Re-read of an excellent book! Great reminder of God's sovereignty and that we can trust Him in every area of our lives.
"...we are to establish our bel...moreRe-read of an excellent book! Great reminder of God's sovereignty and that we can trust Him in every area of our lives.
"...we are to establish our beliefs by the Bible, not by our experiences."
"But that which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good."
"...some things about God will forever remain a mystery to us. The relationship of the sovereign will of God to the freedom and moral responsibility of people is one of those mysteries."
"God never wastes pain. He always uses it to accomplish His purpose. And His purpose is for His glory and our good." "But the good that He brings about is often different from the good we envision."
"The good that God works for in our lives is conformity to the likeness of His Son. It is not necessarily comfort or happiness but conformity to Christ in ever-increasing measure in this life and in its fullness in eternity."
"Trusting God for the grace to accept adversity is as much as act of faith as is trusting Him for deliverance from it."(less)
I received this book free through a Goodreads giveaway. I like stories about pandemics and end-of-world type scenarios. I was a little disappointed th...moreI received this book free through a Goodreads giveaway. I like stories about pandemics and end-of-world type scenarios. I was a little disappointed that this story started after the pandemic was mostly over as I like to read about that aspect of it. But it still was interesting depicting what the world had become like with the few survivors remaining. Those who survived the pandemic and were immune to the virus were carriers of it. The story begins with a dying mother reaching out to a survivor asking him to become caretaker of her five-year-old son, who is also a survivor. Having just lost the last of his own family, the last thing this man wants is the responsibility of a child. But he promises the woman that he will take care of her son. The story continues with the adventures that the man and boy run into as they try to navigate their way in a post-apocalyptic society. What would the world be like with most people dead? The book had some suspenseful parts and kept you reading, wanting to know the outcome for the people who were trying to make it in a new world with no rules. (less)
I would highly recommend that every pastor and church leader read this book. "Why are more churches not engaged in a more practical and substantial way...moreI would highly recommend that every pastor and church leader read this book. "Why are more churches not engaged in a more practical and substantial way in taking the gospel to the nations?" That question is the premise behind the book - finding out why missions is not more of an emphasis in today's churches in America and then how to go about remedying that situation. The author's definition of missions is "Missions is God's plan for reaching all nations with the good news of Jesus Christ by sending His people to tell them about and show them the gracious, redeeming love of a glorious God."
"The missions mandate of Christ in the Great Commission has neither been rescinded nor fulfilled. What then has happened among His people that we are witnessing a serious neglect of that mandate in how we conduct our lives together in congregations where He is gladly proclaimed to be the Lord?"
After going over a case study of the state of missions in one denomination, the author addresses the hurdles he sees in why missions is not playing a greater role in our churches today. 1. Pastors are uninspired, uninvolved, and uninformed 2. Missing role models 3. Verbal commitments but practical disobedience 4. Divided hearts and loyalties "Frankly, the state of missions in the church today would be radically different if people would just be honest about the question of lordship. If Jesus is really Lord, He gets to call the shots! He gets to determine how much we should give away and how much we should keep. He gets to decide who should go to the ends of the earth and who should stay in the local context. he gets to tell us what has ultimate value to Him and show us what we are doing that gets in the way of that. He gets to do all of that and much more because He is Lord and we are not! With a passion for Christ comes a passion for the things He loves."
"Two major issues account for much of the failure to embrace evangelism and missions as essential to the purpose and calling of the local church. We have lost our sense of the place of the Great Commission as an expression of the will of Jesus Christ for all His followers and the power of the Holy Spirit as the force behind our witness to the nations."
Christ tells His disciples that they are be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. "...this is not intended to be multiple choice!" "Christ did not call us to be witnesses in either one of three places. He said we would be His witnesses everywhere - no exceptions, no improvising, and no easy ways out." "His commission is to make disciples by going to all peoples in all places with all diligence."
"Entitlement and the American dream of worldly success have trumped absolute surrender and the kingdom value of eternal significance." We in America are too caught up in our own comforts and affluent lifestyles. A pastor of a church in Alabama said this, "The greatest obstacle to the Great Commission is not our doctrine, or the willingness of candidates to go, but the American dream..." What is really claiming our affections and desires? "Before missions takes hold of the church, a consuming desire for Christ and His passions must be shaped in our hearts by the Holy Spirit."
