Monday, December 05, 2005

Walking with Frodo?
...the latest fad in "Christian" publishing

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" -Colossians 2:8-9

In the midst of a postmodern cultural seduction that is even making inroads with our churches and seminaries these days, it is good to know there are at least two men left on the national evangelical horizon who are not for sale by the pragmaticians of today: Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. R.C. Sproul. They have remained steadfast in their duty as faithful theologians and expositors of the Word of God; declaring its truth free from gimmicks, contemporary cultural/political antics, and relevant trendism. They unapologetically “cut it straight” and stand alone above the fray amongst all contemporary evangelical leaders because they dare to take seriously the call, commission and charge of God to “preach the Word… in season and out of season.” I admire, respect and love them and I am honored to call them friends.

Walking with Who?
That is why the latest in-vogue tome coming down the publishing pike is so disturbing. A woman named Sarah Arthur, a Methodist, has written a devotional Bible study called, “Walking with Frodo.”** I’m not kidding. This is nothing more than comic book Christianity.

Her claims are elastic to say the least; some of which are: “J.R.R. Tolkien was a believer in Christ who wove his faith into his writing. His heroes fight a war against the forces of darkness - a war in which every decision counts. Walking with Frodo leads you through nine pairs of choices - darkness or light, betrayal or loyalty, deception or honesty, to name just a few - and reveals what the Bible has to say about each. This devotional will help you apply those truths to decisions you make every day, sending you on a life-changing journey of your own. Are you ready for the challenge???”

The challenge? Please. Themes such as: “darkness or light, betrayal or loyalty, deception or honesty” can found just as easily in the Godfather trilogy - and it won't confuse you spiritually. Can there be an attempt to finally agree that The Lord of the Rings is fiction—not biblical truth—not even in the allegorical, metaphorical or parabolic sense? It’s just an exciting tale that is good entertainment, which remains benign spiritually of any genuine Christian doctrine.

Take for example these verities:
• In Tolkien’s last interview in 1971, he stated that he did not intend The Lord of the Rings as a Christian allegory and that Christ is not depicted in his fantasy novels.

• When asked about the efforts of the trilogy's hero, Frodo, to struggle on and destroy the ring, Tolkien said, "But that seems I suppose more like an allegory of the human race. I've always been impressed that we're here surviving because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds: jungles, volcanoes, and wild beasts... they struggle on, almost blindly in a way" (Interview by Dennis Gerrolt; it was first broadcast in January 1971 on BBC Radio 4 program "Now Read On"). [That doesn't sound like the gospel to me… does it to you?]

• When Gerrolt asked Tolkien, "Is the book to be considered as an allegory?" the author replied, "No. I dislike allegory whenever I smell it."

• In fact, Tolkien's allegorical thread was tied directly to WWII and the rise of the Nazis.*

They've Only Just Begun
What’s next on the landscape: “Enduring Trials with The Roadrunner and Coyote?” How about, “The Great Adventure with Indian Jones.” Or my favorite, “Facing Your Hidden Fears with Batman.” This would be labeled as absolute foolishness in most protestant/reformed circles today if not for the fact that mainline Christian Publishers like Tyndale House (the publisher of “Walking with Frodo”) are jumping on this inane bandwagon full force. One must ask the question, was "the father of the English reformation", William Tyndale, persecuted and martyred for this kind of cavalier treatment of God's Word? Hardly.

If you’re looking for something relevant, exciting, applicable and beneficial for one’s spiritual health, may I suggest a radical new idea: read, meditate, memorize, study, obey, crave, and fix your minds on the Bible. It is the only book that is “…living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword...” Think of what Tolkien would have written if he only believed that to be true?

“Walking with Frodo” has most likely sold a fair amount. This kind of pseudo-Christian devotional superficiality will always find an audience in contemporary evangelicalism. (Could you imagine Dr. MacArthur or Dr. Sproul giving one ounce of credulity to this kind of devotional from the pulpit? Thankfully, it would never happen.)

