Lisa Underwood Magro said she feels led to write for people, including some teenagers from Maine her pastor recently told her about.
He had met them on a cruise he took with some of their church's senior adults, she said. The teenagers, she said, had no knowledge of Jesus either historically or theologically.
"They didn't have a clue," Magro said.
"The Door," the recently published book of her Doctorate of Theology thesis from Covington Theological Seminary, uses the biblical books of Genesis to Revelation to explain Christ's identity as God and man, his life and ministry, his efforts to bring salvation to the world, his purpose in the future and his role in the Christian faith as the door into heaven.
Magro, a Chattanooga resident, said she tries to answer questions people such as the teenagers on the cruise generally ask: Who is he? How can he be both God and man? What did he do on Earth? What is he doing now? How is he alive now? Why is he the only route to heaven?
Even if they have knowledge, she said, they may not have the full story or the right story. They might wonder, for instance, if you can go to heaven if you're just a good person, she said.
"They're not biblical," Magro said of the answers to such questions. "You have to go through him."
Many people in various Christian denominations have wrestled with that question in recent years, with books such as Philip Gulley's "If Grace Is True" and Rob Bell's "Love Wins" arguing against condemnation of nonbelievers.
"He is the only door," Magro said. "Of all paths to God, there is only one door -- one door to heaven."
The Chickamauga, Ga., native said she has woven personal incidents into her narrative to illustrate the working of God in her life.
Fifteen years ago, she said, "I prayed and the Lord handled it" when she received a death threat. Just after 9-11, she said, she and her husband needed to rent a car to drive from Utah to Chicago, but there were no cars available. She prayed about it, and when she called back later there was only one, which they procured. Five years ago, she was healed of melanoma "when I was anointed and touched" by the Lord.
Magro said she felt God led her to her thesis subject and to have it published.
"I knew the Lord was calling me into ministry," she said, "but I just didn't know what."
When the subject of a book was broached, Magro said she insisted she couldn't possibly do that.
However, she said, "the Lord did it. He wrote it, and he promoted it."
The book, published by Crossbook Publishing, the Christian self-publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, is available at various online booksellers and will be available soon at local LifeWay stores.
Though the book is theological in subject matter, Magro said, LifeWay has chosen to market it in its Everyday Living category.
"I guess it's because Jesus [means] comfort and peace," she said.
Going forward, Magro said, she wants to continue leading Bible studies at her church, Bayside Baptist on Highway 58, and wants to write studies on all 66 books of the Bible.
"I just want to promote Jesus," she said.
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...