By Joan S Gray
Using the metaphor of sailing, this book encourages churches to rethink their purpose, mission and the way they operate. It is not a follow these steps for instant success, but rather a book to stimulate discussion around key concepts.
The metaphor – boat is the church, the wind is the Holy Spirit, the Captain God himself, etc is explained, with examples related to actual churches and the early church. Chapters finish with discussion questions to get leaders thinking about their church.
Chapters deal with following with the Holy Spirit, the mission of the church, leadership, elements of church, dealing with issues and more.
I found the book useful to create discussion, leading to change. It is not a book for members of the church to read individually, but for the senior pastor to work with the church to bring about change.
An excellent book to think about it you as a senior leader, are looking about bring change to your church.
Making the Case for Christianity
Responding to Modern Objections
By Korey Maas and Adam Francisco
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House
A collect of essays defending Christianity from claims against it. This intellectual title is not written for the average person, rather for theologians and Bible College students.
It is not as a conversion tool, rather as a tool to defend the beliefs of the Christian faith, providing the reader with answers to questions and objections.
Essays written by various authors include: Defending the Existence of God; New Testament Gospels as Reliable History; Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Trial; Defending the Deity of Jesus in the Face of Islam; Scandal of Christian Particularity; Gratuitous Evil and a God of Love; and Christianity’s Cultural Legacy.
An interesting read to start considering the issues mentioned.
A History of Christian Theology,
By William C. Placher, Derek R. Nelson
Publisher: Westminister John Knox Press
The first edition of this wonderful reference has been utilised by students for over three decades. It outlines the importance and vast history of theology. This updated version brings together developments and thinking from the last thrity years with Placher vast knowledge in the previous volume.
A History of Christian Theology engages the reader / student in an interesting and educational text.
The book pulls together five tensions of Christianity, expounding on their affect of society and reflecting on how they have shaped theology:
Humanity vs Divinity
Faith in Revelation vs Reason for Belief
Works and Grace
Spirit and Structure
Church and State.
While best suited for the professional theologian and Bible College student, lay people will gain valuable insight into theology and the development of the ideals that we take as truth today.
Praying through the Names of God
By Tony Evans
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Praying through the Names of God is a comprehensive list and description of the names of God in the Scriptures.
For each of the 85 different names, there is a description, revelation as to the intent and meaning of the name, and a relevant prayer that could be used.
Rather than a deep theological book on the names of God, it is a prayer book for the different situations and circumstances of people’s lives.
An excellent book for people looking at using the name of God in prayer.
7 Secrets to Power Praying
How to Access God's Wisdom and Miracles Every Day
By Jane Glenchur
Publisher: Chosen Books
At first I was unsure about another book on prayer. It is however a practical reminder about prayer, particularly developing a conversational prayer that is covers every area of every day of your life.
Seven secrets is broken into three parts. Firstly “Partnering with God”. Glenchur encourages up when we come to God in prayer it shouldn’t be with requests. Instead of being a shopping list, it should be a time of engaging with God. She goes on with five keys to prayer: Petition, Passion, Presence, Preparedness, and Perseverance.
The second part outlines and teaches how to apply, the seven secrets to power praying for more abundant living: say yes first; turning miserable circumstances into blessings; tap into Gods heart; Toss the pros and cons list; know when to give up; open locked doors; and employ the power of testimonies. The final part is about going to the next level.
The book is full of practical examples and stories about how Glenchur and her family use conversational prayer throughout the day.
The book is a great reminder about what we already know, that our relationship with God is central to change, and prayer is the communication tool we use to see impact in our lives.
Growing in Christlike Love for God and Neighbour
by Jimmy Agan
The Imitation of Christ in the Gospel of Luke: Growing in Christlike Love for God and Neighbor Publisher: P & R Publishing
Imitation of Christ, uses the Gospel of Luke to explain how Jesus is not only our saviour, but also our greatest example.
The book in centred on the life of Christ, and grounded in the text of Luke. However it is not written in such a way as not to be understood by the average person. Agan’s style engages the reader to join him on a journey to become more like Christ.
Early Christianity, the Calendar, and the Life of Jesus
By Steven L. Ware
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House
Whether you pick up and read this book, will be determined primarily by how important it is to your faith that the precise moment of Jesus birth was. For some, it will be vitally important, and this book will let them down.