But who knows... with Sarah Arthur's success with this venture maybe she will be invited to speak next year at the Gheens Lectures on the cultural relevancy of “Walking with Frodo”? And there will be nothing academic about that whatsoever.

*Thank you to Michael O'Fallon for his research and the contribution of these facts.

**Release Date Information: "Walking with Frodo" was originally published in 2003. Ms. Arthur's latest Tolkien-themed devotional is based on the character of "Bilbo," from Tolkien's "The Hobbit." "Walking with Bilbo" was released in February 2005 guessed it.........Tyndale House.


Denise said...

This reminds me of the new book out by Anne Rice. She went from a Roman Catholic to an atheist, and now is back to being an RC. Her fictious (sp?) book is supposed to be about Jesus when he was a 7 yr.old boy.

The Barna Group (the pollsters) have jumped onto the Anne Rice band wagon (so has the Hymaneus Heretics, aka Hyper-Preterists) by telling us how the book helps us bond with Jesus better. Check out their glowing endorsement of it:

The problem is she's influenced by the RCC and many unbiblical sources.

Read her interview here:

In part it says:""To render such a hero and his world believable, she immersed herself not only in Scripture, but in first-century histories and New Testament scholarship—some of which she found disturbingly skeptical. "Even Hitler scholarship usually allows Hitler a certain amount of power and mystery." She also watched every Biblical movie she could find, from "The Robe" to "The Passion of the Christ" ("I loved it"). And she dipped into previous novels, from "Quo Vadis" to Norman Mailer's "The Gospel According to the Son" to Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins's apocalyptic Left Behind series. ("I was intrigued. But their vision is not my vision.") She can cite scholarly authority for giving her Christ a birth date of 11 B.C., and for making James, his disciple, the son of Joseph by a previous marriage. But she's also taken liberties where they don't explicitly conflict with Scripture."

Barna seemed defensive: "Some scholars and religious leaders will probably demonize this book as “fabricated history” or “bad doctrine.” (Can the words “heresy” and “blasphemy” be far behind?)"

George Barna went on to say:"Critics should remember that this is a novel; Ms. Rice is not attempting to add to the canon of Scripture but to stimulate us to experience and bond with Jesus at a different level."

It doesn't matter what people print, as long as their motive is sincere and they claim some sort of Jesus.

Remember the call by Robert Haldane!

Unchained Slave said...

I am a little confused, and a little ashamed…

Leaving out the simple fact that Tyndale Publishing House is a business and therefore in the business of making money…

Have you read Ms. Arthur’s book?

In your previous article, you specifically denounced double standards and judgements. Yet you liken Ms. Arthur to Rick Warren, and suggest she is in the same camp as Dr. Russell Moore of the Henry Institute & SBTS…

In the comments section of that article you referenced this news article:
"Exploring truth about faith through Tolkein's works"

In the article, Ms. Arthur is quoted, "The book briefly discusses Tolkien's Christian faith without trying to make 'The Lord of the Rings' into an allegory,"

Was it not Paul that used modern cultural references to preach the Gospel in Athens (Acts 17:22 - 34 - “The Statue of the Unknown God”)?

How about you?
Didn’t you suggest using the “philosophies” printed on Starbucks coffee cups as a dialog starter for preaching the gospel (“Life at The Church of St. Arbucks” September 30, 2005) on this very blog?

Before condemning Ms. Arthur, maybe you should read the book - consider its implications - consider its Biblical references - and whether or not it is using modern cultural references to reach people that might not be as ‘grown-up’ in the word of God as you…

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7b

Jeremy Weaver said...

Sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover. Sometimes you can't.
My intitial response to this book (and the host of finding God in the Chronicles of Narnia books) is that they are, at their core, money focused books.
The author needs to find an idea for a book that sales, and with Tolkien and Lewis, the fields are ripe unto harvest.
I'm not downplaying Tolkien or Lewis right now. I love their books. I loved the Lord of the Rings movie. I will see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe this Friday. But it has amazed me that we cannot take the authors point of view in their descriptions of their works. Tolkien says his books are not allegorical. Lewis says his are.
Regarding Lewis though, remember another English author who wrote an allegory? Bunyan wrote an allegory, and I have yet to see a book showing us where to find God in the Pilgrim's Progress, or The Holy War for that matter. Why? Because it won't sell.
Why won't it sell? Because Bunyan does not hide Christ in his allegory. God is at the forefront. You can't miss Him.

