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Overcoming Evil in the Church

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Like too many of us, I was also hurt by Christians and became disillusioned by the Church.

I knew I was just as flawed as they were, but that didn’t help me care to be involved with them again.

What actually brought me around, after several years, was seeing its potential–what the Church was meant to be and what it is becoming.

One day, a verse from Romans hit me from a new angle: Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Until then, I’d interpreted that verse in light of the unbelieving world. As in, “Don’t be overcome by evil in the world, but overcome it by telling them about Jesus.”

Suddenly I saw it in the context of a Church filled with hurt, broken, and forgiven-yet-still-sinning people.

Overcome evil *in the Church* with good. This is the revelation that opened up to me that day, and it’s been on my mind ever since.

What about you?

Do you have a redeemed relationship with the Church? Is it on the way to getting there, or are you in a place of necessary separation right now?

What’s the story of *your* relationship with the Church?

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The Constantine Codex, by Paul L. Maier

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The Constantine CodexCharming, intriguing, colourful and action-packed. 

I enjoyed The Constantine Codex (affiliate link) for many little reasons, and a few big reasons too. Let me summarize the highlights:

Mr. Maier wrote a charming story about a husband and wife team who specialize in archaeology and ancient manuscripts.

Their discovery of a clue about the Constantine Codex leads them into a whirlwind adventure and all the while this couple’s relationship, much like the story’s overall tone, stays charming all the way through.

Meteora, Greece

The plot highlights an intriguing idea: What if a book of the Bible was lost and has yet to be found? Mr. Maier explores this idea as he sends the main characters around the world in search of ancient overlooked Scriptural manuscripts.

Which brings me to the novel’s colourful scenes and settings. From an unprecedented, possibly life-threatening religious debate to the stunning countries visited by Maier’s protagonists, this novel never ceases to bring colourful images to the reader’s mind. Check out the pictures of these places appearing in the book.

Throne room at the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople
, Istanbul

And lastly, Maier’s plot is action-packed, barely slowing down along the way. He weaves narrative, dialogue and action together well, which is the key to keep a novel moving.

There were a few aspects of the writing I’d suggest to change. Some of the dialogue comes across as if it were being written rather than spoken, making it seem a little unrealistic at times.

Meanwhile, the tender moments between husband and wife lean towards the cheesy side, although still very sweet, and a few of their discoveries seem a little too coincidental. No big deal, though.

The most well-developed character is the protagonist. His wife, who’s also a main character, seems like a carbon copy of husband’s character, personality, speech and quirks (except for her fear of heights). Even Caesar’s speech in the codex sounds like it’s being spoken by the main character. In short, too many cast members sound like copies of the protagonist.

Inside the church building at
Great Lavra monastery,
Mount Athos, Greece

It seems important to point these things out, in case the author finds them helpful feedback for writing future stories. I don’t want to seem critical, though, because of how much I enjoyed the story and how tender and kind the author seems to be. His personality certainly came through the story loud and clear, which was a delight to discover.

So let me end on a high note: Besides the adventure, mystery and colourful settings, Maier also tackles an extremely sensitive issue, namely that of religion and violent extremism. He’s gentle in carving out a thoughtful place where Christian readers may think about different angles on this issue and he uses the story to highlight the fact that every religion has its extremists, moderates and liberals. His perspective seems wise and balanced and I don’t think he could’ve done a better job of conveying his beliefs on this issue. A job well done.

Readers: Whether you enjoy Biblical history and archaeology, or exciting stories that lead you through interesting puzzles and places, you’ll enjoy The Constantine Codex.

And don’t miss Maier’s post: The story behind the Constantine Codex

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and LitFuse Publicity.

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