Resources that have helped us

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This article is one in a series on "Leaving the Message" - you are currently in the article that is in bold:

When we left the message, we did not know where to turn. We had been taught that anything outside of the message, was false. Was there truth anywhere to be found?

The following are resources that people referred us to, or that we found through searching that internet, that have been of significant spiritual benefit to us. We are not saying that they are perfect or that we agree with everything that they have to say. We are definitely not pointing to any man or organization. Rather, these resources have helped us in coming to grips with the problems we found in the message and have helped us draw closer to Christ:

The Alpha Course

We would highly recommend that you attend an Alpha course. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the historic Christian faith. It runs all around the globe, and everyone is welcome. Alphas generally have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation. And coming out of the message, those things are extremely helpful. You will also get a chance to meet some good non-message Christians who are simply trying to help people find out more about Jesus. You can watch the first episode of the course here.

You can find a church near you that puts on the Alpha course by clicking here.

Books

  • What's so Amazing about Grace by Philip Yancey
  • Crazylove by Francis Chan - The concept of Christianity as taught in the message can be quite warped. If you are REALLY interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ, you must read this book. The author's introduction to the book is {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvtNTUV9O50 here]
  • Unmerited Favor by Joseph Prince - This book is the perfect antidote for the legalism of the message.
  • The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
  • The Forgotten God by Francis Chan - This is about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the church and is a good read after Crazy Love.
  • The Reason for God by Timothy Keller - Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced “doubts” that skeptics bring to his church as well as the most important reasons for faith. He addresses each doubt and explains each reason using literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and reasoning to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.
  • The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
  • The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg
  • Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne A. Grudem. Theology is a dirty word in the message but simply means the study of God. Systematic theology is the study of doctrine organized around fairly standard categories such as the Word of God, redemption, and Jesus Christ. This introduction to systematic theology has a strong emphasis on the scriptural basis for each doctrine and teaching; clear writing, with technical terms kept to a minimum; a contemporary approach, treating subjects of special interest to the church today; a friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect; and frequent application to life. If you want to get rid of your message theological baggage, this is a good place to start. Lectures by Wayne Grudem to accompany the book are available on iTunes
  • Out of the Cults and Into the Church by Janis Hutchinson - This book helped me a lot with the relational parts of leaving and the mental "fog" that can be experienced when a person leaves the message.
  • The Twisted Scriptures by C W Ketcherside - This is a really tough read, but it's short. One example from it is the Amos scripture that talks about "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" This is often taken out of context to mean people who disagree doctrinally should not associate with each other. In the cultural context, the sentence was speaking of the necessity of making an appointment to meet someone (agree to meet up at a certain time) if you were going to journey together. It's part of a poetic list of questions to which the answer is always no, ending with "Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?"
  • How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart - Coming out of the Message, it is important to have some idea on how to properly read and interpret Scripture. This books gives a very balanced approach to understanding genre, author's purpose/intention, and other consideration for interpreting Scripture to draw out the original meaning while minimizing our prejudices.
  • The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen - The lessons learned from this book can help a great deal in dealing with some messed up situations that can arise when people leave the message. The chapters on revictimizing victims of abuse as well as the section on leaders getting trapped themselves were very helpful.
  • Letters to a Devastated Christian by Gene Edwards This is a quick read at roughly 90 pages.
  • Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud (a Christian psychologist). Very interesting, very practical, and easy to read.
  • Combating Cult Mind Control by Steve Hassan (updated version) - This was about cults in general (the author was a Moonie) but is helpful in understanding how undue influence/mind control works. There are many similarities in the message.

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