Read this and other reviews at www.thispilgrimland.com Is the American Christian life today any different that that of our fellow non-believing mankind...moreRead this and other reviews at www.thispilgrimland.com Is the American Christian life today any different that that of our fellow non-believing mankind? That seems to be the question that David Platt is asking in his book Radical. Upon his observation when asking himself this question, he returned with an answer of NO. I could not agree more. Just based upon my own life, I know that my life as a Christian is not all that different from my neighbor who either doesn’t care or doesn’t even know about Christ.
This isn’t a new question though and is certainly not a new observation. Historically, Christian writers have been asking and pleading with Christians to turn their lives away from the world that is so very appealing to our lusts. Platt is another in a long line who has the courage to stand up and say something about it and I applaud him for such. Platt does a wonderful job in this book of presenting to the Christian the hard evidence of the gospel of Jesus Christ and exactly how this good news changed the lives of those first New Testament Christians. Platt pulls no punches in pointing out how people who call themselves Christians today no longer live as though they are changed by Christ. Platt points out many areas in which American Christians are nothing more than status-quo with the rest of society and he does not fall short of pointing that the only answer to this question is a renewed vigor and faith in the good news of Jesus Christ.
At the same time though, Platt offers a version of the social gospel that comes close to unraveling what I feel is his overall intent. Platt encourages the reader to be more charitable in many parts of the book. What discourages me about the way it is presented is that one could walk away believing that by giving all their stuff away to charity or to a faith-based initiative, they have done something pleasing to God. I don’t find Biblical backing of that teaching and while Platt does a good job of identifying specific individuals who have sold their lives out for the missionary cause, there is still a hint of “give your stuff away and let others carry out the great commission for you.” That’s the danger of the social gospel. You may start buying cheaper hand soap, but if you’re not out yourself teaching others the gospel, you don’t need the soap anyway because you never got your hands dirty.
I hate to even be that critical of the book because I feel Platt has produced a very good work here. I don’t know if the last chapter of step-by-step, follow this program of Christianity serves any value (such things make me nervous), but take that one chapter out and this is a valuable book for 21st century Christians.
I would recommend this book to others with the small disclaimers above. I think that there is a great deal of good in this book and as a Southern gentleman myself, it feels nice to see someone nearby receiving such acclaim for a great effort. This book would make a good Christmas present and I suggest you follow one of the product links in this post and purchase a copy for yourself.
Looking to find a book to aid me in a study of Hebrews, I happened upon a wonderful book that was w...moreThis review can be found on www.thispilgrimland.com
Looking to find a book to aid me in a study of Hebrews, I happened upon a wonderful book that was written thirty years ago. Found and forgotten in my own library was Strategy for Survival: A Plan for Church Renewal from Hebrews, by James Thompson. Being a member and leader in a church that was facing some upcoming changes I knew that his book would be good to read and to help me in my understanding of the book of Hebrews. Written by Thompson, an author of many excellent Christian books, this book takes the reader into the congregation to whom this sermon, the only epistle that is a sermon, was delivered.
As I shared portions of this book with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I am certain they tired of me repeating one phrase: “this could have been written yesterday!” It was a true statement though. As Thompson explains the purpose of the book of Hebrews to the reader, he takes a look at the many pop-psychology ideas or “special” programs that people add to churches in order to arouse interest in attending their church. However, Thompson is quick to point out that according to the author of Hebrews there is but one way to revive a church. TEACH THE GOSPEL!!!! Thompson explains the often critical but mostly exhorting book of Hebrews to the reader in portions that are both easily read as well as relevant to the church of today.
I would recommend this book to all believers and in particular to all church leaders. If you are a leader of a church or know someone who is and you hear them wondering how to revive a church, give them a copy of this book and study it with them with the book of Hebrews close by. This is a very good book and you should buy and read it.(less)
I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of Acuff’s book Stuff Christians Like from Zondevan a couple of weeks ago. I was not disappointed at all. Acuff’s collection of short essays and quick interludes had me smiling the entire time I read this book. With topics such as Being Completely Terrified to Pray for Humility or Patience, Saying “I’ll Pray for You” and Then Not, and Crock Pots, a Love Letter, Acuff strikes memories that I for one had forgotten about and laughed over.
