|Those of us engaged in the ministry of Christian
Apologetics are sometimes a very misunderstood bunch.
get the opinion that because we speak out in warning on many issues that we're just
against a whole lot of stuff. I will admit that when it comes to the Cults, Liberalism,
the New Age Movement, Harry Potter, Islam, etc., we apologists don't find much to praise
and have many theological bones to pick. But honestly, I for one am not just trying to be
against everything. In fact, I am constantly looking for what I can actually endorse.
Irregardless, many misunderstand the mission and importance of sound apologetics because
it can certainly ruffle feathers and bring discomfort. This usually leads to the apologist
taking flack for being what some think is overly sensitive, too picky or downright nosey
concerning any given topic of discussion.
OK, I'll admit that on theological issues I am sensitive,
picky and yes, nosey too. No wonder for today many in the Christian community have a
perilous tendency to accept any and every thing that comes along and merely claims
to be "Christian" and do so without thought of applying biblical standards.
Apologists generally do the opposite as we strive to test, research and approve both
religious and social phenomenons by the changeless standard of God's Word. Because of the
disconcerting lack of discernment around the Christian Body today raining on somebody's
parade - even with truth - is usually patently unpopular. Thus we apologists are perceived
as "negative", "judgmental" and "narrow". Life is tough for
the barer of bad news. That's alright, no big deal.
When you get as busy as we are in this particular ministry
though something occasionally gets by you. Every now and then a turkey slips under the
radar. When this happens I believe that we need to acknowledge it. Yes, apologists
sometimes need to apologize. Confounding my detractors who seem
to believe that I think I am perfect and yes, showing my humanity (note: tongue completely
in cheek...) I need to make a correction, an apology and a retraction.
A few months ago we thought we may have found a popular
fantasy novel that we could actually endorse. Imagine that? Written by an English Anglican
vicar, G.P. Taylor's Shadowmancer (Strang Communications)
is getting some rave review in the secular and Christian press. After reading the glowing
endorsements the book has received and being acutely aware of the need for something
biblical to knock the occultic likes of Harry Potter down a few notches, I have for some
time been encouraging folks to read Shadowmancer. I now regret
Over the weekend of March 4-5 (2005) Melanie and I
ministered at the Bay Area (Calif.) Sunday School Convention. One of today's premier
Christian researchers, Berit Kjos, was there and gave me some convincing and disturbing
information concerning Taylor's popular novel. Berit, a recognized author and authority on
religions and trends in the Church today, is a person whose insights and research we have
esteemed and trusted for many years. As with anyone else I may differ with her on a point
here and there but I encourage you to click here for Kjos'
complete treaties on Shadowmancer.
In the past there have been some great Christian fantasy
novels such as Frank Peretti's work which I have spoken up for. Regrettably, in the light
of further examination I must now retract my past comments concerning Taylor's Shadowmancer.
I have made the unacceptable multiple mistakes of not completing a careful reading of the
book personally and instead heeded the many glowing reviews done by "Christian"
magazines. I had ample warnings, most notably not taking more stock in the uneasy feeling
that my wife Melanie expressed concerning the book. Though Shadowmancer
and Taylor's latest book, Wormwood, are selling millions of
copies and though they are published and promoted by Christians I simply know better than
to let my guard down in this way. I am guilty of merely hoping we had found a counter to
Potter without doing the kind of diligent research that must accompany our work.
Among the many issues Kjos takes exception with is that Shadowmancer
endorses the use of animate objects (crystals, no less) from which the heroes gain
supernatural power. Also, the storyline promotes the misconception that any particular
building or place, such as the altar in a church, affords supernatural protection from
evil forces. Upon my revisiting of Shadowmancer perhaps most
personally disturbing to me is the symbology and syncretism which Taylor employs. It is
this very thing that has kept millions in bondage worldwide as individuals embrace
Catholicism - while also maintaining the pagan customs and religious practices of their
locale. My previous casual perusal of the book did not alert me to these unacceptable
discrepancies. Though Shadowmancer is indeed replete with
biblical imagery the few aforementioned facts I have sighted are more than sufficient to
cause me to recant any endorsement I have given to the book.
If I have in some small way added to the spiritual
confusion which accompanies Shadowmancer please forgive me. One
last concern: considering the nature of the novel and their past track record, we should
wonder how much more unbiblical Hollywood's version of Shadowmancer
may be when it makes it to the silver screen in the not too distant future?
Thanks for allowing me to transparently share my
"apologetic" apology with you.
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