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“HORROR OF THE GOSPEL” – Dec 10

December 10, 2013

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”  Revelation 21:10-11

I ran across a website the other day that uses a statistical analysis tool to analyze your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.  It then tells you the famous writer you write like. (I Write Like)  I was intrigued to discover what famous writer had seeped into my psyche to influence my writing.  I read my writing and am without any reasonable explanation as to the influence in the style and words I use.

I cut and pasted the text from my last blog post, Spiritual Thermodynamics, into the analysis tool on the website.  As I completed the menial task, I imagined which names might emerge from the analysis.

C.S. Lewis John SteinbeckNathaniel Hawthorne J.R.R. Tolkien
Robert Frost Daniel Silva Mark Buchanan Edmund Morris
David McCulloughLouis L’AmourJohn Piper
Tom Clancy Jerry Bridges Joel Rosenberg

I have read multiple books by these authors.  Surely, their style has crept into how I put words to computer screen.

I finished the cutting and pasting of the text of my writing and with anticipation clicked the Analyze button.  I had wanted the program to take some time in processing its work but it immediately provided its analysis:

H. P. Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

H. P. Lovecraft

Yeah!???

I had no idea who H. P. Lovecraft was.  Therefore, I did what every modern scholar does.  I Googled him.  According to H.P Lovecraft Archieves, “HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT (20 August 1890–15 March 1937) is probably best known as a writer of weird fiction…”.  He is universally consider the father of modern horror and the inspiration for modern-day stories of success such as Stephen King (“The Shining”), John Carpenter (“In the Mouth of Madness”), Robert Bloch (“Psycho”), Clive Barker (“Hellraiser”) and Anne Rice (“Interview with the Vampire”).  (H.P. Lovecraft – Biography)

This was not the famous writer that I thought might be lurking in my style, particularly since I have never read any of his writing.

I realize that there is a difference between writing style and genre.  However, it strikes me as a little strange that a horror writer and a devotional writer would have the same writing style.  Although, the similarities of our writing may actually extend beyond mere word choice and style.

I write short devotionals based upon my morning Bible reading.  To me, I am not writing horror stories but consider the message to those who reject my faith and beliefs.  I have once again finished reading through the entire Bible.  I love the completeness of scripture.  I love the fact that God’s redemptive plan can be seen in Genesis.  I love that the pattern for the forgiveness of sin is laid out in the Law of Moses.  I am comforted by God’s longsuffering patience with a rebellious people.   I am astounded by His abounding love in sending His Son as the lamb for propitiation of a sinful people.  I am speechlessly grateful for His grace and mercy in the creation of new life in those who are born again.  I am dumbfounded by the mysteries of sanctification.  I am fearful of His justice.

I am in awe of my God who has revealed Himself through this Word that I call the Bible.

I absolutely love Chapter 22 of Revelations because it is such a fitting manner to conclude the inspired words of Moses, the prophets, disciples and apostles.  All of scripture comes to a crescendo in what was shown to John:

…the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; … No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.  (Revelations 22:1-5)

Brent Nelson / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

That is a message of hope for me, but it is not a universal message of hope for all people.

I read Revelation 21:6 and am encouraged:

And He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

Stuck in Customs / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

To those who reject Christ, they read Revelation 21:7:

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexual immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. 

That truly is a horror story.  The message of the gospel to me is eternal life with the God of love and mercy.  The message of the gospel is foolishness to those who stumble over God’s judgment as a horror story too harsh to believe.  They read Jonathan Edwards‘ sermon, Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God, and reject that God as a relic of a superstitious age.

Yet, there are real horror stories in this world.  The greatest horror story is the just punishment of those who reject the Son of God and the redemption from their sin.  We should never soften the reality of the horror of this fallen world.  Jonathan Edwards’ sermon was an instrumental spark for the Great Awakening.  The message of the Bible is “come”.  Come to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh for your sin and my sin, to condemn sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:3).  No one needs to “come” if there is no horror to escape.  The good news remains that God has provided a way from all who come to Him to escape the horror of judgment.

Don’t stumble over the message of Jesus Christ.  Hear His words and respond:

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”  And let the one who hears say, “Come.”  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.  (Revelation 22:17).

PRAYER: O Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to the good news of the Gospel.  Thank you for saving me from the horror of suffering the punishment that I have earned from my sin.  Jesus, I long for the day of your return.  May the day that you establish your kingdom here on earth come quickly.  Lord, thank you for your patience.  Thank you for granting more time for the lost to be drawn to you.  Father, call your children home; move them to respond to your voice and to come.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

10 comments

  1. You are a great writer. I appreciate, what I believe, is your ability and practice to write from outside the box about your experiences with Christ and His Word. This post is a good example of writing from outside the box. I think I did that exercise you are referring to online (I write like …) and I cannot even remember what author came up. I’m not sure I can agree with their findings. I actually see some of C.S. Lewis’ style in your writing. Keep writing, my friend. T


    • Thank you very much. I am not that sure I agree with their findings either. It has made me curious enough to read something that Mr. Lovecraft had written. That may be the purpose of the excercise. I appreciate the compliment that you see a little C.S. Lewis in my writing. For me, that is high praise. Thanks for the encouragement.
      God Bless!
      JD


  2. Me thinks perhaps that tool might be a bit defective! But thanks for this sobering reminder.


    • I agree. However, I would like to know how the program works. It might just be randomly selecting an obscure author that few have read and none of us are the wiser…but that is a little skeptical and my wife has been encouraging me not to be so skeptical.
      God Bless!
      JD


      • I’m afraid I tend to agree with you. But you have a wise wife–being skeptical isn’t good!


  3. NIcely done! I think I would be afraid to see who I write like. Probably no one, because I write like I talk, which according to my hubby is “too much”! LOL! God Bless,

    PJ


    • HAHA. Just tell him that you abound in communication skills. You should give it a try. I found it to be a fun process.
      God Bless!
      JD


  4. Excellent devotional!
    I always remember my Grandpa’s death when I hear and read Revelation chapter 21. What a blessing it was to read that chapter to him while he was slipping away to that beautiful place.


    • Thank you so much for your comments. The remembrance of your Grandpa is a wonderful reminder of the hope that we have in Christ. Death is not to be fear. It truly is a blessing when we remember the beautiful place that has been prepared for us.
      God Bless!
      JD


  5. This reminds me of a very vivid dream I had once that I was in a movie theatre when the Second Coming occurred. It was playing out on the stage/screen and I was in awe of the beauty and the feelings of love I had as I witnessed the Savior descending. I leaned over to a neighbor and said, “It’s this amazing!?” and they shuddered in horror and said, “NO! It is scary and horrible!”
    I guess that is why it is sometimes referred to as the Great and Dreadful day…
    Gail



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