Be warned before reading this book though, it is much like chocolate cake. Sure, it is good in small portions, but too much of it at one time may make you sick. I found that out the hard way with this book as I attempted to read it quickly. You may find that reading more than a chapter at a time makes Acuff’s cynicism and sarcastic tone wear thin. That was my experience but I found that after putting it down and picking it up later it was just as enjoyable as when I first picked it up.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to laugh at themself. If you do not have a sense of humor or have no intention of reading into Acuff’s obvious love and affection for all things Christians, then this book may make you angry. In my opinion though, this book is really good and funny beyond measure. You should pick it up.(less)
What is the gospel? Ask 100 people and you are certain to get a wide assortment of answers. That is why it is a good question to ask and as long as Ch...moreWhat is the gospel? Ask 100 people and you are certain to get a wide assortment of answers. That is why it is a good question to ask and as long as Christians present differing gospel messages, problems and division in the church will persist. That is why a book such as Greg Gilbert’s What is the Gospel? is so needed.
While leaning toward a very Calvinist viewpoint, Gilbert does an excellent job of answering the question posed. As part of the 9Marks series of books, this is quite possibly the most important of the series, as without it’s question answered properly, man and teachers’ ability to save souls will assuredly fall short and flat.
This short book is a quick read due to not only its length, but the words used. Gilbert sticks very close to the scripture and the words flow off the page. As I read this book, I got the idea that unlike many Chrisitian authors, Gilbert was not writing this book with a thought of “look at me,” but rather his sole hope was to point people to the cross and the gospel lying at its foot.
What Do You Do When God Doesn’?t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? This is the subtitle of Pete Wilson’s newest book Plan B. In a book pointing to...moreWhat Do You Do When God Doesn’?t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? This is the subtitle of Pete Wilson’s newest book Plan B. In a book pointing to the fact that God is in control of everything at the end of the day, Wilson attempts to point Christian believers to the fact that God’s way is rarely in line with the way our feeble minds may imagine. Through a depressing group of stories of loss in the modern world, Wilson intermingles Biblical stories to show that at the end of the day, trusting that God is going to take care of you is enough, even when it feels as if He is nowhere to be found.
I personally did not enjoy this read. Often, Wilson comes off as that older guy we all know who is just not ready to grow up. I really wanted to take his writing serious but found myself drowning in his obvious desire to hold on to some sort of “coolness.” Sadly, much of the subject matter in this book is already so cold and heartbreaking that it needs no cooling down. Sadly, Wilson frequently points the reader inward for the answers to such questions as WHY DID MY BABY DIE? The answer is not on the inside though and Wilson seems to miss the Christian message entirely in how and where to look for God. Granted, I read this book quickly, but I currently cannot recall any discussion of sin. Further, the cross is avoided like the very plague of humanity and sadness that Wilson addresses. This book would provide little good to a new believer due to the lack of teaching Christ’s purpose. As many of the Christian books out today miss the point on Christian purpose, Wilson seems to have fallen into the same Purpose-Driven trapping.
What term has been overused and made to mean less than “In God we trust?” We read it on our money and politicians fling it around with no real meaning...moreWhat term has been overused and made to mean less than “In God we trust?” We read it on our money and politicians fling it around with no real meaning. As an American, I believe I may have become numb to it and have probably even forgot what it means.
That is why it was so refreshing to read
Click this image to purchase book from Barnes & Noble Steve Ham’s In God We Trust: Why Biblical Authority Matters For Every Believer. Ham doesn’t live in America, but rather in Australia, so he is able to give a perspective on the phrase that isn’t focused on America. Rather, Ham explores how the term “In God we trust” should affect the beliefs of Christians.
Ham presents the case that the true Christian has an axiom of understanding that must jump from the belief that every word of scripture is true. Sounds simple but in this day of post-modern thought and acceptance, Ham contends that this sort of belief is becoming more rare. Can one accept Christ as Savior without believing that the creation story is true and accurate? Can one accept that God is sovereign without believing that Samson literally killed a lion with the jawbone of a donkey? Ham answers those questions in the negative and his book is a pleading for Christians to reevaluate their axiom of belief.
This is a wonderful book and had me questioning some of my beliefs regarding the Bible and how seriously I took certain passages. Has our storybook approach to Christianity really given God the appropriate authority that His word demands and broadcasts? Ham’s book will help the reader to look at who has the authority in their life, their worship, their beliefs, and their families.
