Peter Kreeft is one of my favorite authors and speakers, and this brief book contains many of the thought-provoking ideas I've come to expect of KreefPeter Kreeft is one of my favorite authors and speakers, and this brief book contains many of the thought-provoking ideas I've come to expect of Kreeft. Good overall. I must admit that, as a Protestant, I wasn't sure what to make of the extraordinary emphasis he puts on the Real Presence in the Eucharist. But I have to appreciate anyone who writes a book as Christ-centered as this one, even if I don't buy into all of its theology....more
Outstanding. The issues Wilberforce addresses (nominal Christianity, the question of religion's role in the public square, and the complications of moOutstanding. The issues Wilberforce addresses (nominal Christianity, the question of religion's role in the public square, and the complications of modernity) continue to be so relevant that most of this book could have been written last month....more
Most of what Crabb writes is quite good, especially as an antidote to the prosperity gospel. This book could, however, felt about twice as long as itMost of what Crabb writes is quite good, especially as an antidote to the prosperity gospel. This book could, however, felt about twice as long as it needed to be to communicate its message....more
I love Richard Wurmbrand. Tortured for Christ transformed my understanding of Christianity. This book, in my opinion, is a mixed bag of profound and sI love Richard Wurmbrand. Tortured for Christ transformed my understanding of Christianity. This book, in my opinion, is a mixed bag of profound and strange meditations. Some of them I loved, and others left me scratching my head or disagreeing. First, some thoughts on the book's shortcomings, then on why I'm glad I read it.
Wurmbrand wasn't exactly a Bible scholar, though he could read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew. The latter is not surprising, for he grew up as a Romanian Jew--perhaps one source of his tendency to read the Bible in a way I find unusual (he definitely does not read it like a typical American evangelical). I would describe a lot of the meditations as a combination of mysticism and speculative word studies. For instance, he notes that Jesus is sometimes called ho Iisus--"the Jesus"--and draws some speculative conclusions from it.
Still, Wurmbrand has an uncommon way of seeing things that can be profound. I'll give two examples.
"Commanded Love": How do we come to terms with the problem of evil and suffering, and even of the doctrine of hell? And how do we learn to love God in spite of these things that bother us?
The fact that my thoughts are not conjoined with His shows that I have no imaginary God. If I had decided how God should be, I would have chosen Him to create a universe without suffering, age, and death. But I know I have the real God because my heart, the heart of a fallen sinner, is in disagreement with Him.
"The Mystery of Jesus' Sacrifice": This was my favorite, and I need to quote from it at length to do it any justice:
Suppose you were living 2,000 years ago in Palestine, that you were sinful, heavy with guilt, and Jesus told you, 'Your sin is grave and deserves punishment. The wages of sin are death. But tomorrow I will be flogged and crowned with a crown of thorns with you--I invite you to assist them when they drive nails into My hands and feet and fix Me to a cross. I will cry with anguish, and I will share the sorrow of My mother whose heart will be pierced by compassion for Me as if by a sword. You should be there to hear My cries. And when I have died, you shall know that your sins are forgiven forever, that I was your substitute, your scapegoat. This is how a man gets saved. Will you accept My suffering for your offense, or do you prefer to bear the punishment yourself?' What would you have answered?
In my prison cell...He put before me the problem I have just put to you...I had to decide whether or not to accept the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God for my sins. I believed that to accept would be a greater wickedness than all I might ever have done in my life and I flatly refused this proposal. Jesus was glad about my 'No.'
Then came the real question, the thing he had had in mind from the beginning. 'What if I incorporate your being into Mine, if you become part of My body, if you deny yourself as an independent self, and I will live in you henceforth and you will be 'crucified with me' (Galatians 2:20), 'buried with me' (Romans 6:4), and share the fellowship of My suffering (Philippians 3:10)? People in churches will sing, 'Safe in the Arms of Jesus,' while you will be safe as an arm of Jesus, nailed like His to a cross, but also imparting goodness like His. Do you wish to become My co-worker for the salvation of mankind, alleviating sufferings, filling up 'what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ' (Colossians 1:24), and imparting eternal life to others? By virtue of my presence in you, the real fruits of My wounds will appear in your soul.
I have accepted this proposal. Christians are meant to have the same vocation as their King, that of cross-bearers...
A man who smugly accepts Christ's dying for him and shouts Hallelujah about the innocent Son of God receiving punishment he himself deserves should be more severely punished than before. The gospel, the good news, is the privilege of becoming a member of the Body of Christ, of suffering, of dying in pain with Him, and also of being resurrected with Him in glory...
The reality of a conversion is in becoming one with Him. It is shameful and abominable to accept His substitutionary death otherwise."
This meditation alone was worth the price of this book....more
What I like most about this book is that, while most people simply say "Christ died for our sins," Piper explores the rich diversity of reasons (direcWhat I like most about this book is that, while most people simply say "Christ died for our sins," Piper explores the rich diversity of reasons (direct and indirect) that Scripture gives for Christ's death. I read it over the forty days or so leading up to Good Friday and Easter, and found it to be edifying preparation....more
This is a nice brief (76 page) collection of Orthodox prayers going back to the eight century A.D. I didn't naturally appreciate these prayers as muchThis is a nice brief (76 page) collection of Orthodox prayers going back to the eight century A.D. I didn't naturally appreciate these prayers as much as others I've read--for instance, selections from the Book of Common Prayer--but they may just be because I'm a Protestant and a Westerner. Some of the best ones reminded me of the book of Psalms (a book which, of course, is also neither Protestant nor Western)....more
This sort of book--the kind that tells us we need to wake up and be better Christians--tends to be written by old white guys. Here Francis Chan has anThis sort of book--the kind that tells us we need to wake up and be better Christians--tends to be written by old white guys. Here Francis Chan has an advantage, being hip, relatively young, and from California--not to mention a bald Asian guy with a goatee (thus not the stereotypical preacher). And from all I know about him, he backs up his books with the way he actually lives his life. This book is seething with a sincerity that makes one much more open to Chan's critique of typical self-centered Americanism (not that we're the only ones with that problem, of course). Chan's devotion, communication skills, and Biblically-centered theology have made him one of the most effective spokesmen for Christianity today, and I hope the same will remain true for many years. Read this book if you want to rethink your life (and don't read it if you don't)....more