Some of the obstacles and roadblocks that we face in our American churches are: 1. "Inward-focused churches" - "What happens is what has happened for thousands of years: we get so absorbed in our own little world that we forget about the rest of the people on earth." 2. "A trend toward isolationism among nations" 3. "Magnitude of the task" 4. "Compromise of conviction about the message and the masses" 5. "General spiritual apathy"
The author then looks at the factors that have been part of missions movements in the past. What has been evident when missions was an active part of the church? How can we then apply these factors to bring back missions as part of the mission of our churches today? "Power from on high as the Holy Spirit's work flowed freely" "A passion for Christ" "Prevailing prayer" "A rich soaking in the Scriptures and sound doctrine" "Unwavering faith that trusts God to be faithful in all things" "Holiness and purity of life (together with deep repentance and an abhorrence of sin)" "Eyes willing to see and have compassion on others" "A supportive, sacrificial, and generous sending community" "Persecution and opposition"
"The only impetus that will sustain a missions movement is an overwhelming love for Christ and a passion for His glory to be made known as widely as possible." "A missions calling does not send disciples of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth to share ideas and build rapport in order to instill a higher social order. Missions sends people to the nations to proclaim the truth of the Word of Christ so that they might come to Him, put their faith in Him, and know Him and His glorious salvation: 'So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ' (Rom. 10:17 NASB)." "Missions' first passion is for God to receive the highest praise and the greatest glory..." In regard to suffering and the possibility of persecution (something we as Americans have not really had to face yet), "Will we welcome the opportunity to suffer for Christ's sake and give power to our message by our steadfast witness, or will we insist that God keep us safely ensconced within the walls where no evil can touch us but also where the message cannot get out?" (emphasis mine)
The next section of the book deals with the best practices from churches that are doing missions and have a high missions emphasis. Principles that can then be used to help jump-start those churches who wish to make missions a greater part of their body life together. While not all these will work exactly the same in every church, they can be adapted to suit the culture of a particular church who wants to make missions part of their purpose.
Some godly principles that should be evident in a church desiring to follow God (as seen in the example of Jethro instructing Moses): "Prayer.Intercede for the people." "Scripture.Teach the people God's Word." "Discipleship.Select and train leaders." "Model.Lead them to follow the plan."
"Until the power of the Holy Spirit works in us and a transformation of our desires takes place, missions will remain an obligation to duty, not an opportunity for delight."
Then it's time for the personal heart check. Are we willing? "So I have to live ready to go and to live ready to stay, but my will is not my own once I have committed all things to Christ." "God's called-out people must be ready to pick up and go when the Lord indicates that is His will, but they also must be willing to stay, if He shows that to be His will." Do we trust God to provide? What is the primary calling that God has given us? (Gifts, abilities)
"As one who has chosen to read about such things, perhaps you are just the one to take the initiative wherever you serve Christ and determine that you will take it upon yourself to lead those within the sphere of your influence to reconsider the proper place for missions in the overall call to discipleship for all believers."
1. "Have I Submitted My Personal Ambitions to the Lord and Asked Him to Reveal Anything without a Kingdom Focus, Anything Selfish, or Anything Unworthy of a Servant of Christ?" 2. "Does the Congregation You Serve Care More for Its Own Comfort and Convenience than It Does for God's Call to Reach the Nations?" "People talk about what they are excited about." "...people who delight in Him as their greatest treasure and see Him as the light and hope of the world will give themselves wholeheartedly to that which will last forever." "The only factor that matters in all of this is whether you have allowed your heart to line up with the heart of God so that you long for what He longs for. And when you do, then you will step out in faith, confident that only by the power of the Spirit will you be able to sustain what God calls you to do. If you are willing, then you need to be ready because you already know that He is able!"