Do yourself a favor, buy this book, read it, and share it with someone.
Are you a parent of a son or sons trying to ground your son or son’s in Biblical truth? If you are, then you are a lot like me. Being the father of th...moreAre you a parent of a son or sons trying to ground your son or son’s in Biblical truth? If you are, then you are a lot like me. Being the father of three young boys, I often find myself looking for devotional material to use with them in our all too infrequent family devotionals. I had hopes for “God’s Promises for Boys” by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker when I received this book to review and I was not let down in the least. Inside this small and wonderfully designed book I found 125 pages of Biblical promises that are very fitting to share with a young child. A book divided into “God’s Promises When…,” God’s Promises About…,” “God Wants You To…,” “God’s Promises of Help When…,” God’s Promises about Making a Difference…” “God’s Promises about Jesus…,” and “God’s Promises for You…,” this book shares many scriptural truths with little boys in a concise and memory verse style. The art work in this book is simplistic but very pleasing to the eye and conveys the emotion or message of each page elegantly.
“Is it possible that monks and other Judeo-Christian moralists were useful, maybe even essenti...moreThis review may also be found at www.thispilgrimland.com
“Is it possible that monks and other Judeo-Christian moralists were useful, maybe even essential to the creation of this [the thriving Western:] economy? If so, then is it possible that their dismissal from the marketplace has condemned us to our current economic purgatory?” That is the thesis that Jack Cashill lays out and attempts to answer in his latest book Popes & Bankers: A Cultrual History of Credit & Debt, From Aristotle to AIG. Taking the reader through the history of what was once known as usury but is now called credit, Cashill lays out for the reader a concise story of the development of the credit system that leads to today’s conversation about predatory lenders. Measuring the historical evidence and documents at the time and often measuring that against the churches response to banking trends in history Cashille presents the reader with a very educational and at times entertaining, stroll through the history of usury.
I enjoyed this book much more that I thought I would. I had thoughts that this book would read like an IRS tax-form but was pleasantly surprised to find that Cashill had expertly crafted a book that allows history to talk for the reader. The book is an easy read and provides more of an insight into cultural response to rules and trends in banking than the actual rules and trends themselves. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book was the fact that Cashill drew so much of his thought not from “experts” on the time period but, especially in the earlier parts of the book, from the actual literature and poetry from the time. Cashill presents the reader with the reaction of culture to the trends and the trend setters from the works written at that time. This, for this reader, added credence to Cashill’s work.
I believe that people should read this book. Cashill presents thoughts and history on a subject, usury, that has baffled mankind since currency was invented. Is it alright in the eyes of God to lend money expecting repayment with interest? I can’t say that this book necessarily answers that question but it will make the reader more prepared to develop his or her own answer.(less)
David Murrow, known for his books challenging Christian men, has written a new book providing further encouragement to those men. In The Map: The Way...moreDavid Murrow, known for his books challenging Christian men, has written a new book providing further encouragement to those men. In The Map: The Way of All Great Men, Murrow divides the narrative of our Savior Jesus Christ found in the gospel of Matthew into three separate sections, each section being part of a map which men can emulate. In discussing the portions of Christ’s personality or mission that displayed qualities that we normally associate with femininity as well as the more traditional masculine parts of Christ’s life, Murrow provides insight into some of the internal conflict that many Christian men face today. Throughout the book though, especially the second-half, Murrow’s call of boldness from Christian men is loudly proclaimed.
