Book review: Running Against The Wind
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Running Against The Wind The Transformation of a New Age Medium and His Warning to the Church Publisher: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Brian Flynn is the founder and director of One Truth Ministries and leads "Now Age" seminars before churches and groups around the United States. But long before he felt such love and concern for the church, he was a psychic medium who hated Christianity with every fiber of his being. Running Against The Wind is the story of his radical transformation. The book begins as an autobiography. Through the first five chapters Flynn traces his life. He was born into a Roman Catholic family, but one which soon gave up on the Church. When he was a child he developed a fascination with Tarot cards and experimented with Ouija boards – his introduction to the occult. As he grew up, he became increasingly disillusioned with Christianity, soon identifying himself as an agnostic Catholic. He joined the Air Force and his life began to spiral out of control as he dabbled in drugs, Transcendental Meditation and the rock and roll lifestyle. After leaving the Air Force he decided to become a…

Book review: Choosing a Bible
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Choosing a Bible Understanding Bible Translation Differences Publisher: Crossway Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Choosing a Bible used to be an easy task. Only a few decades ago there were only two or three translations to choose from, giving a person very little in the way of options. The situation today is far different. We are inundated with translations of Scripture and it seems that a major new translation hits the store shelves every couple of years. Terms like "dynamic equivalent," "formal equivalent," and "paraphrase" are tossed around but few people have any real sense of what they mean. Christians purchase Bibles expecting that what they are reading is truly the Word of God. But is it? Leland Ryken has written extensively on the subject of Bible translations. His book The Word of God in English, which I have reviewed here, was foundational in my life as I attempted to come to terms with the multitudes of translation options available to me. I have since read an excellent essay he wrote for a recent book Translating Truth. Choosing A Bible is a short book, weighing in at only 30 pages, that provides a highly-compressed version of the…

Book review: War and Grace
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

War and Grace Short Biographies from the World Wars Publisher: Evangelical Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes I have an avid interest in the Second World War. I am of the generation whose grandfathers fought in the war and I have always been proud of the contributions made by members of my family. My maternal grandfather, Lawrence Belford, wished to fly bombers but was not permitted because of poor eyesight. Still, he served the Royal Canadian Air Force as a member of the ground crew, loading bombs into Lancaster bombers. He would often recount his memories of the war and at one point I even conducted an interview with him. My grandmother’s brother, Harold, was a Spitfire pilot who lost his life in a mission over the Mediterranean. My paternal grandfather, George Challies, whom I never met, was a Lieutenant Colonel and I am unsure of his contribution, though I believe he commanded an artillery training centre in Quebec. When I was in college I majored in history (my minor was in euchre) and took every possible course that centered around the war years. While I have since turned to other interests I continue to have…

Book review: Endangered
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Endangered Your Child in a Hostile World Publisher: Plough Publishing Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: No In a world unsafe for children, Arnold pleads with parents to love their children by protecting them to be what they are – kids. Arnold wants the innocence of children to be safeguarded from evil. The thrust of the book rings true, but Arnold chases many a liberal-left rabbit, and the thesis of the book frequently gets away from him. Side trips down leftist lane include: gun-control, pacifism, the sanctions-against-Iraq policy of the U.N. prior to the current Iraqi war. These positions from the left are typical for Plough Press. You get the feeling that the desire to safeguard the innocence of children can only beat in the heart of a political leftist. Mr. Arnold writes pleasing prose. I find a lot in common with his love for children and his desire to have them protected from societal evil. However, his ideas about the ‘childhood innocence’ are not complete. While agreeing that childhood innocence must be protected, I disagree with his perspective on the essential nature of humanity. Children are not corrupt only as a result of societal influence – there…

Book review: Peacemaking Women
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Peacemaking Women Biblical Hope For Resolving Conflict Publisher: Baker Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes If poll numbers and statistics are true indicators of knowing what people believe and evaluating how they live, then there is little difference separating the lives of professing believers in Christ from the lives of unbelievers. It is common knowledge today that in America the divorce rate of churchgoers is on a par with those who do not attend church. Teens raised in Christian homes rebel against their parents the same as teens who are not. The weekly women’s prayer group is a misnomer for “gossip session.” Family relationships are often broken over a loved one’s last will and testament. Most women live motivated by their deepest fears rather than their professed theology. Many churches today are filled with Christians who struggle with shallow and conflicted relationships. These issues are just a few reasons why there are so many Christians in psychotherapy. As a result, you can find a plethora of Christian mental health books and programs across North America. Our personal conflicts, which are abysmal recommendations for the gospel, send a damaging shockwave through our churches and communities not easily…

