The Benefits of Reading More Selectively

 

Stop-Read-Carry-on

Photo by Cory Doctorow, Flickr

Do you prefer to read short articles or long ones? Which do you value more? These are questions I’ve wondered about since I began blogging. Almost unavoidably, I keep writing looong articles!

As you surely know already, I write about theology. This is serious “stuff” since it deals with matters of eternal significance. Thus, I feel responsible for thoroughly covering each topic that I write about while being sensitive to what readers may believe.

The most frustrating thing about it is that once I choose a topic, I never know for certain how much content I’ll have to write. My job is to study the topic and write as much as I need to in order to cover it. This includes all the essential points, along with responses to possible questions.

The problem, in terms of time and other expenses, is compounded if the article does turn out to be a lengthy one. Any experienced writer will tell you that a long article takes much longer to write than a short one. For example, I’m planning to knock this article out in only an hour or two because I only have a few points to make. On the other hand, a long article can take up to a week of writing. Undoubtedly, an article that takes 40 hours or more to write will not be 40 times as long as the one that only takes one hour!

Here’s why a longer article can take much, much longer to write:

  • It’s easy to repeat oneself, but repetitions must be found and eliminated—except for deliberate repetitions intended to emphasize the most important points.
  • It’s difficult to organize a large number of thoughts and ideas. The outline must be formulated and material rearranged in process, unless research and outlining is done first. Either way, it takes a great deal of time.
  • Long articles are more risky (and potentially rewarding) because they tend to position the writer as an authority. By contrast, a short article doesn’t have to be “serious,” and can more easily hold a reader’s attention.
  • It’s much more difficult for writers to stay on topic when writing long articles. Material that isn’t on topic must either be deleted or set aside for a different article.

I thought about these things after having spent an enormous amount of time on my PremodernWisdom blog post, How to Witness Without Compromise. I wondered, “Since I have to spend so much time writing these long posts, do readers benefit proportionally from that extra time?”

This is definitely a question that you should wonder about as a reader. After all, if you know that you have a chance to benefit from nearly one week of a writer’s time instead of only one hour, perhaps you will feel less hesitation in the future about reading lengthy, well-researched and thought-out articles.

I think the answer to the question is that without a doubt, readers do benefit in some proportion to the writer’s time. Let me give you an example…

Instead of writing about 5,200 words in How to Witness Without Compromise, I could have taken less time by using the same ideas in ten articles of about 500 words each. That content would surely have been more tempting for readers, and surely would have gotten me more Google traffic. However, would the information have been just as valuable? Surely not, because it wouldn’t have been well organized. You wouldn’t have had, arranged in one place, a comprehensive answer to the question, “How can a Christian go into the world and avoid compromising their witness?”

For the same reason, I think well-written and researched books are significantly more valuable than short blog posts and eBooks, even if you can get many of the eBooks for only 99 cents. Cheap eBooks are an easy impulse buy, but this often comes at the expense of the content’s quality, which in turn comes at the expense of your valuable time. By contrast, a full-length book is likely to cover one main topic from many different angles, thus helping you become an expert, much like the author.

I know what it’s like to write a veeerrry long article because I wrote a 686-page book, including appendices and footnotes, in a large, 7”x10” format. I would have found it much easier to write 686 one-page blog posts, but I know the book is much more valuable than that. My book, Return to Genesis adds great value by arranging all the details into a meaningful context that is organized by subheadings, tables, chapters, and parts. Readers don’t learn only from the raw facts, but also from the interrelationships. In fact, I don’t think you can find any book in print that does a better job than Return to Genesis of explaining the “big picture” issues for Christians today.

Return to Genesis has 27 chapters. Thus, it would cost nearly $27 if each chapter was sold at the price of a 99-cent eBook. However, you can’t hold eBooks in your hands, except through an electronic reader. For a limited time, you can receive a $15 discount on Return to Genesis by clicking on the book advertisement that you see on this page. This discounted price makes the book cheaper than 27 eBooks, half of which you may either regret having purchased or never read.

What kind of content do you want to see? Do you prefer a greater quantity of short articles; a lesser quantity of longer, more well thought-out articles; or some combination of these?

Note: I was able to complete this 900-word article in less than two hours, not counting the time spent on the title and the picture.