I personally enjoyed this book. The first half of this book is one of the more interesting stories I have read of any sort in some time and belongs in any discussion of great short stories published in 2010. I’ll say that the surprise in the middle of this book left me frustrated at first but I soon came to appreciate it for what it was. Murrow cuts no corners in this book reminding today’s American Christian man that we are in danger of becoming extinct. Murrow does some damage to his map’s validity when he points out some of the flaws in his map’s reliance on the book of Matthew at the first of the second section but, again, I came to appreciate this more as I read. I could relate in my own Christian walk with a great deal of what Murrow maps out in his book and I believe that Murrow and myself are not the only two thinking the thoughts he presents. If you are interested in ideas and ways to revitalize or shake the men in your church to begin walking more closely in Christ’s footsteps, this unique view of the book of Matthew would be a good jumping off point. I would recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”(less)
This review is found on www.thispilgrimland.com When I finished this read I was left with one question: why does Tate Publishing not have this book lis...moreThis review is found on www.thispilgrimland.com When I finished this read I was left with one question: why does Tate Publishing not have this book listed under the genre of “religious fiction?” The Latter Rain, book II; Messages of Light Unto a World of Darkness by David Nix is easily one of the most heretical books I have ever read. When I compare it to The Satanic Bible by Antoine LaVay, I have to say that LaVay’s 1969 publication is far less dangerous to Christians than book II of The Latter Rain. The reason being that at least The Satanic Bibledoes not attempt to camouflage itself under the guise of Christianity. Nix’s work claims to be filled with direct messages from God.
I could write about many reasons that prove that this book is a work of apostasy, but due to the urgency I feel to put this book out of my life, I will focus on just one. I the third chapter of this read, a chapter entitled ”The Ways of God,” Nix shares with his congregation and the readers of this book a direct revelation from God he received. In this god’s message, supposedly received on June 01, 2007 and entitled “Ways to Trust and Lose the Barrier of Unbelief,” Nix’s god names himself. It reads:
“Bow and tremble in the heavenly presence. I am tender and merciful; but I am the Yakahalahiym, and I will be worshipped by men of clay.”
Nix asks his readers to believe that the Christian God has decided to deliver unto him a name that Christians are to call upon in prayer, despite it not being found in scripture. Think about the implications of that for just one second…
In Nix’s explanation of his “prophecy” Nix writes the following;
“In point two, the Almighty God refers to himself as the Yakahalahiym. This is the first time in these messages that he has called himself by his name. You will see this name used more in future messages. When this was given, I became very excited, for this is a name given to us by the Almighty that is not found in the Bible but is one that we now use in our prayers. It is truly an awesome name that is based upon several Hebrew words. He may have given this as an answer to all who insist we use the name YHWH. It was given to us when he described himself as being all powerful. This is how the name breaks down…”
After I read this portion of the book, which is really early on, I had to force myself to turn each page as I was literally afraid of what evil I was exposing myself to. I will grant that Nix’s explanation of what he decided to name his god is very good and shows good study, however, I believe I will continue to believe in the holy scripture and the words of Paul recorded by Luke in Acts 4:12
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
If the scripture tells us that there is no other name, why would we dare call upon another name in our prayers? If you follow Nix’s beliefs, you are praying to another god and are guilty of worshipping idols. Scripture lays things out clearly for today’s Christian: To the patriarchs, God was known as El Shaddair and to the Jews he was known as YHWH (Exodus 6:2-3). To Christians, His name is Jesus. Note that YHWH is NEVER found in the N.T. just as Jesus is not found in the O.T. New Testament Christians praise the name of Jesus Christ, Latter Rain believers worship false gods.
Notice also that Nix’s god panders to the Jehovah’s Witness community and that this name is given to answer them. Forget not that the Jehovah’s Witneses have long taught that the Chrisitan Bible is a lie because of disputes over the word YHWH. In other words, the Bible is not inerrant is what they teach (I wonder why Nix would want Christians to follow that same line of thinking?). We therefore find that Nix’s god is lending credence to the JW teaching and asking Christians to accept the JW teaching who god is using Nix to deliver a message to. Something tells me that the Christian God would want man to deliver the message of Christ crucified for their sins to those who mock His Holy word, not change His name to be more pleasing to their teaching. Nix’s god teaches what sounds like a watered down form of gnosticism to me.
In conclusion, I only picked this one area to prove the untruth found in this book. There is MUCH MUCH more that could be discussed and I may pursue that more later. Just remember that when you hear people talking about unbiblical spiritual practices such as glory clouds and other ultra’spiritual experieces that are not found in scripture but are practied in some churches today, those are found in this book, in Nix’s teaching. This book is a danger to a New Testament Christian not strong in the faith and could lead to the spiritual death of a new believer. As I once heard Dr. Walter Martin say, the most dangerous cults are not the ones that cloak themselves in darkness, but the ones that intermingle Christian teaching and belief with their own wants and desires. Such a book is this. Thank God that the umbrella of Christ’s blood can protect and save us from Latter Rain.
