MP writes: “Could you please tell me who Max Lucado is and what his belief system is? The woman’s book club at our parish is reading a book by him called And the Angels Were SILENT for their April reading. I do not belong to it, but I have seen that he writes for Hallmark cards and I know he wrote The Christmas Candle movie, which sounded like a good Christmas movie. Are his writings harmless or is he New Age?”
The only writing of Max Lucado that has come under serious criticism is his book Cure for the Common Life in which he talks about a “divine spark” within each of us (so did Thomas Merton) and quotes Martin Buber, a mystic who has panentheistic beliefs which are not compatible with Christianity. [Panentheism is a combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything); in pantheism, God is the whole Universe, while in panentheism, the whole universe is within or a portion of Ultimate Being, or God, conceived as an eternal sustaining presence or animating force beyond it.]
Lucado has also come under criticism for preaching at the church of America’s best known preacher of the prosperity gospel – Joel Osteen.
For some background on Lucado, he describes himself as being a preacher who has the heart of a pastor and the pen of a poet.
Born in a small town in West Texas, his father was an oil field mechanic and his mother was a nurse. He claims to have left the faith for a time while growing up. Questions about the meaning and purpose of his life led him into a Bible class at Abilene Christian University where he rediscovered Jesus Christ and returned to the faith.
He graduated with a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and served as an associate pastor in a small church near Miami, Florida where he wrote the weekly church newsletter. This was where he discovered what he describes as “a powerful synergy” between his passion for people, pastoral ministry, and writing.
This was also where he discovered his wife, Denalyn, to whom he has been married for 30 years. The two started off their married life by entering the missions in Rio de Janeiro where he continued to write his newsletters while planting new churches. Eventually, he gathered his newsletters into a book entitled On the Anvil, which was published in 1985.
That was almost 100 books ago. Lucado has since returned to the U.S., fathered three daughters, and sold 80 million copies of his many books. He has won numerous awards in addition to his work at Oak Hills Church where he pastored for many years before retiring in 2007.
While Max Lucado is not known for his New Age views, one will always encounter theological differences between Protestant and Catholic writings. If the purpose of the book club is to further one’s faith, I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find anything more suitable from the vast collection of good Catholic books that have been written over the last 2000+ years!