A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“As it is written:  ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’;
and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile’.
So then, no more boasting about men!”
1 Cor. 3:19-21

“Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos
for your benefit, so that you may learn from us
the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written.’
Then you will not take pride in one man
over against another.”
1 Cor. 4:6

There are great swirls of publicity and argument among people who claim Christ over this book or that book, this person’s teaching, or that person’s teaching.  There is debate, many times heated and emotional.  Hard feelings, bitter recrimination, anguished pleading, and staunch intellectual and theological discussions are following the best-seller lists around these days over books like “The Purpose Driven Life”, “The Purpose Driven Church”, the Left Behind Series, and "The Shack".  New looks are being taken at “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and even “Lord of the Rings” as people in the churches and in the world are caught up in these hugely popular stories.

I speak only to those who claim to follow Christ in what I say here.

No more boasting about men, the Bible says.  That counters the tendency of many of us, who want to defend our favorite entertaining story.  We must quit defending men who write these things and sell millions of books, precisely because we must obey our Lord in Scripture when he says not to take pride in one man over another. (see above)

What we are to do is to “not go beyond what is written.”  This means that Christ, and His sufficiency, are what we talk about.  Any book that reaches the top of the best-seller list and appeals to the masses out there must of necessity be wisdom of this world, and not of Christ.  We are told over and over in Scripture about this.

“For the wisdom of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Cor. 1:18

Since our Lord Jesus rose for us, there have been many men who believed they could make this message more appealing by marketing it differently.  These are just men with ideas!  Having spent many years in marketing and sales, I can vouch for the fact that today’s hot seller will be replaced soon by another and another. 

They all failed to derail Christ and His purposes.  The only purposes that count are Christ’s, not our own plans and agendas.   Christ Jesus will have His Way, over all the feeble attempts of men to package them in seemingly more attractive ways.

In fact, the cross is foolishness to the world.  So any book that purports to have some subtle and hidden powerful message about Christ, if that message is actually getting through, will be rejected as foolishness by men.  So having a best-seller is not a mark of anything but good writing and good marketing.  Truth has nothing to do with it.

Brothers and sisters, let’s remove ourselves from the endless swirl of debates about things of this world.  We must learn “not to go beyond what is written”.  You and I have endless, rich, beautiful, difficult, and eternally urgent things to do in Christ that are much more important.  We must ignore these tangents, and seek Christ with all our hearts, souls, minds and all our combined strength. 

We must love Jesus only, and not get caught up loving the stories, the books, the movies, the music, the whatever, that surrounds us.  It has always been there, and now more than ever distracts those who would seek Christ from their calling. 

Be aware, be careful.  “Watch out!” was a phrase our Lord used many times. 

Don’t let these things consume even a moment of the precious time we have to spend seeking the Kingdom of God first. 

So, to those of us who have a heart for Christ, yet are worrying and fretting about the dialogues of men over these things, let’s take courage, and spend our time seeking Christ, and resting in His power and His ability to take care of His own.

For those who are seeking God in books and stories written by men, I encourage you to go to the source, Christ Himself, and His written Word, who will reveal Himself to you if you want Him. 

It is His foolish cross that will save you.  It is His love that will free you.  Not some bestseller by a creatively flawed man who may or may not have any answers.


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