20% Special Discount Offer

Sonysmiling
I have had the privilege of introducing DefCon readers to a few new people in recent months. One of these people is Sony Elise, who runs her own editing business, and she is also a regular contributor here at DefCon. Since beginning her first editing job in high school, she has been proofreading and editing magazines, editorials, and books for over 25 years.

Sony Elise Editing Services is a new direction for her editing services starting this year. As she branches out on her own, she is offering an end-of-year special discount for the months of October through December of 20% off either of her editing packages. This is good for any book or story with a minimum purchase of $20. Having used her services several times, I know that her prices are more than competitive and you will be pleased with her work.

To obtain the discount, simply mention to Sony that you found the discount here on DefCon and you will receive the 20% discount. I realize this is unusual, but she recently was able to help a couple of pastors with their work, as well as some believers looking to break into publishing. It was my thought this might help you as well as help her also.

20discount

Planned Parenthood’s propaganda machine would make Goebbels jealous.

This very disturbing cartoon churned out by Planned Parenthood of San Francisco is the type of propaganda that’s reminiscent of Nazi Germany (not counting their similar goals of the mass killing of innocent, defenseless human beings).

Hitler would be so proud of what Planned Parenthood has accomplished, after all, they’ve picked up where he left off and they’ve exterminated more human beings (specifically minorities) than he ever could have ever dreamed of doing.


Book recommendation: “Dangers of the Invitation System” by Jim Ehrhard

I recently finished this short  booklet, Dangers of the Invitation System, that I simply can’t recommend enough.

In about 30 pages, Jim Ehrhard reveals the utter folly of the modern evangelical practice of the altar call.

If you know someone (friends, family, evangelist, pastor, etc.) who employs the altar call in their presentation of the gospel, you need to get this booklet into their hands.

This booklet regularly retails at $2.95 but is currently part of the one cent sale at CCWOnline where you can get up to twenty copies for only a penny each.

Book recommendation: “The White Dove” by Christoph Von Schmid

I recently read this wonderful story to my kids. The White Dove is another great book from Christoph Von Schmid, the author of The Basket of Flowers

And although I believe Von Scmid’s The Basket of Flowers was better than The White Dove (in fact I consider The Basket of Flowers my favorite piece of Christian literature, even above that of  John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress), Von Schmid did not fail to deliver another great tale steeped in Christian truths.

This book, written in 1841, is filled with Scripture, and is a testament to God’s sovereignty (both of which is rare to find in today’s modern Christian literature market).

You can find The White Dove here at Lamplighter Publishing where they describe the book as:

“Filled with the intrigue of knights and nobles, thieves and robbers, this is a story of friendship and sacrifice. A little girl agrees to give up her precious white dove to prove her friendship, and lives are miraculously saved.”

And here are some reviews:

White Dove
I just wish the book was longer. Thats how good it is.
– Deborah Ong, CA
We read it in one sitting!
I wondered that my eight-year-old wasnt understanding the plot with the rich language of the writing, but she could recite it all back to me. We both loved this book! It was so full of Gods love and promises to us. I highly recommend it!
– Daphene, NC
Friendship and Love
This is a tender story of love, friendship, and Gods faithful provisions. My children begged for another chapter. A beautiful story.
– Becky Emerick, IN
Gods Great Providence
When Agnes finds a dove she mercifully spares its life and in turn it saves her and her entire family. This is a book about sacrifice, mercy, compassion, selflessness, love, and adventure.
– A. Ray, NC

Book recommendation: “Deceived on Purpose” by Warren Smith.

I recently finished the book Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith. Smith, a former New Ager turned Christian, wrote this heavily footnoted book after reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and seeing the many New Age parallels throughout Rick Warren’s bestseller.

Warren Smith chronicles these familiar New Age teachings found in The Purpose Driven Life in his book Deceived on Purpose.  