I would not recommend that anyone read this book unless it is for research about apostate teaching. I am personally writing Tate publishing to ask that they either remove this book or change the genre of it in their listing. I have prayed for David Nix and his followers and I hope that you will do the same. Educate yourself about the Latter Rain movement (IT IS HUGE).
As I finished the Zondervan publication discussed in this post, I was left with a feeling...moreThis book review may also be found on www.thispilgrimland.com
As I finished the Zondervan publication discussed in this post, I was left with a feeling of confusion. I felt like I knew what Steve Chalke and Alan Mann were trying to say in their new book Different Eyes: The Art of Living Beautifully, but I can’t say that I ever read in the book what I felt they were pushing toward. I still could not tell you if this was a book about moralism, social justice/gospel, or a call to Christianity. This book literally rides a fence and I am not sure which side it fell on.
I believe the point that the authors are trying to make is laid out in a sentence about midway through the book. The authors tell the reader that indeed, the world points towards Christians and says that we are only one way of many. Still though, for the Christian to live a beautiful life, he or she must understand this as fact but at the same time know in their heart that they are part of the only true way. As a Christian, that is what we have to believe and by doing so, by looking at Christ as our example of living righteously, the Christian is led to respond correctly to any situation they are asked to handle. I agree with the authors in this thinking as well as their approach that the law given by God is not what many legalistic and authoritative teachers make it out to be.
Still though, the authors flirt heavily with Emergent thinking in regard to validating not only other religions and their errors, but also in providing support that there does exist moral relativity. That, I suppose is what confused this reader the most. The authors firmly establish that the Christian code of ethics (I don’t agree with that term necessarily but that is how the book addresses Christian works) is the only way for the world to return to God, but simultaneously tear down this belief in not so clear terms. Granted, I may have missed the point in the earlier chapters of the book, which in and of itself seems to be a problem. The final criticism of this book will be this: there is little scripture provided to support their ideas. While writing about the problems related with the Enlightenment and the faith that man now puts in himself, the author writes the book from an enlightened perspective, citing more man then Bible. Again, this is a personal preference and I do feel that if and when I take the time to discern this book with my Bible in hand, I will find that many of the points made are supported in scripture.
As this book dwindled down, I was losing hope. Then I get to the section in which the author discussed the role of community in the church. While I would not recommend buying this book, I would suggest that if the opportunity arises for you to finger through this book, you read pages 112-116A. The writing here about the church and our slip into allowing one another to slip into non beautiful ways of living as long as you show up for church on Sunday is completely correct and needs to be read by many Christians, especially Christian men, that I know. Accountability is important.
As I said before, I couldn’t recommend this book for purchase to anyone because I can not put my finger on exactly what the point of this book is. The authors drift in and out from strong believers in scriptures authority in the life of the believer. I believe though that the heart of their message is a very good one, just not one that was particularly edifying to me. (less)
THIS BOOK IS GREAT!!!! That should sum up my thoughts on this new publication from Erwin W. L...moreThis review can also be found on www.thispilgrimland.com
THIS BOOK IS GREAT!!!! That should sum up my thoughts on this new publication from Erwin W. Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church, and Moody Publishers. Three sittings and 48 hours later I have now finished this stroke of genius. Lutzer writes, "I believe it is disingenuous when political opponents here in the United States call those who disagree with them "Nazis" or "Hitler." That alone told me this book was going to be different from the normal conservative speak that comes from so many in our churches today and that this book would not contain the finger-pointing and name-calling that I have quite frankly grown sick of. No, in a very tactful and succinct way, Lutzer in 141 pages points the reader to the facts, documents, and Christian writers who lived through the Nazi regime and uses their experiences and warning to parallel some of what many Americans see today as the abandonment of our countries inhibited history. In chapters named such as "When God is Separated from Government, Judgment Follows," "It's Always the Economy," & "That Which is Legal Might Also be Evil," Lutzer uses historical evidence to remind us that ideological and philosophical takeover is not done over night, but is rather a systematic and expertly crafted formula. This leads to his last chapter. As I stated above, what drew me into this book was Lutzer's refusal to point fingers at our contemporaries. That remained so until the final chapter. In the final chapter, Lutzer removes his gloves and begins throwing punches. Not at Obama or Pelosi. Not at Bush or Glenn Beck. Not at CNN or Fox News. No,Lutzer, and rightfully so, comes directly into