Today you can find almost every kind of book imaginable, both in print and in digital form. Generally, to Christians, there is no problem with distinguishing which books are secular books. The problem arises for Christians in distinguishing the books that can be beneficial to our spiritual walk and the books that can be harmful to us. Just because it is in a Christian bookstore and on a Christian best seller list means absolutely nothing today. There are many so called Christian books that are in this category that lead to depression or, worse yet, they can shipwreck one’s faith. Many books rise to the top of best seller lists because of their sensationalism, not always their integrity. Christians are drawn to sensationalism sometimes a little too much! I remember years ago people became infatuated with angels and any books on angels. People began to seek communication with their angels and in so doing ended up getting a hold of the wrong ones. We must always guard ourselves from Satan taking advantage of an inroad into our life.
Many Christian books have been written over the centuries that are timeless classics. They truly fulfill Hebrews 10:24 by motivating us in our Christian walk. But what we have happening today is the emergence of a new breed of books infiltrating the Christian ranks. They are filled with cunning deception.
I will mention two books that are at opposite ends of the spectrum that will illustrate my point. Those two books are ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan and ‘Heaven is so Real’ by Choo Thomas.
‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ was written in 1678 as a religious allegory (a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden moral meaning) of a Christian’s walk through life. It does not add to or take away from the Bible. It strictly just gives insight. Wikipedia says, “Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey”. Its purpose is to simply make the reader think about his or her spiritual walk through life.
‘Heaven is so Real’ was written in 2006 and is an entirely different situation. It claims to be ‘Jesus’ end time book’ written with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an audacious claim that is in direct conflict with Scripture. The author goes on to reveal what she supposedly saw when she was taken through heaven and hell. Because so many people had clung to this book worldwide, the Holy Spirit led me to write about its deceptions. Click on the following Article and PDF to view:
When a book goes from sharing insight to making audacious claims, I call this ‘the danger zone’. The only course of action is to test it according to Scripture and if it doesn’t measure up 100%, stay far away from it. Scripture warns:
- Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (I Thessalonians 5:21, 22 NKJV)
I want to give a word of warning to those who defend books that make claims that are contrary to Scripture. The end does not justify the means even if people claim, according to their opinion, to have a closer walk with the Lord after reading it. Simon was a very interesting character in Scripture that we can learn a lot from. The Bible tells us he was saved and baptized, but he strived after the things of God his way which proved to be the improper way:
- Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.” “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!” (Acts 8:13, 18-24 NLT)
The same thing with Ananias and Sapphira. It was their choice, but they wanted to do it their way which involved deception:
- But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:1-4 NKJV)
We must always keep in mind that there will be many who lead people to Jesus Christ that will not make heaven themselves:
- Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:20-23 NKJV)
Be aware that even when a truth is spoken or written, it can be presented in a twisted way, thus making it evil. Look at these two examples:
- Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” (Matthew 4:3-7 NKJV)
- Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-18 NKJV)
Yes, God can turn any bad around for good, but this never justifies the bad:
- And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV)
- But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Genesis 50:20 NKJV)
The key is that it is all about Jesus! It’s not about the means of how we come to Jesus. God can use anything. The universe is at His fingertips. Remember, God can even use a donkey to speak:
- Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28 NKJV)
In conclusion, as Christians we need to be very careful of the books we open our mind to. More so with books that are so called Christian and make audacious claims that are in conflict with Scripture. There are dozens of books written recently about people’s experiences of going to heaven and hell. Because these two places arouse much curiosity, people are hungry for it. Actually too hungry for it and will defend these books viciously. The Apostle John gives us a tiny peek of heaven. Paul wasn’t even allowed to reveal what he saw. Scriptures overall give us enough to realize that heaven is the place to gain and hell is to be avoided at all cost.
I hope this article opens your eyes to the fact that the Bible is the only all sufficient book there is and that true Christian books are only there for an aid and testimony of what God has done and what He can also do in the reader’s life.
God bless and happy readings!