Review of The Resurrection Fact

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The Resurrection Fact edited by John Bombaro and Adam Fransisco, released in time for Easter this year, provides an excellent defense of the resurrection of Christ against some of the more recent challengers.

A wide range of contributors address key objections to the resurrection, for example Mark Pierson provides excellent insight in historical matters surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ. Contrary to many skeptics the best historical evidence does demonstrate that it would be unlikely for Jesus body to have been left for scavengers. He did die and He was buried. Many of the chapters a list of recommended resources to dig deeper. Reading the modern ideas put forward in challenge to the resurrection of Christ it becomes clearly that the alternative explanations such as the swoon theory, mass hallucination, etc. all require a blind faith that ignores the clear historical evidence surrounding Christ.

Overall this book provides a good defense of the resurrection with each contributors demonstrating attention to details. I think this book would be a good one to place in the hands of students today as many will be confronted with objections that parallel those dealt with in this book.

Disclosure: I received an advanced review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of Answers to Prayer (Read & Reflect with the Classics)

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B&H has recently started a new series called Read & Reflect with the Classics which seeks to  engage a new generation with classics that have impacted generations of Christians. One of the first titles in this series is George Muller’s Answers to Prayer a spiritual classic that should be on everyone’s shelf.

The first thing that sets this edition of Muller’s work apart from other editions is the superior binding. As a bibliophile it always bothered me that the best publishers would do for this spiritual classic is a mass market paperback. Muller’s account is one that should be read and reread as one never fails to find fresh encouragement in prayer in looking at God’s faithfulness in Muller’s life. This edition put out by B&H has a solid cloth binding which will hold up through many readings.

The second thing that makes this a superior edition is the addition of various promptings and questions the reader to actively engage with the text.

Muller’s life was one that clearly demonstrates the value and power of prayer, Bible reading, and meditating on Scripture. His work in the orphanage and the display of God’s faithfulness in answering prayer deserves repeating to every new generation of believers.

Disclosure: I received an advanced review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of 60 Days of Happiness

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In 60 Days of Happiness: Discover God’s Promise of Relentless Joy author Randy Alcorn draws on his previous book Happiness to make a devotional that will help readers understand the biblical truth behind happiness.

The title of each days devotion is a question concerning happiness and its relation to biblical teaching and the body of each devotion seeks to answer the question put forward. For example the first devotion addresses the question of why everyone wants to be happy and shows that our desire for happiness points us to a desire for something greater namely God himself. Alcorn addresses some of the most important misconceptions surrounding happiness pointing readers to the importance of happiness in the Christian life.

Christianity sometimes gets a bad wrap of being a religion for unhappy cranks. If you know someone who thinks that God wants everyone to be holy and miserable there are few resources out there that will help them understand the biblical nature of happiness more than this devotional. I would commend it to anyone who wants to better understand the biblical truth that God does indeed want us to have joy and happiness in Him.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of 90 Days in John 14-17, Romans, James

 

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There are some devotionals that draw attention to themselves and then there are devotionals that draw attention to the Bible and 90 Days in John 14-17, Romans, James by Timothy Keller and Sam Allberry is one of the latter type.

Each days devotion helps the reader work through a passage of Scripture providing questions that help with reflection on the meaning of the text. Some of the devotions also help the reader pray through the passage in question. Each devotion provides ample space to write out prayers and reflections on the days passage.

This is my first exposure to the Explore by the Book series but given the quality of this devotional it will be a series I explore further. If you’re looking for a devotional that will aid that will attract you to the word rather than distract you this should be at the top of your list.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review: Christ All Sufficient

A great frustration I have with many modern commentaries is the amount of space given to interacting with secondary sources as opposed to the text itself. Brian Hedges in Christ All Sufficient: An Exposition of Colossians avoids that and addresses the text first and foremost.

In ten chapters Hedges expounds the text of Colossians balancing doctrinal insight with an eye towards application. As Hedges notes while this is not a technical commentary, at the same time it isn’t what one would could consider a devotional commentary. This is commentary that is readily accessible to the everyday believer as well as a useful for any pastor working through this epistle. Hedges work is not overly dependent on secondary sources. Hedges makes clear the day to day implications this epistle has, especially the believers responsibility to live under Christ’s lordship as He is the all sufficient Lord of the Church who has reconciled the Church to himself through his shed blood.

I believe there is a great need for more resources like the one Hedges has provided here. There is in this exposition a laser focus on the text, which as I noted is rare to find in commentaries. Hedges also helps the reader think through issues of application while taking into account the cultural differences between our contemporary society and that of the Colossians. If you’re looking for a resource on Colossians that isn’t overly technical or a fluff commentary I would commend this resource to you.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review: Progressive Covenentalism

There are books that you can read quickly and then there are books that you must plod through as they are prove to paradigm shifting. For myself Progressive Covenantalism edited by Stephen J. Wellum and Brent E Parker was the latter.