End of rant.

SJ Camp said...

Doxoblogist thank you.. very well said. I agree.

Surphing I was unaware of that book... and thank you for your excellent insight here.

Unchained Slave your points do not follow consistent logic.

1. When Paul addressed the Stoic philosophers in Acts 17 about the tomb of the unknown God, he didn't use Stoic philosophy to try and explain who the unknown God is; or rewrite their own stories in some sort of allegory to "hide" Christ in the meaning of it all. He immediately called them to repentance and to the God of all creation. He made reference to their teachings; he didn't use them as instruct allegory.

2. The Starbuck's cup is the same thing here. With the truth of the Word of God, address their own printed philosophies to show in contrast the reasonableness of our faith... the truth of the gospel. I have never suggested going into Starbuck's and engaging people in a discussion about the philosophies printed on their mugs and then somehow interject Christ into their story. Never. Confront with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15) the falsehoods of their own philosophies with the truth of the gospel. Use their philosophical claims as a "starter" as you suggested to immediately bring in the truth of God's Word.

That is grossly different than with Ms. Arthur and others are doing here. Taking Tolkien's tale and saying that it represents biblical Christianity and then using it as a devotional on basic themes of good and evil, etc. is foolish and unbiblical.

Why is that hard to see?

I have not compared Ms. Arthur to Dr. Moore... please. Dr. Moore is a fine man, a brother in Christ and though he exercised poor judgment in having Dr. Pearce at SBTS, that doesn't undermine his entire ministry.

Keep apples with apples...
Col. 2:6-8 said...

Bunyan won't sell? I've always heard from the pulpit that Bunyan, Shakespeare, and Spurgeon are the top-3 sellers in the English language, apart from the Bible itself. There are hundreds of hits on Amazon for "Pilgrim's Progress", and many of these are books that explain it for modern readers.

SJ Camp said...

Bunyan is a great example here; and Scott is correct. I think its fair to state that there is that probability that Pilgrim's Progress may not be made into a general market movie because of its unveiled references to God.


PS - What about this folks? As a follow up question here for this blog - do you struggle with the fact that there is a trend emerging here (no pun intended) in non-Christian fiction written by non-believers being turned into personal devotionals sold to Christians? You know what I think... what say you? And if you post, could you please include in your opinion a defining of your views Scripturally.

Jeremy Weaver said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
littlegal_66 said...

Personally, I'd rather not walk with Frodo or Bilbo. (They both walk rather slowly with those enormous feet, and Colossians 4:5 implores us to make good use of our time.....they'd just slow me down!) :-)

pilgrim said...

There was a movie made on Pilgrim's Progress, it has some good scenes, as the visual aspect can add depth to some scenes--but it is a bit slow and has some other faults.

But it does star Liam Neeson in one of his first roles.

Now if only someone would make a better version of it or Holy War--I'd see them. Both books are reading time well spent. (But then my user name may reveal a bit of a bias)

Dr_Mike said...

I've not read the book in question, but your assessment of Tolkien is riddled with error. Tolkien stated:

"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." - Letters, p. 172

Mattew Dickerson, who has taught the book for more than twenty years at the college level, says in his remarkable Following Gandalf:

"According to Tolkien himself, his trilogy is not merely peripherally Christian, but fundamentally so. Not only fundamentally so, but consciously so."

He concludes by saying that LOTR "is a Christian understanding of a pre-Christian time. It is undeniably a work coming from a fully Christian mind, and yet it does not describe a fully Christian world."

Your comments and assessments lead me to believe that you have not read the books, perhaps basing your opinions on the movies alone. One could easily miss the obvious Christian message if the movies are one's only source.