Warren Smith also goes into detail about Rick Warren’s ties to Robert Schuller. And once Warren Smith begins connecting the dots between Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Bruce Wilkinson, Eugene Peterson and many well known New Agers like Neale Donald Walsch, Bernie Siegel, Benjamin Creme, and others, you will never look at Rick Warren the same way again and you will be even more disturbed as to why John Piper is willing to link arms with Rick Warren.

You can purchase the paperback version of the book here, or the e-book version here.

“As a self-proclaimed ‘change agent,’ it seemed that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes was to mainstream Robert Schuller’s teachings into the more traditional ‘Bible-based’ wing of the Church. Many believers who seem to trust Rick Warren, ironically, do not trust Robert Schuller. Rick Warren’s ‘magic’ seems to be able to make the teachings of Robert Schuller palatable to believers who would have otherwise never accepted these same teachings had they come directly from Schuller himself.”  Deceived on Purpose Page 113

Book recommendation: “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom.

I recently finished Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place (the audiobook version) and was left shaken.

From the depths of human depravity to the heights of human compassion, the love of God and the gospel of Christ permeates our fallen world but we oftentimes fail to see it until we are under intense suffering (and even then we often miss it).

This book is bursting at the seams with biblical truths. One example is when Corrie refuses to accept her sister Betsie’s admonition from 1 Thessalonians 5 (to give thanks in all things) when it came to the fleas infesting their prison camp barracks. Corrie simply could find no reason to be thankful to God for the biting insects. That was until she discovered that the Nazi guards refused to step into their barracks because of the fleas, providing them the ability to hold daily Bible studies with the other prisoners without fear of being discovered.

The fact that this book is a true story makes it even more powerful. I was moved by it and enjoyed it even more than The Diary of Anne Frank. I highly recommend The Hiding Place and it is now on my required reading list for my children.

My only regret is that I never read this book earlier in my life.

It’s the same thing.

Not one to shy away from controversy, I present the following short video that I can only describe as sobering, shocking, and disturbing. This video depicts one of the arguments I’ve made for years in the abortion debate, and now that argument is effectively visual.

I wholeheartedly believe this video needs to be seen (truth should never be hidden), but I strongly urge caution for younger viewers. It’s one of the most powerful videos I’ve seen in quite a while (first viewing left me speechless, second viewing brought me to tears). Its impact will leave you shaken.

Viewer Discretion is Advised

HT: Hope For the Helpless

Quotes (902)

The average American family devotes one-fourth of its spendable income to outside debts. Since 1945, consumer debt in the United States has multiplied thirty-one times. The IRS calculates that the average filer spends ten times more paying off interest on debts than he gives to charitable causes. If all evangelical Christians were out of debt, hundreds of millions of dollars would be freed up for God’s kingdom. Our families would be stronger, because financial pressures caused by indebtedness are major factors in more than half of divorces.

– Randy Alcorn

Quotes (896)

Many churches spend more on interest payments than on world missions. Debt ties the church’s hands. If attendance drops, the economy suffers, or giving dips, then pastors or missionaries must go unpaid. The building completed eight years ago, already needing repairs, keeps demanding those monthly payments, mostly going to interest. . . . When a church overextends itself financially, it inevitably spends time during services trying to persuade people to give to the building fund. This changes the focus from worshiping Christ, studying the Scriptures, and meeting the needs of the community to concerns about buildings, mortgages, and money.

– Randy Alcorn

Glenn Beck’s Trojan Horse.

Last year, Mormon radio host Glenn Beck swept the conservative political movement off its feet (and many Evangelical Christians as well) with his Divine Destiny rally.

At that time (and since) many non-discerning Christians have embraced Glenn Beck as a brother in Christ and have even made excuses and justifications for his Mormon theology (a theology that’s antithetical to biblical Christianity).

But now, while Beck’s Trojan Horse sits benevolently within the walls of Evangelicalism, the trapdoor on the underbelly of the wooden horse is opening to reveal its contents . . . and it isn’t pretty.

Brannon Howse has written an article on Beck’s new book (co-authored by Keith Ablow).  The book, entitled The 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life, has revealed Beck’s New Age leanings. And judging by the quotes cited from Beck’s book, it makes Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now look like a doctrinally sound tome of deep Christian theology.

