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Friday, February 21, 2014

Audiobook Review: Timothy Keller - Romans 1 - 7 for You

http://christianaudio.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/9/7/9781610457286_1.jpgKeller is always a good read, or in this case a good listen. He takes us through the first seven chapters of my favorite book of the Bible, Paul’s letter to the Romans. We hear about such weighty subjects as Depravity, Salvation, Sanctification, etc. With that said, Keller uses very understandable language to explain some of these most profound doctrines.

This is not a dry theological tome. It is warm and practical but also contains some good meat for reflection. I guaranty you will gain something from a reading. It is short enough to leave you wanting more. I am looking forward to the next volume when he touches on verses 8 to the end of the book.

Keller adds some great quotes from theologians of the present and past. Each chapter contains questions for reflection.

The narration was great. This is the first time I have heard Maurice England. He has a very comforting voice that lends itself to the material. The quality of recording was also top notch. No hisses or pops. It was recorded with good crisp highs and smooth lows.

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to all who desire to have a greater understanding of Romans and the Gospel.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I enjoyed this book courtesy of the Christian Audio review program at http://christianaudio.com and received the audio book, free of charge, from ChristianAudio.com and The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Stanley N. Gundry - Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

http://gavinortlund.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/9780310331360.jpgHere is another multi-view debate on a biblical subject. With most books of this genre, we have a non-essential doctrine debated. When speaking of “the timing of the second coming” or whether “tithing is for today”, there is very little harm to the new believer or even the unbeliever when hashing out these kinds of subjects. But this volume is much more serious. I feel that in some ways it branches out a little too far.

Can a person be an evangelical and also deny that the bible is true and without error? Would that person be beyond the pale of orthodoxy?

I can not speak for the rest of Evangelicals, but I personally believe that those who deny inerrancy may well have stepped over that line. If we believe that Jesus said things that were incorrect “fact-wise” about this world, how can we believe Him when he speaks about things in the next? Doesn’t the Bible say those things that are invisible are more real than the visible? The things we see are decaying and falling apart, but those things that are not seen are eternal and will last forever.

I will have to admit that I started this book with a particular presupposition and after finishing it, I came out with (please forgive me for saying) the same "post-suppositions". I will not say the arguments against classical inerrancy could not convince some people, but I personally think they are found lacking.

As just one example, here is a quote from Peter Enns:

"This is why I feel that the term inerrancy has run its course and that evangelicals need to adopt other language with which to talk about the Bible. As referenced repeatedly in this essay, one suggestion I have articulated is an incarnational metaphor: Scripture is a collection of a variety of writings that necessarily and unashamedly reflects the worlds in which those writings were produced."

So, Enns believes that the Bible is a "reflection of" or "conforming to" the world of that day. I understand that Enns is not using the word "world" in the same since as Paul when he said we are not to be "conformed to this world", but it does sound a little weird to say God is reflecting the beliefs of the world when he spoke.

Enns believes the Bible contains errors but he will not come right out and say it. Why does he not just say what he means? "The Bible is a man-made book that contains errors - plain and simple." Why dance around with nebulas phrases that cover up the real meaning. Either the Bible is God-Breathed or man-breathed. If God wrote it, like Jesus claimed, how can we say it has mistakes and errors?

Like Calvin, I believe God uses a sort of baby-talk to speak to man. God has to, in some since, talk down to us. He is infinite and we are finite. It is like Michael Moore trying to fit into skinny jeans – It ain’t happinin’. But there is a big difference in talking down to a baby and telling that same baby a flat-out lie. I could have told my son, when he was a toddler, that the sky is blue and that would be true in some sense. Even though it is really made up of all colors, because of our atmosphere, blue is the most visible. On the other hand if I told him the moon was made of cheese...that is a lie. In the same way, if the walls of Jericho did not exist, then the Bible is not truthful when it says the walls feel down. If this were the case, the Bible is not accommodating the finite mind of man; it is misleading man all together.

Our finite minds can not comprehend an infinite God, but the little amount God allows us to comprehend is true.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it with "much" reservations.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Zondervan and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Ardel B. Caneday & Matthew Barrett - Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

http://i43.tower.com/images/mm124387396/four-views-on-historical-adam-ardel-b-caneday-paperback-cover-art.jpgProverbs 18:17 reads, "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him."(ESV)

This scripture has become a motto for me in connection with my theological studies. From the earliest time in my Christian life, I have "tried" to consider the other side, if for no other reason than to be able to give an answer for my own beliefs. I put "tried" in quotes because I understand that it is impossible to be totally unbiased. The desire to see more than one view of a subject is why I look forward to every new book in the Counterpoints series. Each book in the series takes a theological subject and debates the various views.

It is always good to see both sides of a story before making a decision. In this case there are four sides to the story.

Each contributor gives his reason for his belief for or against the historical Adam.

Was there a real person we call Adam?
Was he the first human?
Did sin originate with him?

I felt this would be a great subject. I was a little disappointed that a majority of the debate concerned evolution. I understand that evolution has to be discussed, but it seemed to take center stage. Even though the book was interesting and well written, I felt there could have been much more exegesis of the text.

Even though the book kept my interest all the way through, to be honest, some contributors were much better than others. I think the pastoral reflection by Philip G. Ryken at the end was worth the price of admission. If all contributors wrote with such passion I would have given the book 5 stars.

Personally I think rejecting the historical Adam seems to ride very close to the edge of heresy. I am not questioning the salvation of such men. I believe Jesus died for sin which includes our intellectual mistakes. When Jesus himself believed Adam was real, those who believe he is not seem to be saying that the sinless Christ made a mistake.

All-in-all I enjoyed the book and learned a lot. While technical in some places, it was still fairly simple to follow. I personally would suggest reading Ryken's reflection first!

I recommend this book with a few reservations and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Zondervan and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Brian Borgman - Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical & Balanced Perspective

http://cdn1.bigcommerce.com/server2500/cb550/products/5194/images/8468/Spiritual_Warfare_front__52078.1388506494.1280.1280.jpgHearing the phrase "Spiritual Warfare" brings to mind pictures of exorcisms and demon possession. We think of deliverance ministries or of Frank Peretti novels. For a long time we have needed a balanced view on the subject. I believe Brian Borgman has given us that balance.

Many times a book on this subject will be too far in one extreme or another. One author believes that there is a demon under every bush, and another believes that the devil does nothing today. Both of these suffer from an unbiblical and unbalanced point of view.

The book, "Spiritual Warfare", shows us that the devil is real and we are in a war. The war we are fighting is not against other people. It is against the devil himself and his angels. Using the illustration given by Paul in the book of Ephesians, Borgman takes us through each piece of the Christian’s armor, describing each part and its use. He shows us in a very practical way how to win this war.

I especially enjoyed the Appendix sections:
Appendix 1: The Sovereignty of God and Satan,
Appendix 2: Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed?,
and Appendix 3: Christian, Pray for Your Pastors!

Borgman gives us a good understanding of the war we are in and how to win it. Packed full of encouragement and instruction, his book leaves you with more weapons than you started with.

If you are interested in the subject of warfare, this is a great place to start. Simple and easy to read, it is a great gift for a new believer.

I recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books in exchange for an honest review.