But reading the book itself - and analyses by the likes of Dickerson, Birzer, Wood, Smith, Shippey, and others - makes clear to all but the most obtuse that Tolkien was writing a Christian message. To liken his book to the Godfather triology or label it as "comic book Christianity" is simply - I hope -a reflection of ignorance on your part and not a malicious misrepresentation for the sake of vilifying another book.

Dr_Mike said...

Correcting myself:

The LOTR does not have a Christian message; it does exemplify Christian values and spiritual battles. Perhaps I should have said Christian virtues and Christian character in some of its characters.

SJ Camp said...

Dear Dr. Mike:

Thank you for your post and thoughts expressed.

I have read the books and seen the movies. Like most films, the books are usually more descriptive and full of life. The nature of film is to condense, hype, exaggerate, edit, etc. for the purpose of drama to hold an audiences attention with the visual. I am aware of that flaw between the two mediums.

But your assessment of this post is a bit off line.

1. I did not make a direct comparison between The Godfather to The Lord of Rings. The comparison was between the exampled three pairs of ethical messages the author of the devotional "Walking with Frodo" was making as being Christian thought expressed in TLOTR. I was simply pointing out that those same messages can be found in other movies as well with no claim to being Christian in nature - i.e. like The Godfather Trilogy.

2. You quote professor Dickerson as saying, [TLOTR] "is a Christian understanding of a pre-Christian time. It is undeniably a work coming from a fully Christian mind, and yet it does not describe a fully Christian world." This is academic double talk.

Not to be guilty of assumption:
a. Describing a pre-Christian time is what period in M. Dickerson's thinking?

b. A fully Christian mind he describes as what? Tolkien was a Romanist who denied the basic doctrines of grace in salvation. How would M. Dickerson define what constitutes biblical Christianity?

c. Does not describe a fully Christian world - Here we have a contradiction don't we? If it is a pre-Christian time how could it be a partially (not a fully) Christian world? Again, how does the good professor describe this time period... biblically?

d. Is Dr. Dickerson a regenerated believer in Christ? (I ask only for context).

The point of my post was: using a mythological tale not rooted in historic biblical Christianity to teach biblical truth in a daily devotional is an exercise in futility. Tolkien's Romanistic world-view and the fictional TLOTR no more defines biblical Christianity than a billy goat defines Beethoven. Those two worlds are mutually exclusive when it comes to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. No "middle earth" there.

I was simply pointing out that Ms. Arthur's approach to this manner of teaching the eternal truths of the Scriptures is foolish. She could just as easily do the same kind of devotionals featuring The Roadrunner and Coyote; Batman; Indiana Jones; etc. There is nothing distinctively Christian about TLOTR's.

Personally, I have found the TLOTR to be wonderfully fun to read, great entertainment on the big screen (though I prefer the books always over an film adaptation) and was very enjoyable. IMHO, let's not try to biblicize the unbiblical - which I think Ms. Arthur's material is attempting to do.

Listen, to understand the truths of the Word of God takes the illumination of the Spirit of God and hours of careful study as Ezra said to "give the sense of it" to the people. It doesn't come from taking messages of good and evil or morality and courage from any source and then adding Scriptural proof texts to them to somehow instruct people about the truths of the Bible from its pages.

Q - Doesn't M. Dickerson himself say of TLOTR "in the end Tolkien's epic both is and is not a Christian story?"

Is this the same Matthew Dickerson that teaches a Middlebury College in Vermont? If so, he is obviously a brilliant professor and learned man in the field of computer science.

A.B., Dartmouth College
M.S., Ph.D., Cornell Universityb

Teaching Interests: Introduction to Computer Science, Data Structures, Mathematical Foundations of Computing, Theory of Computation, Algorithms, Computational Geometry

Research Interests: Algorithms, Computational Geometry, CS Applications to GIS

Just curious if its the same gentlemen.

Hope this helps clarify a bit more. Thank you again for your thoughts expressed here at COT.

2 Tim. 3:16-17

SJ Camp said...

Dr. Mike:

Just saw your correction... thank you.

John Rush said...

True, Tolkein did not like allegory. However, he does have some Christian themes in the books. I don't think he would deny this.

We just live in an absolutely silly age. Our Christianity is "vacuous." (Look it up.)

