This book was recommended to me by someone I respect so when I got the opportunity to read it I did. Even now I’ve finished it I’m still unsure what to think of it. I actively chose to suspend disbelief while reading it and take what I read at face value without over-analysing it (something I’m prone to doing). So I’ve read with as much of an open mind as I can, and also with and open bible because that is the bedrock of my faith.
The basic premise of The Freedom Diaries is that we can have a conversation with God as we would with any other person. The method recommended is to write down a question to God and then start writing the beginning of an answer from God with the expectation that you can just keep writing and God will supply the words. (There is some information on this at The Freedom Assignment.) So the book is laid out as a series of ‘conversations with God’, fifty of them in fact, plus six ‘conversations’ in which God interviews the author!
Because what I’m reading is filtered through the human author as an intermediary, it carries his phrasing and grammar. I also notice that the book is independently published so the editing process may not have picked up some of the grammatical hiccups and oddities that caused me to baulk.
There are themes in this book which cause me concern, in numerous places God is portrayed as saying that sin is not an issue because it has already been taken care of on the cross. Another common thread is that God views church gatherings and small groups as acts of empty religion, in contrast to the strong New Testament emphasis on gathering together as the body of Christ. Both of these themes (and some other dodgy ones) run through the book, causing me to think that these are more likely to be the author’s biases showing through rather than being ideas revealed by God.
The inherent weakness of the prescribed method of conversing with God is that even if God is speaking back to the mind of the questioner, it is all within the mind and body of that person so is very open to interference by the human will, subconscious mind and even conscious biases of the person holding the pen.
Overall, I’m sceptical. I do want to pursue the topic of hearing from God further because it has huge implications for my faith. I don’t want to completely write off The Freedom Diaries as a hoax because god must have spoken clearly to people in order for us to have the Bible, but I cannot embrace what this book claims to say about God, I will stick with the Bible for now thanks.
- The Freedom Diaries by Mark Holloway. ISBN 978-0-473-25184-0 (Amazon link, non-affiliate).
- A scathing assessment of the book by Ian Mander (scroll down to find it).
- On the other hand Radio Rhema seem to love it.