Category Archives: Fiction

The Day a Murderer Sneaked Into Heaven

One day a murderer sneaked into heaven.

How? By the mercy and grace of God, of course.

But why would a forgiven soul ever need to sneak in? Because a forgiven soul knows the forgiveness, knows their trespass which required it, and knows the price that was paid to grant it. The very last thing a forgiven soul would ever do is stroll into heaven like one who “owns the place”—like one who did not need mercy and grace to get there.

As I was saying, one day a murderer sneaked into heaven.

Oh, the meetings with saints of ancient ages!  Samuel, the prophet, was so wise and so careful with his words! Mordecai was so inspiring with his faith and stories of determination! Peter and John and all the disciples of the Lord Jesus practically glowed. Maturity and wisdom emanated from them with such love. Yet the chance to meet King David was particularly welcomed. What a balm it was to meet a fellow murderer, one who had likewise inflicted wrongful death, yet was granted mercy and grace, and through forgiveness managed to hobble along fairly successfully through the remainder of his earthly life, writing songs (psalms) and seeking to regain the place with God he once had and lost.

Then the murderer encountered an unexpected class of people: Joyful souls of aborted babies. Millions upon millions of them played and laughed on a velvet verge of grassy meadows beneath solemn mountains and serene skies. There, playing among them, was the precious girl this murderer had killed, in a signally selfish yet “safe and legal” procedure.

The forgiven soul (the formerly selfish soul) longed to hold the girl, longed be with her. Just as that longing foot was lifted in the girl’s direction, a voice spoke up nearby.

“You can’t,” said the voice, with both authority and anguish melted together in love. “Not until you realize that she cannot know.”

“But…” the forgiven soul stammered.

“These little ones have been spared the agony of being unwanted. They don’t know. She has never known that her life on earth was extinguished.  She has never known that the precious gift of life—her intended life on earth—was once counted as less than convenience and culture and campaigning and coy sloganeering.  You may only approach her once you are committed to not infecting her with the agony of her having been unloved.”

“So, I cannot tell her who I am? This is hell then, not heaven! I’ve not yet been forgiven,” said the forlorn yet forgiven soul. “I somehow feared it couldn’t be true.”

“No,” said the voice. “If this were hell, you would be freely permitted to inflict all manner of suffering in her heart, and then suffer in your own heart over having made her suffer. She would eventually retaliate. It is because this is heaven and not hell that such a thing will not be permitted. Because this is heaven, you may go and be with her, but only as a stranger, at first, with no past. For her there is no past to be forgotten. The past you would seek to bring her is buried beneath The Blood, and unworthy of the bringing. Leave it behind, and then you may be with her.”

After a long pause (while considering all the ramifications with a clarity that was seldom possible back on earth) the forgiven soul finally asked, “Will there ever be a time, a thousand years from now, or a million—will there ever be a point when she might finally know and yet not suffer? Will there ever be a time when a billion years of me loving her would finally empower her to hear that painful past spoken without suffering over it?”

“If such a day were to ever come…” said the voice. “Yet on such a day, you would most likely have left that past buried for so long and be so far removed from it, that you will have lost all the want to drag it up from the depths of forgetting. You will most likely no longer wish to tell it.”

“I understand.”

“Then you may go to her.”

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21 KJV).

A personal note from the author, Pastor Doug Joseph:

Today, January 17, 2016, is this year’s Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. During this annual event (on the third Sunday, the one nearest on the calendar to the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the US Supreme Court), we set aside time to mourn the millions and millions of human babies lost via abortions, to pray for an end to abortion, and to reflect on and teach about the sanctity of human life, which, as a godly principle, goes deeper even than just the issue of abortion, affecting how we stand on everything from opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide, to advocating for compassionate love for children facing handicaps and for people facing various challenges and limitations. Being Pro-Life is about much more than opposing wrongful deaths. It is about loving life, and upholding the dignity of human life as a sacred gift from God. I hope you will join with me today in a generous donation to West Virginians For Life or your state’s affiliate of the National Right To Life Committee.

Book Reviews > Perelandra > by C.S. Lewis

Lewis-CS-Perelandra-CoverBrilliant, as always, C.S. Lewis did a tremendous job in this novel, although Bible-believing Christians will notice frequently that Lewis went further out of his way than usual (seemingly) to force into this work both some of his “orthodox” (if unbiblical) “Christian” doctrines, and some of his “unorthodox” (and unbiblical) ideas such as a systematic theology that ponders (allows?) a fairly complete merger of pagan mythology (and extra-biblical writings in general) with various aspects of “the Christian tradition” in a combined sphere of thought. There is much wisdom and wit in the story that makes it worth tolerating some areas where the concepts are “off” biblically speaking.

