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Showing posts from February, 2014

True Reason

True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism Edited by Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer
The onslaught of arguments against God and his existence seems to grow every day.  Yet, we generally hear from only a few atheists in the news, namely the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and other notables public figures like Bill Maher.  These virulent men lay claim that their religion is reason and they use reason alone in debating matters of science, religion, and ethics.  But, as many have pointed out, reason is not the only tool in their arsenal.  In this new book called True Reason, edited by Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer, the issues surrounding rationality, the Christian faith, and the irrationality of these new atheists come to the foreground.  Gathering a host of wonderful authors, apologists, and teachers, these chapters cut right against the heart of the claim that reason alone is the…

A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships

A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul Miller

Some authors just get it.  They seem to inhabit a text for so long that what comes out in their writing is a deep wisdom that is beyond their years.  Paul Miller is one of those authors for me, and his new book called A Loving Life is a wellspring of refreshment for a weary soul.  This new book takes the book of Ruth as its guide and seeks to delineate what a loving life might mean for Ruth, Boaz, and Israel, but also for you and me.  Rather than just a straightforward commentary on the arcane features of the texture, Miller gets into the psychology of the characters and the transformative nature of love flowing out of this wonderful story.
Primary to his book is the understanding and application of hesed love.  In chapter 2, Miller writes, “Sometimes hesed is translated “steadfast love.” It combines commitment with sacrifice. Hesed is one-way love…

Christian Faith in the Old Testament

Christian Faith in the Old Testament by Gareth Lee Cockerill
What happens when a seasoned New Testament scholar puts to paper his study of the Bible for over thirty five years?  In effect, what he creates is a beautiful synthesis of tapping the ‘apostolic roots’ of the Old Testament.  Yet, what turns out is much different than a historical survey or an academic project but is consistent with goal of having modern Christians search and apply the Old Testament Scriptures for their present lives.  With helpful diagrams, edgy analysis, and an eye at every point to how these Scriptures are fulfilled in Christ, Gareth has put together a wonderful resource for the church.
Highlights The discussion regarding the Ten Commandments was most beneficial because it brings together the meaning of Decalogue through the lens of the two Greatest Commandments.  Gareth writes, “Figure 2 shows that the first four commandments (Ex. 20…

Revelation by Gordon Fee (NCCS)

Revelation by Gordon D. Fee (NCCS)
Do you remember when you received your first study Bible?  After receiving my first NIV study Bible at age 15, I quickly realized that I was not well equipped to understand all that was in this nice imitation leather covered tome.  I quickly remember perusing catalogs looking for a resource that would help me study the Bible well.  How to Study the Bible for All It’s Worth, co-authored by Gordon Fee was the man who helped me study the New Testament in its various forms well.  It is therefore, no surprise, that this commentary on the Book of Revelation is no different.  Gordon seeks to elucidate both the meaning of the book and its application while maintaining a healthy focus on the background of Revelation.  After reading this gem, I was thoroughly impressed by the way Gordon boils the meaning of Revelation into discernible chunks that any reader can find helpful.
Gordon br…

Revolutionary Freedom

Revolutionary Freedom by Joey LeTourneau
Taking the long winding journey through a prison, Revolutionary Freedom by Joey LeTourneau is a wild ride into the themes of sin, Satan, and finding true freedom in Christ.  Throughout the path, we meet the Warden (Satan), the Lord, Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene and Abraham.  The vivid telling of the story captures the struggle between the deceiver, temptation, and lasting freedom found in believing in Christ.  Joey’s work with Heavenly Hope Ministries has given him a profound look into broken children all around Ethiopia and a clear understanding of the prisons that these children have come from.  This book will be very well suited to those in the Charismatic movement but was also helpful for me to see the subtleties that come about in the spiritual battle.
Joey is careful to see that the matter with the Christian faith is not related to an outward adornment o…

Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical & Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura
There is a spiritual battle going on in the hearts and lives of every Christian.  This battlefield is a minefield where one wrong step can lead to ruin.  Yet, there is hope. In Spiritual Warfare, Pastors Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura offer us a guide through Ephesians 6 that is compelling and ultimately practical in fighting off the wiles of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  The study here is Christ-centered, biblically faithful and chalk full of ways that Christians can learn to engage the battle effectively. 
After focusing in on the city of Ephesus and its spiritual influences, the authors look at Ephesians 6:10 and the phrase ‘be strong in the Lord.’  Commenting on this they write, “Paul’s charge to “be strong” is in the passive voice in the original Greek, which means that this empowering i…

Prophet on the Run

Prophet on the Run: A Devotional Commentary on the Book of Jonah by Baruch Maoz
One of the shortest books of the Bible and one of the most fascinating, the Book of Jonah is brimming over with beauty and terror, grace and judgment.  Pastor Baruch Maoz brings to us a translation and rendering of the Book of Jonah that is illuminating and chalk full of truth for every Christian.  We find Baruch pointing us to the central theme of Jonah in the introduction by writing, “The central message of the book is much needed and highly relevant to Jewish ears: Israel has no ownership over God.  He is the God of all nations.  This message anticipates the message of the New Testament – that God has taken Jews and Gentiles, set aside the differences between them, and made of the two one new people in Christ.” (11)
One of the great advantages of this book is Baruch’s sensitivity …


