Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Greatest Centurty of Reformation, Always Ready, Chosen By God, & Praise Her in The Gates Book Reviews

Maybe I should have just entitled it, "All the Recently Read Books of 2014", still a mouthful, but less words, ha. I just was sitting down to write the review for the Sproul book but decided to check my Goodreads Account to follow up on all the books I've finished so far this year.  Not only have I slacked off on writing reviews, even if only short ones, I have not been blogging twice a month like planned.  As in, March totally failed, nothing published on the blog at all. :/

The Greatest Century of Reformation, Peter Hammond 5 Stars
Always Ready, Greg Bahnsen                                            5 Stars

Praise Her in the Gates, Nancy Wilson                             3.75 Stars
Chosen by God, R.C. Sproul                                              4 Stars

Peter Hammond's The Greatest Century of Reformation was very fun to read.  It read as a story of history, not dry boring facts at all.  He high lights many of the influential reformers, both well known and lesser known.  I learned many new fascinating facts about different men's lives and made me praise the Lord for His goodness in using these men in enlightening the world to His truth about the bible.  The Reformation paved the way for all men to read the bible in their own native tongue, something I think most of us take for granted by barely reading our bible.  I've heard Peter Hammond speak in person before at a conference (where I purchased this book from) and his books are every bit as interesting and thought provoking as his teaching, maybe even more so.  This is basically a crash course in one of the most important times in history (save for the first coming of Christ, of course).  I believe every Christian ought to read this book and know where we came from.  I would even venture to say most Christians will thoroughly enjoy it! I will read this again for sure, and I plan to read it to my child(ren) as well as use it in our home education "curriculum".

Greg Bahnsen's Always Ready was a difficult read.  But it was that perfect mixture of challenging yet comprehensible.  I've heard my husband and his father say this was written for an 8th grade level.  Well! Doesn't that just knock my intellectual pride down a few pegs.  This is probably the best introduction to Presuppositional Apologetics, in my opinion.  I've read different articles, listened to lectures, heard friends/family discuss it, and watched many a Bahnsen Youtube video, but this one book is fantastic if you are interested in it for the first time. What I was constantly impressed with was Bahnsen's fidelity to the word of God.  Few books quote and reference scripture so extensively to build their case.  But seeing as how presuppositional apologetics is all about the Word of God as the starting point for apologetics, I would have been disappointed had this book been written/formatted in any other way.  Speaking of, the chapters in this book were excellent!  They were just the right length (rather short) for me to finish one chapter during on feeding with 2nd Samuel. You could even use this as a "devotional" book, since most of the book is this way.  The last chapter was immensely helpful in general.  Over all, I will have to read this (or another book on presuppositional apologetics) soon, because though the more I read, the more familiar I am with it, I quake in my imaginary boots to try and apply the method in a debate. I really don't want to debate.  But I do want to be always ready! Another must read for any Christian.

Nancy Wilson's Praise Her in the Gates was actually a good book. I picked it up expecting to love it, and was disappointed when a couple chapters in I was not liking it at all. The chapter on differences of opinions concerning medical decisions really distanced me from it and I set it down for a few weeks.  I am really glad I went back and finished, because over all it was a wonderful book of practical application.  Each chapter addresses different aspect of a Christian Wife and Mother's duties, what the scripture teaches, why it is important, and real life examples and instruction on what that should look like.  She is not dogmatic saying "Do it this way", but rather gives the principles and general application of it. One thing I greatly appreciated was her stance on education: Christian Education is a must.  I personally am an advocate for Christian Home Education.  Some people may not like that she is not pushing for home education, but I truly believe the first battle to engage is to get all Christians to understand that those little arrows entrusted to their care need to be brought up in a thoroughly biblically based education... and government school isn't cutting it. At. All.  Ok, back the book. (: This is a very small book, very easy to read, and very edifying. I will need to read more books in this genre of womanhood to find out which one I think is a must read (;

R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God is a thorough book explaining the controversial doctrine of predestination.  He pulls no punches, he knows it's controversial and says it straight out: everyone has a view of this doctrine, but is it the biblical one?  You can't get around this issue because it is clearly taught in scripture.  So, he explains varying views, all while being open about where he stands.  R.C. Sproul is one of my favorite teachers.  The Lord has really gifted him in teaching in general.  He is engaging and knows how to bring seemingly lofty and high doctrine down to an understandable level for any Christian at any stage in life.  This book proves to be no different.  He addresses the common arguments for and against, dissects them, compares them to scripture, and most importantly interprets scripture with scripture.  No bible verse stands alone, but rather any doctrine must be held in scrutiny with the rest of scripture.  I think is an excellent book for anyone who is new to this idea of predestination, and even those who have their mind set against it but want to read more on the topic.  He even tackles the controversial TULIP acronym, and pretty much destroys it and changes the letters around for better terminology that more accurately sums up the essential points. And no, Calvin did not invent predestination, take your argument up with God (as a side note, Augustine pre-dates even Calvin, battling Pelagius and his heretical views.) So there you have it.  If you have never ever read anything about predestination, please begin here in your reading along side scripture.  Don't be daunted by your preconceived ideas, but rather pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see the truth of scripture as it is, not as you want it to be.  For when we are not willing to be teachable and admit we have been wrong, this is nothing more than a stagnant prideful life.  Not to mention we are setting up false gods in our mind when we do not submit to scripture, even when it hurts our pride.  And yes, as I learn and grow I realize I have to die to self and be a living sacrifice unto God.  All that to say, let this book challenge you and read it if you were repulsed that I even read a book like this.

What have you read so far this year?  I try and choose a wider variety of books that way I am challenged and stretched in my reading.  I don't want to always read easy things, or always read hard things, because then I might get discouraged or get puffed up.

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