John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened

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Lee Harmon, the author of John’s Gospel, is eminently qualified to write about this topic. His specialty is in studies of Jesus, and he has previously written a book about Revelation. He understands first century Jewish and Greek culture, as well as the biblical and historical context of the gospels.

Lee is a self-confessed liberal, but labels seldom tell the whole story. For that matter, even evangelical scholars can be liberal while rejecting that label. Every Christian should first know the Bible, then exercise discernment in all matters. I must note, however, that some of Lee’s other writings indicate that he thinks any religion can be a path to God. This unorthodox belief is solidly refuted by Bible verses such as John 14:6 and Acts 17:30.

Too often, liberal historians try to turn us all into skeptics, or perhaps even into unbelievers. Lee has enough respect for the Bible and the Person of Jesus Christ to not do that. Like John himself, Lee has written "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (Jn. 20:31).

Lee is well-read enough to have taken conservative scholarship into account. Too many scholars get into a rut in which they limit their education mainly to either conservative or liberal views. Like most conservatives, Lee credits the same John with having been a disciple (later an apostle) of Jesus, and with having written both Revelation and John.

I don’t agree with Lee’s dating of the writing of Revelation and the gospels. However, this is an area in which even conservative scholars often disagree. Like Lee, I think some New Testament passages refer to the fall of Jerusalem. I believe these passages were prophetic, not written after the fact. Incidentally, my perspective is known as preterism.

In John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened, Lee treats the gospel of John objectively, with due consideration to the aforementioned biblical and historical context. Lee appreciates that John claims that his gospel is an eyewitness account (Jn. 21:24), and that he intentionally made it quite different from the other three gospels.

The primary way in which Lee emphasizes the differences is by having made Matthew, the author of the first gospel, present at the dictation of John’s gospel. Even though their conversations are fictional, it’s easy to imagine Matthew being surprised or shocked at some of John’s teachings. We easily miss these important differences if our main interest is in harmonizing the gospels.

The inclusion of the story about the writing of John’s gospel keeps this book from being another boring dissertation on the Bible. This story helps us appreciate the real people who deliberated on what we now know quite literally as “gospel truth.” Lee interrupts the story periodically to present some of the most professional and scholarly views on the gospels.

Lee appreciates the symbolism in John, which can often be a stumbling block to biblical literalists. They tend to be biased against non-literal meaning in the Bible, even when it can be supported from other Scripture passages. This is further explained in my own book, Return to Genesis.

Lee also understands that the Jews expected their Messiah to establish an earthly kingdom. This is far different from the belief of modern Christians that this world is (and always will be) evil, and that we must place all our hopes on entering an other-worldly heaven after death.

Even though Lee and I would disagree on the relevance and meaning of the kingdom of God for Christians today, he appreciates the rich history behind this concept. Personally, I fail to see how God is glorified by theories that He plans to judge the world; trash this earth; and start over again with a physically “new” earth. A non-literal reading of the Bible reveals that God intended to renew the earth through believers, for we are His “new creations” (2 Cor. 5:17).

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Lee has achieved a formidable accomplishment, in that John’s Gospel should have nearly universal appeal. Everyone from curious unbelievers to devout Christians will find much to admire about the fourth gospel, and little reason to be offended—unless it be from the life and message of Christ Himself.

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Return to Genesis

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Before reading what I have to say about my book, Return to Genesis, I invite you to read this review of my book by a Mennonite pastor titled Another Step Forward for the Evangelical Mind.

People have written me to ask what this book is about, even though I provided a standard description. Perhaps they want to get a feel for what I’m like, and how I feel about my own book.

Return to Genesis is rich in theological content. Therefore, it’s understandable that Christians would want to know whether or not they can trust me enough to spend hard-earned money on this book and take time to read it. For these reasons, I’m providing this overview of my book.

It goes without saying that an author might not be the most objective reviewer. However, even if I felt free to exaggerate or lie (which I don’t), I can think of no reason to do so. I haven’t been motivated by greed, either in the writing of the book, nor in marketing efforts, nor as I write these words. Anyone who reads Return to Genesis will know that I care more about what the Bible says than about the opinions of men. This is evident in my critiques of biblical literalism, Dispensationalism, young-earth creationism, and Judaism. By the way, since “literalism” is a loaded term, I definitely believe in taking literally every word that God intended for us to take literally.

