Monday, February 8, 2010

Live Webinar Wednesday Night!

This Wednesday evening I will be presenting another live Thick-Skinned Critique and Q&A Webinar.

That’s February 10, 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Editors and publishers don’t have time to tell you what’s wrong with your writing, so I will be walking you through every detail of an editor's work on three selected writing samples. Names are not attached, of course, and these critiques have proven valuable to even those writers whose material is not under scrutiny. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people say, “Now I get it! It makes sense!”

While I feel I owe it to all internet attendees to be honest and direct, ala Simon Cowell, I am never mean.

No matter your writing experience or skill level, there is something here for you.

There will be a Q&A following the critiques.

To register, call the Christian Writers Guild office at (866) 495-5177. Cost is $25 for Guild members, and $45 for non-members.


Jim said...

I want to believe, but am just not sure I see the world being more violent it seemed even with everything going on today the world was much more violent and cruel in the days of the old testament and the Roman Empire? God even seems to condone this as he ordered Joshua to have his men Kill all the people even the women children and animals in the city of Jericho. These incredibly violent acts in the old testament make me question my faith and seem to contradict all Jeasus' teachings? (Love thy enemy) Did God change the way he acts over the years or was it men who wrote these stories? Please show me the light? how do I regain my faith.

Jerry Jenkins said...

I don't take this question lightly, Jim, and in my current through-the-Bible reading for this year I too sometimes shake my head at some Old Testament passages. Let me consult with a trusted pastor and get back to you.

Dallas Jenkins said...

I had the exact same issue when I read through the Bible last year, which is the first time I'd done that in awhile.

Just keep in mind the following. Jesus never contradicted the notion of God's wrath. He never said the Old Testament wasn't valid or an important part of the history of God's relationship with his people. And neither did Paul in his writings.

However, what they said was that the Old Testament history was part of the narrative of God's overall relationship with his people. God established the law to show that man cannot follow it, that man is incapable of being perfect, and his wrath was to illustrate the need for justice and punishment of sins.

However, Christ was the FULFILLMENT of all of that. Because of Christ's death, the breaking of God's law no longer requires punishment...we are freed from that debt, from the necessity of wrath. There are still consequences, of course, and Christ still wants repentance, but our sins no longer require restitution.

It's not that Jesus's teachings contradict his father's ways in the Old Testament. It's that Jesus's arrival and ultimate death and resurrection satisfy the requirements for God's justice.

Jerry Jenkins said...

That's a good word from son Dallas. My own issues come from God's instructions, including how to deal with slaves, as if He would condone that. We'll save that discussion for another day.

Meanwhile, here's what my pastor friend has to say re your question:

1. The world has been marked by violence since the very first family on the planet. Only a family of four, yet Cain kills his brother Abel and his violent act sets the course of his life and family for generations to come. Fallen humans are capable of all kinds of violence, and history is replete with evidence of this sad fact. When sin marred the human race, the door of violence was flung open and it has never been shut. Violence will only end when it is cast into the Lake of Fire with Satan, it's author. Isaiah 60:18 - speaks to the time on earth when "no longer will violence be heard in your land." Eventually, violence will be removed from the earth, but that's in the future.

2. God orders the destruction of Canaan

Christians do not celebrate the fact that God ordered the total destruction of a nation. Like our critics, we are appalled by it, and we seek to understand why. Without full faith in the goodness, justice, and fairness of God, you will never rest over this seeming unfair and unkind order of execution. God did order it, that we cannot deny. But what was going on? Here's one author's attempt to explain why:

The facts of the matter are that the Canaanites, whom God’s people were to destroy, were destroyed for their wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-12; Leviticus 18:24-25,27-28). Canaanite culture and religion in the second millennium B.C. were polluted, corrupt, and perverted. No doubt the people were physically diseased from their illicit behavior. There simply was no viable solution to their condition except destruction. Their moral depravity was “full” (Genesis 15:16). They had slumped to such an immoral, depraved state, with no hope of recovery, that their existence on this Earth had to be terminated—just like in Noah’s day when God waited while Noah preached for years, but was unable to turn the world’s population from its wickedness (Genesis 6:3,5-7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:5-9). Including the children in the destruction of such populations actually spared them from a worse condition—that of being reared to be as wicked as their parents and thus face eternal punishment. All persons who die in childhood, according to the Bible, are ushered to Paradise and will ultimately reside in Heaven. Children who have parents who are evil must naturally suffer innocently while on Earth. (Apologetics Press, Dave Miller)

Only God could order this, and only God could fully justify His actions. Generally, all human attempts to make sense of it will lead to frustration.

3. Does God change the way he acts?

There does seem to be a distinction between the ways God works during certain periods of human history. For example, 1) In the Garden, 2) After the Garden, 3) Before the flood, 4) After the flood, 5) With Israel and Abraham vs the nations, 6) With Israel under Moses, 7) With Israel under David, 8) With Israel after the monarchy is divided, 9) Before Jesus and the cross, 10) After Jesus and the cross. These are just some examples of time periods in which it seems God has different ways of dealing with His people. Theologians refer to this as "Dispensationalism." Some say that these periods of time indicate that God does change the ways he deals with us. Important theological point - man has always been "saved by faith!" (For example "Abraham believed God and he was counted as righteous.") But, during several different time periods, it seems that God sets out at least the following, which are changed in other time periods: 1) Command, 2) Condition, 3) Corruption, 4) Condemnation, 5) Repentance. I'm sure this is too detailed for a simple reply, but the main thing to see is that, yes, God does work differently in different periods of time.

Jerry Jenkins said...

And a bit more:

4. The wisdom and ways of God.

One of the Biblical characters who struggled most with the ways of God was Job. The record of the Book of Job is a series of attempts to understand why God works the way He does. At times, Job seems to think he knows. At other times, his three friends seem to think they know. And towards the end, a young man shows up on the scene to suggest none of the others know what they are talking about, he is the only one who really understands the ways of God. And then, when God speaks up at the end, he makes a powerful point - NOBODY understands the way I work! Isaiah 55:8-9 makes the same point - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." God makes the point that HE makes in Job - NOBODY understands the ways I work! And then, to top it off, II Samuel 22:31 makes a point that helps me rest at the end of the day - "As for God, his way is perfect." We really can't figure out what God is doing most of the time, and if it's important to a person to KNOW exactly why God is doing what He is, that person is clearly going to struggle to trust the Lord and rest in Him.

5. 20th Century - bloodiest on record.

Here's how one author puts it - "As we look back on the 20th Century, we look back on the bloodiest century in human history. Two world wars, the massacres of Stalin, the Holocaust of Hitler, the disastrous Great Leap of Mao, and dozens of less grandiose human tragedies in Eastern Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Africa, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Latin America, and Bosnia killed millions of humans and inflicted extreme suffering on hundreds of millions more. The killing continues as we move to the Twenty-first Century." Many who believe we are living in the last days point to these verses in Matthew 24 that seem to indicate an increase in violence in the last days: v. 7 -"nation will rise against nation," and v. 12 - "lawlessness will increase." Violence and lawlessness have always been a part of the human fabric. But the Bible seems to suggest that it's going to "increase" as the end ties draw near. If this is true, then the fact that we've just come through the bloodiest century on record is notable.