the face of today's Christian. Building off of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's famous "Confess, Confess, Confess" radio address in Nazi Germany, Lutzer jumps into the face of today's Christian. He reminds us that the only way Nazi Germany was allowed to take place was because the Christians, primarily the pastors and preachers, in that area decided to bow to the Reich and hide the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pointing out the compromise that is already taking place today in the church, Lutzer unabashedly calls these wolves in sheep's clothing to repentance. I personally pledged to myself to read this last chapter everyday for the next month because therein lies, outside of scripture, one of the most powerful sentences I have read in some time. Lutzer writes: "In an effort to be 'relevant,' we now face the temptation of being diverted from our mission and becoming involved doing what is good while bypassing what is best." Stop reading, back up, and read that sentence again. I personally read it three times to myself and three times to my wife I was so taken by those words. Lutzer's final plea is to return to the cross. In our teaching, preaching, praying, and living, return to the cross. He asks that we stop veiling the cross in nationalism (enough with the founding fathers argument), party lines, and protest. All of these things avert from our true message we are called to teach: Christ crucified. Lutzer points out that our railing and arguing all accomplish the goal of making the Christian seen, but that is not our goal. Our goal is to make the cross, not the Christian seen. Lutzer avoids making any doctrinal assertions in this book and any believer in the true gospel should be able to get on board with the message in this boo(less)
If you live in the Southeastern United States and are a member of the Church of Christ, the main publishers you know are probably Apologetics Press an...moreIf you live in the Southeastern United States and are a member of the Church of Christ, the main publishers you know are probably Apologetics Press and Focus Press. Both are fine organizations indeed. However, sometimes I wonder what are people in the Church of Christ reading west of Arkansas? In an effort to find out, I contacted Abilene Christian University/ACU Press and looked at their online catalog. They were kind enough to send me some of their publications to read and review. I urge all of my readers to check out their catalog, especially those of you interested in Christian education.
The first book I have read from them is entitled Debating for God; Alexander Campbell’s Challenge to Skepticism in Antebellum America. Written by Richard J. Cherok, this well crafted narrative is expertly written. I really enjoyed this book and despite its sub 200 page count, this book challenged me in both its subject matter and the thoughts put forth.
When I think of Alexander Campbell, like many, I think of a man who railed against denominationalism and pleaded for a return to New Testament Christianity and unity. This book delves into another cause that Campbell championed. That cause was the fight against the skeptics of Christianity. Campbell’s role as an apologist in the Antebellum period is very understated in history today.
This book reveals Campbell’s well perceived worries that Deism, was just as dangerous, although less logical, an opponent for Christians than atheism. Campbell, arguing against men who believed in God but not Christ, gave all Christians a blueprint of how to defend our faith. I would love to write about the details more but it is laid out expertly in the book.
The book gives us detail about not only Campbell and his writings and speeches, but also provides valuable information and detail about the skeptics that Campbell took on in his defense of Christianity. Cherok’s work here not only shows his challenges against men such as Robert Owen and Kentucky Senator Humphrey Marshall, but if you read between the lines, Campbell is also challenging the theological beliefs of men such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. There is much to be learned from the details and skill of Campbell laid out in this book.
I recommend that all buy this book. I personally intend to read this book again. Even if you are not a believer in Campbell’s teachings about New Testament Christianity, this book would serve as a powerful tool for any person who is looking for advise, encouragement, or motivation to begin defending the Christian faith. Buy this book. (less)
Tate Publishing sent me a great little book to read this month. The name of this book is Simpl...moreThis review may also be found on www.thispilgrimland.com
Tate Publishing sent me a great little book to read this month. The name of this book is Simply Put: Truths of Heaven Brought Down to Earth. This book is authored by David Bousquet, a pastor, husband, and father in rural Pennsylvania. The goal of this book is to simply and quickly explain the basic doctrines of Christianity to either the non-Christian or one who is new to the faith. For the most part, this book accomplishes this goal. After my first sitting with this book I replied to my wife “we need to have our sons read this book in a couple of years.” That by the way, is the most resounding endorsement I can give to something. Bousquet’s writing style is straight forward and he remains true to his mission of writing in the most simplistic style possible about some rather complicated issues. His humility shines forth in his frequent reminder that he is stopping his knowledge base short in some of his explanations. Despite his mission though, I still managed to learn things while reading this book.
