I just finished an excellent book. Normally I’d tell you the name of it, but I have some concerns.
First of all, I’m about to seriously question the writer’s theology, faith, and ability to handle the Word of God. Since the sister has enough issues without me attacking her on the internet too (I’m not the first to have some concerns), I’ll keep mum on her name.
Second of all, even though the book is indeed excellently written, hysterically funny, and a total joy to behold, I don’t know that I’m comfortable recommending it to anyone who doesn’t have a firm grasp on the Bible.
The Bible does indeed come up in her book, many times. The writer loves Jesus and has some keen– but uncomfortable–insights on how his followers should be conducting themselves. For example, when Christ tells us to love one another and to care for our neighbor, are we actually doing that? Or are we gathering ourselves into pious little groups and carefully excluding anyone who might contaminate us?
You know, just like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did? The ones he publicly challenged and called hypocrites and children of hell?
These sorts of insights were so true and right I gasped out loud a few times as I read. She has a firm grasp on God’s love and what it requires as we relate to one another.
But then things got sticky, because I believe God’s love must be balanced with God’s truth. Sin is a terrible thing– it keeps us from God. A holy God cannot tolerate sin, and a holy God gets to determine what is sin and what is not.
We don’t get to adore or ignore clear Scripture based on how comfortable or uncomfortable it is to us personally. Yes, there are cultural issues and historical events we might not apply on a daily basis (see also: women being silent in church and/or building an ark and waiting for animals to show up).
But the clear parts– the parts about loving God, repenting of sin, and loving others– the parts no one can refute because they are so simple even children understand them, those we don’t get to rearrange to our comfort. As God’s people, we submit to his truth. We don’t bend it to fit our circumstances.
Here’s my point. We must be reading the Bible. We must have it open in front of our faces as much as possible, because otherwise it is terribly easy for a gregarious and charming person to lead us close to nice ideas, but actually far from God.
A lot of readers who enjoyed the book probably don’t read the Bible very often. They are blindly following the interpretations and whims of a woman who has neglected some key portions of the Word. And they are being tragically led astray.
Let’s not be those readers. Let’s immerse ourselves first in the Bible, so we will have the knowledge we need to discern the truth from the opinions.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
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