Like any other writer, I need to sell books if I’m to continue writing. Nonetheless, for me, being a Christian author is a ministry and a calling from God. If it doesn’t work out, that’s how it goes. Any kind of honest labor is honorable in God’s sight. I don’t compromise my beliefs for the sake of attracting readers and their money.

Frankly, as I’ve told other Christians about my book in social media channels, I’ve encountered a lot of negativity, close-mindedness, and judgmentalism. Christians who responded in these ways didn’t know my heart, the years of study and prayer that I put into this book, whether or not God had called me to write, or how much God might bless them if they went to the trouble of buying and reading my book. In other words, they knew virtually nothing.

One minister in a Christian forum criticized me for not having offered enough information about my book. At the time, I had only provided the two press releases and the “Look Inside” feature at the Amazon listing. I had also written several pages in response to his questions. Even though I thought this criticism was unfair, I took it to heart. I resolved to provide all the free information that anyone could reasonably expect. You’ll find links to some of this free content within this post.

The main reason why I want Return to Genesis to sell is because I know that would help advance God’s kingdom in the world. As I will explain, God’s people can benefit more from this book more than I can from any amount of sales.

Return to Genesis might offend you in some places because God’s Word doesn’t always conform to our ideas of political correctness. I can promise, however, that you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll learn. In fact, you may well learn more from Return to Genesis than from any other book you’ll ever read, apart from the Bible. Granted,  an encyclopedia volume has more information, but it doesn’t contain much relevant or original content.

Return to Genesis covers a wide range of topics, many of which are important enough to be considered "Theology 101." I start with a question that many Christians don’t think much about—how to interpret the Bible. Should we interpret it literally, figuratively, or be open to both? This isn’t "how to be saved," but it’s more closely related to salvation than you might think.

I’m what you might call a “holistic thinker.” In plain English, I’ve always tried to connect various ideas in my attempts to make sense of everything. The Bible has been especially helpful to me in that regard. I’m also interested in history. The result is that I came up with an allegory to explain how I see God working in the history of western Christianity. So far, the few readers I’ve communicated with have enjoyed it.

The next topic I discuss in the book is the belief system known as Dispensationalism. That’s a big word, but I know you’re already familiar with its teachings, which include "Left Behind" theology. I’m referring to the speculation about Christ’s invisible return for the secret rapture, the expected reign of Satan and his Antichrist, the Great Tribulation with its billions of deaths, and finally the expected mass slaughter at Armageddon.

Dispensationalists teach that the Jews are God’s chosen people, even though few Jews believe in Christ, and the “dispies” anticipate that most Israeli Jews will be slaughtered at Armageddon. They claim that the Gentile Church is kind of an accidental "parenthesis" in God’s plan of salvation for the Jewish people. Such beliefs have contributed to the political ideology known as "Christian Zionism."

Practically speaking, Dispensationalist theology seems to inflict its greatest harm through its pious and pessimistic worldview. Pessimism, especially about the future of God’s Church, is the opposite of God-centered faith.

Christians who expect an Antichrist to reign can’t sense much motivation to resist systemic evil in “secular” realms such as politics, business, and the news and entertainment industry. After all, Dispensationalism has taught Christians that we’re the dregs of society who are, and will remain unsuccessful in our attempts to transform the world for Christ. Likewise, Christians who fatalistically think that Bible prophecy says the Church will never lead the Jewish people to Christ can’t be highly motivated to witness to Jews. One of the leading Christian Zionists, John Hagee, refuses to preach the gospel to Jews.

Following the example set by great Christians such as Charles Spurgeon (the “prince of preachers”), I thoroughly refute Dispensationalism in this book.

I almost wish I could take pleasure in demolishing false doctrines. However, though I’m no Pollyanna, God wired me in such a way that I don’t like to shatter anyone’s beliefs without giving them something better to believe in. This is defensible both logically, and from the Bible. Jesus said that when a demon is cast out of a person, that empty space must be filled or the demons will return in greater numbers (Mt. 12:43-45).

What we’re dealing with here is doctrines of demons. Even if you prove to someone that what they believe is false, they’re likely to wonder, “What else can I believe?” Then they may to return to what they’re comfortable with (Prov. 26:11).

