Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Out of Print

posted by xscot mcknight

A pastor who suddenly discovered 99% of the words in the Bible had mysteriously vanished, said this to his wife: “I don’t know what I’m going to do. What’s going to happen to our ministry? With no Bible to teach and preach, I’m headed for joblessness.” These are the words in John Frye’s new novel, Out of Print
, that express the dilemma created when the words began to disappear from every Bible in the world.
I’d like to urge you to support one of the Jesus Creed blog community’s constant contributors, part-time pastor and part-time missionary teacher in the Ukraine, John Frye, by acquiring Out of Print. The book hooked me, and you know how much I (don’t) like novels. John blogs over at The Radical Pastor.
The dilemma John Frye exposes in candid and real-life type people is whether or not we worship the Bible or God, whether or not when we read the Bible we are listening to God or merely examining sentences in order to bolster our theological profile. He doesn’t offer simplistic answers, but he knows the Bible too often divides Christians instead of uniting them.
Here’s my suggestion: Why not get your small group or a group of friends to read the book one week and then some evening gather together to rehearse the story and to ask questions like these? (It’s an easy read but he does manage to pack in a number of themes that deserve reading more than once.)
Why did God give the Bible?
Why did only Esther and Genesis 34 survive the disappearance?
What is the relationship of God to the Bible and the reader to the Bible and to God?
Do you have a tendency to be a Christian of the Book or a Christian of the God who gives us the Book?



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Wonders for Oyarsa

posted November 19, 2007 at 1:18 am


What an absolutely fascinating idea for a story!



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Peggy

posted November 19, 2007 at 3:40 am


Good challenge, Scot! I commented at John’s blog that this is a reality for so many Christians who don’t have access to God’s written Word. And I agreed with him that there are many who worship the Bible–and that’s just way too ironic!



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Ben Wheaton

posted November 19, 2007 at 5:51 am


I honestly don’t think that the problem is that Christians worship the Bible. Not that this isn’t a potential failing, or even an occasional failing, but it isn’t a major one. I have to say that sometimes I think that the reason for saying this is to try to explain away difficult texts or to advocate theologically liberal stances. If we don’t have the Bible, what do we use to inform our belief? Experience? “My feelings?” Our fallen reason? Not that the scenario proposed above isn’t intriguing, but I have to wonder at the motivation behind its proposition.



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Jonas Borntreger

posted November 19, 2007 at 7:30 am


Genesis and Esther? Intriguing!
I have several times in the past proposed the following: If some totalitarian regime were to tell Christians that on some recurring frequency, they had to remove some part of the Bible; “You choose which part.” Which part of the book would we keep till last?
It was always my feeling that I would go for Genesis 2 & 3.
JJB



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Diane

posted November 19, 2007 at 7:45 am


John,
I’m looking forward to your book.



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John Frye

posted November 19, 2007 at 8:23 am


Scot,
Many thanks for bringing *Out of Print: A Novel* to the attention of the Jesus Creeders. A good friend recently read it and I posted his response over at *Jesus the Radical Pastor.* I was greatly enocuraged by my friend’s comments because they reflect an answer to prayer I have about the short novel.
Ben (#3), I invite you to read the story–your suspicions will be alleviated :)



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Ted M. Gossard

posted November 19, 2007 at 8:53 am


These are great and excellent questions. I’ve read the book- almost finished. It’s a great read in making us think through these issues, I believe.
I tend to do both, I’m afraid. Sometimes I do read it as if it were a lifeless Book rather than the living Story of God and God’s word to us and for us in our lives.



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Dianne

posted November 19, 2007 at 11:05 am


I haven’t been much of a novel reader lately but this has piqued my interest. Good suggestion to read and discuss with a few others. I’ve really been challenged to examine my attitude towards God’s word as of late.



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MatthewS

posted November 19, 2007 at 11:47 am


Sounds interesting. I cannot buy any more books this year (couldn’t buy too many to start with!) but I look forward to getting my hands on a copy in the near future. I read the excerpt on jesustheradicalpastor.com and was intrigued to read the story.



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Ben Wheaton

posted November 19, 2007 at 1:10 pm


John,
Thanks for the reassurance, I’ll see if I can find it.



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preacherman

posted November 19, 2007 at 10:05 pm


Great post Scot.
I can’t wait until the Bible is written in every language. When every tongue has had the chance to respond to gospel then Christ will return. I think we are closer than ever before. They are now making computures for 3rd world countries that you can hand cank for energy. Some say the world wide web are on those lap-tops. Imagine if those had the chance to read the Bible from their lap tops. Missionies are going to places never thought before. Translated into tongunes never thought before. Praise God for what is being done. We are closer than ever before. Closer than we have ever thought. The end times are near. We need to look at technology just to see how close we are and how wonderful God is and glorify Him. Glorify the works that radical Christians are doing non-stop. Praise God!!!!
Thanks Scot, for your blog.
Thanks Scot, for your books.
Thaks Scot, for this emerging movement that is taking place across america. Praise God! God be praise! You be blessed brother!



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John Meadows

posted November 19, 2007 at 11:02 pm


Scot,
Thanks for bring “Out of Print” to your readers’ attention. It sounds intriguing and it raises good questions. I would add some additional questions:
Which came first, the Church or the Bible? i.e. Did the Bible produce the Church or did the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, create the Bible and decide what is “Bible” and what is not…? Many of us Protestants seem to think and act as if the Bible was formed in a vacuum and just kind of dropped into history out of no-where.
What of illiterates who do not yet have a translation in their mother language? Can they still hear the story of Jesus from someone who has learned their language and become true followers of Jesus? Can a true community of believers be formed before they have the scriptures available?
Is it possible that individuals could actually find eternal life, die and go to heaven without ever having read or seen a bible? Had the thief on the cross read the Septuagent or the Hebrew scriptures? I don’t know that we can document that, but I sorta doubt it.
Not having read the book, I don’t know if these questions are raised, but I think they are worth adding to your discussion list.
John M.



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John Frye

posted November 20, 2007 at 7:30 am


John Meadows (#12),
Without having read the book, you certainly asked some questions that the book engages! Way to go!
This is a key question you raised: “Is it possible that individuals could actually find eternal life…without ever having read or seen a Bible?”



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Joy Kwon

posted November 20, 2007 at 1:08 pm


Wow that sounds very interesting! I’ll be sure to pick that up. I’ve been thinking about that alot recently. especially since I find myself in different christian circles. Methodists, emergent type, nondenominational, presbyterian etc. I realized that two different groups speak about the same thing in very different ways. For example Joel Olsteen’s new book. Some think its the best book ever, better than purpose driven life, the more conventional circles, think its a joke. I haven’t read the book myself but I was just suprised at how unanamiously similar peoples views are within the same circles and how different their views can be from other types of christians. I think that book would help me piece together why that is.



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Ron Fay

posted November 21, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Don’t you know that all real Christians (read Evangelicals) believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Scriptures?



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