I rolled my eyes when I saw Sunday School material based on "The Andy Griffith Show."

I'm all for good literature. But, for our souls, what we need is the Word of God.

Unchained Slave said...

You never answered the question about whether or not you had read the book.

Are you then going to convince me that you have NEVER used a ‘secular’ story to communicate a Biblical truth to a person so that they could better understand it?

Jesus did. Most of His ministry was teaching using ‘secular cultural norms’ to communicate God's Truth - they are called parables…

Are you then going to convince me that Peter’s Vision in Acts 10 (vs. 9-16) was ‘only’ about Mosaic Law and diet?

Again, Tyndale House Publishing is a business… Like any business, they make money. They publish books people will buy - that is their business.

That does not mean that Ms. Arthur is in it ‘for the money’ nor that she is doctrinally incorrect.

If you can use, as you say, “The Godfather” to explain a Biblical truth to someone that does not get ‘it’ (a young Christian struggling to understand)… Why not?

If you can use a Starbucks cup to spread the gospel, why can’t you use a Starbucks cup to explain a Biblical truth to an immature Christian?

If you have not read the book, then you are prejudging Ms. Arthur on motive and message. If you have read the book, then explain what part of her book(s) has ‘doctrinal errors’.

You’ve done a pretty good job explaining why you have issues with Rick Warren.

There is Truth in the Bible - there are also leaders to explain that truth to immature Christians. Are you saying that one should never use a secular cultural reference to explain that?

By the way, for the record, you brought up the Gheens Lectures…

Dr_Mike said...

A clarification before I take some time to determine whether or not to respond to your reply:

In no way am I supporting or endorsing Ms. Arthur's book. I have not seen it, touched it, or read it. If it is like most Christian "art" (literature, music - does anyone paint anymore?), it is likely a poor work. I'll not say that it is aimed at merely making money, since I do not know her heart and mind. If I were to read her book (highly unlikely), I might have an inkling, but in my ignorance I do not know whether to lump her in with Kay Arthur or Bea Arthur.

For different reasons, perhaps, I would come to the same conclusions about Ms. Arthur's book. So please understand that I am not encouraging anyone to even write such things, let alone buy and read them.

SJ Camp said...

Unchained Slave:

I have read her book. She is a very poetic, fluid writer. The life lessons are peppered with Scripture.

The thing that I am questioning here is not what Scripture she may bring to the book (and this is not the place to go through the proof-texting that occurs in a book like this), but using a non-Christian piece of literature as the foundation for such devotional studies.

It is one thing to refer to an illustration by quoting from a secular author, or referring to a current issue in the news or culture when driving home a point made in Scripture. It is quite another to use it as the main source of one's teaching and then adding Scripture to it to justify the life lesson being given.

Your examples again of the Starbucks cup and The Godfather movies are taken way out of ccontext. I am not advocating using The Godfather for anything but entertainment; the Starbucks cup don't provide the truth model as Ms. Arthur is suggesting with the TLOTR material. Bring the truth of Scripture into that venue to unmask the foolishness of what Starbucks is printing on their cups; speak to it from a biblical worldview; and use it as an opportunity to share the gospel. That is quite different from saying the Starbuck cup slogans represent truth (biblical truth) by myth, allegory, metaphor or parable in and of themselves; and then finding the biblical equivalent to illustrate further that these are really Christian principles when they are in fact... not.

When I am having devotions with my children, we read the Bible, I teach them the meaning of the text, even Greek words associated with that text and then apply it to their everyday lives. Within that discussion together they will ask many questions about current events, stuff that happens at school, things that go on with their friends, songs they have heard, etc. that relate to what we have been talking about. It is exciting to bring the truth of Scripture right into their world and see it speak into their lives.

I don't use their world as a means to justify Scripture; I use Scripture to make sense of how to live a God-centered life in the midst of their world.

Are you finally seeing the difference here? Tolkien doesn't define the Christian faith for me, because what he believed is antithetical from the Christian faith. Romanism is not compatible with biblical Christianity - ever.