For this reason, after refuting Dispensationalism, I offer Christians something much better to believe in. “Better,” because it’s fully biblical and, as we should have expected all along from our wonderful Savior, overwhelmingly positive. I examine prophetic passages such as Daniel 9:24-27 and Matthew 24 in order to show that, contrary to Dispensationalist teachings, the Bible gives us reasons to be optimistic about the future, including the future of this world.

By the way, anyone who is interested in Bible prophecy can find further information at this blog post and on my prophecy "magazine" page. page. Incidentally, you can see my other “magazine” topics by going to my Scoop.it home page.

The only “problem” with expressing hope for a more Christianized world is that can easily leave the reader hanging. Pessimism about the future doesn’t lead to many questions, but only to a “batten down the hatches” approach to life. On the other hand, Christian optimism leads to innumerable questions about how we as Christians can change the world for the better. By the way, this expectation is implied in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This is another area in which I refused to let readers down. In fact, I feel that a major strength of this book is the suggestions I offer for applying biblical principles in the realms of politics, culture, and church life. For an example of what I’m talking about, see my two-part blog post on restoring sound money.

I understand that readers won’t always agree with me, but I hope my writings can motivate other Christians to discuss these important topics from a biblical perspective. As it is, Christians aren’t known for being original thinkers in “secular” realms such as politics and culture.

As you may have noticed, I’ve already enclosed the word secular in quotes twice. The reason I do so is because I don’t recognize the modern dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. There’s no realm in this Universe that doesn’t belong to Jesus Christ. There’s also no true knowledge apart from that which comes from God. For anyone interested, I wrote further about dualisms such as the sacred-secular distinction here.

In case you’re wondering how all of this ties in with the Book of Genesis, which made the title of Return to Genesis, I will explain…

Before outlining the poetry in Genesis, I took three chapters to reconcile the creation and flood accounts with modern science, primarily by examining the Scripture text. Christians are selling entire books with the claim that they reconciled Genesis 1 with science. Frankly, I don’t think they don’t do as good a job of it as I do in these chapters. They aren’t always faithful to the text of Genesis, and don’t fully explain the poetry and symbolism.

The most intriguing part of Return to Genesis would likely be the “unveiling” of the poetry. This takes up nearly one-third of my book. I think you’ll find the poetry to be both informative and entertaining. I virtually take you into the mind of the writer to learn about that ancient way of thinking, which was very different from our own.

Most of the poetry in the Old Testament takes the form of parallelisms. In order to understand some of them, we must know the metaphors and symbols, which I fully explain in the book. The Holy Spirit also wove parallelisms into the lives of biblical heroes and heroines, who were types of Christ. This is one way in which the poetry serves to assure us that the Bible is divinely inspired.

Personally, I was amazed to find so much poetry, especially in Genesis 1-3. I feel particularly honored and humbled to have discovered a complex poem extending across Genesis 1 and 2. I call this poem the "Creation Cycles." This poem alone will answer many questions that you have about these important chapters, which have always challenged Christianity’s greatest theologians.

Unfortunately, due to the influence of biblical literalism, Bible poetry is highly underrated today. I didn’t write under an illusion that Christians today have a proper, high esteem for Bible poetry. Still, that was what I found, and it was the only way to make sense of some parts of Genesis.

The truth is, none of us can fully understand Genesis without knowing about the poetry. In turn, Genesis helps us to better understand the rest of the Bible.

The poetry of Genesis reveals dominion to be one of the book’s primary themes. Even if you don’t choose to purchase the book, you can see an example of what I mean at this post, in which I compare Adam with Joseph and Jesus.

Genesis reveals a God Who is somewhat unfamiliar to most Christians today. Our God was, and still is very interested in reigning in this world. First, He sought to reign through Adam and Eve. After the Fall, He made His home among Abraham’s physical descendants. Now, God the Father reigns through Christ, Who in turn reigns through the Church.

Christ proclaimed to His disciples that He has all authority in heaven and earth (Mt. 28:18). This statement would have meant little if He wasn’t willing to make that authority available to His disciples and to us.

