Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2 Christian Books Q&A for Weekly Geeks

The Light of the World by Katherine Paterson

My review of this one won't be posted on one of my personal blogs for a bit because I've set it to appear on YA Books Central. You can read it there.

Janice of Passionate Pages, asks:

Katherine Paterson the same one who wrote Bridge to Terebithia a long time ago? Usually her books are pretty significant in terms of theme or message for the reader - is The Light of the World one of those serious kinds of books? What's it about?

Yes, it's the same Katherine Paterson. It is a picture book of the life of Jesus. So I'd say it was somewhat serious. It's not taken lightly. But it isn't a dark book at all. The Jesus presented is very gentle, very wise, very non-threatening. He's more of a teacher, a guide than a Savior in this book. I'll leave it up to individual readers to determine if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Melissa of Book Nut, asks:

I saw The Light of the World over at Brooklyn Arden (I guess Cheryl's the one responsible for it) and it looked good. As a Christian, do you feel it reflects the life of Jesus well? I'd also like to know a bit about the drawings....

Yes and no. There is nothing inaccurate about what is presented. But it's not a complete presentation. As I said earlier, this is a very non-confrontational Jesus. There isn't a gospel message in this one. I suppose one could say that it doesn't have a gospel slant. I could see some happy about this. It's a few facts without any spin on Jesus being the son of God, the Savior, etc. But I can see some folks being disappointed that there wasn't some sort of gospel presented. A presentation of the life of Jesus where it doesn't go into why he died is a bit odd in my opinion. But it's earned three starred reviews in various review journals.

I would say that some Christians would probably be more pleased than others. I've read a few Amazon reviews that noted that Catholics would likely be displeased with it since Paterson took liberties with the Last Supper. Jesus says that the bread is LIKE his body and the wine is LIKE his blood. So it earned a few one and two star reviews.

I didn't have a problem with that so much as that it didn't go into the fact into why Jesus came and why Jesus died.

But to end on a positive note, the illustrations are beautiful. They're very well done.

Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur

Book Zombie asks,

My question is about "Safe in the Arms of God"

Do you believe that this book would provide comfort to a parent who has lost a child? Yes. I hope it would. I haven't talked to anyone who has lost a child AND read the book so I can't say for sure. But the message is *meant* to assure parents (and friends and family etc) that their child is in heaven, happy and in peace.

Would this book be just as helpful to a non-religious person?

I'm going to be honest here. Yes and no. MacArthur's teaching--and he does present Biblical reasoning for why he believes this way--is that ALL babies, all children instantly go to heaven when they die. It doesn't matter if they die in or out of the womb. He believes that all babies/young children are welcomed by God into heaven. That's the good news. And that's the news that could potentially comfort everyone.

However, this is where the bad news comes in. While their lost loved ones--their child--might be "safe in the arms of God", to have that happy reunion in heaven with their lost one...they'd need to be a believer. So in that regard, while it assures parents that their child is safe and happy and at peace...it doesn't promise that they will be reunited with that child in heaven. That reunion is dependent on whether the parent(s) are believers. If they're Christians, then they have every assurance. They will spend eternity in heaven praising God alongside their child. However, nonbelievers don't have that assurance. MacArthur even points out that individuals need to be believers--repent, believe, follow--in order to have assurance, that happy reunion day in the future. He even talks about how a loss could motivate folks to get right with God. I don't know that he'd go so far as to say that that was the purpose of the loss, but more that he could take that bad situation and turn into something good in the long run.

Judge for yourself how friendly or not-so-friendly that message is.

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Book Zombie 1:06 PM  

Thanks so much for your great answers, I will definately be reading this book.
I think that MacArthur's message is meant to be friendly, if for no other reason than the strength of his own beliefs.

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