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6. LEFT BEHIND, by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale, $17.99Skip to next paragraph
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The subtitle of this engrossing fictional rendering of the days following the Biblically promised rapture, "A Novel of the Earth's Last Days," is a misnomer. It is more the story of nonbelievers' individual moves to faith in the shadow of a rising antichrist and coming world chaos. Read only as fiction, it is a fast-paced and provocative story. Read critically, it espouses a religious fundamentalist viewpoint about which readers will have to make their own judgments. Overall, the book deserves credit for demanding a personal and unhypocritical practice of faith and giving readers a great deal of Biblical prophesy to ponder. By Terri Theiss.
7. THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW, by Philip Yancey, Zondervan, $18.99
Putting aside traditional and popular images of Jesus, award-winning writer Yancey takes us along as he reads the Gospel account for himself. This is no casual journey for someone who believes "what I think about him and how I respond will determine my destiny for all eternity." Since the author is editor at large for the leading Evangelical magazine in America, "Christianity Today," we can assume that the religious thinking of an important group of Christians is illuminated here. Topics covered include birth, teaching, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension. Evangelicals are fortunate to have such an informed and thoughtful spokesman. By David Nartonis.
8. ANGELSPEAKE, by Mark and Griswold, Simon & Schuster, $12.95
The key to getting angels to help individuals, according to Barbara Mark and Trudy Griswold, is to ask them; the goal of "Angelspeake" is to show how to do the asking. The authors are sisters. They teach courses on developing this skill. They ask readers not to change their existing beliefs about God, for whom they say angels are messengers. "Thoughts and teachings dictated by angels" are italicized in red for clarity. The hopeful, helpful overall tone is intended to be constructive. The book's messages are offered sincerely. But readers are likely to find it hard to take the angels very seriously - at least as they are presented here. By Stephen Graham.
9. LESSONS IN LIVING, by Susan L. Taylor, Anchor Books, $19.95
Susan Taylor is the editor in chief of Essence magazine. Her book is a journey of self-discovery about how God is part of her everyday life. For those searching for spirituality, she gives examples of testimonies by people who relied on their faith in God for healing. She shares her own experiences as well. To those looking for guidance on how to live spiritually, she recommends taking time out each day to renew oneself - time for spiritual regeneration. God is her center, the power that governs and directs her life, the source from which she draws her strength. This book seeks to help those wanting advice in their search for God. By Barbara Smith.
10. MEETINGS WITH MARY, by Janice T. Connell, Ballantine, $19.50.
Connell chronicles the claims of Virgin Mary sightings across the centuries: from Elisha, the prophet, seeing Mary and Jesus in a "dazzling cloud of illumination," to US fighter pilot Scott O'Grady saying he saw something that may have been the Virgin Mary while evading Serb capture in Bosnia. Mary is portrayed as the entirely pure human best able to petition God on behalf of suffering humans. She appears unexpectedly and without explanation to give encouragement to humans in their native languages. Most Virgin Mary appearances in the book have been investigated and certified by the Roman Catholic Church. By Abraham T. McLaughlin.