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Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index

Nelson’s Biblical Cyclopedic Index


By Thomas Nelson



The first thing I want to say about this cyclopedic index is that it is pocket size. No longer are the giant, oversized, small print concordances and word study books manageable to carry or to use. This small, pocket size index is easily accessible due to its layout, bold print for subjects and numerous, overall structure. Secondly, I enjoyed the subject references that provided more than just a word about the passage you were to look up. In the Ten Commandments section, listed are references “divine origin, Christ sums up, love fulfills” (110). These references give you a fuller grasp of the passage you are going to look up before you begin your search.

The word study sections provided in the text are immensely helpful when trying to grasp concepts and words such as propitiation, revelation, humble, etc. The word study parts give a basic definition of the word but also lead you into a broader contextual understanding of the word th…

A Woman and Her Workplace

A Woman and Her Workplace by Rosemary Flaaten
It might seem kind of odd that I am reviewing a book about women and the workplace.  Yes, I do agree that it is a bit different that as a man I am blogging about a book concerned about women.  Yet, I see the difficulty, frustration, joy, and attitude that it takes in the life of my wife being a music teacher.  The first thing I noticed about Rosemary's book is that she does not sugar coat the issues that frequently come up in the workplace; there is not always an easy way to fix a problem nor is that possible sometimes.  At one point after bearing witness to the radical effects of the fall, she says, "Toxic relational issues, caused by our sin as well as the sin of others, permeate our workplace and threaten to erode our relational bridges" (22).  These relational bridges being built upon the biblical mandate to love God and others can falter due to the corrosion of sinful ideas, hearts, and more importanly actions.  Yet, Ros…

liturgical fundamentals

Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life




I chose to review this book because being a Protestant I am uninformed about the liturgical year, feast, cycles, etc. Every year I focus in on the Advent Season and Easter but have yet to get into the liturgical cycle. To begin with, the outline of the book is great in that each chapter is short enough but informative enough to get a picture of things such as advent, liturgical time, and calendars. Secondly, the chapters written by Dr. Chittister are succinct and yet many times spiritually profound. At one point in the book she is talking about heroes and models when she says, “No theological treatise is any kind of substitute for the sight of a life well lived” (193). In my reading, this is an exact reflection of what Francis Schaeffer once said. It is these kind of reflections that are worth the reading of this book. Another great thing about reading this book is that Joan lays a historical foundatio…

It's a Jungle Out There

Jungle Warfare: A Basic Field Manual for Christians in Sales by Christopher Cunningham





Cunningham’s new book about Christians in sales takes a different starting point than most business books. His granddad left a basic field manual for warfare after his death dated in 1941. This field manual left a huge imprint upon Chris’s life and he sets up his book in a similar fashion to the field manual, using the object of sales as his study. The unique thing about the book is that it is set up as a 22 day devotional almost. You have a verse of Scripture, a battle plan, prayer, written thoughts and prayers as a way to prepare oneself for not only sales but also life. I am not a salesperson but I can resonate with the need for a challenging plan at work to both serve God and my employer. What I found to be the most helpful in this book was not the writing sections or the references but the printed prayers by the author. Sometimes vulnerability in our prayer life is just the thing that we need b…

On This Day in Christian History

Robert J. Morgan has written a very interesting book entitled On This Day in Christian History, which details specific movements, people, and martyrs who have shaped the Christian faith from its beginning.  The unique apporach to this book is that it reads as a 365 day devotional.  Each day you get a glimpse into the lives of people like Erasmus, Zwingli, Jan Huss, Isaac Watts and others.  This book would be a great addition to the daily study of the Bible, giving the reader a picture of the dynamics of Christian history alongisde the Word of God.  Secondly, this work also provides for the reader a context in which these men, women, and movements sprang from.  We need to know history in order that we don't repeat, but we also need history to see the way great men and women lived faithfully before God under great struggle and temptation.  Morgan has provided a Scripture verse on the bottom of the page as a way of combining the them of the story with the Word, another example of the…

Life to the Fullest

In Max Lucado's recent book, Out Live Your Life, he uses the template of the the book of Acts to open up the idea that your life should have meaning beyond the grave. He starts off on the first few pages giving us a snapshot of the kind of people that were called to be disciples in the book of Acts: fisherman, streetwalkers, no friends of Caesar (4), or no friends of the Temple leaders. They were for all apparent reasons, nobodies. And yet, God used them mightily to change the world. Max asks the same question of us, namely, God is still using men and women to change the world one voice at a time. There are great atrocities (sex trade, hungry children, slavery, illnesses) and yet we can make a difference. Max has a unique way of combining self-help ideas with a connection to the Bible and theology that makes sense of the whole of Scripture. He says later in the book regarding hypocrisy, "Expect no credit for good deeds, give financial gifts in secret, don't fake spiritual…

Illegals by Darrell Ankarlo

Ankarlo's book dives into the murky waters of the immigration issues surrounding the border between Mexico and the U.S. The first half of the book is about his team going down to the borders interviewing those involved with the getting people across the border and also looking about both the Mexican and U.S. side of border patrol. The grim and treacherous road from the borders of Mexico into the U.S. are filled with pain and difficulty Ankarlo does a good job at describing the great costs of those trying to cross the border, many lives ending in death from such a great journey. However, this is not a very balanced book. Ankarlo's continual message is that to not stop illegals coming into our country would be a great harm to the citizens of the U.S. Not only will there be a movement to gather the Southwestern states under the rule of Mexican authority, but this is already taking place. Therefore, stopping those from traveling from Mexico into the U.S. is of paramount importance…