"Missions can and should shape the mission of the local church." "The church growth movement of the past twenty years will end up falling flat on its face if it does not do something to revitalize a comprehensive view of what the church is called to be - a view that must include missions as an essential and nonnegotiable element of the overall mission of the church." "It may be assuming too much to state that we want what God wants, but let there be no mistake about what God's desires are. Missions has always been central to His plan for His glory to be made known. How can we say we long for the heart of God if we are not ready to embody the characteristics of effective missions movements of the past and live out the principles for missions from His Word?" "The starting point for becoming the kind of missions-focused church that reflects the mandate of the Great Commission and the might of Pentecost is to learn how to walk by the Spirit. For each follower of Jesus Christ, everything we do is to be done for His glory, and nothing will be for His glory that is consistent with His Word, preceded by prayer, and clothed with power from on High. Therefore, the spiritual state of the church must be healthy before the missions emphasis can be effective in sending out godly witnesses who understand what the gospel is, how to live in the power of Christ, and why the world needs to know Him. If the church is anemic spiritually and knows little of the dynamic of spiritual living, why would we want to export that? But when a church is sound in teaching and godly in character, when worship is vibrant and love is abundant, when Christ is central and the Spirit moves freely, that is the starting point for a new day in missions." "...missions is His passion; it must become ours!"(less)
Too often we as Christians tend to emphasize one of God's character traits more than others. In this book, the author addresses the importance of keep...moreToo often we as Christians tend to emphasize one of God's character traits more than others. In this book, the author addresses the importance of keeping God's holiness and God's love in balance as working together. They cannot be separate from each other. The atonement is described in a beautiful, moving way - God's holiness demanding complete righteousness and His love providing that through Christ's sinless life. As a response to God's holy-love, we are now free to live for Him instead of for ourselves. The American dream of individualism has caused us to lose sight of who we are in Christ.
An excellent book on who God is and a return to knowing Him as He reveals Himself to us rather than making Him into Who we want Him to be. Part of the book deals with worship and what that really should look like in the church today and yet how far we have strayed from the biblical definition of worship.
Some quotes for reflection: "The knowledge of God is, in fact, a lifetime pursuit, not an instantaneous download. God has made himself known in Scripture, but we need to learn how to walk with him through life in the light of what we know of him."
"He is simultaneously loving and holy in such a way that we never encounter his love without his holiness or his holiness without his love."
"We must train ourselves to set the character of God in the framework that he gave us rather than in the framework we so often use in understanding our lives today."
"In a psychological world, we want therapy; in a moral world, a world of right and wrong and good and evil, we want redemption. In a psychological world, we want to be happy. In a moral world, we want to be holy. In the one, we want to feel good but in the other want to be good."
"God therefore stands before us not as our Therapist or our Concierge. He stands before us as the God of utter purity to whom we are morally accountable."
"He is not there begging to enter our internal world and satisfy our therapeutic needs. We are before him to hear his commandment. And his commandment is that we should be holy, which is a much greater thing than being happy. It is a commandment to be holy but not a promise that we will be made whole. We will not be made whole in this life. We will carry life's wounds with us and we will be beset by painful perplexities and our own personal failures. It is true that there are psychological benefits to following Christ, and happiness may be its by-product. These, though, are not fundamentally what Christian faith is about. It is about the God who is other than ourselves, who is the infinite and gracious God. But let us never forget, it is this God who also summons us to come and die at the foot of Christ's cross."
"...the central theme of this book: how should the holy-love of God define and shape our sanctified lives?"
"Sanctification is about living in ways that are consistent with what we already are in Christ."
"We are justified by faith alone but faith, if it is genuine, never stands alone. It always brings forth works."
"That there are those who claim to be born again who show no evidence of their inward renewal, of having been torn from the past life and relocated in an entirely different spiritual existence, is a travesty and a scandal."
"In so many churches today, theological themes have been forsaken for inspirational, therapeutic, and practical ones."
"There is a purpose, a different purpose, for the church's gathering. It is to give glory to God, to be renewed in his presence, to be instructed, to remember Christ's death, and to remember again our place among the people of God. This purpose should shape everything that happens both in the service of worship and in the worshipers."
"Nothing is more important to our understanding of worship than this: we come to the Lord, not because it is our idea to do so, or because we need to do so, or even because we like to do so, but because he first came to us. Worship is our response to what he has done. Worship undoubtedly can have its benefits. However, it is not primarily about our finding comfort, inspiration, social connections, or being entertained. it is primarily about adoration and praise being directed to God simply for who he is and what he has done. Worship loses its authenticity when it becomes more about the worshiper than about the God who is worshiped."
Excellent book full of hard truths that we need to come back to as Christians living in a postmodern world.
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my review.(less)
An extensive look at the theme of missions throughout the Bible.
"Not the welfare and glory of man, not the growth and expansion of the church, but the...moreAn extensive look at the theme of missions throughout the Bible.
"Not the welfare and glory of man, not the growth and expansion of the church, but the glory of God forms the highest goal of missions because the being and character of God are the deepest ground of missions 'for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.'"
This book was difficult to read but overall a good look at how missions permeates the Bible and God is a God of missions. I didn't agree with some of the author's views but the book is a good treatise on what missions is and the importance of it in the believer's life.