Book review: The Way of the Wild Heart
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Way of the Wild Heart A Map for the Masculine Journey Publisher: Nelson Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: No John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart is a runaway bestseller. Though it debuted in 2001, it still remains near the top of the list of Christian bestsellers and has sold over three million copies, no small feat for a title marketed primarily to Christians. Unfortunately, sales figures do not indicate which books are most faithful to Scripture (indeed, one could probably make an argument that sales figures are inversely proportional to theological faithfulness) and a large number of reviewers, myself included, have pointed out some troubling flaws with the book. In Fools Gold, edited by John MacArthur, Daniel Gillespie examined the book and nicely summarized the foremost problems with the book, suggesting it has: an insufficient view of Scripture; an inadequate picture of God; an incomplete portrait of Christ; and an inaccurate portrait of man. In short, the book was deeply flawed. Though John Eldredge has written other books since Wild at Heart, none has been a true sequel to the bestseller. Or none has been a sequel until now with the upcoming release of The Way…

Book review: Born on a Blue Day
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Born on a Blue Day Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant Publisher: Free Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Born on a Blue Day is the memoir of Daniel Tammet, a British autistic savant. The subject of a documentary entitled The Boy With The Incredible Brain (also broadcast under the title Brainman) Tammet has gained some notoriety and worldwide attention for his incredible feats of memory and mathematics. Tammet has a form of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition that effects social and communication skills. It is characterized by narrow interests and unconventional preoccupations; by repetitive behaviors; by logical and technical patterns of thought; by behavior and interpersonal interaction that can be socially and emotionally inappropriate; and by clumsy and uncoordinated motor control. Tammet also has Savant Syndrome, the condition most commonly associated with Dustin Hoffman’s character from the film Rain Man in which he portrayed Kim Peek, an actual person who suffers from the syndrome. Savants are typically developmentally or mentally handicapped in some areas but display extraordinary abilities in others. They are often amazingly gifted in memory, mathematics, art or music. Added to these, Tammet experiences synesthesia, a rare neurological condition…

Book review: Ashamed of the Gospel
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Ashamed of the Gospel When The Church Becomes Like The World Publisher: Crossway Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes It was just over one hundred years ago that the great preacher Charles Spurgeon began the long battle that would ultimately cost him his life. He saw in the church of that era a trend away from the preaching of the gospel and towards entertainment. The church began to focus on pleasing people rather than preaching the gospel in all its offense and power. The battle Spurgeon waged became known as The Downgrade Controversy. Now, a full century later, John MacArthur is sounding the alarm to warn discerning believers that the crisis the church faced in the late 19th century has come to the modern-day church. The church is, once again, on the downgrade. While Spurgeon fought against the influence of liberalism in the church, today we need to fight against the influx of pragmatism. Believing that those who ignore history are dooming themselves to repeat it, he has written Ashamed of the Gospel to show that the alarms Spurgeon sounded are equally relevant in the 21st century church. To prove this point he precedes each chapter…

Book review: According to Plan
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

According to Plan The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible Publisher: InterVarsity Press Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Graeme Goldsworthy’s “According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible” was published in 1991 and has sat on my too read pile since 2003. Boy am I regretting having not read this book earlier! In the introduction to the final section of the book, Goldsworthy states: “Once we have grasped some kind of the biblical theological overview, it will permanently change our understanding of the Bible in general” (235).This is not overstatement. I found myself feeling like the two on the road to Emmaus: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Which is quite ironic since one of the foundational texts to Biblical Theology is found in this very context. “And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in…

Book review: Foundations of Grace
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Foundations of Grace 1400 BC – AD 100 Publisher: Reformation Trust Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes This is the first volume in a planned series of five that will chronologically survey 3,500 years of men who believed in and upheld the doctrines of grace. It moves through the pages of Scripture and displays more than forty biblical authors who delighted in the doctrines of grace and God’s sovereignty in salvation. Volumes two through five will take their biographical studies from the pages of church history in the following manner: Volume 2: Pillars of Grace (2nd – 16th centuries) Volume 3: Forces of Grace (16th – 17th centuries) Volume 4: Progress of Grace (17th – 19th centuries) Volume Five: Triumph of Grace (19th century – present) So, this first volume is a tour de force of biblical exposition focusing on the mountain of texts that teach the doctrines of grace. Lawson travels from one biblical book to another bringing to light verses that teach one of the five points of Calvinism. An excellent thirteen-page foreword by John MacArthur opened the book with “Divine Immutability and the Doctrines of Grace”. He answers the question of “Why did God…