Popular Christian books are ruining the Gospel.
Don't get me wrong, I love to read. I am an avid reader. Everything from history to fiction to teaching books line my shelf. However I see a trend that concerns me.
I do not want to be a doomsayer but I received an email today from a friend in Alabama who expressed concern that a local church was encouraging people to embrace the "Papa" from the Shack and to set aside their Bibles. In my shock I wanted to deny his claims but my mind went racing back to the recent past.
I went back to when the Prayer of Jabez was released. People grabbed a hold of this book and before you knew it churches were teaching the Prayer of Jabez, while people sipped from their Jabez coffee cups, sticking their Jabez bookmarks into their Bibles tucked inside their Jabez Bible covers.
The fad soon drifted away as the Left Behind Series came out. Before too long I would be in a Christian Bookstore and hear people say how their church was teaching Revelation as it was found in the Left Behind Series. As the Series grew so did the T-shirts, the comics, the kids books and the movies.
Then the Purpose Driven Life came out and every church suddenly seemed lost. They all had to find their purpose in life, their purpose as a church. Of course they used the Purpose Driven Life book, video series, etc...while sipping from their Purpose Driven Coffee Cups and you get the point.
Now the Shack is upon us. People are torn, some love it, some hate it. It's either Blasphemy or the "Gospel Truth" depending on who you talk too.
Each of these books are good if you take them in context. The Shack and the Left Behind Series both were well written fiction stories that spoke to a hunger people have. However, while they may include some Biblical truths in the end they are FICTION stories.
The Purpose Driven Life and Prayer of Jabez were great little teaching books that got twisted into something more.
Everyone seems to want to read about God everywhere but in His Word. What's up with that? When did Christian Fiction define who God is? When did fiction books become the end all on the end of the world?
Don't get me wrong, we can learn from many sources and God can use anything. I have seen people who have been blessed and touched by this material and God has used it to bring people deeper into a relationship with Him. However He gave us His Word for a purpose.
2 Tim. 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Note what it doesn't say...it doesn't say Christian fiction or Christian teaching books. It says Scripture.
So let's put God back on the throne and the books back on the shelf. Each in it's proper place.