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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Test Everything

I'm reading this book right now. I won't name the title because I'm not sure what I think of the book yet. It had a catchy title. So clever was the title that I also purchased another copy of the book for a friend (at the same time I purchased my copy). As I am reading it though, I have thought perhaps I should call him and apologize.

The book is about the watering down of Christianity. It is about how those who profess to follow Jesus Christ in America actually don't. It is about the heresy that's being preached in the name of Jesus.

Typically I'm drawn to controversy and conflict. I always assume that truth will level the playing field in such situations too. This book is no different. Much, if not most, of what it has to say is spot on. Several times as I'm reading I'm tempted to say, "Amen!" There are pages that I've already marked for future reference because the writer's words are so profound.

But then there are those moments. Perhaps you've experienced them. It happens when someone intelligent is saying things you heartily agree with. And then they do it. They spew out something that you absolutely know is not true. In fact, there is no way it could be true. If you even considered the possibility that it would be true you would be undoing everything you believed in. (I often get those moments watching Oprah or reading something she's recommended.) And he did it here.

This author, whose book I have purchased for myself and a friend, was doing great. Until he spewed some nonsense that makes God look like a fool. I got through the first one like a rough patch of turbulence on an airplane flight. It smoothed out and I continued reading with satisfaction and agreement. Until he did it again. And again. I think there are three or four times now he's said something in this book that has made me wince because it was untrue. It's a like that the writer apparently believes to be true.

The Bible tells us to to test everything against the Word of God to be sure it is true. We're not to consume anything without first conducting that test. Said differently, we're not to consider anything or take anything at face value without having first tested it against the Word of God.

I've blogged in the past about false teachers and false teaching. They're not always the same. Sometimes good teachers can be guilty of false teaching. And so I'm reminded as I read this book right now, that even writers who mostly put forth truth can let a lie creep in there somewhere. I think it's why the Bible tells us to test everything that's said --- as opposed to testing everyone who says it.

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do about this book. I'm pretty sure I'll finish it. There's a sufficient amount of truth in it that I want to finish it. But I have to admit that the lies are distracting the heck out of me. They're spoiling the enjoyment I get from reading it.

A couple of years ago I read the book, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. (It as an Oprah Book Club recommendation.) Unfortunately, the book was so full of crap that I was thoroughly disgusted reading it. While there was some truth, most of what Mr. Tolle had to say couldn't pass the testing against God's Word. I was so disgusted, in fact, that I took my copy of the book and threw it in the dumpster. I didn't want to pass it on even to a thrift store for fear that someone else might read it.

I don't think I feel so strongly about this book I'm reading now. But I've already decided I'm never going to recommend it, especially to someone who is young and perhaps less able to discern the lies amidst the truths.

Perhaps the question is whether book authors (and their publishers) know that no matter how good they are, how religious they've been or what they write ... it still needs to be tested against God's Word.

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