Book review: Proclamation and Praise
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Proclamation and Praise Hebrews 2:12 and the Christology of Worship Publisher: Wipf & Stock Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes I well remember a campfire ditty that my generation sang at Vacation Bible School and marshmallow roasts at summer camp: “King Jesus is all / My all in all / And I know that He’ll answer / Me when I call / Walking by my side / I’m satisfied / King Jesus is all / My all in all.” Later in youth group we sang Dennis Jernigan’s signature song, which was, like “King Jesus is all,” a round: “You are my strength when I am weak / You are the treasure that I seek / You are my all in all.” The reason I mention these worship songs from yesteryear is due to their seemingly nonchalant inclusion of a profound theological concept: that of Jesus Christ’s mediatorial work, echoing 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 and Ephesians 1:22-23: For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under hin, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When has done this, then the Son himself…

Book review: Jesus and Israel
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Jesus and Israel One Covenant or Two? Publisher: Eerdmans Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes In this book Holwerda thoughtfully examines the scriptures to discover the role of Israel in the salvation plan of God; specifically after the coming of Jesus. Holwerda outlines four areas that need to been discussed to truly understand the relationship. These areas form the four main sections of his book: 1) Jesus and Israel: a question of identity, 2) Jesus and the Temple: a question of essence, 3) Jesus and the Land: a question of time and place, 4) Jesus and the Law: a question of fulfilment. Following these sections Holwerda examines if there is a future for Jewish Israel. In the section Jesus and Israel: a question of identity Holwerda argues that the Gospel of Matthew answers the question, “Who is Israel?” with a single word. Jesus. After recounting numerous ways that Matthew represents Jesus fulfilling and recapitulating the prophecies and acts of Israel, Holwerda states: Jesus, a literal descendant of Abraham, himself a Jew, is the Israel who is the object of God’s love. He is chosen by God and responds in perfect obedience, fulfilling the law and the prophets…

Book review: Opening Up 1 Corinthians
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Opening Up 1 Corinthians Publisher: DayOne Publications Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes How often does the average Christian open up the pages of Scripture just to be confronted with the circuitous passages of the Pentateuch, the Prophets, or the Pauline epistles? While 1 Corinthians is arguably the most practical of all Paul’s letters, potential challenges still face the reader: •    How can we understand the cultural context of this letter?•    Do the challenges of the first-century Corinthian Christians apply to us today?•    What strategies can we employ to follow the seemingly disjointed line of Paul’s thoughts?•    Which teachings are outright commands and which are guiding principles? In this 2005 installment in Day One Publications’ “Opening Up the Bible" series, former Charlotte Chapel pastor and current itinerant minister Derek Prime has provided the average reader with a handbook to guide an exploration of this important Pauline epistle. The most important thing to note about Prime’s handbook is the emphasis it places upon 1 Corinthians 15 as the defining chapter in the book. This is in contrast to the common conception of the chapter 13 as the sun around which all the other chapters orbit: “Chapters in the…

Book review: The Bookends of the Christian Life
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Bookends of the Christian Life Publisher: Crossway Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes I met Bob Bevington a couple of years ago. He and I both somehow ended up at a youth conference and we began to chat while walking from the venue to a nearby hotel; we were the only adults around so we must have naturally gravitated toward one another. We were surprised to learn that we were both under contract to write a book—I was writing The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment while he was working with Jerry Bridges on a book they were to co-author. Since that time he and Bridges have written two books together, the second of which is The Bookends of the Christian Life. This book relies upon a metaphor that extends from cover-to-cover: the metaphor of bookends. I think we have all experienced the difficulty of putting books on a bookshelf without using any bookends. You know what happens. The books on the end inevitably tip over and once they fall, the ones beside them fall too. Soon the whole line of books has tipped over and several of them may have crashed to the floor. The solution, of…

Book review: Lost and Found
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Lost and Found The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them Publisher: B&H Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Churches are beginning to wake up to the fact that our congregations are missing large numbers of young people. The “missing generation” includes young people who have either ”dropped out” of church or who have never had a church background at all. What to do? How can churches reach 20-somethings? Some books focus on reclaiming the “drop-outs” – those who once were in church, but have since left. Essential Church by Thom and Sam Rainer is an example of a book that focuses on reclaiming what we have lost. Ed Stetzer’s new book puts forth a vision that is more expansive. Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them focuses on churches that are seeing success in reaching the younger unchurched from across the spectrum – including those without any Christian background whatsoever. Co-written with Jason Hayes and RIchie Stanley, Lost and Found sets forth an optimistic tone: This book is not entitled Lost and We Just Wanted to Tell You (and it’s the Church’s fault by the way). We’re calling it…

