex out of her.”[3] However, many of the wars that occur in the book happen over a dispute over a woman, including the war between Honey and Mouth.

Another negative aspect is the cycle of vengeance. It is taught from an early age and continues throughout one’s life as long as that may be. If a village kills a relative, the relative and the rest of their village is to raid the killer’s village to kill them as well as others. This often led to fear of attack and ambush, eventually causing villages to starve. While Honey turned from this Yanomamo culture, they still faced that struggle of seeking revenge when they were wronged. But, God changed their lives and helped them understand what it means to live a life that honors Him valuing peace, love, and respect for others including women over vengeance and war. Their loyalty to God surpasses their loyalty to others and even one’s appearance when they appeared as cowards.

[1] Ibid, 102.

[2] Ibid, 102, 157.

[3] Ibid, 189.

Cross Cultural Review of Spirit of the Rainforest

Today, we continue our Spirit of the Rainforest book review series by examining what are some of the positive aspects of the Yanomamo culture. While they are in a completely different place and have a completely different set of rules, are there aspects of their society that they do better than we do? Is there something we can learn from them? The next post will look at some of the negative aspects of that type of culture.

Positive Aspects

A major positive aspect of the Yanomamo culture is a strong sense of loyalty and community. The Yanomamo are so loyal that any offense to one is an offense to all. This loyalty is tested as those who want to live in Honey often have to give up their families in order to live in the Honey culture of peace and love. The Yanomamo’s are also very generous, even saying being stingy is deserving of the fire pit.[1] Compared to the nabas who never shared, the Yanomamo’s provide a model of a generous community helping out, particularly in the story of Yoshicami and Honey village.[2]

A major difference between the Yanomamo worldview and the secular American worldview is that the spiritual world is intimately tied to the physical world far more for the Yanomamo. The spirit world is more important to the Yanomamo than many Americans, as Americans separates these two worlds much more. Yanomamo generally seek out healing, advice or help from the spirits first, whereas Americans will typically turn to a medicine, science, or their own efforts first, then will turn to spirituality as a last resort. In addition, the Yanomamo display a greater obedience to their spirits leading, even prompting Jungleman to say, “When you have spirits as wonderful as mine are, you would never think of ignoring their advice.”[3] My culture tends to wrestle God for control, oftentimes not submitting to His leading.

[1] Ibid, 96.

[2] Ibid, 190.

[3] Ibid, 42.

Spirit of the Rainforest: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Culture

This post will finish the summary of Spirit of the Rainforest by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the book. We will also introduce the next part of this book review by looking at the Yanomamo culture and my own Western culture. The next post will give an expanded look at the positives of their culture and after that, the weaknesses of their culture compared to the West.


 

The strength of this book is the personal and intimate account of an actual Yanomamo shaman. Jungleman describes the Yanomamo life in graphic detail and gives the reader reasoning to understand their culture and lifestyle. Spirit of the Rainforest shows how God can truly make a difference in a community. The book beautifully shows a village of new believers struggling between their old traditions and new beliefs. It describes how they become different and standout from other villages by treating women and children appropriately and by not seeking revenge.

The weakness of this book is primarily with the verifiability of the stories. It seems that Ritchie did all he could to verify the stories and research, but many anthropologists seem to differ with him due to the negative impact and experiences described in the book. Also, since Jungleman was not physically present for every account or event described, the accuracy of the stories is questionable: information could have been missing or altered through second hand accounts. Ritchie however does state repeatedly that the events are true and that “truth is stranger than fiction.”[1]


Compare and Contrast Cultures

Spirit of the Rainforest provides the reader with a glimpse into a different culture, a different way of life, and the impact of true Christianity. The heavy reliance on the spiritual world is more neutral for the Yanomamo’s when compared to an American worldview. The Yanomamo’s loyalty and community is a positive aspect compared to an American society, while the revenge mentality and poor view of women is a negative in comparison.


[1] Mark Andrew Ritchie, Spirit of the Rainforest, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Island lake Press, 2000), 8, 245-48.

Spirit of the Rainforest: A Summary

Continuing the series on “The Spirit of the Rainforest” that was introduced in the previous post, this post will give a brief summary about the book. Hopefully this summary will provide a foundation for what will be discussed in future posts as the Yanomamo culture is compared and contrasted to our own culture. Following that will be a post on an outsiders look on how to share the gospel with a community like this

This post will take us through the book from the opening raid, the barbaric results, and the consequential fear to new way of peace, love, and forgiveness that is introduced. As one village becomes an example and a light for others, Spirit of the Rainforestprovides a case study for tribal missions in a very difficult environment.


Summary of Spirit of the Rainforest

Told from the perspective of a shaman named Jungleman, Spirit of the Rainforest provides the reader with a glimpse into the life of a shaman, their dependence on the spirits of the jungle, and the role of a shaman in the village. Jungleman grew from a boy scared of these spirit encounters to one of the most powerful Yanomamo shamans. Eventually, he began to teach other shamans how to use the spirits for various purposes including healing, cursing, and sexual fantasies. Jungleman’s account of the Yanomamo tribe provides readers unprecedented access to a vastly different culture as he describes the Yanomamo customs that includes their reasons for fighting, wars, treatment of women and children, the effect of the nabas (term for foreigners), and the role of spirits.

The book begins by describing a conflict between two villages, Honey and Mouth that epitomizes the Yanomamo struggle between the old culture (Mouth) with the new culture (Honey) that is being introduced by some of the nabas. The old culture includes revenge, fighting, guilt and fear, is contrasted with this new way of life that is peace, love and respect. Honey has thrown away the old Yanomamo customs and spirits and has started following the great spirit Yai Pada’s new ways. Honey flourishes under the new ways and soon becomes the envy of the other villages that are experiencing difficulties.

The Yanomamo culture of vengeance and loyalty is introduced early on through the raid on Potato Village. This one story sums up the Yanomamo tradition. The extent of the raid can vary from two opposing warriors clubbing each other to more serious raids where every male is killed and the women are assaulted, raped, and carried off to become wives of the raiding village. Children in the raided village are often killed, or occasionally captured to become slaves. Many village raids were spurred on by the killing of a relative that was a result of a revenge killing; this became an endless cycle of raids and fighting that sparked more revenge. The assaults on the women and children were to stop future generations from exacting revenge on that tribe. Often this tradition would fail as different tribes retaliate for those relatives showing familial loyalty by raiding the attacking village.

The Yanomamo’s discovered that the great spirit they thought was evil and would kill their children was actually a good spirit named Yai Pada. Jungleman’s apprentice Shoefoot, threw away his spirits to follow Yai Pada, and soon Shoefoot and his village Honey, begin changing. Honey becomes the envy of the Yanomamo’s as they flourish under this new culture of peace, love, and respect. Every shaman that visits this village is met with the same response from their spirits pleading not to be thrown away. As the story concludes, many Yanomamo villages tired of dying and spiritual ineffectiveness, rebuke the old ways to follow Yai Pada.