Charles Swindoll and "The Greatest Life of All"

Received this book from my parents for Christmas. I tried to find a Catholic review of the book and author, but didn’t find any. What I did find was some info on his biography, apparently he’s a very popular Baptist preacher; I also found some not so flattering discussion on his theology and whatnot, but I don’t know how trustworthy it was. I was wondering if anyone else could enlighten me as I do not want to read this book should he or it prove to be harmful to my Catholic faith.

Merry Christmas and God bless,
Paul

Not knowing your parents, I would advise you to use your own prudential judgement. A book shouldn’t sway you from your faith if you are well formed, but there are books that are just not worth it to read either. I know that I wouldn’t go out and buy it. Not because I have anything against Mr. Swindoll, but because knowing that he is a Baptist, I would not be interested in his interpretation of Christ’s life from his theological standpoint. I would much rather go through Pope Benedict’s 2 books on the life of Jesus. I have both of those and am planning on reading them this year.

Thank you for your response. My parents are well meaning, but not well formed in their faith…I know they were trying to be nice. Sometimes these books have things that don’t necessarily jump out at you at first glance as something against the Church, or they’re very subtle theological differences, that I suppose is what I’m afraid of…unknowingly reading something and not catching it at first.

From what I’ve read and heard, Mr. Swindoll tries to make the lives of biblical characters “present” to the reader. He wants you to get inside them and see what it might have been like to experience what they experienced and to feel like you’ve met them. I have not read the book that you’re describing, but I doubt that there will be much in it that would be antagonistic to Catholicism; and if there were subtle theological differences, you’d probably catch them. :wink:
I got a letter from his ministry this spring celebrating the 400th anniversary of the KJV, in which he expressed his opinion that Bible-reading, especially in the vernacular, had been more or less forbidden until it was wrenched away from the Catholic Church during the Reformation and finally printed in English by Protestants; this is the only time I remember him pushing a prejudice against Catholicism. (But then, I haven’t heard every sermon or read every book, and I’ve only recently been in a position of noticing stuff like that. Its your call.)

It has been a long time since I listened to Charles Swindoll.
Enjoy the book. What you read should not sway you from Catholicism. It anything it will strengthen your faith, helping you to see more clearly the child of God that you are.

Charles Swindoll is typical of “Bible Alone” christian preachers. He believes his interpretation of scripture is correct and the Catholic Churches interpretation is wrong. However, he disagrees with many Protestant preachers too.

I heard him say that Jesus had many brothers and sisters because the Bible says so. Of course he quoted chapter and verse as usual to “prove” his point. We know this is false based upon scripture and the assessment of many scripture scholars.

It is OK to read the book but don’t believe many of his interpretations of scripture. He is wrong on many points.

God bless.

I am a convert to Catholicism from evangelical Protestantism, same as Chuck Swindoll.

He is a dear pastor who has never, in all the years that he has been preaching, been involved with any scandal or caught in any heinous sin. He loves the Lord Jesus, and it is obvious in his cheerful demeanor and engaging preaching style.

My suggestion is that you read the book so that you will better understand and appreciate your parents and their faith.

The Catechism makes it clear that as much as possible, we Catholics need to keep communication lines open between us and Protestants. Understanding their theology and lifestyle will help you to better communicate with them, and this means that you will be able to obey the teachings of the Catholic Church and maintain constructive dialogue.

Your parents will be more willing to listen to you talk about the Catholic teachings if you demonstrate that you are willing to listen to them talk about their Protestant teachings (or in this case, read Pastor Swindoll’s book about Protestant teachings).

If this is the worst thing your parents ask you to do–read a book–then you are indeed fortunate. For the sake of all the time, energy, money, and love that they put into raising you, do this for them. Offer this as a gift to them, and read the book that they gave you. Learn from it. And be ready to tell them about YOUR faith, using their Bible.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.