Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Error in the Father's Love Letter

A friend gave me a copy of some evangelistic tracts called Father's Love Letter.  You can read it online at Here is what I wrote him.

I finally took time to read it carefully today.

I could give it to a person who is already a believer, but I would not want to give it to a person who is not yet a Christian.

My fear is that it would confuse an unbeliever into thinking they were already a child of God.  The tract itself is unclearly worded.  It starts out (in large print) “My child” and ends with “Love, Dad”.  But yet it says near the end “Will you be my child?” 

Most unbelievers (in my experience) already think of themselves as being on pretty good terms with God and many believe that everyone is a child of God.   Of course we know that while God is kind to all His creation, only Christians are His children.  (John 1:12; 1 John 3:2, 10)

Quite a number of the Scripture references in the body of the letter are statements that are clearly made only to believers.  For example:
  • I chose you when I planned creation.
  • Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.
  • I will never stop doing good to you.
  • And I rejoice over you with singing.
  • I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.
  • I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.
  • One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.
  • And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.
  • He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.
My fear is that unbelievers reading this would think “Oh, great, these promises already apply to me.” 

Then there are a couple of statements that are downright wrong:
  • I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  (God does have anger.)
  • I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Cat theology)
It’s a bummer to have to criticize this tract so sharply because there are a lot of good and true statements in it.  But I believe that putting it in the hands of unbelievers will do more harm than good.