"The challenge of the believer is to be a 'missionary,' a 'sent one,' sent by the Holy Spirit through the church...to bear witness to Christ and proclaim the revealed message of God's redeeming act in Christ Jesus. This, of course, requires thorough knowledge of the message as deposited in the Bible, and intimate personal acquaintance with Christ."
The author also talks about discipleship and what that looks like in the life of a Christian. "Note five basic principles of cross-bearing: (1) Cross-bearing is voluntary - 'if any man will.' (2) Cross-bearing is continuous - 'daily.' (3) Cross-bearing is absolutely necessary to discipleship - 'whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.' (4) Cross-bearing is not pleasing to our natural self for it is basically associated with self-denial - 'deny himself.' (5) Cross-bearing is taken up for the sake of Christ - 'my disciple.'" "Whatever else cross-bearing may mean, it certainly implies such voluntary identification with the Lord that He absorbs our love, devotion, time, talent and strength to such a degree that nothing and no one else matters in our life except the Lord. Self-interest, plans, pleasures, position and relations have been denied; self is dethroned and delivered to the Spirit to be crucified. Discipline, limitations and dependence are accepted to follow the Master at every cost and at any expense, even the expense of life. Such is implied in cross-bearing. Here we come to the heart of Christian discipleship... A Christian disciple is more than a believer. A disciple is more than a learner in the ordinary sense of the word. A disciple is more than a follower and imitator of Christ, more than a holy enthusiast for Christ, yea even more than one who lives in full devotion to the Lord. A disciple is a believing person living a life of conscious and constant identification with the Lord in life, death and resurrection through words, behavior, attitudes, motives and purpose, fully realizing Christ's absolute ownership of his life, joyfully embracing the saviorhood of Christ, delighting in the lordship of Christ, and living by the abiding, indwelling resources of Christ according to the imprinted pattern and purpose of Christ for the chief end of glorifying his Lord and Savior." "The biblical concept of Christian discipleship must always be interpreted to involve humble following, constant fellowship, sanctified openmindedness, undisputed obedience, ready submission, heroic faith, arduous labor, unselfish service, self-renunciation, patient suffering, painful sacrifice, and cross-bearing. It is the bringing of all of life under the lordship of Christ."
"Missions is inherent in the very nature of Christianity and is a true product of our personal faith in proper relationships to a Spirit-enlightened understanding of biblical Christianity. Such a statement does not mean that missions need not be taught and nurtured in the Christian church or that it grows spontaneously or automatically. Nothing is spontaneous in Christianity. All must be cultivated and nurtured. But it does mean that when the whole counsel of God is taught, believed and obeyed, missions will cease to be considered a side work or something we may engage in or not. It will cease to be optional and 'elective.' It will not be merely a work of the church, beneficial and praiseworthy; it will be the work of the church, absolutely essential to the church to retain her Christian character and purpose. It will become primary and dominant in the purpose and activity of the church, with all powers geared toward accomplishing the task."
And this quote - ouch! Quite an indictment on the church who doesn't view missions as important. "A church that does not recognize the primacy of missions deprives herself of the most intimate relationship with her Lord, fails to identify herself with the primary purpose of God, robs her membership of the deepest experiences of the Holy Spirit, and denies the world the greatest blessings the Lord in grace has provided. She ceases to be truly Christian."(less)
Overall, this was a good book with a lot of resources for studying the Bible. A ton of different methods are described for digging into the Scriptures...moreOverall, this was a good book with a lot of resources for studying the Bible. A ton of different methods are described for digging into the Scriptures, including a few methods geared toward teens.(less)
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem Chapter 1: The Bible I thought this was a good starting point for the book. After all, the Bible is where we get most...moreChristian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem Chapter 1: The Bible I thought this was a good starting point for the book. After all, the Bible is where we get most of our information on who God is and thus what we believe about the Bible will affect what we believe about God and other theological issues. Inerrancy and infallibility - two main issues regarding the Bible were just touched on under the heading of authority. This book is not meant to be an in-depth treatise on these doctrines - that's what Systematic Theology is for! :-) But good that at least this was addressed, though I don't think these actual terms were used. More had to do with the Bible being without error and being true as God cannot be untruthful and it is God's Word.
Chapter 2: God One of the things that I've been learning these last few years is that God did not create humans because he needed us. Somehow growing up I had this idea that God created us because he needed companionship. Yet in the Trinity He is complete and perfect and does not need anything. He created us because He wanted to not because He needed to. He had all the companionship He needed in the Trinity. I also liked that in pointing out God is all-powerful there are still some things He cannot do - such as sin. He cannot go against His nature. So He cannot lie as it is His nature to be truthful.
