Having read many books in the Questions Christians Ask series from The Good Book Company; Can I Really Trust the Bible is the tidiest book yet. Author Barry Cooper addresses many objections that critics ask throughout this entry. He does this while weaving a unified theme of Pooh Bear (yes, this book is filled with subtle humor) to illustrate that until one “Tastes and sees that God is good” and experience the Bible for themselves they will never truly trust scripture. Knowing all the arguments for or against the Bible are not enough because they only supplement the validity of scripture’s truth. Therefore, Cooper appeals to the nihilistic philosophy of our day and provides reasons of experience to persuade his readers to take the Bible at its word.
Doubt is the appropriate word to describe if I was going to be able to write this book review or not. At the time of this writing I confess I have had a rough few weeks in my life where I did not feel like reading or writing. So I was doubtful that I had the energy to read or write. However, by the grace of God that sustains us even in our deepest times of doubt I was able to finish reading John Steven’s book, “How Can I Be Sure.” As a result, I have found it to be a very timely fantastic book, as we each struggle at some point in life. As Stevens writes, “doubt is dangerous, but we need not be terrified by it… it’s an opportunity for spiritual growth.” Therefore, Christians should remember that doubt is different than unbelief, that doubt produces spiritual maturity, and that we must look beyond ourselves.
According to Stevens, the most troubling aspect of doubt is the difference between “doubt and unbelief.” Often the failure to distinguish between these two terms causes one to move beyond a casual doubt and towards questioning one’s salvation. Stevens offers hope and comfort by simply asking,
“Do you believe and trust in Jesus?” If the answer is “yes”, then you have every entitlement to assurance of salvation. If the answer is “no”, then you have no grounds for assurance.”
This is because our salvation is not based on any work we do as Christians. It is not even based on the level of our faith. Rather, salvation is based on the object of our faith, which is Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus fulfilled all the religious requirements we could never keep. As a result, we should trust what God did for us on the Cross of Christ than our works and effort. Then we will move from unbelief back to simple doubt. Continue reading “How Can I Be Sure? by John Stevens”
When writing a good story the ending can be the most difficult part. God’s story of redemption found within the Bible is no different. The difficulty is found when one is required to interpret the Bible’s ending from a list of possibilities. As a result, for centuries many scholars and layman have debated exactly how Jesus will return. Churches have split, false teachers have risen, and new Christian sects have developed from a variety of end time theologies. Therefore, it is very important that Christians interpret prophetic passages in the Bible carefully.
According to author Jermaie Rinne in the book How Will The World End one can be careful by simply remembering that, “Jesus is returning.” No matter how Jesus will return, He is returning. When He comes back one won’t argue if His return is theologically correct or not. Rather, one should be glad He has returned, period. This simple, yet profound truth allows Christians to be able to “focus on the work at hand” than “watching the clock” for His return. By knowing He will return, Christians should be motivated to engage in missions more. After all, this best prepares as many people as possible for His certain return. These pieces of sage advice are sprinkled throughout How Will The World End, along with specific theological explanations and other practical applications.
For example, one-way Rinne made How Will The World End practical is by using contemporary examples people are familiar with. Early in the book he references movies like Armageddon, and Pacific Rim to contrast what the Day of Judgment will look like from the happy endings often shown in Hollywood. However, if one has professed Christ as Lord then there will be a happy ending for the Christian. This book is also concise, which makes it easy to understand basic end time theology without the elaborate prophecy charts found in other eschatological systems. Continue reading “How Will The World End?: Book Review”
The Old Testament is boring, or at least some Christians think so unless they are reading Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, and perhaps Jonah. Such a view could not be further from the truth and author Tim Chester proves this with his latest book 1 Samuel For You. In this entry from The Good Book Company’s “God’s Word For You” series, Chester shows that the Old Testament points towards the New Testament. He reminds Christians that within the details of 1 Samuel that, Jesus Christ is the true King that both Ancient Israel and modern day Christians long for. As a result, readers are shown throughout 1 Samuel that the Old Testament can be applicable than one could ever imagine. Continue reading “1 Samuel For You: Book Review”
Theological debates occur within Christianity; sadly, some miss the main point biblical authors were really communicating. For example, the book of Titus is often remembered for the checklist of qualifications concerning elders, yet there is more to the book than this one topic. Author Tim Chester of Sheffield, England does a great job in Titus For You of summarizing Paul’s intent for the entire epistle. Basically, Chester believes Paul wrote this letter to Titus, his younger son in the Christian faith (1:4), by saying, “His goal was not converts, but disciples. For any ministry we are involved in…that should be our goal, too.”Chester explains his thesis by exegetically explaining this epistle verse-by-verse, which includes topics such as the Gospel, discipleship, character, God’s grace, and His glory.
The Gospel is the Cornerstone of Discipleship First, Chester’s summary of Titus may be discipleship. He realizes that Paul’s letter begins by emphasizing the Gospel (1:1-3). Only the Gospel can “bring those to whom God has chosen to saving faith” because one cannot rescue oneself, which feeds into holistic discipleship. In other words, the Gospel must be lived out in each believer’s life and not just received as a one-time moment of salvation. In chapter three in the book of Titus (3:4-7), Chester explains the difference between God’s grace and His glory. He starts by showing how Paul emphasized correct Gospel application in both belief and in culture. As a result, one lives a purposeful life because one’s motivation for living is founded in the Gospel’s redemptive application in not just their past, but also in their present and future. Continue reading “Titus For You: Book Review & Summary”
The Adversary: The Christian Versus Demon Activity
Often people ask me about spiritual warfare and if Satan is behind every bad thing that happens to us. This usually prompts me to point them towards Mark Bubeck’s book The Adversary: The Christian Versus Demon Activity, which I will explain detail below.
The Adversary is a bold book on confronting spiritual warfare, and the attacks our adversary Satan. The book does not over sensationalize the topic because it’s grounded in the Word of God. This serves as the validity for any strategy a Christian uses in their spiritual warfare, so they can boldly combat Satan. The author Mark Bubeck believes in the importance boldness by saying, “be bold and direct in applying the weapons of our warfare to our own strengthening and to the enemy’s defeat.” After reading The Adversary a Christian will know the importance of God’s Word in spiritual warfare, the three sources of temptation, and practical tools to utilize immediately with other believers. Continue reading “The Devil’s Influence In Our Life & His Limits”
Recently, I saw the movie “God’s Not Dead,” which I was very interested in two reasons. One, I have studied apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith) extensively and the movie centers heavily on Christian apologetics. Second, I had read Rice Broocks book, “God’s Not Dead” that the movie is based on. Both reasons combined caused me to have high expectations for the movie and I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised with the film. Therefore, I highly recommend anyone to see the movie for the following reasons:
1. The Apologetics Point To The Gospel. – In recent months I have been very discouraged by the Christian apologetic community. My displeasure comes from arrogant “apologists” who need to always be right and seem to only want to argue another. Additionally, I have seen far too many “apologists” fail to reach a lost culture because some reject the need to point people to Christ since they are more concerned with their arguments that glorify themselves than the Son of God. In contrast, “God’s Not Dead” uses in-depth arguments to point towards the existence of God, but it also presents the Gospel message of salvation and hope found in Jesus Christ. Continue reading “Movie Review: God’s Not Dead & Apologetic Considerations”