I feel that my book leaves all Christians with a priceless gift, which is my proposal for worldwide Christian unity. You won’t have seen this idea before from ecumenical Christians. This isn’t “my idea” because it comes directly from the Bible, which makes it God’s idea. The plan is centered around doctrinal truth, not around a shallow, "kumbaya" concept of togetherness. As I explain in the book, a major prerequisite must be fulfilled in order for this plan to work.

I inform readers in the final chapter how Christian unity can lead to stronger Christian marriages and fewer divorces. I’ll also let that be a mystery instead of trying to answer that question in this review.

Here’s some further information about this book, including reasons why you may want to read it:

  • I sought to communicate on the level of intelligent lay people with little background in theology.
  • God wants every Christian to value and understand basic Christian doctrines such as creation, the fall, redemption, and the end times.
  • Please don’t let anyone tell you that Bible prophecy doesn’t matter! This book will show you that it definitely matters.
  • When Christians let their leaders study theology for them back in the Middle Ages, it didn’t turn out well. Since we’re all priests in God’s eyes, we shouldn’t be as dependent as we now are on human teachers.
  • People with a vested interest in established institutions and belief systems are usually slow to accept new ideas. Change must begin with individuals like yourself.
  • Not only are we responsible for learning about God’s Word for ourselves, we’re called to educate fellow believers who are caught up in error, and to leave a positive legacy for our children.
  • God doesn’t want us to deny and defy science, but to be seen as people who are wise, credible, and relevant. These words also describe God’s Word, once we properly understand it.
  • God expects us all to value Christian unity and make every effort to be in unity (Eph. 4:3).
  • Any movement that seeks long-term success must maintain an optimistic view of the future, similar to that which Christians such as the Puritans held in the past. Faith and optimism also help us in our personal lives.

I would like to end this on a personal note…

I confess that I used to view God as a hard taskmaster and disciplinarian. Although I found encouragement in some Bible verses, others haunted me with the fear of judgment, and possibly even damnation. This is the subtle backdrop to any literalistic reading of God’s Word.

In retrospect, I wish that I had took God’s Word more seriously from the beginning, and taken the teachings of men much less seriously. But you probably know how it is. In church, you’re expected to listen and accept what you’re told without a lot of questioning. I can’t emphasize enough that each of us must think for ourselves rather than blindly follow what other people tell us.

I didn’t set out to discover a plan for Christian unity, or anything that grandiose. I simply wanted, if at all possible, to make sense of the creation days. I was frustrated until I decided to study Genesis 1 as poetry. That brought huge rewards, and inspired me to continue looking for poetry, all the way to the end of Genesis.

I give God the glory for having amazed me with wonderful insights into His precious Word. If only I’d had this kind of knowledge when I was younger, I’d have had more faith in God and fewer doubts about Him and His great love for me and for all people. I can’t change my past, but I can make this information available to you. That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any Christian, or anyone wanting to learn more about the Bible.

The poetry, symbolism, and the proper understanding of Bible prophecy revealed to me a different side of God. Not only is He a distant, holy God, He’s also a playful, artistic Poet Who came and lived among us in human flesh. God not only loves Christians, He loves all people and wants the best for us. I believe God wants all Christians to understand the Bible’s poetry and symbolism so that we can see this side of Him.

In retrospect, I can see how absurd and presumptuous I and my literalist brothers and sisters were to think that we had God’s Word down pat because we’d interpreted it literally. This kind of arrogance has got to go. God is mysterious and transcendent, not reducible to a literalistic reading of His Word.

Why You Haven’t Heard of My Book

3dcover-transparent 497x643Return to Genesis is my first published book. It’s a thick, Bible-sized book with 620 pages, not counting appendices, footnotes, and the index. Altogether, it’s 676 pages in 7"x10" format.

In this post, I affirm that Return to Genesis presents important information, much of which Christians will learn about for the first time ever. I then explain why, if this information is as important as I claim, you hadn’t heard of this book.

Can We Learn Anything New from God’s Word?

Every Christian is able to learn about God through His Word, with the Holy Spirit’s help (Jn. 14:26, 1 Jn. 2:27). The Bible exposes any sin that we may harbor in our hearts. This is for our benefit, so that we may turn away from our sins. God also blesses us by revealing to us many wonderful and relevant truths through His Word.