Below are some of the quotes from Beck’s book that I obtained from Brannon Howse’s article (you can read the entire exposé here.)

I can’t help but wonder if the Mormon organization is going to publicly renounce the New Age teachings in Beck’s book (and discipline Beck), and I wonder if the Christians who supported Beck–claiming that he was indeed a Christian–are going to retract their support (or at least distance themselves).

Page 154:

“As Keith likes to say, ‘There’s no original sin left in the world. Everyone’s just recycling pain now.'”

Page 165:

“People are inherently good.”

Page 157:

“Finding what worked for me made all the difference. Finding what works for you will do the same.”

Page 162:

“There is no infant delivered evil, out of the womb. There never has been. Not even one…Charles Manson was not born evil. Ted Bundy wasn’t. The BTK killer wasn’t. Hitler wasn’t.”

Page 149:

“Latter-day Saints do not believe that your chances ever cease, even with death. They end only with the full understanding and denial of truth by your own exercise of real free will. And even then there is no ‘lake of fire.'”

Page 149-150:

“I questioned everything I could think to question about the faith. I went over my doubts again and again with the church bishop. I read everything there was to read on their website and every word of Mormon Doctrine…I went to anti-Mormon literature for hints, but I found most of it to be unfair or just plain wrong. I tried every trick I could think of to find a contradiction. The problem was that I couldn’t. Mormonism seemed to explain the world and my place in it better than any other faith I had looked at.”

Page 132:

“Pray to whatever higher power you believe in…Praying that God or Nature or the Cosmos or your own internal, immeasurable reservoir of spirit allows you the courage and faith to find and then face the truth…”

Page 74:

“Just be sure you visit with a minister or therapist from a religion or healing discipline you actually have affinity for, or suspect you might.”

Page 57:

“The third chapter of Exodus helped me start to understand how crucial it was that my focus be on finding God not just in the seas or the cosmos, but in myself.”

Page 58:

“If God is everything and everywhere and inside everyone, then I figured He had to be inside me, too…”

Page 71:

“Divine power is still inside you.”

Page 283:

“Reach out to people to steady them and enrich them and reflect back to them the light that comes from God inside them.”

Page 254:

“You won’t doubt your ability to achieve what you want to achieve in this life because you won’t doubt that God is not only by your side, but inside you.”

Page 79:

“You have a polestar inside you. It is connected with all the energy in the universe. When you begin to follow that star you align yourself with immeasurable, inexplicable forces that will actually help you manifest your best intentions.”

Page 85:

“As you commit to unlocking and bringing forth the truth inside you, don’t be afraid to pray for help. Don’t be reticent to sit with yourself in silence and meditate. Connect with the miracle of spirit, of God, that has lived inside you from long before you were born.”

Brannon Howse also aptly observes Beck and Ablow’s common application of terms of subjective truth:

Beck’s book uses the phrase “Your truth” or “your true path” or “my truth” at least 23 times. Here are a few examples:

“It is never too late to embrace your truth.” (Page 124)

“What is your truth whispering?” (Page 130)

“Use compassion to stay on the path to your own truth… (Page 161)

“…determination to unearth and embrace my truth.” (Page 215)

“The fact that I am always attempting to honor my truth… (Page 216)

“There is only your truth.” (Page 220)

“You must use courage and faith to empty the hard drive of your soul and then fill it with your truth.” (Page 288)


Quotes (819)

It is impossible to measure the harm done to the Protestant cause through the retention of paedobaptism. The Reformed churches profess to be governed solely by Scripture, but so long as they continue baptizing babies, so long will they be taunted by Roman Catholics (and others) for their manifest inconsistency. . . . . Baby baptism is ruinous to the souls of thousands. Strictly speaking, it is not baby baptism but mistaken views regarding its efficacy and significance which leads multitudes down the broad way to destruction.

–          T.E. Watson

It’s better for Timmy.

