FROM THE INTRODUCTION
I’ve organized this book in two parts—one for the bad news, the other for the good.
Part One takes a long, hard look at the God who hides within and maintains the institutional structure of evangelical Christianity. Evangelicals do not have a “lock” on this God—“he” has appeared, in one guise or another, in many times and places throughout the history of Christianity, and he shows up in non-Christian religions as well. But evangelicals have put a particular spin on him, and that spin has shaped my life and my religious experience for over sixty years.
In order to know myself, I have had to become more familiar with this God, and try to understand him from the inside. I will show that this God does not give evidence of a truly loving heart, and this makes it hard for his children to love him, as Jesus urged, “with all our heart” (Mark 12:30). Once we can admit we don’t love this unlovable God “with all our heart”—a very painful admission, to be sure—I believe we will have passed an important milestone on the journey to find and love a truer, better God.
Part Two is about this truer, better God. I hear this God’s liberating word in the living spirit and the dying gasps of the shabby human being who was nailed, two thousand years ago, to a splintered pole in Palestine. Unlike the “bad-news God” of evangelicalism, this human God feels genuine warmth for me—in the words of the familiar hymn, “just as I am”—and my heart instinctively reciprocates. In the embrace of this human God, my fear of God and my religiously-inspired enmity toward myself begin to find relief.
Doug Frank is kind and gracious and dangerous and fearless and honest—all at the same time. This is a book I’m convinced is going to help lots of people find liberation from the malevolent Being they never believed in in the first place.
These pages contain a lifetime of experience, wisdom, pain, healing—and, of course, resurrection. Deeply moving, extraordinarily insightful—this is a rare book.
Founding Pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church
Grand Rapids, MI
Author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God