Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Turing's Cathedral - A Review

This is a book I am currently reading; a review will be posted shortly.

Get Fluffy - A Review

My current read - review to follow.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Richard Platt

A Review

Richard Platt’s new attempt to emulate C. S. Lewis is as much a walk through post modern apologetics as it is an attempt to copy the style and message of C. S. Lewis’ great attempt to speak for Satan.

My first reaction to the book was summarized in a statement I gave to my wife, As One Devil to Another  is to Screwtape Letters what Criminal Minds is to CSI.  

But I was wrong - as I continued to read, I came to realize that Platt’s view of Satan and his dominion is much more diabolical than the simple comparison of two TV shows.  In 31 letters, Platt demonstrates the ugliness, the corruptness, and the deviousness that one might imagine Satan using to bring God’s creation and kingdom, in all its wonder and beauty, to an end.  Alas, and thankfully, the author realizes the futility of Satan’s schemes.

In addition to giving one authors view of Satan’s handiwork, the book also provides an overview of modern apologetics.  Starting with the unexpected conversion of Lewis himself and working through the dangers of living a life driven by competition or the sexual revolution, Platt examines the philosophical roots that define many in the 21st century.  The book does not provide answers, it is too short for that, but it does start the discussion - for both the believer and the unbeliever.  
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scott MacIntyre

A Review

I am not a fan of American Idol, I am not a fan of Scott MacIntyre, and I am not a fan of pop music.  So why did I pick up this autobiographical memoir written by a top-10 finalist of the popular TV show American Idol?  Let me suggest three reasons I was drawn to this book:

  1. I have two dear blind friends, like Scott MacIntyre, whom I have known for almost 40 years.
  2. I, like Scott MacIntyre and my two friends, am a Christian.  
  3. I enjoy the real life story of someone who has overcome adversity.

I was not disappointed.  In the course of nearly 300 pages, Scott overcomes three distinct obstacles - kidney failure, the American Idol competition, and the love of a woman.  Scott did a good job of writing an interesting tale that even kept the interest of one that knew very little about him or his circumstances.  

In the midst of his story, it is clear that faith plays a very vital part.  He did not always understand what God was doing.  This was especially true as he spent ten months on dialysis unsure about his musical future.  But much of that uncertainty came together as he moved through the various auditions that preceded the live American Idol shows in the late spring of 2009.  But even in the midst of his success, he was mystified as to why the one girl he had his eyes on had removed his name from the top of her MySpace friends.  And that was one question he never had answered.  

Now, having read By Faith Not By Sight, though I am still not a fan of his music, I have become a fan of Scott MacIntyre.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have walked with him and see how God has worked in the life.  Perhaps you will be too.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Robert H. Gundry

A Review

Though Gundry has been the subject of some controversy within the Evangelical church, I have appreciated his contributions to the reference literature.  This fifth edition of his widely used A Survey of the New Testament is no exception.

I first used Gundry’s Survey while in seminary over 30 years ago.  The book has only improved with age.  The addition of color images, insets explaining and illustrating technical terms, and the availability of audio-visual aids to support the text make the new addition a valuable addition to the Bible student’s, lay or professional, library.

The new edition will include both a traditional book, e-book, and enhanced e-book versions.  The enhanced e-book version will include video introductions, animated maps and illustrations.  Faculty and students will also have available supplemental study material to help with classroom presentations and study.  

The writing style is inviting, the text address the major questions surrounding the authorship of each book.  For example, in discussing the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew, Gundry writes:

The book is written for use in a New Testament Survey college course or as a supplement in a seminary course on New Testament Introduction.  It would also fit well into the local public or church library.  Though the size of the book might suggest otherwise, the use of color images throughout would also allow this book to fit well on a coffee table as a conversation starter.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Bill Clegg

A Review

Ninety Days - it really doesn’t seem like so long a time.  But for those who struggle with addictions one type or another, it can seem like an eternity.  The author has gone to great efforts to help the reader to understand the mix of success and failure faced by many addicts as they seek to find sobriety in their lives.

As the book ends, the journey is not over.  One does not recover - but must forever remain in recovery if the addict is to find the serenity that each of us needs. At first, it may come a day or two at a time, then in weeks, and finally months.  And the book tells of a journey to reach 90 days, it is a book of starts and restarts as the author battles relapses.  

As I read, I moved from caring for the author and his struggles, to name calling, to just plain anger - how could this guy be so stupid?  The addict is not stupid - he is sick.  And like any chronic illness, there is likely no cure,  only strategies that one needs to learn to move through each day.   Strategies that must be continued for a lifetime.

Drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, and family, are themes that are addressed in the course of the Bill Clegg’s trip to sobriety.  For those who follow my reviews, be aware that this book is not particularly Christian - it gives a very real and a very raw look at the struggle of one addict to reach some form of sobriety.  Having said that, the book is recommended for those who are walking alongside an addict in recovery - whatever their faith.  
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.

Friday, May 4, 2012

25,000 Mornings: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Life is to the typical devotional what Narrative Preaching is to Expositional Preaching.  Each devotional entry is a look into the personal life of the author - and allowing an applicable scripture to speak to her circumstances.   While the technique draws the reader into the author’s life, it also allows us to examine our own life.

Many years ago, I was part of training program provided by hospitals across the nation to either members of the clergy or those studying for the ministry called Clinical Pastoral Education.  One of the tools used in each of the 12 week terms was to allow scripture to speak to the relationships and experiences that the student has within the hospital setting.  Fay Rowe has applied this technique to her own life and chosen to share it with the rest of us.  In doing so, we are allowed to learn and grow.  
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Billy Graham in Quotes - A Review

Billy Graham
Collected by Franklin Graham
with Donna Lee Toney

A Review

I grew up with Billy Graham coming into my household.  Year after year each of his quarterly crusades were turned on and listen to over the TV set in our living room.  I finally was able to hear him preach in person in 1982.  Earlier this year I was privileged to review the 2012 Christian Book of the Year, Billy Graham’s Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well.  It is a privilege to now review the most recent book of Billy Graham quotations, Billy Graham in Quotes.

As the title indicates, the book is a collection of quotations taken from both published and unpublished sources.  Quotes are collected into some 108 different categores - beginning with “Adoption” and ending with “Young People”.  Each category begins with a single scripture verse and then includes 10 to 20 quotations - on target and of interest to this reader.  Billy Graham’s wide experience and knowledge allow him to provide genuine insight to the world in which we live.  

Though I will not take the route of one reviewer and read through this book chapter by chapter, I will, as a pastor, keep a copy of this book close during my sermon preparation.  Though the copy I am reviewing was provided free of charge, I am considering purchasing a copy for use with my prefered Bible software program.  

On the other hand, I could see using the selected quotes as the basis of for a topic based devotional study - studying the scriptures along with reading the thoughts of this man of God.  If I have concern with the book - it is the minimal amount of scripture included in the book.  Most people would consider Billy Graham a man of The Book; yet as he speaks to some of the most important issues of our times, there is little scripture.  It is left to the reader to find the relevant scriptures for each topic.  Not a bad exercise, but an unnecessary one.   
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.