Definitely a clear, simple, not-too-long, introduction to the historical development of both Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian theology. Unfortunately,...moreDefinitely a clear, simple, not-too-long, introduction to the historical development of both Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian theology. Unfortunately, professor Wynkoop lets her dislike for Calvinism bleed into her content in inappropriate and biasing ways, quoting certain positions unfavorably or selecting unrepresentative quotes from various figures. In general, she is charitable to the average Calvinist, and is accurate in what she herself says. I mainly fault her in the manner in which she draws from other sources.
I think this is a great book for a Calvinist to read to understand true Wesleyanism better. Who better from whom to get a simple overview of Wesleyan theology than Mildred Bangs Wynkoop? Well, there may be someone, but she does an excellent job. Just don't rely on her for your complete understanding of Calvinist theology.(less)
Let me start out with the positives. This book is not hard to understand but is simply written. It is also not very long and generally progresses sequ...moreLet me start out with the positives. This book is not hard to understand but is simply written. It is also not very long and generally progresses sequentially through Romans. Every once in a while Wommack comes out with a real gem of an analogy or a well-written truth. I appreciated those things.
However, the negatives far outweigh the positives. I would probably give it a one-star rating were it not that this book is probably helpful for many people. It is written mainly to those who have a wrong understanding of the gospel and who do not embrace the radical grace of God after salvation. The core of Wommack's teaching on grace is accurate and helpful. I believe it is a message most Christians need to hear. Personally, I grasp this doctrine already--at least to the level at which Wommack describes it, and therein lies my dissatisfaction. The main problem I have with Wommack's book is that it is largely written at the level of a high school sophomore. I simply found the depth of his mastery of logic, language, and theology to be woefully insufficient. He repeats himself unnecessarily throughout. His vocabulary is bland and very limited. The substance of his message on grace is far too basic to fill a 200-page book.
Particularly problematic is his ignorance (or ignoring?) of logic. Early in the text, he give what I think is an attempt at an argument which will underpin part of what he says throughout the book (if it's not an argument, then he never offers an argument). The structure of his argument is a simple fallacy, though! He argues that since if A, then B, and if A, then C, that therefore if B, then C. That is, since the Greek word "sozo" is used for salvation from sin and also salvation from sickness, Wommack asserts that anyone who is saved from sin is also saved from sickness. From there, he simply leaps to salvation from a lack of financial prosperity. Never again does he try to support his numerous statements throughout the rest of the book that a proper understanding of grace frees one from condemnation and sin AND from sickness and a lack of fiscal prosperity. I'm not saying there are no compelling arguments for that doctrine. I'm saying Wommack certainly doesn't provide one. While this three-fold teaching is not the thrust of his book, he certainly brings it up enough to merit more than a logical fallacy in support of it.
In a couple other places he creates false dichotomies or glaringly misrepresents someone else's view. While there are plenty of pages of good, accurate writing and doctrine, these errors in logic and rhetoric cannot be excused, and they destroy the foundation for part of his message.
Never having heard of Andrew Wommack, I was given this book by a relative and approached it with the expectation of getting solid charismatic teaching about grace and the work of Christ. After spending 200 pages with Wommack, I had the feeling that he was part of the Word of Faith denomination (though I don't think they call themselves a formal denomination). On-line sources supported my intuition. Unfortunately, these low standards in logic, language, and sadly theology, have become characteristic of leading figures within this denomination. That doesn't negate everything they teach, but it doesn't lend credence to it. Those of us who want solid argument, intellectually stimulating writing, and theology grounded in Scripture will want to look elsewhere.(less)
From one not personally connected with Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson or their ministry, here is a very positive review. I approach everything I read...moreFrom one not personally connected with Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson or their ministry, here is a very positive review. I approach everything I read with a critical mind, and I came away from this book having been convinced of many things by Vallotton. The "Prince and Pauper Test" in the back of the book is worth the purchase price itself. In fact, that test was how I was first introduced to the book. A relative got the family all to sit down and take it together, and as we went through all eighty questions, skeptical me said, "This guy is spot on--at least 79 out of the 80." :) So I resolved to read the book.
