John Grisham surprises the Barnes and Nobel crowd with this novel of legal
suspense and adventure that delivers a solid evangelical message through the
genre this lawyer-turned-novelist seems to be perfecting.
In The Testament, best-selling author Grisham draws on his faith and time
spent with a Southern Baptist missionary in South America to weave a credible
tale of the intersection of lostness with salvation.
His main character is Nate O'Riley, a high-octane Washington litigator whose
life is in shambles. Through a series of wild -- and sometimes hilarious --
adventures in Brazil Nate meets Rachel Lane, a woman who eschews a life of
wealth and ease for years spent introducing a primitive tribe of Indians to
Like Rachel, Nate is on a mission. But his adventure begins when client and
billionaire Troy Phelan pens his last will and testament (hence, the title of
the novel). Nate's work leads him to Rachel, who clearly presents the truth of
another kind of testament --the New Testament.
Readers should be aware that Nate (and other characters, particularly Troy's
heirs) are rough around the edges. They are far from saints (although Rachel is
portrayed with delicious depth, and her faith and witness are unswerving). Yet
Grisham deftly handles the descriptions of worldliness without falling into the
trap of gratuitous shock value found in many secular novels. This work is
refreshing and real.
And it's a bold conversation starter for people whose favorite indoor sport
Certainly the argument can be made that a novel with secular situations
(even combined with Christian values) should not be read by Christians.
Whether to read it is your prayerful choice.
But, if you do, you may find ways to raise the subject of Christ to
non-believers by using a medium and book with which they very well may be
familiar. You could explore: Why would Grisham present the gospel? Do readers
who don't know Christ as Savior see themselves in Nate and other characters?
What questions or comments about sin and redemption does The Testament
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