Chapter 3: The Trinity This is a doctrine that I don't think I have ever understood. Even in the book he says this is a doctrine that is difficult for the human mind to grasp. Scripture teaches that God is one, yet three persons. Even though I don't get it, I believe it.
chapter 4: Creation Nothing too earth-shattering here. I'm thinking his reason for including this in the 20 beliefs needed for Christians has to do with the prevalent teaching and philosophy of evolution. Christians need to be aware of this and be able to combat it with the teaching of creation, that God created the universe rather than it evolving out of nothing.
chapter 5: Prayer "God does not want us to pray so that he can find out what we need, for Jesus said, 'Your Father knows what you need before you ask him' (Matt. 6:8). Instead, God wants us to pray so that our dependence on him can increase." I thought that was a good summary of prayer. Ultimately it seems that prayer is about our relationship with God and connecting with Him, focusing on Him.
Chapter 6: Angels, Satan and Demons Nothing really jumped out at me in this chapter as being something I didn't already know. I think a lot of times we in America don't think about the spiritual battles raging around us with angels and demons. We are more pragmatic with the what we see right in front of us. But the reality is that our fight is not just physical, but spiritual as well. Another aspect is the worship of angels or at least highly exalting them, instead of viewing them as they are - powerful creatures that God created, but still created beings.
Chapter 7: Man No new surprises in this chapter - man being created in God's image is what sets him apart from the rest of creation. However, it did seem like he was talking about us restoring creation as something that is achievable, when I believe that creation will be restored after Christ returns. He didn't say it explicitly but it seemed to be implied that we can work toward restoring creation ourselves. As stewards of God, I think we are to take care of the earth, but I don't think we can restore it without God's intervention.
Chapter 8: Sin I think we don't take sin seriously enough. "Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature." Any time I am unloving or unkind - even in thought, I am sinning. Sin is serious stuff - God can't have anything to do with it as "it directly contradicts everything he is." Thank God that the story doesn't end with sin. This chapter is rather depressing but thankfully it is not the whole story. The next chapter is Christ.
Chapter 9: Christ It is an amazing mystery that Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God. Another truth that is hard for our finite minds to grasp. It does make it reassuring, knowing that He was man and so understands the frailty of being human. Yet was God, without sin, so He could be our substitute.
Chapter 10: The Atonement Interestingly, in another book I'm reading (God in the Whirlwind by David Wells), the atonement was spelled out in great detail. I'm glad that he brought out that it's not just Jesus paying the penalty for our sins; it's also His righteousness is imputed to us. A double blessing of having our sins paid for and given Christ's righteousness so we can stand before God.
Chapter 11: The Resurrection This particular doctrine is important to the Christian faith because without it we would have none of it.
Chapter 12: Election Ooh, boy, this one is a hot button topic for sure! "Election is an act of God before creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure." Honestly, I thought this chapter did a pretty good job defending the doctrine of election. Not sure I could really do justice to it. Scripture seems to be pretty clear in teaching election, yet at the same time we are still accountable for our choices. Another mystery that we will likely never understand this side of eternity. Part of me wants to just type up this chapter for reference but that would be plagiarism. :-)
Chapter 13: What Does It Mean to Become a Christian Clear gospel presentation given in this chapter. For those who are not saved, it gives the path to become saved. For those who are, a way to share with others how to be saved.
Chapter 14: Justification & Adoption Nothing really new here but a good doctrine for Christians to understand for their standing with God. We are declared righteous in legal terms because Christ's righteousness has been credited to us. Adoption gives us full rights as God's child. Who we are in Christ is magnificent and very humbling!
Chapter 15: Sanctification & Perseverance A good reminder that sanctification is not completed in this life and it is also not solely our responsibility. We do play a part but it is also of God that we are sanctified and is a process. Part of the doctrine of perseverance is also our assurance of salvation. "...true Christians can gain real assurance of salvation from other factors and especially from a present trust in Christ and his ongoing work in their lives. Our present trust in Christ for salvation is one assurance of true conversion...If you believe in him, you have eternal life. If you have confidence in Christ's work on your behalf, confidence in Christ's ability to take the penalty for your sins and confidence that Christ should let you into heaven based only on his work and not on yours, and if that confidence is currently present in your life, then that confidence is an assurance of your true faith."
