The Argument Culture And God’s Word

wonderful-words-of-life-119318-mToday Phil Vischer and his podcast cronies hosted Dr. Ed Stetzer to discuss “What The Election Says About The Church.”

At one point the conclusion seemed to be that the Evangelical leadership understands the importance of diversity, pastors have a fifty-fifty understanding, and the people in the pew lag far behind.

Their conclusion? Either the leadership has to do a better job of leading or the people in the pew have to stop listening to the counter voices that give a message in contradiction to Jesus and His life and ministry.

Nowhere did they say, the people in the pew need to be reading their Bible everyday.

When I was a kid, we sang a couple songs that made an impact. One was, “Read Your Bible.”

I don’t remember the shrink verse, but the point is, from a very young age, I heard the need to read my Bible every day. It took years to build the habit, but the grow part of that song is very true.

As in any other relationship, when we spend time with someone else, we get to know them. Spending time with God in His word, where He reveals His person, plan, and will, makes a difference in the life of someone who wants to know God and be like Him.

The man who is preaching at my church right now (while our search for a pastor continues), Dr. Tim Muehlhoff, is doing a mini-series entitled “After The Election.” In his sermon from Romans 12 Sunday, he made a great application—well several. The one that stuck with me most was about believing what God said. In this passage at the end of the chapter, He says we are not to take revenge against someone who behaves as our enemy. Rather, God says He will act on our behalf to bring justice.

It’s up to us to believe what God says, or not.

But before we get to that point, we have to actually know what God says!

We ought not rely on what the preacher tells us during a thirty minute sermon once a week. That’s not sufficient. For one thing, unless the pastor is preaching faithfully through a text of Scripture, he’s picking and choosing topics he thinks we need to hear. There might be a lot of topics that he never addresses that we desperately need God’s instruction for.

Second, a half hour a week? What if we said we could eat for only a half hour a week? Our bodies would become steadily weaker. We need daily nourishment for our bodies, How can that not also be true for our spirit?

I am so thankful for God’s word. I’m so thankful for those who encouraged me, as a child, a young person, and as an adult, to spend time reading God’s word everyday.

Scripture, above all else, will instruct us in the way we should go, even in the argument culture. Maybe I should rephrase that: especially in the argument culture. When everything is going peachy-keen, we are less aware of our need to do things better. That’s why some athletes and coaches realize that losing a game can actually be a good thing. It sharpens your resolve and shows you where you need to be better.

genie_lamps_007The argument culture can do that for us Christians. We can see that if we are to be a light to this darkness, we have to be above the fray. We have to share the light that brightens our path. But we can’t share what we don’t have.

We need to be in the Bible everyday if it is to be a lamp to our footsteps and a light to our paths.

Published in: on November 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm  Comments Off on The Argument Culture And God’s Word  
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CSFF Blog Tour – Auralia’s Colors, Day 1

When I get an advance copy of a book, I tend to read and review as soon as possible. After all, I think the reason publishers send those books out is so that we can start talking about them and generate some buzz. If I sit on my review until … well, a scheduled blog tour, I’m not doing the author any favor and, in my view, am breaking trust with the publisher.

The dilemma I’m faced with then is, What do I say about the book during the blog tour? I’m referring specifically to Auralia’s Colors, Jeffrey Overstreet‘s debut fantasy novel for adults.

I suppose the place to start is to point readers to my review, posted at Speculative Faith last October. The short version of it is, I highly recommended the book. In fact I classified it as an important book, though I did not personally love it, primarily because I did not love any of the characters.

And still, I called it important. I think, my evaluation of the book today would not only reiterate that view but expand upon it. Why important?

For one thing, I think Auralia’s Colors is a departure from much Christian fantasy. It is not allegorical, though symbolic, and it is not overtly Christian, though containing redemptive elements.

In addition, Mr. Overstreet has given some attention to language, and the result is a work leaning toward literary fiction. The pace of the novel is markedly different from, say, Robin Parrish‘s superhero, high action fantasy Relentless. This fact also is important, in my view, because it expands the Christian fantasy genre.

No more can people pigeonhole Christian fantasy, though some still try. Recently in an interview with Christianity Today, VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer said

you couldn’t write Narnia today and have it accepted by the evangelical world because [of the magic] and because in its metaphor, it effectively has a non-Christian worldview.

Now, if we go to another fantasy world, we need to find Jesus there—literally. That is why the Harry Potter books are viewed to be straight from the pit. Even if Rowling says she’s enjoying [employing?] Christian themes, forget it. How do you write a Christian fantasy today? I have no idea. I don’t know that you can. I think we’ve killed it.

I think Auralia’s Colors is the perfect counterpoint to that argument. (For more on this discussion, see my Speculative Faith post on the topic.)

Certainly this novel does not have Jesus there, literally. And as I already pointed out, it is not allegorical, though certainly there are some apparent symbols, color being a primary one.

Auralia’s Colors does one other thing, which I think is especially significant. It is not a children’s book. I don’t know for certain how publisher WaterBrook is marketing the novel, but without a doubt, it is an adult book. Sure, young adults may read it, because clearly fantasy crosses age barriers like few other genres. But that fantasy must be written first and foremost for children is a myth (the old fashioned kind, not the myth of C. S. Lewis).

Here’s a novel, very different from Sharon Hinck‘s adult The Sword of Lyric series, very different from Karen Hancock‘s adult Guardian King Series, written with a sophistication and style that will appeal most to adults. It’s an important addition to Christian fantasy.

Take time to see what others on the blog tour are saying:

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