What If It's True?: A Storyteller's Journey with JesusCharles MartinThomas Nelson / 2020 / Trade Paperback$11.49 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 6 Reviews
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Jolene5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent!April 24, 2019JoleneQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5If I described What If It's True? by Charles Martin in one word, it would be... piercing. He doesn't sugar-coat things. He fully believes in the Bible as inerrant and divinely inspired. He calls out false prosperity movements. He tackles heavy topics such as rejection, resignation, sexual sin, generational curses, and forgiveness. He also devotes time to the love of God as being the basis of everything Christians believe and extending to anyone, no matter how far gone that person may seem.
In What If It's True?, Charles Martin stirs interest with a well-written narrative and then starts probing deeply into his topic. He uses a lot of Scripture and draws Old Testament and New Testament connections that I never noticed even though I've been a Christian for many years. While the focus is on spiritual matters, he shares some of his own struggles and situations. He does use plenty of imagination in his retellings of Biblical events. Some parts seemed more realistic than others. This didn't bother me, but others may balk at it.
I felt that the chapter on forgiveness missed the mark. As someone who has had to forgive some hard things, I know the beauty and necessity of forgiveness. Unfortunately, forgiveness was presented with a "forgive others or else God won't forgive you and you'll be separated from Him" mentality. Yes, I know there are verses that support that view. But as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I can say that is not what I needed to hear years ago when I was dealing with the muck and mire. What I needed to hear was.... God will guide and help you every step of the way. No, you haven't forgiven yet. Yes, you need to forgive. But God is with you and for you, even when you just aren't there yet. The author did give a few statements about abusive situations, but given how many abused, deeply broken people there are, I think it merits more than a few paragraphs about how forgiveness and justice can co-exist.
What If It's True? wasn't easy to read. I cried... a lot. I could only handle a chapter a day, at most. Sometime in the future, I'd like to go back and read it even more slowly. I loved the prayers he put at the end of almost every chapter. I cried as I prayed them. They helped me to explore and pray more thoroughly than I would have been able to on my own.
I recommend What If It's True? by Charles Martin to Christians seeking to deepen their relationship with God and find greater spiritual freedom. If you've read his fiction novel, Long Way Gone, you may remember he ends with an essay about how no one is too far gone. That particular essay is included in What If It's True?, but is actually one of the shorter chapters. So, if you aren't sure if you want to try What If It's True?, go back and read that ending essay in Long Way Gone to get a taste.
What If It's True? earned a five star rating from me.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. 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 Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
gcw1York, PAAge: Over 65Gender: male3 Stars Out Of 5A novelMarch 29, 2019gcw1York, PAAge: Over 65Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 1WHAT IF IT'S TRUE?
A Storyteller's Journey with Jesus
By Charles Martin
The author makes this statement in the introduction of the book: "Admittedly, some of the things I'm writing about require a little imagination, I'm taking license with stuff we just can't know and can't prove." What he has done is take facts from Bible stories and add his own details to the people and background, many books and movies do this. Most of the things he has added to describe the people and scenes are not fact. If you are looking for a novel to read that is based on Bible facts, with a lot of extra details that are not based on facts, you may like this book. The author offers his opinion and tells how they have helped him. He explains that he was searching for truths about the Bible. The book is easy to read and understand and a good novel.
I did not like many of the details, too much license, that were added to some of the stories because, in my opinion, they took away from the stories.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggersbook review bloggers program. 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 Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Debbie from ChristFocusHarrison, ARAge: 35-44Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Liked the first half. Didn't agree with some of his ideas, though.February 24, 2019Debbie from ChristFocusHarrison, ARAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3This book was part story format and part commentary. The author started the chapters with a scene from Scripture in which he filled out the details with speculation. He was pretty clear about what was directly from the Bible, what was his speculation, and what he based that speculation on. Many of the scenes were about the crucifixion or events leading up to the crucifixion, but one was based on a parable and another on an experience he had. After the scene, the author talked about what impresses him about how Jesus acted in that moment. He drew in Old Testament references and cultural background information that provided insight into the events. He ended each chapter with a long prayer about the theme he talked about in that chapter, like forgiveness.
While I liked the first half of the book, I had some problems starting in chapter 8. He's earnest and means well, but the focus of the book started to shift at that point. He urged Christians to repent for your ancestor's sins. While I can maybe see confessing (stating what is true, like "I and my ancestors have sinned against you, God"), I don't agree that people can repent (turn away from) sins committed by your ancestors unless you are also committing them. This is a very long chapter as he tries to convince people that his view is true, but I was not convinced. The next chapter centered around a semi-fictionalized conversation between him and God. Happily, he did get back to focusing on scenes from the Bible before the end.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook.com.
mjk1083 Stars Out Of 5Unique Approach to Bibical Storytelling!January 29, 2019mjk108Quality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3"So let me come back around--what is your personal experience with Jesus? To you, who is He? No, I mean really. Spend some time here. Ask yourself, when things are bad, who holds the power?"
Charles Martin takes a great many biblical stories and readings and uses his storytelling skills to further enhance them. He talks us through his deep and very personal relationship with the Lord as he delves further and deeper into helping people help themselves in developing their own relationship with the Lord.
He very honestly states his opinion on scripture throughout the book as he weaves his own brand of philosophy through the book. I personally like his forthright style and way of presenting his opinions. I don't have to agree with all of them or take his opinions as gospel. He is up-front with clarifying his opinions and telling the reader to verify his quotations and findings in the Bible. I very much like his lists of scripture provided at the end for daily use and the lists for documentation in his writing. Valuable study tools!
If you are looking to add depth to your Biblical studies or you just want to find the answer to the title question "What If It's True?", take time to explore Charles Martin's latest non-fiction work.
This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
LindseyGAge: 35-44Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Amazing, 5 Incredible Stars! Must Read!!January 29, 2019LindseyGAge: 35-44Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I was so excited when I saw that Charles Martin was writing a book diving into some essential questions in the Bible. He is such a talented author and I am blown away by this book. He is a gifted storyteller and he takes you on an incredible journey through stories unlike one I've never been through. He paints these pictures and brings these stories to life in a manner where you feel like you are standing in front of the cross weeping as Jesus takes His last breath. As a Christian, I think at some point we have all asked what if this is really true? What does that mean for me? Charles Martin dives into that question and helps dig your way through it. You will feel touched, inspired, in awe, you will feel closer to God and will have a stronger appreciation, love and respect for Jesus. He makes it very clear that he is not adding, taking away or changing scripture as it is written. This is how he envisions these stories unfolding, what he thinks the people were feeling. You will want to just drown yourself in the Bible going though this book. He recommends you have your Bible and a notebook to write your thoughts and feelings. Do this. I read this as an e-book and plan on buying the book so I can go back through every ounce of this book and make notes. This book has reshaped how I look at the Gospel in a positive way. I feel my heart has been touched and changed. He writes a prayer at the end of each chapter and it feels like you have a prayer partner walking beside you as you think through the issues presented in each chapter.
This isn't just 5 strong stars, I would give it 100 stars if they had that rating available. This is a must read book. I've already bought a copy for my Dad and will be getting one for myself. I see this as one of those books you go back to over and over again.
My thanks to Charles Martin, Thomas Nelson Publishing and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It has been an honor.