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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
I Never Knew You, by award-winning author Patrick Higgins, is a compelling and provocative work of Christian fiction set against the backdrop of faith, mega churches, humble churches, underground churches, and the true nature of Jesus Christ from a Biblical standpoint. Whatever stripe of Christian you are, or even if you aren't Christian or religious at all, this novel can stir thoughts and ideas abut what you believe the Bible really says, and Christ really teaches. This could easily have been a non-fiction guide or a Bible study, but is so much more compelling and illustrative when wrapped in an intriguing fictional novel. The interesting plot centers around Charmaine, member of prosperity-preaching megachurch, The Blessed and Highly Favored Full Gospel Church. She had the perfect life in all the ways that were important to her worldview and brand of faith, until Mark Lau, a visiting pastor from China, brought messages that caused an upheaval in her church and was ousted. Unsettled, Charmaine goes to China with Meredith, her best friend, and sees a big difference between her glam church and their humble underground one, especially the messages that were preached, but were from the same Bible. How could such a disconnect be? Even the two best friends, Charmaine and Meredith, were divided. Charmaine's interest was piqued, while Meredith wanted no part of it and returned to the States. Pastors from the megachurch went on a mission to "save" Charmaine from being "brainwashed" by Lau, not realizing that the prosperity gospel they lived by was the real false teaching.
Quite a plot, and an intriguing one for Christians and church critics alike. Higgins exerts his talent in all the right places. He builds an edgy premise, lets the characters play it out, and offers truths for the characters and his readers alike. This novel will definitely have you asking questions about faith, church, and what true Christianity is all about, but it is a thoroughly entertaining work of suspense, with a riveting ending. The media is full of bad actors from Christianity. But are they really followers of Christ, or are they followers of Mammon? Christ says you can't follow both; you have to choose Mammon or Him. Christ exposed false teachings when He walked the earth, and warned the world and His followers about them. Suffice to say, I Never Knew You by Patrick Higgins could be a much-needed caution light at the intersection of your faith journey.