Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Judas Gospel by Bill Myers

Bill Myers is an author who likes to stir things up in his novels and he certainly does so in this one.
Judas thought Jesus had done it all wrong. He has a plan to market the gospel. He petitions God for another chance. What would happen if Judas came back?
Rachel is a Black nineteen year old girl who was traumatized when her mother and sister were killed in a house fire. She doesn't talk, except to those she trusts. She lives with her father, an accountant and the preacher of a small inner city church.
Rachel used to see things. She had dreams but they stopped after the fire. Then Mr. Jude Miller shows up at church and Rachel has the power again. A young child is healed by Rachel's touch.
She dreams, seeing the murder of the assistant chief of police. She writes a letter to the police department but will not talk to the officers who want to question her. The police suspect her. And then she has another dream and there has been another murder.
Jude Miller is busy promoting Rachel's gift and people flock to the small church. He knows how to draw in the people desperate for a touch from God. He's slick. He is good at marketing the gospel. He is good at convincing Rachel she must use the gifts God has given her. He gets her on a glitzy Christian TV show. She heals people. She is a sensation. She hardly notices that she no longer has any sense or feeling of God's presence.
Then things aren't going to well for Rachel. The healings don't “work.” Her dad has a stroke and she is powerless to help him. And then she has another dream. There will be another murder. Can she convince anyone who is really behind the murders?
And there is evil out there. Someone wants Rachel dead. The evil controls him and has formed a plan.

This book got my emotions going. When Rachel is taken in by the glitzy Christian TV host, the phoniness of it, the marketing of made me angry. But then I realized it was nothing that we do not see on TV today! Myers says much of the televangelist sections are based on interviews and personal behind-the-scene observations.
A book discussion group would have much to discuss with this novel (discussion questions are provided at the end of the book). Is God active in the world today, healing, revealing, etc? Is it right to use the ways of the world to promote the gospel?  Those are just a couple of the issues from this book.

Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, 298 pages.

I received an egalley from Simon and Schuster, the publisher, for the purpose of this review.

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