John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson, 2005, 143 pages, 3 of 5 stars
Summary: a list and explanation of fifty-two key passages every Christian should memorize
John MacArthur wanted to encourage his congregation to memorize more Scripture. He chose 52 passages that reflected ten main themes–the heart of the Bible. The 2-3 page explanations on each passage are theologically rich and easy to understand.
Pros: (1) This is a great book to give new Christians at their baptism. As they begin their Christian walk, these pages will encourage them to memorize and understand the Bible’s foundational passages.
(2) The book fits well into a one-year course. Our little African church is memorizing one passage for each week of the year.
James Anderson, Crossway, 2014, 112 pages, 3 of 5 stars
Summary: an interactive storyline designed to help the reader identify and clarify their worldview and its implications.
Don’t read this little paperback from cover to cover. Follow the “Choose Your Own Adventure” plot to help you discover the consequences to your worldview (e.g. atheism, polytheism, pantheism, etc.) and other big questions (“Does God exist?” “Is there more than one true religion?”).
Pros: (1) Creative. The book is short. But it must have taken considerable thought to piece it together. (2) This is a nice, little title to give the unbeliever in the cubicle next to you. The size won’t intimidate him and it will make him think. (3) This is a good refresher on apologetic terms like Nihilism (what does that word mean again?) and Deism (“a halfway house on the road from Theism to Atheism”). (4) This is a good refresher on apologetic arguments, like why the problem of evil is harder for the atheist than the Christian. (5) His six-page intro on worldviews was excellent.
Cons: (1) Anderson tries to be unbiased but is sometimes timid (“some worldviews…walk with a pronounced limp”) or feeble (“the Christian worldview has a lot going for it”). Actually, all other worldviews are dead wrong! (2) The “end of the trail” on the Christian worldview was weak. If I traveled this far, at least give me a taste of Whitefield.
Quotables: “Worldviews are like [brains]: everyone has one and we can’t live without them, but not everyone knows that he has one.” (12)
John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson, 2010, 225 pp. 3 of 5 stars
What is the most unforgivable notion in today’s world? Slavery is good.
In Slave, John MacArthur explores the paradox that people never stop being slaves. Pre-conversion, we are slaves to sin. Post-conversion, we are slaves to Christ. “Although you used to be slaves of sin…you became enslaved to righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18, HCSB). Continue reading
Charles J. Brown, Banner of Truth, 2006, 112 pages, 3 of 5 stars
Charles Brown (1806-1884) was a gifted preacher and faithful minister in the Free Church of Scotland for over a half century. Continue reading
Paul Moon, Penguin, 2008, 304 pages, 3 of 5 stars
Exactly 130 years ago some Swiss missionaries living just a stone’s throw from our village drew attention to some particularly gruesome scenes of cannibalism in Elim.
The missionaries recorded most of these accounts in their private journals. And yet, the modern author (and revisionist) I was reading–now looking back at such claims–believes this material was most likely invented. “Missionaries embellish,” he would say cynically. “Foreign churches expect dramatic stories.” On and on. Continue reading
Robert Wolgemuth, Focus on the Family, 1996, 2014, 256 pages, 3 of 5 stars
I had never heard of Robert Wolgemuth until I watched “Unexpected Grace”, a video directed by my friend Nathan Bollinger for Revive Our Hearts Ministry. It tells the marvelous story of Wolgemuth’s marriage to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
I found the video so intriguing that I decided to read one of his books. The first volume he ever published, She Calls Me Daddy, was also his best-seller. Since then he has written a number of other books, many of them on family. Having two daughters of my own, I figured this was a good place to start. Continue reading
Douglas Wilson, Canon Press, 2011, 128 pages, 3 of 5 pages
Wilson’s Blog and Mablog is the only blog I read consistently, not because we lock shields on every theological matter but because he is such a consummate writer.
So who better to publish a book on skillful scribble than a writing wiz like Wilson? The chapters divide into seven “hot tips” for writing–filled to the brim with advice like using the element of surprise, the importance of reading books on grammar, steering clear of word fussers and the goodly role of a verbal pack rat.
If you want to write well, find a model and follow him. Doug Wilson’s Wordsmithy is a good place to start. It’s short, lively, and humorous.
- “The more you know the more you can know.”
- “The writer’s life is a scrounger’s life.”
- “Interesting people are interested people.”
- “The mind is like a muscle, not an attic.”