As I’ve studied God’s Word, I’ve found that its teachings often differ from those of popular ministers. Contrary to what you might expect, Christian ministers don’t always proclaim what they’ve personally learned from God and the Bible. Instead, they typically preach what they’ve learned from other men. Consequently, they not only preach truth from the Bible, but also falsehoods that may have been around for centuries.

Think even about what you know of the Bible. Did you learn those truths primarily by reading the Bible, or primarily from having taken in sermons and teachings from other people?

Many false doctrines are prevalent today, but my purpose here is not to expose and refute them.

For the sake of argument, suppose we could somehow banish all false doctrines overnight. Even under these ideal circumstances, do you think the Church would be able to survive only on doctrines and teachings from centuries past, such as the Reformation era?

Everyone in what we call the “secular” world knows without question that they need fresh ideas to move forward in every area of life, whether it be in business, in their social lives, or in their personal development. As for us Christians, conservative ministers tell us that in essence, we have nothing new to learn from the Bible!

The reason for this is simple. Whereas we all know that the secular world is constantly moving forward, Christian authorities tell us that the Church is to remain stationary.

Why is this so? Because supposedly, God only wants us to “hold the fort” until Jesus returns. In our time, words and phrases such as “dominion,” “Christ our King,” the “kingdom of God,” and “overcoming the world” have become little more than talk.

Do you think God was only kidding when He put these teachings in the Bible?

For my part, I’ve learned many new and essential truths from other Christians, which were neither known nor taught in centuries past. I also gain precious insights into the Bible whenever I study it. An example of this would be the poetry that I discovered throughout the Book of Genesis.

My book reflects much of the learning that I’ve gained through the grace of God and the Word of God. The ideas in my book are fresh, original, and most importantly, biblical. In my experience, which I gladly share with readers, the Bible is a deep, and largely untapped fount of wisdom. Like any other Christian book, Return to Genesis isn’t perfect by any means. Nonetheless, some of the information is vital to the advance of God’s kingdom on the earth.

In the book, I was always careful to relate my thoughts to the Scriptures instead of going on for many pages, presenting thoughts and ideas without referring to the Bible. Personally, I’ve seen more than enough “Christian” books like that.

Why You Haven’t Heard of Return to Genesis

You may wonder why, if my book contains such great information, you haven’t been hearing about it everywhere. The primary reason would be because thus far, no Christian influencers have read it and posted a review.

Why, you might ask, have they not done so?

For the reasons stated above, most Christians don’t take research very seriously when it comes to theology. Again, nothing new is expected.

To the extent that Christian teaching institutions may be doing research, they’re certainly not looking at self-published books by unknown authors. There’s a stigma attached to both. Moreover, so many of these books are being published that it’s convenient to dismiss every last one of them without even looking at titles or book descriptions.

Even the offer, or actual shipment of a free copy means nothing to many Christian leaders. Seldom have I received even the courtesy of a reply from a top influencer. They either look for books that are already popular, or for new releases from major publishers. As a first-time author and self-publisher who is working with a low budget, I’m a kind of “Rodney Dangerfield” character, getting no respect.

While publishing many books over an extended period of time, traditional publishers have gained enormous marketing and distribution advantages over people like myself. They know all the influential book reviewers, and are the first in line to offer them free books. Christian leaders and bloggers generally assume that books from the big publishers are “better” than self-published books.

Frankly, I knew practically nothing about marketing when I published my book. My book wasn’t "launched," let alone "pre-launched"—advertised in advance of publication. I’ve done some marketing, but I started out knowing nothing and having nothing—not even a blog. Thus, nearly one year after publication, my book sales remain low, and only one person has published a review on Amazon. In addition, two other people have posted partial reviews on Goodreads.

Actually, these review numbers aren’t bad, considering that usually only about one or two percent of the people who buy a book ever post a review anywhere.

So far, the reviews for my book are all positive, and I’m thankful for them. Considering the bold claims that I’ve made for this book, I feel that any positive review should be considered noteworthy. After all, since this is a self-published book and I’m an unknown author, the book isn’t “supposed” to be good..

Nonetheless, I’m praying for many more reviews and sales because I believe God wants this book to make a huge impact on the Church and the world.