Thanks to Revival And Reformation for posting this sobering piece:

This fictitious “letter” was taken from the book ‘Facts of the Matter, Daily Devotions for the Marketplace‘, by Dwight Hill.

“‘Dear Mom:

‘Gosh, can you believe it’s 2023 already?…It seems just yesterday I was sitting in first grade celebrating the century change. I know we really haven’t chatted since Christmas. Sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news and I really didn’t want to call and talk face-to-face. Ted’s had a promotion and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in those crazy hours. You know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling with the bills.

‘Timmy’s been ‘okay’ at kindergarten although he complains about going. But then, he wasn’t happy about daycare either, so what I can I do? He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly, he’s an unfair burden at this time in our lives. Ted and I have talked this through and through and finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made it and are much better off.

‘Our pastor is supportive and says hard decisions are necessary. The family is a ‘system’, and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. he told us to be prayerful, consider all the factors, and do what is right to make the family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the decision is really ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part’s easy.

‘I’m not an uncaring mother. I do fell sorry for the little guy. I think he overheard Ted and me talking about ‘it’ the other night. I turned around and saw him standing at the bottom of the steps in his PJ’s with the little bear you gave him under his arm and his eyes sort of welling up. Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart. But honestly, I believe this is better for Timmy, too.

‘It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves. And please don’t give me the kind of grief Grandma gave you over your abortions. It is the same thing, you know. We’ve told him he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say it’s painless. I guess it’s just as well you haven’t seen that much of him.

Love to Dad:

Jane’”

You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20.13)

Quotes (771)

That plain people should be confused and deluded is not surprising when we examine some of the statements made about the efficacy of baby baptism. Take for example the Reformers. Consider the familiar words of the Prayer Book Service for the Public Baptism of Infants:

Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate . . . . We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this baby with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy church.

Then in the Catechism, the question ‘Who gave you this name?’ is answered:

My Godfather and Godmother in my baptism; wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.

Now can it be denied that these words are misleading? Is not the natural and unforced meaning of these statements such as implies baptismal regeneration?


– T.E. Watson

Independence Day and the state of the church in America.

Today marks the 234th anniversary of our nation’s birth, but this occasion brings to mind two problems that I see within Christendom; both of which have the same solution.

Firstly, why do we (every year at this time) feel the need to mix nationalism with the church? On this Sunday, Christians will be running from church to BBQs and parties; some won’t even need to leave the church property as all the festivities will be rolled into one like a church in my local area advertising the events they’re having at their “community freedom festival” which include:

Pony rides / Face painting / Food and drinks / Sno-cones, popcorn, cotton candy / Games and prizes / Bounce houses / Giant slide / Dunk tank / Crafts for the kids / Live music / And much more.

Remember, dear readers, this is a “church.” The only reference on their advertisement that has anything to do with Christianity (not even the name of the church indicates it’s a church) is the slogan “Christian Fellowship” under the church name. If you miss that, you won’t even know it’s a church.

Then there’sthis church’s 4th of July baptism fiasco:

“You don’t want to miss this weekend at NPC. There will be a special dueling guitar performance, spectacular pyrotechnics and hundreds of people getting dunked at Freedom Splash. It’s a great way to begin your Independence Day festivities! . . . Freedom Splash is a weekend designed for hundreds of families, adults, teenagers, and kids to get baptized. We invite you to take this step this weekend! We will have 2 giant swimming pools set up outside the main entrance. After attending service make your way out to the pools, sign in, and get baptized. . . . Jesus asked us to make our faith public by being baptized, so invite your family and friends to come and witness this step in your faith journey. You will receive an awesome Freedom Splash t-shirt to wear the day of the event (there is a $5 donation for the t-shirt, if you can’t pay still come and sign up).”

I am not opposed to celebrating Independence Day, but I am opposed to the mixture of the things of this world with the things of God, even if the thing being mixed is commendable, like patriotism.

The inescapable fact of the matter is that our nation today bears very little resemblance to that which was birthed in 1776, and I seriously doubt we will ever recover from its current state of moral and spiritual decay to return to what it once was.

