Despite this study’s striking and provocative scholarship, many readers will likely be put off by its bombastic style.




A new interpretation of the Bible challenges both its detractors and apologists.

The Bible is notorious for its internal contradictions, which critics take as a reason to reject its revelatory authority and defenders refuse to acknowledge. The Gatekeeper (The Gospel Matrix, 2015) adopts a different exegetical approach. The author concedes that there are, in fact, numerous inconsistencies but claims that they are all purposeful, inserted in order to point audiences in the direction of a higher truth. To understand the experiential value of these incongruities, a literal interpretation must be discarded in favor of one that accepts the allegorical character of the Bible. The author’s tour of the Bible is a thorough one, covering all the Gospels, the book of Revelation, and Paul’s letters, to name a small but central sampling. The Gatekeeper contends that the Christian church is really a corrupt institution, something revealed when the Bible is properly understood. The author revisits key passages, especially regarding the “body of Christ” and the “bride of Christ,” to tease out their correct meanings. One of the chief arguments of the book is an epistemological one—humanity is caught in a “matrix” that occludes unfettered access to objective reality, but the time is fast approaching when the truth can be fully disclosed. That truth will include the transcendence of the shallow vision of God as a distinct person who governs humans in favor of an all-pervasive intelligence. The Gatekeeper’s erudition is impressive, including the author’s grasp of the Bible as well as the scholarly commentary devoted to it. In addition, The Gatekeeper’s aims are not only ambitious, but are also exercised with great spiritedness—he openly challenges Bart Ehrman, a pre-eminent critic of the Bible. But the whole work is written in a gratuitously hectoring, peremptory tone, dismissing disagreement as either evil or stupid; at one point he refers to intellectual competitors as “archontic parasites.” Furthermore, the author never tires of informing the reader how revolutionary this book is, apparently a fount of sublime truth, a self-congratulatory conceit that quickly becomes tiresome.

Despite this study’s striking and provocative scholarship, many readers will likely be put off by its bombastic style. 

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2017


Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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