This book with ten contributors each addressing a particular aspect of biblical theology relating to how the New and Old Covenants relate to each other has helped me think through issues I have had question about since writing a paper on covenant theology’s understanding of the people of God for Dr. Wellum. I knew prior to that paper that my understanding of Scripture did not mesh with dispensationalism’s  emphasis upon discontinuity between New and Old Covenant. The various contributors in this work flesh out a theological via media between dispensationalism and covenant theology.

As a pastor chapters 6-8 are the most important contributions in this book to the local church. In some circles strict Sabbath observance in becoming more popular and Dr. Schreiner clearly and convincingly demonstrates that this Old Testament understanding and practice of the the Sabbath is not what is required of believers under the New Covenant. Cowan’s work on the warning passages found in Hebrews interacts with the covenant theology interpretation of the passages and shows the importance of those passages for believers.

This book calls for careful reading and reflection as what we believe about the  continuity and discontinuity of the Old and New Testaments will have a major impact on our beliefs about the gospel and the church.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html

Review: Marry Wisely, Marry Well

Marry Wisely, Marry Well by Ernie Baker has proved to be a very timely resource for myself as I am getting ready to begin premarital counseling with a young couple in my church.

To be clear while the primary focus of this book is preparation for marriage and navigating the perilous period of singleness it more than a book on marriage preparation. The first two chapters delve into the biblical understanding of wisdom with a strong exhortation to purse Christ’s wisdom. The third chapter addresses the nature of attraction and potential dangers regarding attraction, which is a good word for all to pay attention to married or single. Chapter 4 presents the biblical design and purpose for marriage. The second section of the book serves as a guide for those navigating the period of singleness giving biblical guidance in regards to preparedness for marriage and finding a spouse providing a helpful corrective to the current hook-up culture found in the West.

I’ve encountered a lot of books on courtship and dating during my college years, many of them being by Josh Harris and Elisabeth Elliot. This book stands out in its pursuit of applying biblical wisdom to the area of dating and preparation for marriage. If you work with singles and students this a resource that will provide them an understanding of God’s design for relationships that will guard them from much heart ache in the future. I would especially recommend walking a young adult through this book in the context of mentoring.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html

Review: Good & Angry

David Powlison addresses important and often overlooked issues related to anger in his latest title Good & Angry.

Anger is an emotion that we can be involved with in many different ways. We can be the one expressing anger, we can be the recipient of anger, and we can be witness to anger coming from and impacting others. Powlison makes clear that we all have an anger problem whether we are on the giving or receiving end of anger. In the second section of this book Powlison gives a thorough overview of the biblical teaching regarding anger. He helps correct what seems to be a common misconception by reminding the reader of the reality of righteous anger. The third section provides a guide of how to practically deal with anger. The final section of the book are where he deals with hard cases ranging from anger over a grievous past hurt to anger at God.

None of us is exempted from the problem of anger. I’ve lived through others’ anger, I have seen anger destroy families, marriage, and churches. Any pastor would be foolish to not avail themselves of this useful resource on an issue that involves them and everyone they now, because as Powlison demonstrates we all have an anger problem.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html

Review: A Doubter’s Guide to The Ten Commandments

A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments by John Dickson is one of the best resources on the Ten Commandments I have ever read.

In this work Dickson demonstrates the dependence of much of Western thought on the Ten Commandments and their development in the teaching of Christ. Dickson ably interacts with contemporary authors and trends demonstrating how vital the contribution the Ten Commandments makes really is. The book first addresses the unique nature of the commandments and their ethical value over and against other ancient and modern sources. Then it addresses the underlying reason for moral behavior. Finally the book addresses each of the commandments and addresses their original purpose and draws out implications and applications for contemporary society.

In a day like ours where ethical norms are quickly being abandoned works like this are vitally important in defending the faith. Many atheists make ridiculous claims about the values upheld by biblical Christianity and this book addresses those claims in a very satisfactory manner. The way in which the author interacts with contemporary trends makes it stand out in comparison to other resources on the Ten Commandments.

This book will be one I plan to utilize frequently and to recommend to others.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html

 

Review: The Temple and the Tabernacle

In The Temple and the Tabernacle author J. Daniel Hays gives a thorough review of the theme of God’s dwelling places drawing on the most recent scholarship and making it accessible for a nonacademic reader.

The book first addresses Greek and Hebrew terms used to refer to temple and tabernacle in the Old and New Testaments while tracing out an overview of what the book will cover. Hays in the following chapters of the book walks the reader from the Garden of Eden to the New Heavens and New Earth.

There has been much written on the themes of temple, tabernacle, and God’s presence in recent years. This resource bridges the gap between the academy and the layperson in the particular area of biblical studies. If you’re a pastor or Sunday school teacher looking for a resource to broaden your understanding of the temple and tabernacle I would commend this resource to you.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html