Yet today, many of the messages in churches will have an Americana theme, and “God bless America” will be peppered throughout numerous sermons, as if God somehow overlooks the sin of this nation and its people because, after all, we’re Americans.

Today is the Lord’s Day, but what will be the main theme in many churches in America? I ask you to examine for yourselves what the emphasis will be on. Will it be on Christ or the country? What should the emphasis in church be on?

This leads me to my second concern: This independence day, should we be celebrating or mourning, partying or repenting? There’s an elephant in the room that no one seems to be talking about.

This, I know, will ruffle some feathers (even amongst the faithful readership of DefCon) but it needs to be said: Since when did Christianity become a political wing or special interest group?

As the masses in Christendom still seriously think they can ask God to bless this nation, they continue to hold out hope for America by means of political action. So many professing Christians I know of can spend countless hours talking politics, and countless hours working toward obtaining the desired results of the next election, yet how many of them talk about the Gospel with those same family members, neighbors, and friends?

I’ve bullet-pointed a few more of my concerns:

–  How much time and effort do Christians spend on politics compared to Bible reading, prayer, family devotions, evangelism, etc?

– Are there any politicians who—if they win—would really make a difference? Look at how many elections we’ve had since Roe v. Wade (many of which put pro-life Republicans into power), yet the genocide of the most innocent and defenseless class in our society rages on as we “legally” put more children to death daily than the terrorists had killed on 9/11.

– Are there any politicians who—like many who founded this country—are selfless in their political endeavors? Can you (honestly) name one politician who is involved in politics for the people and not for their own greed and self-interests? If you can, then I ask you, “Do they have a chance of winning?”

– What are Christians fighting in the political arena for? If they elected every person on the ballot that they thought was the best for our country, would it really change anything? Would they be capable of renewing the hearts of the people?

– Be careful what you wish for: You want to elect people who will re-institute school prayer? If they reversed the ban today, I fear your children in the government schools would be bowing to Mecca tomorrow.

– What is more important and has greater eternal consequences? The spreading of your politics views, or the preaching of Christ and Him crucified?

– How do you ever expect to reach your unsaved neighbor or coworker (the one who happens to be a staunch liberal democrat) when they see your car plastered with political bumper stickers and your front lawn littered with campaign signs, all of which advance a political worldview that is in complete opposition to their political world view? Have you not already polarized them before they meet you and have you not already turned them off to any other message you may bring before you even open your mouth?

– Is it politics and social issues that are the power unto salvation, or is it the Gospel?

– How much does evangelism suffer because politics reigns supreme in the lives of so many Christians?

My plea is that we will remove our heads out of the political sand. We will not change the inevitable course this country is on (if you can’t see the handwriting on the wall, you’re not paying attention).

In just my generation alone, homosexuality went from a taboo, to being embraced, to being celebrated, to being a morally virtuous lifestyle, to laws being passed that make those who oppose it fit to be charged criminally for “hate crimes” (as if there’s such a thing as a “love crime”). Mark my words, you will not stop the current tide no matter how politically active you are. Homosexual marriage will become a reality in this country; abortion will continue in this country; spiritual decline and carnal decadence will continue in this country, no matter who gets elected.

History shows that when a nation gets to where we are, it crumbles from the inside and is soon taken over by other nations that only had to sit back and wait for the moral rot to hollow out our foundations. (There’s even suggestions that this nation has already been abandoned by God, in spite of our plethora of “God bless America” bumper stickers, hats, and t-shirts.)

Jesus, the Disciples, and even the Apostle Paul never tried to change hearts by political action, nor did they try to legislate morality in the Roman world. They were too busy preaching “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Yet American Christianity is too busy to preach the Gospel because they are so enamored and preoccupied with worldly politics.

Let me ask you, how many people do you expect to see in heaven because of your political efforts? Is God more glorified through the preaching of His Son, or through the preaching of the benefits and virtues of the latest political flavor of the month?

