Book review: 7
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess Publisher: B&H Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Sometimes a woman must make a drastic change to achieve her desired ends. Jesus didn’t advocate any less. When he saw the crowds following him, he sat down on the mountainside and taught them the differences between what they had heard and the soul-killing reality of their sinful situation. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus went on: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matthew 5:27-30, ESV). Paul offers a distant echo when he writes the church in Corinth, “Do you not know that in a race all…

Book review: The Heart of Addiction
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

The Heart of Addiction A Biblical Perspective Publisher: Focus Publishing Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Dr. Mark Shaw brings an impressive resume uniquely suited for a biblical approach to addictions. He holds biblical counseling certification with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC), is a certified Master’s Level Addiction Professional (MLAP), as well as being a Senior Pastor. A Theology of Habitual Sin Shaw eschews the terminology of “addiction” and seeks to get at the “heart of addiction” by conceptualizing it as a “life-dominating and life-devastating sin problem.” He sees addiction ultimately as a “worship disorder.” Further, Shaw takes issue with the common medical model approach that links addictions to the “disease model.” That being said, Shaw is not simplistic in his approach. He recognizes that the body can respond to a sin problem so that over time actions associated with addiction become habitual and extremely difficult to overcome. This is a very useful balance missed by some. In fact, he’s more than balanced. Shaw is comprehensive. He acknowledges that even after people have initially overcome the physical portion of addiction: Physically, they may still experience real cravings. Mentally, they may always battle to take their…

Book review: Radical
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Radical Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream Publisher: Multnomah Books Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes David Platt has a burden’a burden to see believers in America acting like New Testament Christians. But for the most part, he says we’re not. Instead, we are pursuing the “American dream” rather than Jesus. Jesus told his disciples not to lay up treasures on earth. They were to take up their crosses. They were to live for others. They were to be willing to die for others. But we live for ourselves. We live for security, for comfort, for ease, for entertainment, and for retirement. With the best of intentions, we have actually turned away from Jesus. We have in many areas blindly and unknowingly embraced values and ideas that are common in our culture but are antithetical to the gospel he taught. And, according to Platt, it’s not just individual Christians embracing flawed values. Churches in America spend billions of dollars to build extravagant kingdoms and then praise themselves for sending a few thousand dollars to missions, while millions around the world are starving to death without ever hearing the gospel. Platt calls this lack of concern…

Book review: Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement The Life of Edward Irving Publisher: Banner of Truth Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes “I look back upon him with awe, as on the saints and martyrs of old. A holy man, in spite of all his delusions and errors. He is now with his God and Saviour, whom he wronged so much, yet, I am persuaded, loved so sincerely.” So said Robert Murray McCheyne of Edward Irving. And in those words McCheyne aptly summarizes the legacy of Irving, a man of unusual ability, a man who by so many appearances genuinely loved the Lord. And yet he was a man who had some very strange and dangerous beliefs and a man who was fascinated with spectacular manifestations of spiritual gifts. He was the forerunner of the contemporary charismatic movement. Born in 1792, Edward Irving was a Scottish preacher, a man who had inherited the legacy of a deeply theological faith. Licensed to preach in the Presbyterian churches, he quickly became noted as a speaker and preacher for his intellectual and eloquent sermons. But he was also known as a kind and attentive pastor who found great joy in visiting the…

Book review: Lies Young Women Believe
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Lies Young Women Believe And the Truth that Sets Them Free Publisher: Moody Publishers Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes Following the success of Lies Women Believe, author Nancy Leigh DeMoss joined forces with Dannah Gresh, author of And The Bride Wore White and co-founder of Pure Freedom, a ministry equipping men and women of all ages to a vibrant life of purity, to create Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free (LYWB). To research this generation of young women, DeMoss and Gresh spoke to more than 1,000 teen girls in ten different cities across the United States. Each young woman participated in a survey. But some 100 girls participated in an informal, two-hour discussion group. The survey results and discussions provided the foundation for the book’s 25 most commonly believed lies among young women. DeMoss and Gresh identified 25 lies and grouped them into 12 categories: lies about God, lies about Satan, lies about myself, lies about guys, lies about relationships, lies about my faith, lies about sin, lies about media, and lies about the future. Following an explanation of the first deception in the Garden of Eden, DeMoss and Gresh teach…

Book review: Help! My Toddler Rules the House
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Help! My Toddler Rules the House Publisher: Day One Publications Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes If anyone possesses the credentials to write about childrearing, it is Paul and Karen Tautges. Not only do they have ten children, but they serve a congregation in Plymouth, Wisconsin, which has benefited from their solid and consistent parenting counsel over many years. Help! My Toddler Rules the House is one of many booklets in the Day One Help! biblical counseling series. When I first scanned the titles of the first batch of Help! booklets, this one caught my eye, raising the question of whether our little toddler ‘ our third child ‘ rules the house? With a lengthy and melodramatic sigh of relief, I can confidently report that he does not. But lest you think I have used the booklet merely to carry out a self-aggrandizing parenting audit, here is a brief outline of the ways in which this booklet established the foundations of godly, effective parenting. Firstly, the Bible needs to be seen as the revelation of God, and as such, authoritative for the family. This was a helpful reminder that the Bible is truly the sole authority of…

Book review: Reverberation
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Reverberation How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People Publisher: Moody Publishers Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes There are some books that find their strength in saying new things – the original thoughts or perspectives we’ve simply never heard before. There are other books that find their strength in saying old things – things we’ve heard before but just need to hear again, whether that’s because of lack of faith or lack of memory or just because every time something is said it’s said in a different way. Jonathan Leeman’s new book Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People falls squarely into the latter category for me. I have heard it before. And I desperately needed to hear it again. Reverberation is a book about God’s Word. It’s that simple. But maybe it’s not that simple. Churches and Christians are looking all over the place to find a source of light, freedom and action, to find whatever it is that will stir people, fire them up, lead them to do great things. Some try the latest and greatest programs; some work on dynamic small group ministries; some work…

Book review: Theology Remixed
Book Reviews / June 26, 2017

Theology Remixed Christianity as Story, Game, Language, Culture Publisher: IVP Academic Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team Available on Amazon Recommended: Yes The chief end of books is to glorify God and to be enjoyed by man. Theology Remixed by Adam C. English is such a book, accomplishing these dual ends directly by virtue of the author’s approach and intent: to describe features of the Christian Faith by employing and exploring four elucidatory analogies. The super-intelligent English does so humbly, setting up his analogies by identifying similarities and dissimilarities. This book is a thought experiment designed to deepen faith, and 99.9% of it did just that for this reviewer. Before we arrive at the faith-deepening aspects, however, we first must deal with the remaining 0.1%. English begins his book on a provocative note, if you happen to be a reader that possesses any sort of Reformed sympathies. Invoking the late Christopher Hitchens, whom English debated many years ago, English reports how the following ‘stereotype’ of Christianity ‘unnerves’ him: For too many people, Christianity comes off as this absurd idea that God killed his Son to pay for some violation against God’s honor perpetrated by humans who were, for the most part, unaware…