May 27, 1997
Book stores feature a novel that alleges to be the memoirs of Jesus. It is written in first person format, just as if Jesus Himself wrote it. However, author Norman Mailer debunks or diminishes most of the Bible stories about Him. Instead, he treats his own opinions as if they belong to the Lord and claims readers should look upon this book as a “small miracle” compared to the biblical miracles. He “hopes to remain closer to the truth . . . . “ than the Bible does.
In speaking for Jesus, Mailer says His death on the cross was a “debacle and disaster” and that Christianity was invented to disguise or cover up that failure. Remember, this is not a writer merely disagreeing with the Bible but a writer claiming his thoughts are God’s thoughts, then publishing them with the hope people will buy it.
What’s new? It sounds like the same old denial of Christ and His work, dressed up for profit in an genre no one ever used before now. Mailer simply fails to realize the impact of what God has said (through the prophet Isaiah): “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”?
We have no more idea what God thinks than we can accurately guess the thoughts of other people. Unless we are told, or in God’s case, unless He reveals them, His thoughts are largely beyond the scope of our senses. In fact, God’s thoughts are beyond even our imagination.
For instance, a young pastor preparing to relocate went to a certain city near Calgary was looking for rental property. He was surprised to find none, and even more shocked that housing was at Calgary prices he could not afford. We prayed that God would solve his seemingly unsolvable problem.
A few days later, he called to tell us that the church he is going to work with had been bidding on some property but had given up when a land developer also began bidding. They assumed the developer had more funds to work with. However, the church was awarded the bid. Included with the property, was a house, a place where he could live at a price he can afford.
No one thought of that as a possibility. We saw again how God answers prayer. It is always “exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.” No matter how great our imaginations, no one successfully second-guesses God.
As for Mailer, Jesus also said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” even if they claim they “prophesy in (His) name, and in (His) name drive out demons and perform many miracles.” He says, “I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!’”
The point is, if people are rejected by God because they did not know Christ, even though they use His name and do what appears to be godly deeds, what then will happen to a man who claims to speak for Christ yet blatantly denies that He is who He claimed to be? What happens when anyone denies the written revelation God gave to help us know and believe in Him?
Besides that, God has another way of giving people understanding into His thinking. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul, who had great faith, says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him—but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit . . . For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Truth about God is revealed, not imagined. To grasp that revelation, we need the mind of Christ, given freely to those who trust in Him. But the revelation is withheld from anyone who “has not received His Spirit” because they have denied and rejected God’s Word.