Book review: Queen Mom
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Queen Mom A Royal Plan for Restoring Order in Your Home Publisher: Standard Publishing Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Queen Mom begins with a fairy tale in which the king and queen, reigning over their happy little kingdom, decide to have children.  After years of poor parenting decisions, they find themselves dethroned by their precious prince and princess.  The children are allowed to rule and the kingdom is thrown into chaos.  This fairy tale serves as an allegory for what happens when parents allow children to exert their wills over the household.  Author Brenda Garrison recalls when she realized that she had abdicated her throne, how she decided to reclaim it, and the little, daily decisions she made along the way to maintain her reign.  When and how did the Queen Mom get dethroned?  Who decided the prince and princess could reign sovereign?  Moms, it’s time we take back what God gave to us – the role of the mom.  The sad truth is that in more and more homes, moms are at the beck and call of the kids.  The children dictate what they are allowed to do, how they talk (even with disrespect), where…

Book review: Echoes from the Holocaust
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Echoes from the Holocaust A Memoirs Publisher: University of Tennessee Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Wax is an odd last name. I don’t run into Waxes every day. Generally, the only time I meet other Waxes is at family reunions. For those who might wonder where the name comes from, it appears the Wax name has some sort of Jewish origin. (In fact, I have come across several Rabbi Waxes!) Not too long ago, I started wondering how many people with the last name WAX perished in the Holocaust. I looked up a website that documented the names of Holocaust victims. I entered my last name into the Search field and quickly discovered that (counting the ethnic variations of my last name) the  number of results was too large to be displayed. I had to refine my search based on location. Thousands upon thousands of Waxes died in the Holocaust. Even though I am not Jewish and do not have (to my knowledge) any direct relatives who died in the Holocaust, I cannot help but feel a kinship with the people whose names occupy the long list of victims. These were real people – people…

Book review: The Irish Puritans
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Irish Puritans James Ussher and the Reformation of the Church Publisher: Evangelical Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes James Ussher (1581-1656) was one of the most influential Reformed theologians of the seventeenth century. In spite of this, he appears only faintly on the horizon of the contemporary resurgence of Reformed theology. However, the man who stands behind the Westminster Confession of Faith deserves greater recognition for his role not only in the reformation in Ireland, but in England as well. With the 2003 publication of Crawford Gribben’s The Irish Puritans: James Ussher and the Reformation of the Church, the house of Ussher is beginning to ascend to the heights of influence that it once had. Although the book under review is written in a style that is accessible to the layperson, it is not simplistic. One comes away from it learning much about the religious and political situation in early modern Ireland. To further educate the reader, Gribben provides illustrations, mostly portraits of key figures as well as two delightful sketches by his wife Pauline whose background is in architecture. Gribben writes with an apparent sympathetic bent towards those who sought reform in seventeenth century…

Book review: Blue Ice
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Blue Ice And Other Stories from the Rink Publisher: Canon Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Discerning Reader recently sent me a great little collection of short stories called Blue Ice: And Other Stories from the Rink by Frank Ewert. I am not sure if it was mainly because I am Canadian, and so grew up with ice flowing through my veins during the winter, that I was chosen to review it. For whatever reason I am extremely thankful. Those who really have no idea what hockey is all about, aside from sitting down and watching it on TV, need to pick up this book. Ewert gives us an insider’s view of what it is like to participate in this great game outside of the glitz and glam of professional sports. There are no stories of millions of fans cheering on their favourite team, but plenty of stories of young boys learning what it means to work together and overcome their differences. Ewert makes the characters come alive as they fight for the puck and the attention of the girls, sometimes coming down to blows on the ice and elsewhere. The last story in the collection is about…

Book review: Scandalous
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Scandalous The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Publisher: Crossway Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Do you want to see the greatest evidence of the love of God? Go to the cross. Do you want to see the greatest evidence of the justice of God? Go to the cross. It is where wrath and mercy meet. Holiness and peace kiss each other. The climax of redemptive history is the cross. So says D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in his new book, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. Dr. Carson has been teaching since 1978, and it shows. He addresses deep and profound truths with clarity. What’s the difference between propitiation and expiation? Carson cannot only explain it, but he can interest you while he does.He certainly held my interest. He even made me laugh. But more importantly, he informed me, convicted me, and challenged me. There was something highlighter-worthy on every page. Scandalous has five parts. Each is distinct, keeping the book interesting, yet each ties into the main topic: the cross and resurrection. Part one looks at four “Ironies of the Cross” unfolded in Matthew’s gospel. Dr….