Chapter 16: Death Interesting that this is included on 20 basic Christian beliefs. Yet it is something that we all must encounter. Not only our own death, but the deaths of others around us. And the sadness that is death without Christ. Only in Christ can we have hope when dealing with death. For the Christian, death is not the end. And when Christ returns, we will be resurrected with new bodies that will never die.
Chapter 17: The Church It was good that he brought out that the church is any who are true believers. I found it interesting that the church as an organization has certain traits - I think that may be more man-made though it isn't anti-Scripture to have these traits. One trait being that of the 2 sacraments - baptism and the Lord's Supper. Interesting note that a "church" that doesn't teach from the Word is not really a church. How many of our American churches now fit in that category? I agree with the assessment of the purposes for a church are worship, nurture and care of its members, evangelism and mercy. I think too many churches end up emphasizing one of these over the others but they are all vital roles.
Chapter 18: Christ's Return Though Christians differ on their views of Christ's return and whether there is a thousand year reign of Christ, all agree that Christ will return. It was interesting to see the list of signs given in the Bible that presumably precede Christ's return. More mysteries that are not completely understandable. Yet the promise remains that Christ will return, whenever that may be.
Chapter 19: Final Judgment I'm glad he pointed out that as Christians we will not be judged to determine our final destiny. Christ has already taken care of that. Rather we will be judged to determine rewards. It's not popular (or pleasant) to talk about hell but the reality is that there is a hell and those who do not put their faith in Christ will spend eternity there. Because there is a final judgment, this should motivate us to spread the gospel to everyone we can.
Chapter 20: Heaven Ah, what we all long for as Christians! The end of pain, suffering and tears. When our bodies will be restored and the new heaven and new earth will no longer suffer the effects of sin.(less)
Awakening, Honesty, Action - AHA In this book, the author takes us through the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Describing his experience of being...moreAwakening, Honesty, Action - AHA In this book, the author takes us through the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Describing his experience of being the distant country and then coming to his senses - first, the awakening: realizing that one's choices have taken us down the wrong road. Then, honesty - taking responsibility for those choices and not denying the seriousness of the situation. Then, action "so he got up". Actually doing something about those wrong choices - making right choices, turning back to God. Having read 2 others of Idleman's books Not a Fan and Gods at War, I wasn't sure whether I would like this one or not. I thoroughly enjoyed Not a Fan, highly recommending it. However, I didn't like Gods at War nearly as much. This latest book I would put somewhere in between the two. I liked it much better than Gods at War though not quite as much as Not a Fan. But I would definitely recommend reading this one - a good realization to wake up to where we are in our lives, moving past denial and passivity to actually making changes to grow in our walk with God.
*I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my review. (less)
Helpful overview of what goes into translating the Bible. In the second part of the book, a history of the various English translations is given (up t...moreHelpful overview of what goes into translating the Bible. In the second part of the book, a history of the various English translations is given (up through 2004, date of book's publication).(less)
This book was rather depressing, but I think quite realistic in its portrayal of the state of evangelicalism in America. The premise of the book is ho...moreThis book was rather depressing, but I think quite realistic in its portrayal of the state of evangelicalism in America. The premise of the book is how evangelicalism in the US is declining. Some of the reasons were cited, including the church adapting to the culture in an effort to bring people in, instead of bringing Christ to the culture. Thus the church becomes more like the culture rather than helping the culture to become more like the church. "the core issue that could most hasten our decline is that fewer and fewer people find the church a place of community." While I didn't necessarily agree with everything the author had to say, I think overall this book is accurate in its portrayal of the state that evangelicalism is in throughout the US. The author doesn't pull any punches in his estimation that the pendulum is not necessarily going to swing the other way and evangelicalism is not going to start improving and be on the upswing. Yet his suggestions regarding how as individuals we can work on improving our own growth and going back to the truth of Scripture ourselves is helpful. Though we might not be able to change the state of evangelicalism as a whole, we can change as individuals.
This book would be a good read for those who are already cognizant of the state of Christianity in America and thus won't be additionally depressed by the realistic outcome this book portrays. It is a wake-up call, though we may already be past the point of no return. Yet the challenge remains that we as individual Christians can go back to the truth of Scripture and stand up for what is right rather than capitulating to the culture around us and thus continuing the moral decay.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my review.(less)
Very easy-to-read, down-to-earth book on the basics of studying the Bible. Talks about the importance of this discipline in the Christian life and goe...moreVery easy-to-read, down-to-earth book on the basics of studying the Bible. Talks about the importance of this discipline in the Christian life and goes over the steps involved including observation, interpretation, and application. (less)