Note: the following points are perhaps not major elements of the story, but at the least they are certainly themes found in the underlying backstory, and they are worth considering.

I’m a fan of Lewis, and thus I tend to try to tolerate those areas where his “Christian” ideas stretch far beyond what the Bible says or even allows, such as his view that certain personal beings created by the One True God are to be called “gods” (lower case ‘g’), some of whom God may have used as agents in getting aspects of the Creation, well, created. In this installment in his Space Trilogy, Lewis bluntly puts forth that an immortal, angelic being that is the “guardian” over Perelandra (the planet we call Venus) was actually the “personal being” who created the planet called Venus—a task that was accomplished under God’s instruction and at God’s bidding. Thus we’re to accept that if God created the cosmos “via” multiple lower beings, it is still God who should be credited as the Creator, even if someone else did the creating. This is a serious contradiction with what the Holy Scriptures teach about the One True God—He plainly stated He did all the creating “alone” and “by Himself.” (See Isaiah 44:24: “I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself….”)

Lewis’ overall scheme here, when taken to its logical conclusion, is that each of the planets in our star system was created by a different angelic being, with each of these angelic planet-creator-beings corresponding to one of the “gods” of Roman mythology. To wit: Malacandra (the planet we call Mars, which was the focus of book #1 in the trilogy) was thus presumably originally created by its own Oyarsa (a title of status that is a version of an ancient word essentially meaning “arch angel” or “boss angel”). In book #2, Lewis openly proposes the notion that the Oyarsa of Mars (ruler and guardian of that planet) is essentially the Roman “god of war” (called Mars in ancient Roman religion and myth), and likewise that the Oyarsa of Perelandra (ruler and guardian of the planet we know as Venus) is an angelic being who is the Roman “god of love” (called Venus in ancient Roman religion and myth). The correlations would continue with a creator-guardian-being that rules over Jupiter as being the personal creature whom the Romans worshipped as Jupiter. In such a fashion, Lewis simultaneously “slaps” the ancient Romans in the face for worshipping under-shepherds instead of the Great Shepherd, while also “validating” their religion as possibly having some basis in reality instead of being merely ideas invented “out of whole cloth.”

Furthermore, Lewis’ concept here is that the head devil of our world, also known as Satan, began as the Oyarsa over planet Earth (also known as Tellus), and later chose to rebel against God and became the “Bent Oyarsa.” (Satan is now pure evil, and his followers likewise are pure evil, but they were not always so.) Satan was once free to roam the “Deep Heavens” (interplanetary space), but after his sin he and his angelic followers have for a very long time been imprisoned on Earth, in order to keep the other planets safe from him. Parts of this seem biblically sound, but the Bible does not say (at any place, as far as we are aware) that Satan was once the ruler/guardian of Earth. In the Scriptures, the only angel who is called an archangel (“head angel” or “boss angel”) is Michael, who was summoned to make war with Lucifer after his sin and rebellion. Satan is described as having been cast down from heaven to Earth.

We then see (by putting two and two together to get four) the twist here is the notion (or hint?) by Lewis that our own world was actually created by Satan, while he was still a good Oyarsa, in obedience to God. Of course, the above-mentioned verse in Isaiah, taken on its face, nullifies all such notions. I don’t recall Lewis specifically stating the concept that Satan was supposedly the Oyarsa whom God used to create the planet Earth (Tellus), but all his hints point in that direction as his intended thought. Throughout the first and second titles in the series, Lewis paints a very strong tie between Satan (the “Bent Oyarsa”) and Tellus (Earth, the Silent Planet).

On the one hand, I don’t wish to put stronger Christians “off” from reading this book/series, as the wit and wisdom within are wonderful and there is much to be learned if someone is capable of “eating the meat while spitting out the bones.” On the other hand, whenever Lewis waxes into some of the underlying ideas he proposes here, it is safe to say that disclaimers are warranted. Any recommendation of such titles without a note of warning could be mistaken as support for all the notions contained within. This series is excellent overall, and this title is no exception. This installment’s dialogue of satanic deception, waged as spiritual warfare against the innocent, human First Mother on the island-world of Perelandra, and Dr. Ransom’s valiant battle to aid the woman against the demonic seduction, are “delicious” portions that are wonderful to provoke deep thought about all that really matters. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned concerns make it difficult for me to give a recommendation without some reservations regarding any “faint of heart” Christian who is easily confused about what he or she believes (essentially anyone who is not well grounded in what the Holy Scriptures teach).