I would recommend this book to many but not without a couple of recommendations. First, Bousquet provides the reader with a very Calvinist view of the path to salvation. I say that in regard of course to his teaching, or lack thereof, on baptism. That issue is of course one that I knew was coming when I saw that Bousquet was a graduate of Pensacola Christian College. Secondly, Bousquet may miss some on the ability of a person of faith to lose their salvation. I will not go further into this, but Bousquet may unravel his own argument when he discusses the role of works and deeds in the role of the Christian. That being said, I still intend to have my children read this book when they are older, only with first, some more study on my part in these areas, and next with a guiding role as they read the book.
I hated to even write that last paragraph because I so enjoyed this read. Four matters really stand out to me in this book as some of the best I have seen in some time.
1. Bousquet’s writing on the differences between justification and sanctification is excellent. 2. The final chapter of this book is one of the most expertly crafted works on the book of Revelation and the end-times that I have seen. 3. Bousquet’s discussion of both the role of the Holy Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit is very good (as is his discussion of the role of the spiritual gifts in today’s world). 4. Most importantly, Bousquet’s love and honor of Christ is reflected throughout this writing. He gives all glory to Christ in this book and I appreciate his effort.
As I said before, with some caution, I would recommend this book to almost anyone. If you have friends who are wanting to learn about the Christian faith and the doctrines contained, a joint read with them of this book (along with the Bible of course) could prove fruitful.
NOTE: Purchasing this book provides the reader with a link to the audio version of this book.(less)
Note: This book will be on shelves April 1, 2010 from The Permanent Press.
I don't read much fiction these days. I was however offered an opportunity t...moreNote: This book will be on shelves April 1, 2010 from The Permanent Press.
I don't read much fiction these days. I was however offered an opportunity to read a new work of fiction by Joseph Mackin entitled "Pretend All Your Life." From the top let me say that this is an adult book and deals with several adult issues including murder, sex, grief, and the overall bleakness of the human condition.
Centering around the life of Dr. Gallin, a New Y0rk City plastic surgeon, the book is set six months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This is the first fictional book I have read that deals with this American tragedy and I have to say that Mackin takes this challenge and handles it well. In the midst of exploring six days in the life of Dr. Gallin who had lost his son in the 9/11 attacks, Mackin manages to make something happen I did not think possible. Macking makes the time after 9/11 seem nostalgic. With his references to popular culture issues at the time such as the musical artist Prince's name change controversy Mackin allowed me to look back at that time in history through a lense that filtered out the overall sadness and fear that surrounded this country. I'm not sure if that is a good thing but it was refreshing none the less.
The book puts Dr. Gallin to the test though. How far will he go to alleviate the grief he feels about not only his son, but his life in general. Filled with regret and pain over trying to fill the voids in his life with fast living and worldly pleasures, Gallin is eventually faced with an opportunity to possibly make right some of the wrongs he has committed. This book causes one to stop and ask how many wrongs do make a right as Gallin's attempts to better his life lead to more destruction.
In this short 200 page book Macking manages to introduce a very intriguing cast of characters including Gallin's mentor physician who has great faith, the son of a guerilla warrior trying to make his way in the land of promise, a nurse diagnose with AIDS and his gay lover looking for vengance, and an unnamed character who has been given a chance to simply press the reset button on life.
This book was a slow read for me. The overall story is an interesting one and I must say that the opening paragraph of chapter seven is one of the most well written pieces of literature I have read in some time. The book ends abruptly and is untidy to say the least. Overall, if you enjoy books that explore the condition of man without faith in anything but himself and the peril that comes when we trust ourselves, pick this book up. If not, I wouldn't recommend it. (less)
I just recently finished reading William J. Bennett's book "A Century Turns, New Hopes, New Fears." Inside the pages of this boom the reader is afford...moreI just recently finished reading William J. Bennett's book "A Century Turns, New Hopes, New Fears." Inside the pages of this boom the reader is afforded a very interesting and largely unbiased look at the past 20 years of American history from the eyes of a man who was intimately involved in that history. Beginning with the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency Bennett guides the reader through the policies, scandals, triumphs, and failures that shaped American history from 1988 to 2008. From the initiation of America's failing war on drugs to how the Internet and technology has changed the American political process, Bennett gives an inside view of what and who shaped the moments in the past 20 years that have shaped into 21st century America.
