Joan Adamak has Reviewed PRISONER OF BELIEF by John Van Dixhorn, Ph.D

The Memoir of a Suffering Christian

The author is the son of parents from Holland who immigrated to Wisconsin and he along with his eight siblings were raised in the Dutch Reformed Church.  The creed of this religion included the exacting teachings of Calvinism, which allowed no room to question anything the Bible said.  As a result, the congregation lived severe lives, totally judgmental of anyone who sinned as the Bible described it, and obedience to God was more important than love or compassion for sinners.

As the author grew up and reading the Bible daily, which was a family practice, he realized that the God of Christianity was a God of wrath and love often demanded of Moses the death of other countries that the Jews passed through.  Particularly, it bothered the author when God demanded Abraham to kill his son as a sacrifice.  This memoir is the story of his path of pain and confusion that he traveled even into his now advanced age of 76.  Through his early years as a minister after spending hours trying to reconcile these condemnations and judgments, even unto death, he could not give up the Bible and he spent hours, searching himself and others to try to justify the viciousness of the orders of God, which many modern day churches still follow.  When in the pulpit, he attempted to by-step some of the verses of the Bible and interpret them differently.  But he was talking to congregations raised in this judgmental pathway and they would complain until he had to leave as minister.

As time passed and he continue to attempt to justify those unloving parts of the Bible, he never really could and because he wanted to use the Church as a place of love and compassion, he began to take college courses in psychology, but at the same time, had to find churches who were more liberal.  He was most stubborn in his determination to convince others, especially ministers, that fundamentalism was not the message that Jesus was sending, but it didn’t work.  Since he was a man and stubborn, he suffered much emotionally and mentally, even making enemies of his family.

This is a good book for Christians who also cannot relax with a God of wrath and love as promoted in many Churches of Christianity and perhaps find solace in the suffering of this man.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.


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