I have been in search of a good children's Bible for my 20 month old. I read to her often, and want her to hear the Truth consistently. My parents brought us a copy of Jesus: the Real Story by Carine MacKenzie. I was excited to get my hands on a book that tries to tell the truth. So I was puzzled by what I found.
In relating the story of the Syrophoenician woman in Tyre and Sidon (Mark 7), MacKenzie says, "Her daughter was very troubled and needed Jesus' help." Mark puts it this way: her "little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit" (Mark 7:25). The reason that MacKenzie can say "When she got home the girl was lying peacefully on her bed," was because as Mark says, "the demon [was] gone" (7:29).
In retelling the story of the boy in Mark 9, MacKenzie says he "was very ill. He was so ill he would take fits. This would make him fall in the fire or into water." Describing the same boy, Mark records the boy's father saying, "[H]e has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid (Mark 9:17-18). According to Mark, Jesus "rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again"" (9:25).
With regard to Jairus' daughter, I will show leniency, since Jesus said, "The child is not dead but sleeping" (Mark 5:39) and he may have meant it either literally or figuratively. However, it definitely takes the punch out of the story to neglect the report to Jairus that his daughter was dead.
On the back cover of the book, the blurb reads: "Carine MacKenzie's children's books have sold millions of copies around the world. Here she retells the story of Jesus - how it really happened and what it really means." Is that a true statement? Do the examples that I have cited tell how it really happened according to the gospel writers? Does MacKenzie have source material other than the Biblical gospels? How else can she make this claim? Her changes in syntax dramatically alter the content of these encounters. In many instances recorded in the gospels Jesus heals without casting out demons. In these cases, the oppression was explicitly demonic. You cannot tell or retell these accounts without acknowledging the demonic.