For those who are interested in these matters, but it doesn’t affect their faith, this is an interesting read, that will highlight much of the debate, and issues around matching a multitude of calendars and historical events.
It is accepted that the Christian calendar created by Exiguus is incorrect in its placement of Jesus birth. There is little agreement amongst scholars as to what the correct date should be, nor has there been even from early Christian writers. Steven Ware is not convincing in his argument of the most likely date.
While interesting, it is not a book that will change history, rather add to the already crowded explanation of a topic that we will never know the answer to.
Steven L. Ware, Ph. D., is Professor of Historical Theology at Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City and Nyack, NY. As a member of both the Evangelical Theological Society and the American Society of Church History, he has presented widely to both academic and church audiences on questions of Biblical history, the chronological dates of Jesus' life, the Paschal calendar, and historical foundations of the Christian faith.
Ideally suited to academics, historians and scholars.
Thanks to Netgalley & Concordia Publishing House for my copy. This review can also be found on my blog, Books-Reviewed.
Making Moral Choices in a world full of options.
By Scott Rae
This book is the companion guide to Chuck Colson’s video series with the same title.
It is an exploration of moral development based upon a natural law approach. As well as being a guide to live and have a worldview in todays culture.
As a work on ethics and morality, it begins by illustrating how society got to its current situations through worldly examples including business, crime, pornography, and the media.
The book makes a case for objective morality, which Christians believe is grounded in the Scriptures, with a call for individuals as well as society to return to an ethical and cultural foundation.
Thus the book is a call for a revolution in ethics and virtue in our society.
While the initial plan was for the book to sit alongside the video, you can easily read the book without viewing the videos.
The question for the reader and for society, is our society fine, or is it in a state of moral decay? If it is a problem, how serious is it? May people, including Christians that I speak to do not see the issue as being a priority in today’s society.
Scott Rae tackles the tough questions head on, with a fresh degree of honesty. He argues with sound principles, revealing a firm foundation of ethical, medical and Biblical knowledge and understanding.
The book has plenty of real life, real world examples and succeeds in getting people to think about the ethical behaviours in society.
By Irving Finkel
I had to question whether this book was another to capitalise on Russell Crowe’s new movie Noah, or whether it was a genuine academic text.
While there will be some cross promotion with the movie, it does not take long to determine that
The Ark before Noah is a purely academic text. To call it dry would be a complement.
It is in fact an investigation into the ark and more specifically an ancient clay tablet, called cuneiform. The book centres on the tablet and how it provides a new interpretation of the Noah's Ark story. The tablet that actually describes animals entering an ark "two by two".
There is no doubting the excitement that the author Dr Irving Finkel's has for cuneiform, and his research to show that the flood story is real, and documented prior to the Biblical recount.
The tablet confirms the Biblical account of the flood, but apart from the discovery and interpretation of the cuneiform tablet it doesn’t provide any new information or interpretation.
There is a rather long and tedious recount of the author’s background and academic history. Apart from establishing his
credentials it serves no purpose at all, and is quickly skipped
You would need to be either a keen historian or flood fanatic to read through the entire book.
by Larry Stone
I was excited to have the
opportunity to review this book. It had been a while since I had looked at anything on Noah and the ark, and I was generally interested in seeing a perspective and current thoughts.
Regardless of beliefs about the fact or fiction of Noah, I was disappointed in the book. It raised
questions, which it never answered. It appeared as a series of notes on the topic that needed checking for validity and editing.
The points it raises in the book are valid, and some of the questions that go unanswered have been satisfactory explained in the past. Larry Stone, the author, may have made better use of his time with further research particularly in scholarly texts and rewriting in layman’s terms, thus providing some answers with a basis of
Many would claim that the book was hurried put together and published in time for the Russel Crowe movie “Noah”.
The book attempts to answer questions like how Noah build the boat, how he feed the animals, whether all the animals of just representatives of species were included, and how Noah dealt
with tonnes of animal waste daily.
Then there is the chapters on various Noah related theme parks around the world and the sell job of convincing the reader to visit one. Finally the book discusses the next world disaster and how mankind, as well as animals and plants will survive it.
Having read material better researched and written in the past, I tend to believe the literal story of Noah and the Ark. Larry Stone’s book Noah: The Real Story, would not have convinced me, and would have left me with more questions than answers.
I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it had answered questions, and been better edited.