Monday, March 31, 2014

Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy - A Review

Designed more for the theologian than the layman, the newest volume in this on-going series discussing differences within the evangelical church, serves as an excellent introduction to the student or pastor seeking to understand the rich diversity in theology found in discussing Inerrancy within the conservative church.

My first introduction to the topic was in seminary - a seminary which held strongly to the inerrancy of the scriptures.  That provided an important preparation for my current denominational fellowship  This book, read some 40 years after completing seminary, served as a good review of the doctrine and a review of its growth and its understanding within the 21st century church.  

After some introductory comments on the role of inerrancy within the church’s doctrinal positions, the book presents five surprisingly  different views or perspectives of the doctrine of inerrancy.  As the introduction points out, each author is asked to respond to four sub-topics:

  1. God and his relationship to his creatures
  2. The doctrine of inspiration
  3. The nature of scripture
  4. The nature of truth

Each author then was asked to address three pairs of scriptures that have traditionally been challenges to the doctrine of inerrancy:

  1. Joshua 6 as current archaeological evidence calls into question its historicity
  2. The questions raised by the discrepancy between Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 as they describe Saul’s conversion
  3. The question of law and grace as evidenced by Deuteronomy 20 (where God calls for the annihilation of Israel’s enemies)  and Matthew 5 (where God requires us to love our enemies).

Each author is allowed to present his view using the above framework.  This is followed by a response from each of the other contributors.  The book concludes with comments from the editor - seeking to open “lines of communication” between those with differing views, even beyond that contained in the body of the text.

The most obvious missing element  in the book is the lack of a feminine voice among the chosen authors.  It might have been interesting to allow a female voice respond to the contents of the book - though I am sure will as they review the book after the fact.  I would have liked to see such a voice in the body of the text.  

Regardless, the book ought to be read by every seminary or theological student exploring the doctrine of scripture in any depth.  It probably will not be the most prominent book on a pastor’s book shelf, but he will have read it and allowed its contents to shape the conclusions he/she makes in the understanding of scripture.     

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.  

Lip Reading - A Review

A Review
This tale begins with a kidnapping, industrial espionage, and a hurricane - and that is not the story.  On the otherhand, he went to jail to protect her - yet, he still loved her.  She spent her life trying to make up for the shame she felt - yet, she still loved him.  Shame and guilt do not make for healthy choices in anyone’s life - and it was no more true for Rebecca Jackson, PhD, than it would be for you or for me.  And it was just as hard for her to accept that fact as it would be for you or me.

Blood transfusions have risks - the risks of transmitting disease, the risk of type mismatching.  Both  Dr. Rebecca Jackson and Dr. Noah Linebrink were working on developing an artificial blood supply in order to minimize these risks.  Each has solved part of the problem - the catch is that they both work for competing pharmaceutical companies - companies that would sooner work together than mix oil with water.

The death threats being sent to Dr. Jackson might be just enough to crush the entire endeavor.  Her father, a local police chief, is convinced that those threats are coming from Noah or another high school friend shared by he and Rebecca.  To stop the threats, somebody begins to threaten the suspects families.

When Dr. Jackson discovers she is ill, the urgency to finish the project increases.  The result is a heart stopping book that I could not wait to finish.  The reader will want to follow the steps that Rebecca and Noah take individually and together to create this life saving  mix.  With enough twists and turns to keep the reader in the book until the very last page, the answer will require God’s grace in the lives of all involved.  

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.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Life Support - A Review

A Review

The thrill ride of this book comes not from the medicine, but from the weather.  Houston’s latest hurricane is about to tear apart more than one family.  Rather than being a “medical thriller”, this is a book about relationships - relationships between family members, between friends, and with God.  

Abuse is possible in any family and comes in many forms - and until confronted, it will continue.  Life Support makes it clear that the way out is to confront it, not hide, not enable it, and not ignore it.  Only when it comes into the open, can it be dealt with within the family and community in which it exists.  The author gently, but clearly demonstrates the need to honestly work with both abusers and their victims.  As on character declares about storms of all kinds, “You’re either in one, fixin’ to go into one, comin’ out the other side of one, or your causin’ one.”  

I found the book worth the time reading.  Much of the book is building up to a dramatic climax that is worth the wait.  My only concern is the non-existent transition from the end of the story (summer) to the Epilogue (December) - what could have been another book showing the work that must be done as part of recovery, the author moved from addressing the abuse to its resolution, with minimal thought or comment about the pain that individuals and families go through as they move toward the healing God offers.    

The book might serve as a gentle reminder to those who find themselves walking alongside abusers or their families - it is not confrontational, but may open the eyes of those who are ignoring the pain they or those around them are experiencing.