The Supernatural Ways of Royalty probes the mindset of the Christian to see how it lines up with our scriptural identity as a child of God. While not every interpretation of every scripture passage quoted is indubitable or beyond countervailing, I found little with which to take definite issue and much to wholeheartedly endorse. (It may be helpful for some to know I do not come from a charismatic background.)
The text reads easily but also intellectually. It is permeated with anecdotes but not surfeited with them. In all respects, except the lack of many spaces between sentences which I assume to be the fault of the publisher, this book receives my hearty approval.(less)
This book pleasantly surprised me. Having left it lying on the shelf for three years, I finally opened it and read the final quarter of the book by Ti...moreThis book pleasantly surprised me. Having left it lying on the shelf for three years, I finally opened it and read the final quarter of the book by Tim Keller. I loved it. I then started at the beginning and read the other three contributors (Carson himself writes about sixty pages, which is the average length of each of the other three contributors). Below I try to summarize some of the content of each and/or what was most salient to me.
Carson's chapter is decidedly theological, as expected. Nothing groundbreaking, but he writes with clarity and insight. Salient in my reading was his discussion of perspective in our approach to the entire subject. Do we approach worship first by asking what it is that God expects from us. Carson says that, in the first instance, what makes worship delightful is God himself. Consequently, deeper worship can only come through a deeper grasp of God's majesty in his person and in all his works (29-31). Again, not a novel thought, but Carson expounds and applies this thought well. Also excellent was his exegesis that worship in spirit and in truth is worship "by means of Christ" (37), that corporate worship has a distinctly horizontal application as well as vertical, and that central to the practice and goals of worship is the Word of God. (While intellectually this last statement seems almost axiomatic, it is disregarded surprising well by most churches I have attended.)
Mark Ashton writes about worship in an Anglican context. He makes much of Cranmer's legacy and how Anglicans can regain good that's been lost from Anglican worship since Cranmer's time. Ashton considers how services can model the redemptive story through their liturgy and offers some basic models for doing this. He talks practically about group input to keep worship word-centered, edifying, and accessible while avoiding the pitfall of catering to specific taste. He offers specific advice for various types of services and many elements of a worship service even down to announcements (or "notices" British speech). As a non-Anglican, I found much on which to ruminate in Ashton's chapter.
Kent Hughes chapter was the last I read and seemed less helpful than the others, though that may be due to my having heard many of the same things said by the others and not be a reflection on his content itself. Building on the centrality of the Word, Hughes highlights the connection between the Spirit of God and the Word of God, and how they cannot be separated. For someone who hasn't thought much at all about a theology of worship, Hughes contribution from a free-church perspective, is perhaps the most accessible and widely practical.
Timothy Keller's contribution is quite incisive. He opens by tearing down the distinctive walls built between contemporary and historic worship, dealing with the ideologies behind the worship wars. Excellently, he goes back to Calvin particularly among the reformers to offer a new approach beyond the idea of "blended worship" for what is largely a postmodern society today. Keller directs us to consult the Bible, culture, and tradition together to inform our worship. He criticizes those on both sides of the worship wars who would elevate corporate worship to a position to which it is not entitled. After this discussion, he discusses the traits of reformed worship and three results which should always result from true worship. Finally he gives advice for the worship leader, the liturgy, and the music, followed by sample services with accompanying explanation.(less)
This was an excellent dialogue, entering into the ancient world to understand Paul as an ancient man and writer and his audience within their cultures...moreThis was an excellent dialogue, entering into the ancient world to understand Paul as an ancient man and writer and his audience within their cultures. Dodd offers many excellent suggestions as to how we as modern readers might reorient our understanding of some of Paul's writing and how it may or may not apply to us today in the ways that we have been led to believe. I was impressed to see Dodd take a balanced and conciliatory stance while remaining wholeheartedly orthodox. To the thoughtful Christian and New Testament reader, I highly recommend this book.(less)
Veith's book is simple and straightforward, but filled with great reminders about the many practical vocations to which God has called so many of us....moreVeith's book is simple and straightforward, but filled with great reminders about the many practical vocations to which God has called so many of us. The vocation of family (whatever one's specific role) is particularly important, in my estimation. I appreciate how Veith emphasizes this vocation among many.(less)