I found this book to very captivating. Bennett's style is an easy one in which no motive to gain or lose is apparent. His mostly non-partisan presentation of the facts in this book is very refreshing. This book was a stroll down memory lane for me as being a person in my early 30's I was just becoming fully aware of the world around where this historical account begins. If you are interested in the American political process you would be hard pressed to find a book with more researched and documented book than this one. I would recommend that all read this book. (less)
For a Christian looking to give answers and evidence for their faith in a world that is becoming more and more skeptical, the resources to assist in t...moreFor a Christian looking to give answers and evidence for their faith in a world that is becoming more and more skeptical, the resources to assist in this effort are few and far between. There is however one such resource that every Christian should own in order to aid in their study. That resource is Convicted: A Scientist Examines the Evidence for Christianityby Dr. Brad Harrub, PhD. In this wonderful book, Dr. Harrub stares down modern science and tackles it with both Biblical evidence and scientific proofs. Dr. Harrub rips the secular and atheistic arguments for scientific fallacies from today’s textbooks and mainstream media and weighs them against the facts and truths found not only in scripture, but in well-documented, lab-coat wearing, scientific labs. This book grabs the reader and shouts out “YOU ARE BEING LIED TO!!!” There is evidence for Christian beliefs and values and in this excellent book, much of it is examined and laid out for the reader.
I really enjoyed this book although it took me a little while to finish it. While the science in this book is presented in the most simplistic fashion, for some this book may seem arduous at times. That being said, I still believe this book should become required reading for and Christian from the age sixteen and up.
I recently completed Andrew Farley’s book The Naked Gospel. I really enjoyed this stripping away of theological debate and fuss about the gospel and F...moreI recently completed Andrew Farley’s book The Naked Gospel. I really enjoyed this stripping away of theological debate and fuss about the gospel and Farley’s reliance on scripture to form his opinion. Let me start by saying this: this book cover and jacket are really great and very pleasing to view. In this book, Farley aimed to summarize and present the heart of Christ’s gospel in a way that someone who is new to the faith could easily pick up and understand. Farley strips away doctrine in many instances and presents the scriptures in their purest form. Time and time again I found myself going back and reading paragraphs a second and third time so that I could better remember what it was that Farley was saying. Farley’s often personal analogies to help explain concepts he discussed in the book were not only timely and well written, but often entertaining and worthy of repetition. While there would be a few things I would like to ask Farley for further discussion on after completing this book, Farley presents the gospel of our Lord and Savior in a manner that would increase the faith and understanding of Christ in both a new Christian or one who has had their mind flooded with years of religion and legalistic teaching. I would recommend this book to almost anyone and it would be good for a small group or book club review as there are questions at the back of the book that correspond with each chapter. I look forward to reading more of this young author
Wanna read a book that gives an overview of what happens when churches begin operating by a man-made business model rather than an inspired Word of Go...moreWanna read a book that gives an overview of what happens when churches begin operating by a man-made business model rather than an inspired Word of God? If you answered yes, then read Zondervan’s A Multi-Site Road Trip by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, & Warren Bird. This recollection of a cross-country trip to fifteen different multi-site churches across America, including Hawaii, is so full of the folly of man’s knowledge that there is, as expected, little room for Godly knowledge. Sure, there are Biblical passages planted throughout the book supporting ideas but not their Biblical meaning, but the most discussion of “is this right in the eyes of God?” is within the chapter discussing John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. Sadly though, Piper and his elder’s insistence that nothing be done outside of the scripture’s authority is almost discussed laughingly by the authors.
While this book is full of business models and discussion of technology, this book would serve no purpose to the Christian leader looking to raise and groom a flock in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As I read the book all I could think was, “this is nothing more than denominationalism via webcast.” Then at the end of the book the author(s) do decide to admit this fact. As a majority of the congregation discussed in the book are “non-denominational,” this book would have been more properly entitled How to Make Your Own Denomination in the 21st Century For Dummies. If anything, the members of these congregations are allowed to look behind the screen just as Dorthy was in the Wizard of Oz and see how their wizard does what he does.