Book Reviews > Out of the Silent Planet > by C.S. Lewis

Lewis-CS-Out-of-the-Silent-Planet-CoverWhile some may over-simplify the concept of “writing the zeitgeist,” there are more possibilities than merely portraying or capturing the spirit of one’s age (simple digestion and regurgitation). Reflecting upon or illustrating the prevailing attitudes (or spirit) of one’s day may well mean contradicting some or all of it, as in, finding fault with it.

C.S. Lewis certainly revealed what he perceived as the flaws of problematic attitudes of his day (although perhaps not “prevailing” as of yet), as he took to task the “bent” mindsets arising then and compelled his contemporary readership into needful contemplation while he corrected what he saw as crucial errors. In so doing, he preserved for modern readers (of many decades later) a glimpse into just what sorts of attitudes and issues were around way back then; the thought processes of that day, the questions, issues, debates, etc., are in various ways answered or addressed or at least mourned as they are somewhat memorialized in this well-written sci-fi. The degree to which Lewis accurately described “the sin problem” (which is persistent in any age of sin-cursed humans) is the degree to which the problems he described (and errors he challenged) transcend his day. In this regard, he nailed it. Thus the book has long outlasted his day’s zeitgeist.

The “science” of this fiction is in some ways so antiquated it seems absurd to modern readers, yet the skillful writing, wonderful wisdom, and timeless wit serve to make some now-inane sci-fi premises (e.g. of Mars, in book #1, and Venus, in book #2, being habitable places with atmospheres hospitable for humans) into mere trifles worth overlooking and easily overlooked. Outdated? In certain aspects, yes. Still worth reading? Absolutely.

ForeWord Reviews: ‘Tesseract’ Novel by WV UPCI Pastor


Tesseract by Doug Joseph was recently reviewed by ForeWord Reviews, a service trusted by librarians and booksellers. Their positive review follows:


Tesseract: Book Two of the Millennial Teleport Trilogy
Doug Joseph
Softcover $15.95 (175pp)

Doug Joseph’s sequel to New Immortal is an inventive representation of Pentecostal theology that will delight young adult readers. Combining other-worldly time travel with divine revelation, Tesseract shows that great rewards await those who serve God. This book caters to both faith and the imagination, taking salvation into the future and into the stars.

Author Doug Joseph believes that “pride can use intelligence as a ploy,” luring the gifted to sin. When Tess, who begins college at fourteen, loses her parents in a car accident, her beloved childhood friend, Daniel, guides her to faith. Rightly recognizing “her fallen nature” and “the sin curse within her,” she makes the “right choice” to serve God. After marrying Daniel, she earns her Masters of Science degree, but leaves school upon realizing that “neo-darwinism” is “a godless theory of abiogenesis” that undermines the doctrine of Intelligent Design.

The Corlan, who live on a planet called Sset, are a race rewarded with immortality for never committing original sin. Parents pass genetically encoded memories to their newborns through touch. Straf, the smartest Corlan of all time, succumbs to willful pride and is driven mad by his arrogance. Unlike Tess, who uses her gifts to serve God, Straf rejects God’s will and becomes the Ettosedondi of ancient prophecy who is fated to introduce sin and death on Sset.

When Straf’s son is born, he decides to withhold the memories from his newborn child and abducts him. Deprived of both his mother’s milk and the parental touch he needs to gain his memories, the child becomes the first Corlan ever to die. His father, horrified at what he has done, compounds his sin by committing suicide.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Tess struggle to solve the mystery of sin within their religious community, as God “sifts” the congregation to retain only the truly faithful. When the New Millennium arrives, Daniel and Tess become immortal. Near the end of the Millennial Kingdom Age, God reveals to Tess that she and Daniel will take part in saving the Corlan species from extinction during their downward spiral into depravity and cannibalism.

This novel integrates prophecy, miracles, and “meaningful coincidences” to demonstrate God’s enduring presence in the hearts of the faithful. Tess and Straf represent two routes that are available to all conscious beings: to use their abilities to serve God or to deny Him.

Doug Joseph has also written The Life and Ministry of Billy and Shirley Cole and The Book of Salvation.

Elizabeth Breau

ForeWord Reviews