Whether you consider yourself an “ordinary” Christian or an influencer, you can make a significant impact for the kingdom of God by spreading the news about my blogs and social media accounts (see the links here). If you read Return to Genesis, any positive review that you post could definitely help motivate other Christians to buy the book and be blessed by it. In turn, this would help me to stay on course with the writing and teaching ministry that the Lord has given me.

If you read Return to Genesis and would like to provide feedback to me as the author, please drop me a line. I’ve provided many ways for people to contact me, including the comment box on this page.

Dominion in Genesis

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Joseph Interpreting Pharaoh’s Dream by Arthur Reginald

I recently posted a series of eight lengthy blog posts on Dominion in Genesis at PremodernWisdom.org. It amounts to a “blog book,” which can help you decide whether or not to purchase Return to Genesis. One reason for this is that I covered some of the same topics in both Return and Dominion, yet without repeating the same arguments. Those topics are:

  • Principles of Interpretation
  • End Times Prophecy
  • Christian Dominion
  • Poetry in Genesis
  • The Importance of Freedom, and How to Be Free

The free content in Dominion in Genesis bolsters many of the arguments presented in Return to Genesis. However, Return is more important for the following reasons:

  • Contains scholarly, well-researched material with footnotes
  • Written for high school graduate/college entry reading level
  • Thoroughly refutes biblical literalism, which is a popular yet false doctrine
  • Explains why we should be more accepting of poetry, types, and symbols
  • Reveals why believers in Christ are Christians, not “Judeo-Christians”
  • Demystifies Bible prophecy, including Daniel 9:24-27 and Matthew 24
  • Clarifies the relevance and meaning of the dominion mandate in our time
  • Analyzes and outlines the major poems of Genesis
  • Contains Scripture-based proposals for cultural renewal and political change
  • Argues that Christianity is premodern, and is incompatible with both modernism and postmodernism
  • Offers a Scripture-based plan for worldwide Christian unity
  • Presents a biblical plan for how the Church can support Christian marriages

Most of this is original material, especially my studies of Bible poetry. The section on poetry in Genesis (Part 5) takes up nearly one-third of the book. This poetry covers nearly all of Genesis. Besides the poetry, Return to Genesis contains so much content it’s like several different books combined into one.

I wouldn’t want anyone to be dissatisfied after having purchased Return to Genesis. Therefore, I urge you to first look at the free content at PremodernWisdom, especially Dominion in Genesis.

Christian Era Publishing’s Founder Issues Declaration of War!

June 18th, 2012, is a historic day in the short history of Christian Era Publishing. More importantly, it could become a historic day for Christians, and even for the world. On this date, I, Martin Pierce, declared war on biblical literalism, Christian sectarianism, and divorce.  

That kind of declaration must surely appear arrogant on my part. There’s some levity and optimism in the declaration, but I also meant it seriously. I’ll give you some background information here, including the motivation and the strategy for victory. 

First, this wasn’t a mere publicity stunt, as if I had planned it months or even weeks in advance. I didn’t even begin to seriously think about issuing a press release until the week of June 11, after I had sent the book to the printer. On Friday, June 15th, I was out walking in my neighborhood when I heard what sounded like a military jet passing overhead, then another. Although I couldn’t see them because of the trees and houses, I suspected that they were Blue Angels planes practicing for Baltimore’s Sailabration weekend. 

For those who didn’t know this, the Sailabration was Baltimore’s bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812, also known as the “Second American Revolution.” Baltimore made history in that war with some help from Francis Scott Key. He wrote the Star Spangled Banner after having been inspired by the valiant defense of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry.

 I had heard about the Sailabration on the news, but it took the planes flying overhead to really get my attention. That’s when I made a connection between the historic occasion of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the release of my book, which I believe to also be a historic occasion. I feel it is no coincidence that these events happened at about the same time, 200 years apart. I had wanted to publish my book sooner, but there was one delay after another. This was a lesson to me that everything happens in God’s timing.

 I’ll be the first to admit that there is reason to be skeptical about any declaration of war. After all, even the U.S. government hasn’t been successful in most of its wars, including the wars against drugs, poverty, cancer, terrorism, and so on. on drugs, poverty, cancer, terrorism, etc. The government’s wars never end, except when we have to get out of a foreign country because otherwise, everyone in the world starts asking why we keep squandering money and finding people to kill.

