Imagine a day when Scripture begins to disappear starting in John's gospel. Slowly but surely every trace of it everywhere is gone so that all else remains except the words of Scripture.
In John Frye's "novella" or novel entitled Out of Print, this is precisely what happens. God's written word is no where to be found, disappearing from monuments, Bibles, books in which it is quoted, whether in original languages or translated. A world-wide phenomena that has everyone up in arms, especially Christians and religious people. So is the setting in chapter one of this most interesting story.
You begin to meet real people here. Like a brilliant evangelical seminary professor. A woman living with her boyfriend who could care less while she is distressed over it, wondering if God has disappeared off the face of the earth or is no longer present since the Bible is gone. A team of married Bible translators who lovingly and painstakingly have worked on understanding and translating God's word beginning with John's gospel into a native tongue of those who have never had a Bible. But now all is lost! A devoted lady teaching children with Child Evangelism Fellowship materials, having done so for years, but now that possibility seems oh so sadly gone! And others.
The Roman Catholic Church seems headed towards the idea that somehow Satan and demons may have stolen it. Evangelical Protestant scholars don't buy into that. But just what in the world is going on is really beyond everyone. And why.
I really like John's novel and how he opens it. The more we can imagine ourselves there, perhaps as one of the characters, and John provides a nice variety of them to choose from, the better. This is a story worth having in your home, reading and rereading over time, and really thinking about it.
What about it? We're used to having the Book, but what if it began gradually and over time to completely disappear? How would that impact our faith? How would the world see it? How would we Christians see it? And what difference would it make in our lives now and beyond? And to the world?
This is a set of questions which John Frye in his more than able story telling ability will seek to answer in the pages that lie ahead.
Next week we look at chapter two, "Unexplainable" as Christians seek to understand just what has happened, and what it means for their witness in the world. Stay tuned, and better yet, get a copy and read. Only a little over 100 pages and a page turner. And most importantly- besides telling a story as John can do it- it really gets you to thinking about God's word and its place in our lives now. Unsettling, but maybe this is something of what God wants to do in our lives. Are we misusing the Book or missing the point of it? What place is it to have in our lives? Would many professing Christians even miss it if its words were gone?
What thoughts or questions might you like to add here?
Next week: chapter two: "Unexplainable"