The key here brother is the current feddish and trend with evangelicalism looking for popular cultural examples to "introduce" the Bible and the gospel to others for the sake of relatibility or to hold people's interest. The Scriptures themselves are exciting and living without our gimmicks; the gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation; and all our little Frodoesque fads don't add one shred of power or effectualness to it.

Here is the real problem: many youth pastors and pastors, Sunday school teachers, home Bible group leaders have lost their confidence in the Word of God to change lives. So therefore they resort to tome's like this one to infuse new life and meaning to the ones they are instructing by taking a popular well accepted cultural movie, TV show, book, etc. and try to build their theology out of those things, rather than coming to the Word of God and expositing its truth.

I always tell my kids, there are no bad students, just bad teachers. And it is true. Poor teachers within the church is no excuse to run to the pabulum of pseudo-Christian pieces like this one.

What immature Christians need is not more immaturity taken from TLOTR material, they need God's Word without it being watered down by contemporary tales of dragons and hobbits and such.

Peter gives this instruction to young believers: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Peter 2:2). Peter is not talking here about the milk of the Word vs. the meat of the Word (immature vs. mature believers) as you might initially be prone to think. He is describing like a new baby craves it mother's milk--you crave (desire) the Word. The word desire here means to crave; to have a longing for, a love of, and delight in God's Word. Do we crave the Word? As pure (uncontaminated, unadulterated) milk from a mother grows a baby through the nourishment it provides; so the pure unadulterated, uncontaminated nourishment of God's Word grows us. That's how it reads in the Greek: "so that it may grow you..." Isn't that good?

When someone tells me that they are not growing in their walk with the Lord, I know immediately that one thing, among other things, has most surely happened - they have stopped craving, desiring, loving, longing for and delighting in the Word of God.

What's the cure for a stagnate spiritual life and the hope for nonbelievers? "Walking with Frodo?" I don't think so. It is the Word of God! Craving it and feasting on its truths. No wonder Job said, "I have esteemed Your Word more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12b).

I saw parts of the Godfather Part Three last week on TV during Thanksgiving holiday. It never once spoke to me of biblical things, except to point out how corrupt the Roman Catholic Church truly is. But before I went to bed I wasn't praying, "Lord, what are the life lessons Michael Corleone and the Corleone family can teach me tonight that are also found in Scripture too?" Or maybe saying to myself, "I so enjoy the Godfather films, I bet you I could devise a home Bible study around those movies to talk about family values. After all, the mob is very 'focused on the family?'" It would be foolish... right?

BUT, instead, I just drank deeply from the Word of God and it nourished and cleansed my sinful soul and weary mind.

Is it any wonder that King David said, "OH how I love Thy law..." Crave the Word - not Frodo's fictional, mythical, accidental, take on it

Hope this helps...
Psalm 19:7-11

Unchained Slave said...

Thank you Steve,

That last comment is a much more clear picture of your intent (for me at least).
So yes, I understand.
And yes, I agree.

On the other side of the coin, I will use any tool available to try and share the gospel...

I do agree that there is a difference (and the wrong kind of difference) to explaining 'cultural norms' in light of scripture vs. defining scripture by 'cultural norms'.

The Word contains Absolute Moral Truth that is immutable and unchanging regardless of society... Unlike what many 'denominations' are now teaching about 'situational ethics' being normal and "Biblical".

SJ Camp said...

I went to a bookstore this morning and read through several sections of Ms. Arthur's newest book called, "Walking with Biblo." Same as the first one. Written in a poetic, storytelling, winsome manner with Scriptures and questions peppered at the end of each chapter.

Her books are: Arminian in nature; big on free will (which Spurgeon said he didn't even know any pagans that really believed in free will--no ones will is free..." - I agree) ; big on proof-texting (making Scripture mean whatever you want it to mean, not what it is actually saying); and written for a very young audience.

That being said I started to read through parts of the LOTR's again and I even rented a few of the movies to compare accuracy, etc. I am up to my "Frodo" in LOTR's stuff today.