Review of William F. Buckley by Jeremy Lott

In this recent book on William F. Buckley in the Christian Encounters Series (Thomas Nelson), Jeremy Lott sheds some light on the life, politics, and religion of William Buckley. If your looking for a heroic portrait or a scathing review you will not find it here. Lott introduces us to a man who took on the stalwarts of liberalism at Yale and in his work at National Review, which he helped found. The most interesting point that Lott makes in this biograpy of Buckley is the way that his Catholicism influenced his thinking upon politics in critically engaging his opposition. Yet, Buckley was not afraid of critiquing even the papal magistrate for coming up with a document entitled Mater et Magistra. He went as far as saying, "the pope had paid insufficient notice to the poverty-alleviating power of capitalism" (98).


Overall, this book is a good window into the life of a politically conservative stalwart and anti-communist who made know his views in the religious and social ven…

Kingdoms in Conflict

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin."  - Colossians 1:13-14

"Due to the sin in the Garden, two kingdoms stand antithetically to one another, a contention that will pit God against all that is in opposition to his rule.  But note that this antithesis is not between earth and heaven, the body and the soul, or the visible and the invisible, but between God and Satan, between God and the kingdom of sin and death"  - Michael D. Williams, Far as the Curse is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption (69).

In thinking a little bit more about evil in the world and our response to it, I wanted to look at the larger picture of evil in a biblical sense with respect to God's kingdom.  First, we see in Colossians in Paul's prayer that it is the Father who has rescued us from the dominion of darkness.  This dominion of darkness is the rule and reign of e…

Evil and Our Response

Recently I have been re-reading N.T. Wright's excellent work entitled Evil and the Justice of God.  Wright has written a number of books for the larger public in the past five years that has dealt carefully and biblically with issues such as christian character, the resurrection, the christian life.  This book, however, focuses not on the philosophical questions regarding the problem of evil and its consequential questions concerning the nature of God, but focuses more acutely on the matter of evil in the world, how the bible deals with evil, and finally what we should do about it.  In the opening chapter of his book, Wright says, "The Christian belief, growing out of its Jewish roots, is that the God who made the world remains passionately and compassionately involved with it....No: for the Christian, the problem (evil) is how to understand and celebrate the goodness and God-givenness of creation and, at the same time, understand and face up to the reality and seriousness of…

The Jesus You Can't Ignore

I have just read through a book by John MacArthur entitled The Jesus You Can't Ignore. MacArthur's focus is to look at the way Jesus primarily dealt with the professional scribes, religious people, and "self-righteous religious peddlers of plastic piety" (1). As he gets into the book, MacArthur notes that we often softened Jesus' message by only looking at those upon whom he had compassion, while dismissing those whom he confronted with the truth. Part of the benefit of MacArthur's book is that he situates the message of Jesus within the context of Jewish thinking during the time of Jesus. In looking at John 3 and the conversation with Nicodemus, MacArthur notest that "to a typical Pharisee, what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus would likely have come across as highly offensive....Let's face it: the idea that the entire human race is fallen and condemned is simply too harsh for most people's tastes. They would rather believe that most are funda…

A Scarry Kind of Genius

Toddlers love books!! Shouldn't we all say that about ourselves? I do believe so. Yet, toddlers (my Rylee included), love to be read to. They enjoy talking about the pictures in the books, sounding out the animal names, etc. When Rylee was born a good friend of the family gave us a large picture book by Richard Scarry. Many of you know Richard Scarry through the anthropomorphic animals riding in silly cars and doing things that normal humans doing (except that one scene where a group of pigs go out looking for some ham). Anyway, I cannot help but love his books also. His book entitled, Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks form A to Z is a piece of sheer wonder! In this title, all of the animals are riding in cars that best relate to their character and their overall stereotypes. My favorite is the bananamobile. Can you picture a gray bearded monkey in a red baseball cap riding in a banana shaped mobile while eating a banana and tossing the peel casually to the side. In…

Building a Framework for Cultural Literacy

This summer has been a great time to read some books that I had on my list of possible good reads during the year. The problem arises when I try to read too many books at one time and begin to lose focus on the content of my reading. However, I just picked up a book this past week that I have wanted to read for many months. The book that I checked out from the library was Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. It is a work in the Cultural Exegesis series (Baker Academic) edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, Charles A. Anderson, and Michael Sleasman. The purpose of the book is "to teach Christians to get the theological lay of the cultural land" (7). Vanhoozer begins the book by building a foundation for how and why Christians should understand culture. Too many times, Christians have either been swallowed up in the morass of culture, leaving little left that resembles vibrant faith in Christianity or have militantly made a retreat out of culture which lead…

Pluralism and the Work of Translation

Recently I have been reading a new book by James Davison Hunter entitled To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. Hunter, a professor at U of Virginia is a professor of religion, culture, and social theory who has written a number of books, including a few on the decline of morals in America. In this book, he traces the history of the way religious groups have shaped culture and how culture has pushed back on these groups to influence them (religious right, religious left, anabaptists). In Essay III of his book, he moves toward answering the question how Christians are to live faithfully amidst a culture that bears its weight upon them/against them in every sphere of life. To do this, he wisely states that we must understand the character of our times to know how to be faithful (197). In doing so, he gets into the discussion that we all come up sooner or later regarding the nature of pluarlism in America. What is plural…