Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow - Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God

Many Christian books have been written about the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, but very seldom do we see a book about the Ascension. The latter is just as important as the former.

This book starts with one of the best opening I have read:

“Let’s be honest: the ascension of Jesus is weird.”

Does that not make you want to read father?

From here we encounter many questions along with their answers.

Why did Jesus leave? Would it not have been better if He had stayed on Earth? Wouldn’t more people believe in Him if they could see him with their own eyes?

Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow have done the Church a great service with this small book. They have taken a much neglected subject and simplified it so all can understand.

They first take us through the offices of Christ as priest and king and how the ascension was the mechanism Christ used to serve in these offices.

The book contains only 3 chapters:

1. Ascended Priest
2. Ascended King
3. Ascended Man

The first two chapters focus on Christ and his offices. The third concerns Christ and man. Just as Christ ascended, we shall also ascend.

The first chapter shows Christ as the true priest. He intercedes for us day and night. We have an advocate with the Father.

The second shows how Jesus ascended to the throne as King of Kings with all authority. All things are under his feet.

The last chapter shows that we, like Christ, will have a new body and will live forever in communion with God.

For a short book, Ascension is a gem. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to young and old Christians alike.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Christian Focus Publications and Cross Focused Reviews, in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: Brad Alles - Starting at the End: Worldview, God's Word, and Your Future

https://s3.amazonaws.com/netgalley-covers/cover29692-medium.pngAs the title suggests, this is a book concerning the future. Unlike most books about eschatology, it not only discusses Christianity, but it also discusses how unbelievers view the future. "Starting at the End" is very unique.

Alles takes us through what "worldview" means. Everyone has one, whether you know it our not. He shows that each worldview consists of four components:

* Assumption
* Philosophy
* Ethics
* Future

Assumption is our starting point. Some would call it a presupposition. We all have preconceived ideas of the world around us.

Philosophy is our belief system. "Is there a heaven and hell or is this world all there is?" Our answer to that question is our philosophy.

Ethics is our view of how people should act or behave. Do we live by a list of commands from God or by our own rules?

Future is where we believe this world is going. What is the end result of our beliefs?

This book was an interesting read. It takes the study of worldview and adds a twist. Although there are many books about worldviews, this on comes at it from the backside. All of our beliefs start from where we want to go in the future. If heaven is your goal, you will live a certain way. If you look for a society with everyone is identical and alike you will live accordingly.

Here is a list of beliefs Alles examines:

Secular Humanism
New Age

In this book, Brad Alles shows us that all beliefs have consequences and all religions are not compatible with each other. Like any logical way of looking at things, two opposing views can not both be true. Either there is a God and what He says is true or there is no God and we can live our life anyway we want. Truth is true. If Marx is right then Christianity is false. If Secular Humanism is true then Islam is false. If Christianity is true then the other belief systems Alles examines are false.

I enjoyed this book. I don't agree totally with his end time view, but there are always differences of opinion about eschatology in the Christian community.

I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Concordia Publishing House and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review: William Lane Craig - A Reasonable Response Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity, and the Bible

http://img2.imagesbn.com/p/9780802405999_p0_v3_s260x420.JPGThis is the first book I have read by Craig. I have heard some of his debates but never read him. Most of the information I had on him was his view of middle knowledge and Molinism.

This was a great book. It is not your average Christian book. It is very deep. It is always good to read things that are a little over your head. If every book we read was in our comfort zone, we would never learn.

Craig's book consists of questions from around the world. These are not easy questions. Craig respectfully answers each in detail. He is both logical and Biblical in most responses (we differ on Calvinism).

Some answers will send you into farther reading. Each section has a list of resources that will take you deeper. The list is split into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Craig answers anything from – “Does God exist?” to “If God is good, why is there evil in the world”. There is also an examination by Joseph E. Gorra of Craig’s answers and gives us insight into the details of answering questions. Here he shows us how Craig came to his conclusion and how to answer similar questions on our own.

I don't always agree with every answer, but he is very knowledgeable and a lot smarter than I. This will be a book that I will likely go back to after farther study.

The book is not only about answering questions; Gorra’s additions are actually “how to” lessons in apologetics.

I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Moody Publishers and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: R. C. Sproul - The Promises of God

I have probably read a dozen Sproul books. Some are so good that they would be considered classics; others are good but do not have that extra something. This one is between the two categories but is still a great read.

Here Sproul takes us through the basics of Covenant Theology. The book is not so technical that it is hard to understand. Unlike most books on Covenant Theology, this one is very simple.

In each chapter, Sproul takes us chronologically through each Covenant that God made with man and shows how it fits with the New Covenant. There is one continuing story of what God has done for man. The covenants are just a progressive revelation of God's covenant with man. We also see what the New Covenant means and what it's relation to the Old Covenant is.

The covenants have always fascinated me. How does God relate to man? Why did God call for sacrifices in the Old Testament and how does that relate to Jesus? Why did God give us the law if we are saved by grace through the New Covenant? Sproul delves into these questions and more.

If there was a downside to this book, it would be that it is a little too simple. The problem I run into when studying Covenant Theology is there is no middle ground. There are introductions and there are academic works. This one fits the introduction category. The academic works tend to be too technical to totally comprehend but the introduction doesn't give you any new information to bridge the gap between the two.

Even with the simplicity, I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. If you have done any extensive study on the covenants it may be too redundant. But if you are just starting out, this may be the book to get you started.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from David C Cook and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.