Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beyond Left Behind: Luke's Story

Luke’s Story: By Faith Alone by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (F LAH Main & Avoca; SSB F LAH Main)
Reviewed by Susan

If you like stories in Bible School, then this book is for you. Third of the “Jesus Chronicles,” it re-constructs Luke’s life from childhood up to his old age. Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins authored the wildly popular “Left Behind” series. They are trying to hit another one out of the ballpark with mixed results. So far, they’ve done Mark’s Story (super-good) and John’s Story (not their best). Luke’s Story makes you nod your head, thinking, “Yeah. It could have been this way.”

Curious. Compassionate. Luke helps another slave in a serious accident, saving his life. This draws the attention of their kindly owner, Theophilius. I had to smile when Theophilius realizes Luke has potential and asks him what field he likes best, and Luke replies, “The bean field.” Working with the family’s physician, Luke is groomed until a plague hits. So many slaves die, including the physician and Luke’s parents. Luke is given more and more tasks, with the plan of eventually sending him to a university to study medicine.

It is there that he meets Saul (Paul), another first year student. Saul, being Saul, is hard to get along with. Saul whips up a marathon race and sweet-talks other first year students to join. Several do, but only Luke & Saul finish, walking across the line together. Foreshadowing.

They become friends. Sort of. Saul admits that when they are older, with his Jewish and Pharisee connections, they will not be able to continue as friends. Luke, of course, feels used, but they kind of work it out.

Fast forward. Luke goes on to become a physician. He hears tales about a murdered Judean carpenter who preached a philosophy heretical to Judaism. Saul went on to root out these heretics until he is converted and becomes a faithful believer. They eventually meet and Saul converts Luke, who diligently studies these new teachings. He has dialogues with Paul and an elderly Mary. Visiting Paul in a Roman prison, Paul predicts that Luke will write the Acts of the Apostles.

LaHaye weaves a pretty good story. He fills it in with things that could have happened, making Luke and Saul multi-dimensional. Where it bogs down is that there is a lot of reproduction of Luke’s Gospel. Also, it’s unlikely that Saul would have been schooled anywhere other than in Judea under a Pharisee rabbi.

So, enjoy it but remember to give it plenty of literary license.

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