The Gathering Place by Becca Anderson- From Amazon: "Growing weary and increasingly unsettled with church-as-usual, Casey Ellis longs to find a church where she can experience more of God. So when she's invited to visit a lively group of believers who enthusiastically embrace their beliefs, Casey decides to see what it's all about. Soon after, Casey is immersed in The Gathering. Overcome by the warmth of community, the careful attention of new friends, and the impartation of holy truth, Casey believes she's found what she's looking for—until the group becomes increasingly controlling over her life. Is it possible that her quest for God has plunged her into spiritual deception? Can God reach beyond the walls of a group's control to free her? How can she ever trust her own judgment again?"
Where Angels Tread by Anthony Ducklow- There is a danger in basing one's faith on humans which are fallible. "Where Angels Tread," follows the story of a church which had turmoil for years, due to a few of its members. Follow the path of Rev. Moses McDermit as he takes over the pastorate of the church and turns the tide. Nathaniel O'Brien comes to a service and is touched by the hand of God and stikes up a friendship with Moses. But Nathaniel starts to lose his faith as he watches what people can do. Will he leave the faith? In steps Ethan, and Nathaniel finds himself on a journey he never imagined.
Occult: They Didn't Think it Could Happen in Their Church by June Summers- Though fiction, this book is based upon the true story of a Oneness Pentecostal church that was drawn into more and more "new" moves (so-called) of God. As the members are pulled into the deception of spouse swapping and immoral activities, chaos and heartbreak ensue. Little do they know that their pastor has a problem with lust for other women besides his wife. Follow Penny as she starts a new life with God and slowly gets caught up in following religion and false doctrines, blindly believing that leaving Grace Church means being lost.
Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur- We follow the life of Pastor Jason Faircloth, a legalistic minister, through a heart wrenching tragedy that slowly begins to open his eyes to the form of unbiblical Christianity he has come to embrace and teach. Losing all that was dear to him, Jason's life begins to unravel as he sets out to find the granddaughter he never knew. Struggling to comprehend what happened, he is confronted with his own beliefs and actions that once gave him comfort, but now appear to haunt him. I don't read much fiction, but found this book grabbed my interest and kept it until the final page. If you are studying about legalism and spiritual abuse, you may want to add this book to your list of reading materials.
Jordan's Crossing by Randall Arthur- The second in the series, we follow Jordan Rau, who follows a liberalistic approach to Christianity, as he moves his family to Germany, driven by a better paying position in his church organization. Their lives are quickly shattered by the murder of their son and his girlfriend and we watch them as they try to recover from the tragedy. Jordan's unrelenting hatred and bitterness leads him to a desperate search for the killers and his own revenge. Once again Jason Faircloth enters the novel, though he plays a smaller role this time.
Betrayal by Randall Arthur- The third in the series, I found it better than the first. Rachel and Clay McCain are missionaries to Sweden and were sent by a legalistic church. Clay suddenly abandons his church and family. When an investigation into his disappearance uncovers the reason for his departure, his wife and three young children are devastated, as well as his church and those back in the states. Forced to return to the states, his family is treated sternly by their home church, pushing Rachel into greater despair. Jason Faircloth, who we first met in "Wisdom Hunter," returns in this story of struggle against sin, legalism, and unforgiveness.
The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds- I have mixed feelings about this one and almost didn't finish it. It does a good job of showing an unhealthy group and in a way reminded me a little of the movie, "The Village." Maybe it was because they live together in a community, though in this one they did go in and out of it. What I didn't like about it was how it seemed the main character never really knew Jesus and didn't seem to ever come to have a relationship with Him. (She's not the only one.) It may have been how I read it, but it seemed to be negative toward Christianity. All she knew were the abuses of the group her grandfather ran. The author did do a good job with the rapture scare. I wondered if she had her own encounter with Pentecostalism since in this group they did speak in tongues. For those from unhealthy churches, I felt it didn't leave something positive for them.
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young- From Amazon: "Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever."
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August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2012 by Lois E. Gibson
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