IN CASE YOU’RE WONDERING how I go about writing a blog, here’s a crash course.
A few minutes ago I didn’t have any idea what I would write for today.
Then, sitting here staring out the window, it occurred to me:
What about looking at the bad reviews I’ve gotten for my newest book, 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible, to see if I can find any trends?
Maybe a strand of weakness in my writing…something I’m missing as I research and write.
Perhaps a trait in the reviewers…something about their theological wiring that produces sparks when they come into contact with me.
Fortunately, I get more encouragement than kicks in the butt. You’d pretty much expect that from Christian readers.
But they do sometimes give me a swift kick.
Let’s look for a trend.
Here are some of harshest words I’ve found in the book reviews so far.
“Today many if not most Christian scholars and theologians can best be classified as agnostic and at worst some of them border on atheist. The author does little to differentiate between poor scholarship and solid scholarship.” Tswinnett, Amazon
“There are parts that I believe every Christian should read. Then there are other parts that are so horrible, they are borderline blasphemous.” J. Wright, Amazon
“If author Stephen M. Miller is a ‘Christian,’ he could have fooled me…. On occasion Miller offers a great answer that interests me and sticks with me as a way to defend my faith, but the great majority of the book’s answers refer to ‘Bible scholars’ and ‘Christians’ who really don’t fit those terms except by wide liberal society’s standards.” HarmonyWheeler, Amazon
“The idea of investigative journalism and the Bible is not a foreign concept since Lee Strobel first published The Case For Christ and the subsequent “Case for” series that followed. But having read Strobel’s original work, Miller is not Strobel, not even close.” Jonathan Gibson, Amazon
“We all have questions when it comes to God and the Bible, but you will most likely not find the answers in this book…The book is not really for someone who is searching for the truth, without any understanding of God’s word.” GCWineholt, Barnes & Noble
“Non-Christian readers may come away from the book thinking the Bible and Christianity are just too controversial, too difficult to understand.” Anonymous, Columbus, GA, Christianbook.com; also blogged by Janet Benlien Reeves
OK, I’m looking for a trend, other than the fact that these readers don’t like the book.
Here are a few questions I’m wondering about at the moment.
- Does it sound as though the reviewers want someone to tell them what to believe?
- Does it sound as though the reviewers are happy if they read something they agree with, but are offended if I report something they don’t want to hear?
- Should I work harder at beefing up support for traditional answers to the tough questions because I give too much space to the alternative ideas that Bible experts suggest?
Do other questions or observations come to mind?
If so, hit that comment box below.
Just a reminder. Most reviews of the book are kind and encouraging. I’m looking here at the anomalies written, I hope, by people who weren’t in my target audience anyhow. I write for Bible newcomers and other folks who wouldn’t consider themselves Bible experts.