The Judgeby Randy Singer
A judge on trial. His life on the line.
When a brilliant billionaire is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he realizes all his considerable wealth cannot prepare him to meet his Maker. But he has an idea that might: he will stage the ultimate reality show. With his true agenda hidden, he auditions advocates from the world’s major religions,
A judge on trial. His life on the line.
When a brilliant billionaire is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he realizes all his considerable wealth cannot prepare him to meet his Maker. But he has an idea that might: he will stage the ultimate reality show. With his true agenda hidden, he auditions advocates from the world’s major religions, inviting them to the trial of their lives on a remote island where they will defend their beliefs against all challenges.
Oliver Finney, a feisty old judge with his own secrets, is chosen to defend Christianity. As the show takes a strange twist, he quickly realizes he’s trapped in a game of deadly agendas. Not knowing whom he can trust, and with all Internet access monitored, Finney sneaks coded messages out to his law clerk, Nikki Moreno.
Nikki soon discovers the key to deciphering the codes lies in an apologetics book Finney wrote. But as the producers raise the stakes for each live broadcast, Nikki must scramble in a race against time to decipher the mysteries contained in the ancient words of Christ before her boss dies defending them.
Previously published as The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney Tyndale House Publishers
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Read an Excerpt
By RANDY SINGER
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2006 Randy Singer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE.
The room started spinning as soon as the Patient heard the words.
Inoperable brain cancer. Frontal lobe.
He gripped the arms of the chair and began the denial process immediately. He never trusted this doctor in the first place and now ... he could swear the doctor smirked when he told him. All doctors, even highly paid oncologists, envied the Patient. Hated the Patient. The doctor was wrong, his judgment blurred by a subconscious bias. Men the Patient's age do not get brain cancer. Especially men who run three times a week and drink one glass of red wine every evening.
Do not. Cannot.
In the ensuing days, the Patient would get a second and third opinion. The top oncologists at the best hospitals in the country, all singing from the same song sheet. "We're sorry, there's nothing we can do. Chemo might slow the spread of the disease, but you probably have less than a year." They ticked off symptoms like a parade of horrors: behavioral changes, impaired judgment, memory loss, reduced cognitive function, vision loss, partial paralysis.
The Patient worked quickly through the stages of acceptance. Denial turned to anger. Tragedy seemed to stalk the Patient's family. His mother died from a stroke when the Patient was in college. His sister lost a teenage son in a freak motorboat accident. A first cousin died before her thirty-fifth birthday. And now this. But anger eventually gave way to grief and then ultimately resignation—all within a span of four weeks. Yet he wasn't prepared for the last stage, and he couldn't shake the irony of it.
Remorse. Nearly a billion dollars in net assets that he couldn't take with him. Today he would trade all of his wealth for one additional year. All the eighty-hour weeks, jetting around the country, the dog-eat-dog world he faced every day, the enemies he had made—everything he did to build the net wealth so he could one day retire early and enjoy life. And now he had twelve months.
He started getting his affairs in order. He signed a living will and durable power of attorney, spurred by the knowledge that he might lose his sanity before he drew his last breath. He changed his last will and testament a dozen times but eventually lost his enthusiasm for disinheriting the estranged children of his first and second wives. For the most part, they were young and firmly in the clutches of their overbearing and greedy mothers. No sense punishing the children. He changed it one final time and made each child a millionaire, even his rebellious fourteen-year-old daughter who reminded him way too much of her mother.
The one thing he couldn't prepare for preoccupied his thoughts day and night, night and day. He wasn't ready to face whatever lurked on the other side of death. He tried praying to some vague notion of God but just felt silly. What kind of God would listen to a man who had spent his whole life denying that God existed? Yet the thought of stepping into the darkness of death without solving life's greatest mystery scared the Patient most of all. If he were God, he would judge his own life harshly. Sure, he had accumulated vast amounts of wealth, but what good had he done? Who would say that life on earth was better because they had known him?
The sad and honest truth kept him awake at night and haunted his daytime thoughts. Maybe there was still time. A lot could be done in twelve months. But even if he wanted to curry favor with God, how could he do that? He still didn't really believe that God existed. And if God did exist, which of the gods worshiped on planet Earth was the true God?
It hit him while watching Survivor, nearly four weeks after the initial diagnosis. Life's greatest reality show! It seemed like such a deliciously good idea that it was either a stroke of genius or the brain cancer deluding him ahead of schedule. Powerful advocates for each of the world's major religions would be chosen as contestants. Their faith would be put to the ultimate test on a remote island. They would be forced into the trial of their lives: defending their faith against all challenges. The winner's god would gain a whole raft of new adherents, including the Patient. He would donate millions to the right causes. The ratings for the show would be spectacular.
The losers' gods would be exposed as impotent—powerless frauds in the face of death.
Excerpted from THE JUDGE by RANDY SINGER Copyright © 2006 by Randy Singer. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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