The Core Theme of the Jesus Storybook Bible is Wrong.
God wrote “I love you.” — He wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea.
But that’s not what the Scripture tells us. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the sky, the earth, and the sea are a testament to God’s love for every living person. In fact, they are a testament to his own majesty and to his wrath “being revealed against humanity” (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:18).
In the Jesus Storybook Bible, every story whispers Sally Lloyd Jones’ eisegetical agenda of inclusion and representation.
The interpretive method of the Jesus Storybook Bible is irresponsible — But the main conclusion is worse.
Page after page emphasizes the love of God and our status before God in a way that the Bible itself never does.
“But all the stars and the mountains and oceans and galaxies and everything were nothing compared to how much God loved his children. He would move heaven and earth to be near them. Always. Whatever happened, whatever it cost him, he would always love them.”
This is not true. There are some costs that God would not pay. He would not give up his glory in order to love his people. He loves his glory and his own name more than he loves any human being. He is no altruist.
“But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites” (Ezekiel 20:9).
The above quotation from Lloyd-Jones also raises an important concern:
Who are “God’s children”?
Lloyd-Jones likely believes that all people are God’s children, as judging from her tweet about radical “inclusion and representation.” But is that the case? Does God in fact plan to “always love” those people who are being sent to hell?
Oops. In the Jesus Storybook Bible there is no mention of hell at all.
That’s right. This book claims to be a Bible, but it gives no mention of hell at all. That omission shapes the rest of the content.
This isn’t a book about God rescuing some people from hell, for his own glory. It is a book about God telling people that their biggest problem is failing to believe that God loves everyone in the very most inclusive way.
“Eve picked the fruit and ate some. And Adam ate some, too. And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children: ‘God doesn’t love me.’”
Did you spot the tricks?
First, this interpretation of Genesis 3 is a fabrication. The passage says nothing about this supposed lie entering every human heart.
According to the real Bible, every human heart believes a different lie: That God does not know best about what is good and evil.
(This is a lie that Sally Lloyd-Jones herself continues to buy into, judging from her tweet about inclusion and representation above.)
Second, in a stealthy way Lloyd-Jones has imported a key premise — that all people are God’s children. She doesn’t come right out and say it. But she equates “God’s children” and “every human heart.” This is a masterful use of subtle propaganda.
In the above passage Lloyd-Jones lays the groundwork for the key theme she will again and again seek to put into the mouth of God: That our biggest problem is not believing that God loves us.
Wrong. Our biggest problem is that we love our sin and we hate God. We are not mainly suffering from “confusion.” We are wicked and hell-bound. But you wouldn’t learn that in the Jesus Storybook Bible.
The god imagined by Sally Lloyd-Jones does not war against wickedness and sin. He wars against “hate and sadness and death.” This is a god who doesn’t tolerate “hate.” Clearly, this is not the God who wrote Leviticus 18:22 or Proverbs 6:16–19.
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16–19).
“If they kept on like this, they would only destroy themselves, and God loved them too much to let that happen.”
Really? Is that what God said?
“And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6).
God didn’t say anything about loving these people too much to let them hurt themselves. He wanted to restrain them in some way — likely from expanding their evil actions toward each other and their rebellion against him. But where in Genesis 11:6 do we hear anything about God loving these people?
I could go on to illustrate the point with ten more excerpts, but it becomes tiresome.
Sally Lloyd-Jones has worked hard to put new ideas into the mouth of God. The story of Jacob has transformed into the story of “ugly Leah.”
The moral? That God loved Leah with a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” Citation please?
On and on it goes.
- “Joseph couldn’t stop loving” his brothers. Really? Wasn’t it a choice to love them? Or did some kind of power of love supersede Joseph’s choice?
- The story of Naaman being healed of leprosy is now the story of Naaman’s servant girl forgiving him.
- The story of Jonah bringing word of God’s judgment — “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” — is now the story of God saying “Tell your worst enemies that I love them.”
- The Lord’s prayer omits the request “Lead us not into temptation,” turning it into “Rescue us! We need you. We don’t want to keep running away and hiding from you.”
Friends, the problem of the human heart is not merely that we hide from God.
Hiding is part of the problem. But it wasn’t the origin of the problem. The origin is that we hate God’s instruction and commandments — and we love our wicked deeds.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
But you would not learn that from Sally Lloyd-Jones.
Christians must learn to distinguish faithful teaching from propaganda. We must learn discernment.
The church is full of people like Sally Lloyd-Jones — people who would twist Scripture. If I wanted to twist Scripture in a way subtle enough not to be caught, I would do exactly what Lloyd-Jones has done. I would write a book for children and call it a “Bible.”
How many adults have had their own understanding of God reshaped by this children’s book?
That’s the whole subversive point. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a work of systematic theology — and it is a system that is blatantly anti-biblical. Its core theme is found in Jonah’s story:
“They have run far away from me. But I can’t stop loving them.”
Is that an idea found in Scripture? Is it true that God cannot stop loving everyone? Such an idea is incompatible with the hell that Sally Lloyd-Jones refuses to mention. And such an idea is incompatible with what Scripture does in fact say.
Contra the Jesus Storybook Bible, God does, in fact, abandon people.
“Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16).
Romans 8:28 applies to some people and not others. This is the idea that Sally Lloyd-Jones seems not to be able to tolerate.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God does everything for his own glory.
“For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” (Isaiah 48:11).
God makes the decision to love some and not others.
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13).
Love is a decision. It is a decision based on values. When God loves someone or doesn’t love someone, that is his decision to make. Sorry Sally.
This article is the third in a 3-part series:
Become a Christian Defender of Reason, Individualism, and Capitalism: