On reviews, editors and being published

I was asked to write a review of Should We Fire God? by Jim Pace, copastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Blacksburg, VA. The review was published in Sunday’s newspaper and can be read here.

While I am excited about having a review published in print, I am also very disappointed with the editing.  As published, the book comes across as rather postmodern with perhaps only a hint of the gospel.  However, the book is very strong on presenting the gospel and I said as much as originally written in my review.  However, in the editing process, the key paragraph of the review was pared down to say next to nothing about the author’s message in his book.   I’ve posted the paragraph as it was originally written, with all the bolded section indicating what was omitted:

Using the analogy of a disease, Pace presents the Biblical teaching that the world has a sin infection that permeates every area of the world and our lives. It is this evil in the world that brings about so much pain. The only cure from sin is found in the Gospel – the death of God’s son, Jesus Christ. Jesus experienced the pain of death and separation from God in order to give us the “antidote” for our disease. It is through this suffering that God empathizes with us and as Pace says, “the reality is that the God who created the universe is suffering right here with us.”

Additionally, the close of the review as originally written was as follows (with the bolded section indicating what was omitted in the published version):

Should We Fire God? is a book that speaks to the heart in pain and gives the assurance that God is there, God is still in control, and above all, God is always caring.

While I expected some editing in the final version, I am very disappointed that the key paragraph of the review was deleted.  I could understand if it was my own spin on what Pace had written that had gotten removed, but Pace was very clear on presenting the gospel.  As published, the review completely removes the fact that God empathizes in our suffering entirely because of the death of his Son and leaves the titular question unanswered.

While I don’t think the published review necessarily misrepresents what the author said, I can’t decide if it doesn’t represent what Pace was saying as accurately as it could.

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