Book review: Evidence and Paul’s Journeys
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Evidence and Paul’s Journeys Publisher: Parsagard Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes The Bible teaches that it is not historical or archaeological evidence lies at the heart of Christianity, but a childlike faith. Neither is it signs, wonders or miracles. The Scripture tells us that "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign." A generation that serves the Lord will be content with a faith that God is who He says He is and that He has done what He says He has done. Nevertheless, because Scripture claims it is true, we should believe it to be so and should expect that we would find it to be so. "Faith in Jesus rests upon the truth of the events narrated in the New Testament. Faith in Christ is inseparable from the belief that certain events occurred and that the record of those events is true. The life of Jesus is more than just a spiritual event, it is an event in history. Thus Christians are faced with the problem of evidence." In Evidence & Paul’s Journeys, Jefferson White, an independent scholar, tackles this problem head-on, providing an historical investigation into the travels of the Apostle…

Book review: Inside Narnia
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Inside Narnia A Guide to Exploring the Lion, the Witch And the Wardrobe Publisher: Baker Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Inside Narnia was one of the many books published in advance of the recent movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this book Devin Brown, a Lewis scholar and aficionado, offers a detailed look into the world of Narnia, digging far beyond the surface, and exploring this magical world. Having just read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe with my children, I decided to read this as a commentary of sorts, to see what I had missed and what I would want to look for the next time I read the book. Brown begins the book just where he should: with a rationale for the book’s existence. There are, after all, many similar titles available. He replies that the strongest reason for any new work must be that it first takes an approach not taken before and then must cover ground that has not been covered before. He does both of these. His approach to the story is in the first place literary rather than primarily devotional. He…

Book review: Talking About Good and Bad Without Getting Ugly
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Talking About Good and Bad Without Getting Ugly A Guide To Moral Persuasion Publisher: InterVarsity Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia are just three of the issues facing our society at this very moment. As Christians we have strong opinions on each of these issues, believing them to be in direct contradiction with the will of God. So how do we go about discussing such difficult topics in our pluralistic society. The truth is that we often shy away from such discussions rather than risk offending others or appearing intolerant. Yet as Christians it is our responsibility to share what we know to be true. Talking About Good and Bad Without Getting Ugly, written by Paul Chamberlain, director of the Institute of Christian Apologetics and professor at Trinity Western University, offers a solution to this dilemma. Chamberlain believes that meaningful dialogue on the difficult moral questions is not only a possibility but is a responsibility. It is crucial that Christians engage the culture with this issues for two reasons. First, this allows us to hone our own positions on these issues. It is easy to think we have all the answers,…

Book review: The Thinking Toolbox
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Thinking Toolbox Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills Publisher: Christian Logic Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Having read The Fallacy Detective, written by Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn, I turned immediately to the second title in the Christian Logic series. The Thinking Toolbox is "like a toolbox – full of all kinds of tools you can use for different thinking tasks" (from the back cover). Like its predecessor, it is self-teaching and is written to appeal to both teenagers and adults. While the format of this book is much the same as The Fallacy Detective, it is in many ways better-written and better-formatted. While the format of the book is much the same, featuring thirty-five lessons, each followed by questions of application, the illustrations were superior and more appealing. It continued to feature the humorous touches that made the previous book such a joy to read, even though it dealt with weighty subject matter. The Thinking Toolbox teaches reasoning skills. It begins with introducing the differences between a discussion, a disagreement, an argument and a fight and guides the reader to understand how to discern premises and conclusions. It progresses to providing tools to…

Book review: Trusting God
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Trusting God Even When Life Hurts Publisher: Navpress Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended:     Available on Amazon