May I offer this to you: This material is a huge distraction in your walk with the Lord. It is not biblical (too much error to go into on this comment page - will post, maybe, a detailed analysis soon) and is certainly offering "other" solutions apart from Christ and His Word for our daily lives.

The most troubling aspect was the unveiled mysticism, luck, chance, power of the human will, kind of messages that purvey Tolkien's tome.

Here's the Bible on it:

New Title: "Lord of the Wrath" or "Lord of the Righteousness"

New Theme: Man is hopelessly lost apart from Christ; and no demons or creatures from the underworld control your destiny.

New Hope: God is sovereign planning the end from the beginning and no man can thwart His will.

New Journey: Walking with the Lord according to His revealed truth in the power of the Holy Spirit.

New Rings: Wedding rings which symbolize a covenant not a contract between one man and one woman-no spares.

New Ending: The Perseverance of the Saints culminating by God's grace in the return of Christ for His people serving Him forever in the New Jerusalem in our glorified bodies; worshipping Him forever singing, "worthy is the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the earth."

Lord of the Rings - long winded entertainment with no spiritual value but with a big box of popcorn and some Goobers, you can get through it once a year and enjoy yourself.

Thinking our Loud...

littlegal_66 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Lighthearted Calvinist said...

1) Have I read the book? No. 2) Am I going to? No. I know many people at Ms. Arthur's former employer, Petoskey UMC in Petoskey, MI., and I work in Petoskey. She is now quite the celebrity out here in the hinterlands among the Christian intelligentsia here, most of whom wouldn't believe Spurgeon was Calvinist even if you read Spurgeon's own works to them (if they even knew who Spurgeon was). I think this work will fall, as do most books you can buy in Christian bookstores now, in the category of "Selling Crap to Christians." Wouldn't want to write about about sin or maybe, with her background as a youth pastor, about The Gospel...nah...someone might have their feelings hurt. Gosh, let's just love 'em and pat their heads and make everyone feel real warm and fuzzy on their way to Hell, then, OK? Sigh.

littlegal_66 said...

Sledge-I was wondering if you happened to see Sarah Arthur's book, "Walking Through the Wardrobe" in the bookstore as well. (The release date on that one was October 31, 2005.....hmmmm....Reformation Day).

I found a link to a radio interview from last month with Mrs. Arthur. Background information and excerpts from her books are available on her personal website.

About 18 minutes into the interview, she discusses the impact that her Christian faith has on her writing. She states that she's grateful for the theological and spiritual grounding she received at Wheaton. Pretty interesting interview.

littlegal_66 said...

I'm sorry-I can't get the interview link to work. To hear it, go to her homepage, click "Speaking," then "Radio Interviews," and you should see a link for the WWJC 850 AM - Duluth interview.

Theteak said...

Thanks for the heads up, it's good to be reminded of these things. I find it disturbing that we continue to jump on any ol' bandwagon that will make us more acceptable to the world.
In many ways these things are a denial of the gospel.

joy mccarnan | said...

Hmm. The "latest fad"? Not really. It's just more of the same. Can't wait till all of us visionaries who have been hoping to reverse that trend actually start publishing viable alternatives.

Left a version of the following on Paleoevangelical's post, but I'll augment here:

Interesting. I met Sarah Arthur at the Lewis convention I attended recently.

While I can't say I agree with the whole devotional re-rendering of any work of secular literature (or any lit with remote Christian elements, for that matter), I do have cause to wonder whether even she least whether she does anymore.

I can testify that, along with the rest of us, she heard quite a few telling observations and admonitions from one of the lecturers, Peter Schakel, against this sort of treatment.

Maybe she changed her mind. Maybe it's her marketers talking. Maybe we should ask.

A few Schakel links:

interview at
"A substantial introduction to C.S. Lewis as Novelist, Religious Writer, Literary Critic, Literary Historian, Poet, Children's Writer, Theologian, by professor Peter Schakel, in the Literary Encyclopedia."

joy mccarnan | said...

By the way, my impression of Sarah Arthur was that she is a very amiable, gracious, and *amazingly enough* humble young lady. We have exchanged an email or two, and I would be honored to meet with her again.