I’d like to conclude by clarifying what this missive is NOT about. Unfortunately I must do this because blogging experience has taught me that my words will be misunderstood and even twisted to create arguments that I never advanced:

– I am NOT against attending (or even hosting) Independence Day parties and BBQs; I’m simply saying that worldly celebrations should not be mingled (and ultimately eclipse) Jesus Christ on the Lord’s Day (or any other day for that matter).

– I do NOT rejoice at seeing what America has come to. I do NOT like when bad things happen to it. I am terribly sad to see what it has become and am angered when it is attacked. It still hurts to ponder the events of 9/11.

– I do NOT hate this country. This is the country of my birth and I have always been happy to live here. I still get teary-eyed during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA.

I love what this country was, but am grieved by what it’s become. The country we have today is not the country that was founded by this nation’s forefathers, and there’s nothing you or I can do to stop or reverse the condition we find ourselves in. Instead, I urge you to return to your first love, the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn your affections once again to Him, His Church, and to the work of building up His kingdom—not by worldly Dominionst means—but by making disciples.

We should be identified first and foremost by our religion, not our politics. And our ultimate allegiance should not be to a political party, a flag, or a nation, but to the Lamb of God who is worthy to receive honor, and glory, and power, forever and ever, Amen.

See also: Has the Religious Right lost its voice in American politics?

_______________________________________________________

Examining the Christian Horror novel genre with Ted Dekker’s “The Bride Collector.”

In the past, we’ve covered such oxymoronic concepts as Christian Goth, Christian Fight Clubs, Christian Spice Girls performances, and Christian Poker Tournaments, now the latest incompatible hobby to distract cultural Christians is Christian Horror.

Kevin Swanson, in this 26-minute audio clip, takes on one such novel by Ted Dekker entitled The Bride Collector. You will be shocked at what this book is about, especially when you understand that it’s written by an author professing to be a Christian and being marketed to readers who profess to be Christians.

“We get all excited when we find Christians who are out there making an impact on culture and politics and stuff. But what happens when their worldview is far more humanistic than Christian. . . when their metaphysical construct presents man as sovereign, and God as a little wimpy dude who just loves everybody?

“Kevin Swanson wades into the Christian horror genre, and analyzes one of the most popular Christian writers of the day. What happens when ill-equipped Christians wander into the war of the worldviews? It’s a bloody mess!”

DefCon is now on FaceBook.

Defending Contending has finally joined the world of social networking. We are now on Facebook and you can ‘friend’ us here.

Book review: “The Marketing of Evil” by David Kupelian.

The Marketing of EvilI just completed a page-turner that I highly recommend to the readers of DefCon. David Kupelian’s provocative missive The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, And Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised As Freedom, takes you behind the scenes of how the media, entertainment, and politicians drive the culture and how they not only shape how the masses think, but also what to think.

If you ever wanted to know how sodomy went from a commonly shunned taboo (i.e. a sin) to now not only being accepted as normal, but those who dare to speak against it considered the new outcasts of society, you have to read this book.

If you ever wanted to know how our society can decry the atrocities of the Nazi Holocaust while simultaneously accepting and condoning the barbaric dismemberment of their own children under the guise of “freedom of choice,” you have to read this book.

Recommended to me by a friend, I found this book to be shocking, riveting, compelling, and impossible to put down.

Although I can’t recommend this book enough, I do caution some readers that the material dealt with can be disturbing at times and even profanity is present in the section dealing with the hip-hop culture’s grasp on our youth.

Well over 200 reader reviews have been done on this book on Amazon.com with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Click here to read the reviews on Amazon.



Book review: “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” by John Cross.

The Stranger From the author of The Lamb comes The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. This book explains the gospel of Jesus Christ in the most detailed yet simple way that I have ever read. This easy-to-read book is full of illustrations and details the gospel beginning all the way back in creation. It shows the many foreshadowing events that point to the Messiah from the animal sacrifice to cover Adam and Eve, to the Passover Lamb, to the bronze serpent on the pole, etc.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-read book that thoroughly explains the gospel of Jesus Christ look no further. Whether you’re someone who’s been in the faith for a while or if you’re someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Bible, this book is for you.