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.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Storytelling God - A Review


A Review

Jared C. Wilson’s book caught my eye for two reasons.  The first was my own interest in storytelling - as a took for use in the preparation of sermons and in teaching.  The second was the author’s introduction.  He uses Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” as a stepping stone to the rest of the book.  In the days immediately preceding my picking up this book, I had just finished re-reading the “Sermon on the Mount” for the “umpteenth time.”  

The author makes clear that whether we are reading or telling the stories and teaching of Jesus, we cannot see them a  flat story - but events with life, that must be seen in all the 3-Dimensional wonder in which Jesus lived and spoke them.  

I enjoyed this fresh, lively look at the parables of Jesus.  But at the same time, the author draws from the work of others, both historical and current, while adding his own contemporary twist.  The result is an interesting, though often deep, look at the message, parables, and life of Jesus and others.  The author does not stop with the life of Jesus, he also weaves in the stories of the Old Testament.  Leading to a final look at the Kingdom of God in all its “Unstoppable and Unfathomable” glory.  

At times the academic rigor of the text might make it a stretch for the average layman, but the book would make for an excellent textbook in a course on the parables.  It could also serve well as an ancillary text for a New Testament or Biblical survey course.   

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.  

That Touch of Ink - A Review

A Review

This first person mystery is one of the best titles that I have read from Henery Press - Diane Vallere had surpassed her first book, Pillow Stalk, as she continues to develop the characters that surround Madison Night and her mid-century design studio, “Mad for Mod”.  Rocky, her Shih Tzu, so closely mimics our own, except in color, that I laugh every time he reappears in the story.

In this newest effort, Madison is being bombarded with $5000 bills - some probably real, others obviously fake.  At the same time she is being bombarded with men who would like to get to know Madison better - policeman, handymen, and old boyfriends continue to haunt her life.  And as these events transpire, enough clues come her way to send any good detective into a tailspin. The problem is that it is not the detectives that are going into a tailspin, but Ms. Night herself.  And that creates enough problems that the reader will want to begin reading the book from beginning to end - forgetting about that thing called sleep.  

The mystery behind the $5000 bills will be resolved, but not before multiple friends and foes find themselves being kidnapped, shot, and rescued in the most unlikely of ways.  It was a joy to again travel through Dallas with Madison and her friends.  I suspect that the same will be true of other readers as well.

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.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Last Clinic - A Review

A Review

It begins with the shooting of Reverend Jimmy Aldridge outside the Jackson Women’s Health Clinic.  But that was just the tip of the so-called iceberg.  It was a mystery that would stretch from Jackson, Mississippi across the United States.  At the midst of the crime spree was range of rich and conservative politicians - willing to solve their biggest problem.  

Though Detective Darla Cavannah is forced to work with Tommy Reylander, the less than smart nephew of the mayor, on the case.  Tommy comes with a hidden agenda that will drive his half of the investigation - he knows who the murderer is.  Darla begins working with forensic IT specialist and intern Uther Pendragon Johnson (yes, he was named after King Arthur’s father) to locate the evidence to prove who murdered the Reverend Aldridge.  

Along the way, the book explores the many sides of the abortion debate.  Though the book takes no specific position, it did help this reader see the multiple opinions that define the debate.  

The combination of mystery and the exploration of the abortion debate make for a readable and engaging story.       

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.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Singularity - A Review

A Review

Terrorism, science fiction, international drug lords all contribute to exciting read.  Jevin Banks, a well-known and established Las Vegas magician, does not expect to find himself in the middle of a murder and kidnapping investigation.   

Beginning with the death of an assistant, Jevin is drawn into the increasingly dangerous world of people researching the interaction of automata and humanity within Area 51.  The book also explores the civilian use of drones.  This combination of themes and ideas makes for a intriguing story.  With a hint of faith rolled in, the church is reminded that it must  begin to come to grips with these issues as well.  

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.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pillow Stalk - A Review


A Review

Madison Night is an interior decorator, specializing in homes and designs from the late 50’s and early 60’s.  She is not a murderer.  But not everybody is convinced when pillows from her inventory, friends from her community, and the Doris Day Film Festival she is planning for the local vintage theater seems to be the center of multiple homicides.

The truth could not come out until the local homicide detective (of questionable repute himself), a handyman with his own history, and an ex-boyfriend (an adulterer in his own right) can put all the pieces of the puzzle together to stop the serial killer stalking the people of Dallas, TX.  

Pillow Stalk was the perfect read as my wife and I took our first cruise in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary.  Whether sitting on the deck, on the stateroom veranda, or on the settee in the stateroom itself, the book was one I did not want to put down.  Well-written and including enough twists and turns to keep my head spinning, I could not wait to reach the end; and when I did, I was not disappointed.  I will be looking forward to the next book in the series, That Touch of Ink, scheduled for publication in April 2014.

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.