ReCreatable: How God Heals the Brokenness of Life by Kevin Scott
Do you ever find yourself verbally commenting on a book out loud as you read?  I don’t know about you, but as I read through ReCreatable, I was constantly saying, “Yes, that’s it, that’s good news that I need to hear, keep it coming!”  This new book by Kevin Scott is a remarkable journey through the heart of the Christian faith in three parts, each section relating the biblical story, its message of hope, and the way that a life devoted to Christ should engage the church and world.  The notebook form was also helpful to make notes in the margins, coming back to key points that Kevin makes throughout each chapter. 
Highlights There is so much good stuff here but I wanted to comment on a few highlights that were very important. In the chapter on worship, Kevin focuses in on an aspect of worship that is often undervalued.  He writes, “God also uses wor…

Magnificent Obsession

Magnificent Obsession: Why Jesus Is Great by David Robertson

One of the best books of 2013, Magnificent Obsession is Pastor David Robertson’s look into what re-energizes the conversation over truth, knowing Jesus, and the virulent opposition to the Christian faith by atheists.  Written as a series of letters in the form of questions David has received over the past few years, this book doesn’t back down from explaining the truths of the gospel, the historicity of the Bible, and the nature of epistemology.  Full of pastoral wisdom and engaging conversation, these letters further the dialogue with those struggling with issues of faith, those on the outside looking in, and those desiring to harness their analytic and theological minds for good.
The first letter deals with objections to the historicity of Jesus and the trustworthiness of the records that portray his life.  Robertson starts out the case for veracity o…

Sounding the Depths

Sounding the Depths: When Jesus Prays For His People by Michael A. Milton
Some books are big and weighty tomes that carry the weight of the world on their shoulder, others are slender but pack a mighty punch of truth.  Sounding the Depths by Dr. Michael Milton is one of those small volumes that are pastorally sensitive, theologically sound, and encouraging at every level.  After reading these chapters based upon messages from John 17, you cannot come away without a resounding high view of Jesus and his prayers for the world.  With portraits of leaders from church history, biblical commentary, and practical wisdom, Milton brings out fresh meaning from the gospel text that leads us to worship and service. 
The first chapter points out to the opening lines of John 17 where Jesus speaks to the Father in connection with glory.  Milton makes the point vividly that the love relationship that exists between Father and So…

A Political Theology of Climate Change

A Political Theology of Climate Change by Michael S. Northcott
The bombardment of media coverage regarding issues regarding global warming, climate change, and environmental politics assault the modern viewer at every angle.  From progressive to conservative viewpoints, we are facing a crisis as to which voice is most trustworthy and worth our attention.  At the same time, believers of every Christian tradition recognize the need for judicious analysis of the climate change quandary.  Into the mass of connective tissue that holds together climate change politics steps Michael S. Northcott, Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh.  His new book, A Political Theology of Climate Change, is a riveting in-depth analysis of both anthropogenic climate change and theological reflection on creation.  Rather than run the risk of bringing out the outmoded conflict of political polarizing views on the climate change issue, Northcott provides the reade…

Romans 1-7 For You by Timothy Keller

Romans 1-7 For You by Timothy J. Keller
This expository guide through the first half of Romans by Pastor Tim Keller is a helpful synthesis of Paul’s Epistle with an eye toward the pastoral and practical implications of the gospel.  Though not a technical commentary nor devotional guide, Romans 1-7 For You is designed to allow the gospel to break through to the one reading with clarity and power.  The result of this focus on the gospel is a clear reminder of the life, work, and ministry of Jesus Christ in the lives of every believer from beginning to end.  Tim Keller is no stranger to gospel preaching and teaching, for he been in the midst of gospel empowered ministry as the Senior Pastor of Redeemer PCA in the heart of New York City. 
Keller opens up his expository guide with a focus on the gospel.  He writes, “Unsurprisingly the beginning of the letter is all about the gospel.” (11) He then fills out the meaning …

The Dude's Guide to Manhood

The Dude’s Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits by Darrin Patrick
A moustache and a beard on the front cover and I am hooked.  This new book entitled The Dude’s Guide to Manhood by Pastor Darrin Patrick is a look into what makes a man and also what pulls him in the opposite direction. I was excited to have this book in my hands and to read through its pages in a mere few days.  The tone of the book is broadly focused to include men of kinds with a view towards becoming a certain type of man: content, working, disciplined, coachable, family, emotional, and forgiven.  What was refreshing about the work was its personal connection between Darrin’s struggle to become a man who engages in responsibility in every area of life and the application of some sound principles for all men.  The Drill sections in the book were quite beneficial because they provided concrete practical steps men can…

Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories

Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories Edited by Mark Gilbert
The road to Rome is paved with many people coming from a host of different backgrounds to the Catholic Church.  In the day when even Scott Hahn hosts a show called Coming Home, we hear of lot of people including such notable people such as Francis Beckwith joining the Catholic church.  Yet, we often don’t hear the stories of those who have been a part of the Catholic church and have stepped out in evangelical and Protestant communities.  Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories is a collection of stories edited by Mark Gilbert that is a window into those coming out of the Catholic church into the Protestant faith.  The stories are not designed to be anti-Catholic rants much less polemical diatribes, but more of the type of sharing a story around a dinner tab…