From ChristianAnswers.net:

A breakthrough book for sharing a chronological approach to the Bible with unsaved friends and family in a reasonable amount of time. This can be read through in about eight hours.
A great evangelistic tool.

From the publisher:

What if there was a tool that could not only make sharing your faith less intimidating, but also help give you a better grasp of what you believe? A way to communicate the gospel in such a way that as you shared it, people’s eyes would light up with an understanding of what Jesus Christ did for them? Something that you could walk through with them as a Bible study or simply give to a friend to read? A way to make what many see as a dusty old book come alive with meaning in their lives? . . .This fully illustrated, 304-page book is written for adults and teens who know little or nothing about the Bible. It explains in a straightforward way the greatest themes of the Bible, step by step creating an understanding of sin, substitution and atonement. You yourself may be asking the meaning of these terms, words you’ve heard many times but never quite grasped the full meaning of. These truths are woven through the text as each chapter builds on the previous. By the end, the reader has the foundation needed to understand the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection. The logical teaching of truth from creation to the cross makes for a clear understanding of what the Bible is all about.

Currently www.FamilyFaithBooks.com is offering the accompanying workbook free with the purchase of the book.

Redeeming a vampire?

Vampire Not satisfied with the drivel that is known as the majority of what passes as Christian literature today, (obviously a reflection of what’s oozing from most pulpits), the Christian publishing world has long abandoned classic Christian literature like that found in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s.

Today, the Christian book publishing world is moving in directions that begs the question how they can still use the name “Christian.”

According to this news article, meet the new face of “Christian” literature:

Other Christian fiction shows growing sophistication. No longer must characters follow a predictable path to salvation, for instance. The heroine of Nicole Baart’s “The Moment Between,” published by Tyndale, is not a conventional believer but a spiritual seeker; the novel is set in a vineyard and deals with a suicide.

And as if it couldn’t get worse . . . it does:

Even as Christian publishing suffers during the recession — one study found net sales for Christian retailers were down almost 11 percent in 2008 — several publishing houses are adding or expanding their fiction lines with both the tame (Amish heroines) and boundary-pushing (Christian vampire lit).

You heard right: “Christian vampire lit.” I never dreamed I’d ever in my life use those words in the same sentence.

More on “Christian vampire lit”:

On Sept. 15, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group will release its take on vampires in “Thirsty,” by Christian chick-lit author Tracey Bateman. Not surprisingly, the marketing material mentions “Twilight,” the hit vampire book series and movie whose abstinence message resonated with many evangelicals.

Bateman’s vampire, Markus, is a character but also a metaphor for demons anyone must overcome, said Shannon Marchese, an editor at WaterBrook Multnomah who sought out Bateman for the project. The object of his obsession, Nina, is a divorced alcoholic dealing with addiction.

“These are themes that work in the Christian life,” Marchese said. “You have to fight to say, ‘Am I going to choose unconditional love and redemption or a life of following obsessions, a life with holes in it?”

Still, challenges exist beyond what to do with dripping fangs (they were edited out). On the theological front, questions lurk about whether a creature both alive and dead has a soul that can be saved.

“I think we can redeem a vampire,” said Bateman, adding that she won’t be a spoiler and disclose her character’s fate. “I don’t think this is a despair too dark to pull out of.”

The problem in the world of Christian publishing and bookstores can be summed up with the last line in this quote:

“If you look at ‘Left Behind,’ the moon turns to blood and one-third of the people die,” said Karen Watson, associate publisher, fiction, for Tyndale House, which published the series. “Or you have people with bonnets on drawing water from the well. It just tells me there are a wide range of things you can talk about, and Christian books can be a lot of things.”

It seems “Christian books” are a lot of things, but Christian.

If you enjoy good Christian fiction (without vampires) but cannot stand the garbage that passes as today’s Christian literature, I cannot recommend enough the book Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmid. And needless to say, you probably won’t find it in your local Christian bookstore!