Book review: The Doctrines of Grace
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Doctrines of Grace Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel Publisher: Crossway Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes There is any number of books available today that serve as introductions to Calvinism or the doctrines of grace. While some of these leave much to be desired, many of them are excellent and do justice to the topic. One might ask, then, why someone would want to write (or read) yet another one, and that would be a fair question. What attracted me to The Doctrines of Grace is that it was the final book written by one of our generation’s great pastors and teachers, James Montgomery Boice. Having been diagnosed with cancer and knowing that he had merely a few months or weeks to live, he dedicated himself to hymn-writing and to writing this book. He lived for a mere forty two days after receiving his diagnosis, and though he was not able to see it to completion, he turned it over to his colleague Philip Ryken who completed it after Boice’s death. In the foreward R.C. Sproul writes of Boice: “Here was a man who not only believed in the doctrines of grace but also loved those…

Book review: Deceived On Purpose
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Deceived On Purpose The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, 2nd Edition Publisher: Mountain Streams Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Deceived On Purpose is probably the most important contribution in the ongoing discussion about Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life and all things Purpose Driven. It is one of only a couple of book-length treatments of the subject and the one that brings the most to the table. The author, Warren Smith, is a former New Ager who, after being saved, researched and has written extensively on the topic of spiritual deception. Having been immersed in the New Age movement for many years, he is sensitive to the inroads of New Age beliefs into Christianity. He says “Because of my New Age background, I have written this book Deceived on Purpose to specifically address some of the New Age implications of these purposes [for the church].” His discussion of the New Age implications of The Purpose Driven Life merits consideration by all concerned believers. The author is clear from the beginning that this book is not a mix of positives and negatives. He believes that Rick Warren is leading the church astray and will…

Book review: When Good Men Are Tempted
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

When Good Men Are Tempted Publisher: Zondervan Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes After reviewing the deeply flawed “Every Man’s Battle I mentioned that I would read another book with the same theme of sexual purity. To that end I purchased “When Good Men Are Tempted” by Bill Perkins. It is an honest and often disturbing look at the subject. The book claims that “Bill Perkins details a plan for sexual integrity – one that works. He shows men how to achieve a purity that will preserve the sanctity of their marriages, the security of their families, the vitality of their walks with God, and the strength of their relationships with their brothers in Christ.” The book begins with an attempt to understand the struggle men face. Perkins shows why naked women look so good and why other naked women look even better than our wives. He speaks of the addictive cycle of trying to repeat “young love” or our first sexual experiences. We want to be able to relive the original excitement we felt during those often illicit experiences. He illustrates these concepts with the example of Samson. The author’s solution to this problem surrounding lust…

Book review: Famine in the Land
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Famine in the Land A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching Publisher: Moody Publishers Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Famine in the Land opens with a quote from the great preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones. "The most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and most urgent need in the Church, it is the greatest need of the world also." Author Steven Lawson continues, "If the doctor’s diagnosis is correct, and this writer believes it is, then a return to preaching – true preaching, biblical preaching, expository preaching – is the greatest need in this critical hour. If a reformation is to come to the church, it must be preceded by a reformation of the pulpit. As the pulpit goes, so goes the church" (page 17). What follows is four chapters which are, appropriately, expository in nature and which examine the priority, power, pattern and passion of expository preaching. The book is divided into four sections. In the first, the author writes about the priority of biblical preaching, using verses from Acts 2 as his text. He teaches that God’s church must be done in God’s way in order to thrive…

Book review: The Fulfilled Family
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Fulfilled Family God’s Design for Your Home Publisher: Nelson Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes It seems to me that John MacArthur writes books in two broad categories. The first is books that often address cultural issues or specific issues within the church. This includes books like Hard to Believe or Ashamed of the Gospel. The other category is books that are drawn from sermons series he preaches to his congregation at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. The Fulfilled Family, the lastest in a long line of MacArthur’s books, falls squarely in the second category. This book began as a series of sermons expositing Ephesians 5. It is no more and no less than what we have come to expect of John MacArthur – well-written, deep, challenging, and above all else, firmly biblical. The book is divided into five chapters of roughly equal length. There is one chapter for each of the family, the wife, the husband, the child and the parents. Following the theme of the book, each chapter exposits a portion of the fifth chapter of Ephesians and other parallel texts. The theme of the book is the importance of mutual…