What I’m saying is, skepticism can be expected when one individual declares war on such powerful foes as biblical literalism, Christian sectarianism, and divorce. Before I go any further, I realize you might be wondering what biblical literalism is. The literalist method of Bible interpretation is used to justify young-earth creationism, Christian Zionism, and the fatalistic “secret rapture” theology. Thus, opposition to biblical literalism is potentially very meaningful.

I’m well aware that I can do practically nothing on my own. I’m dependent on the Lord, and on people like yourself. I did all I could, which was to present specific plans to defeat the aforementioned evils. Now I’m trying to spread the word.

Here are the three steps that Protestant churches and denominations would need to take in order to unite Christians and save Christian marriages:

1.  Convene a general council for the purpose of appointing a standing council and council leader. This council would spend its time studying the Scriptures, seeking God, learning what He is doing in the world, and formulating doctrine to provide general guidance to Christians throughout the world. This is the New Testament model for Christian unity.

2.  The general council and/or standing council should declare biblical literalism to be a form of heresy. Other Christians have prepared the way for this by having produced sermons, articles, and books against biblical literalism. I’ve offered reasons to oppose literalism in Chapters 1-7 and Chapter 25 of Return to Genesis.

3. Finally, the standing council would need to call for the establishment of Christian courts, especially to adjudicate divorce cases involving Christians.

 You can learn more about my proposed strategies for victory by reading the press release, which you can find by clicking on the “Press Room” tab above. In order to really understand what I believe the Bible instructs us to do, I recommend that you read chapters 25-27 of Return to Genesis. These ideas make this a great book for church leaders. Other chapters explain the poetry in Genesis, which makes great reading for any Christian lay person who is interested in Genesis.

I would be happy to respond to questions here, so please post any questions or comments below.

Return to Genesis is Officially Published!

Yesterday, June 11th, I gave the final approval for the publication of Return to Genesis. The book is available both at CreateSpace and on Amazon.Gutenberg Press

It feels as if an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. You can surely imagine how this book project has been a burden for me over the years. However, at the same time, it has been a blessing as I wrote it, seeking God and His Word for wisdom along the way. I pray and trust that the information in this book will set many people free to truly know Christ and the great salvation that He offers to mankind.

The Bible’s message has been unknowingly minimized by church leaders today to accommodate our culture and satisfy the existing power structures. The hidden message of the Bible, which we find in the symbolism, is actually quite subversive.

Don’t get me wrong–the same message is present in the literal text of the Bible. It’s just that biblical literalists are adept at finding ways to dismiss what they don’t want to believe, especially teachings that might cause them to feel discomfort, or to fear that they may lose followers, which could in turn reduce their income. What you will find in Return to Genesis is the unvarnished truth about what the Bible teaches. Thankfully, the Word of God doesn’t need varnish to shine brightly in our hearts.Sun shining

Lest anyone get the wrong impression, symbolic interpretations are not “better” than literal interpretations. That would be like saying the vision in your left eye is “better” than the vision in your right eye. In fact, we need both visual hemispheres and both kinds of interpretation. Depending on the context or the circumstances, we sometimes need to rely on one perspective more than on the other.

As literalists will point out, there is a risk of “spiritualizing” the Bible by emphasizing allegorical meanings at the expense of historical truth and literal meanings. Both the literalist and the spiritualist extremes are equally mistaken.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, the book has been published!thumbs up

Welcome to Christian Era Publishing!

Christian Era Publishing is a newly formed publishing company. Our first published title will be Return to Genesis: What Ancient Poetry Reveals About Christ, the Church, and the Kingdom by Martin Pierce. In the interests of full disclosure, this company has no employees at this time. When I say “our company” I am thinking of the Lord (part of my company), people whom I’ve outsourced work to, other friends and supporters, and future employees. I hope you understand. Now, about my first book…

Return to Genesis is essential reading for anyone who wants to gain insight into the poetic and symbolic meanings behind Genesis. Although Genesis begins with a continuing descent into sin from Adam and Eve to Noah’s generation, it also gives us the promise of victory through faith in God. Genesis presents the message of the Bible in a microcosm.

I look forward to publishing this book very soon! I am completing the final formatting in order to satisfy the printer.