Monday, October 28, 2013

Review of A REASONABLE RESPONSE by William Lane Craig

I've been a fan of the work of William Lane Craig for several years, and I've benefited greatly in my pursuit of Christ through his ministry. I love the area on his website where you can ask him questions, and I've had the privilege of having him answer on a podcast.

His new book A REASONABLE RESPONSE is an interesting one in its approach. It is a compilation of questions made to Dr. Craig and his responses. I love this book because of the way it shows the questions Dr. Craig is answering, which gives the answers some added context. I love the way Dr. Craig engages with his readers. There are also some helpful comments to the side by the editor that draw attention to particularly helpful arguments made throughout the book.

The topics covered range from God's relation to time, the historicity of Jesus, and arguments for God's existence, as well as many others. A REASONABLE RESPONSE is a great apologetics resource, especially if you're fan of Dr. Craig.

Review copy provided by Moody Books

Photo Credit: Moody Books

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review od PAUL AND JUDAISM REVISITED by Preston Sprinkle

Preston Sprinkle tackles the relationship between Paul's and the teachings of Judaism. Specifically, Sprinkle looks at the relationship between divine and human agency in both Judaism and Paul's letters and how Paul is influenced by Judaism's teaching.

Sprinkle shows two perspectives in the Old Testament. One of these perspectives leans heavily on human agency in salvation; the other leans heavily on divine agency. He also looks at the influence of the Dead Sea Scrolls on Paul's theology. Paul's theology highlights God's initiative in salvation.

This isn't so much a book about the debate over divine sovereignty and human freedom as it is about exploring where Paul got his ideas and where he departs from the Judaism of his day. The book also serves to provide a rebuttal to the New Perspective on Paul. It's a theologically deep book, and, as such, requires a lot of thought akd wrestling with the content. Sprinkle is an outstanding communicator, though, and adds much to the discussion.

Review copy provided by InterVarsity Press

Review of THE PASSIONATE INTELLECT by Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath became one of my favorite authors after I read his biography of C.S. Lewis. In his book THE PASSIONATE INTELLECT, McGrath continues to show me why he has become one of my favorite authors.

McGrath argues that the Christian view of reality is the most coherent and intellectually stimulating view of reality that there is. No other viewpoint stands beside it. He argues for a discipleship of the mind that helps believers love God with their minds and engage in helpful converaations with those who hold other viewpoints.

I love his concept of "mere theology" The book reminds me much of reading a C.S. Lewis book in the way that it gets me thinking and appreciating the truth of Christianity more. I highly recommend this book.

Review copy provided by InterVarsity Press

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Crossway's GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION BIBLE is a new study Bible that focuses less on the details of verse-by-verse study, and more on large chunks of the Biblical narrative and how it relates to the gospel.

The Bible's text is the ESV translation, while the notes at the bottom are written by some of today's best-known biblical communicators. The notes seek to draw out the gospel from every book of the Bible. Additionally, as the Bible's title suggests, the notes focus on the gospel's implications as people encounter ot through reading the Scriptures.

If you're looking for an in-depth study Bible, Crossway's ESV Study Bible is the better choice. However, this is a good Bible for a broad sweep of the Bible's overarching story and message. I love the hardback design and the text format as well.

Review copy provided by Crossway Books

Friday, October 11, 2013

Review of JESUS>RELIGION by Jefferson Bethke

Jefferson Bethke became popular when his video about hating religion but loving Jesus went viral. While his video sparked some controversy, many people resonated with his thoughts on following Jesus and being authentic when it comes to Christianity.

Bethke’s new book JESUS>RELIGION tackles the subject of authentic Christianity head-on. Bethke shares his personal journey to discovering who Jesus is and how he is so much more than what we’re often told. Bethke never claims to have all the answers, and I love his humility throughout the book as he gives us a glimpse into some of the rough spots in his background. Overall, JESUS>RELIGION makes much of Jesus. The book shows how the Bible’s overall narrative is all about Jesus.

Bethke’s book is a call to abandon empty religion that strives to earn God’s approval and embrace the free gift of God’s finished work instead. It’s a great book that I found intriguing all the way through. Christians could learn much from the message Bethke is trying to get out there.

Check out Jefferson's book at

Review copy provided by Thomas Nelson

Photo Credit: Thomas Nelson

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Friends Dak, Sera, and Riq are still traveling through time to repair the breaks that the SQ have caused throughout history. Now, they find themselves in the 1800s in the United States. The three get caught up in the Underground Railroad and their adventures wrestle through the issue of slavery in America.

The Infinity Ring series is an interesting take on getting middle grade kids interested in history, and I think it does a good job of it. This story in the third book THE TRAP DOOR by Lisa McMann takes the narrative into a different place, which makes it more authentic. The kids in the story have to wrestle with some very real issues. Dak is still looking for his parents. Sera is still feeling Remnants of parents she never had. Riq has to deal with the issues surrounding his African America background in 1850s United States. 

Because each story is written by a different author, I know it has to be a challenge to maintain the same style and voice for the characters across each novel. There are a few noticeable differences, but, overall, I think the authors do a good job of keeping the story unified with one voice. I'll be interested to see what awaits the characters in the upcoming stories and how the authors continue to build on each other's stories.

Review copy provided by Scholastic

Photo Credit: Scholastic

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review of LET HOPE IN by Pete Wilson

LET HOPE IN by Pete Wilson is a great book about how to live in light of our past. Most people have things in their past that they wish weren't there. Mistakes they've made. Experiences they wish they never had. Wilson states that if the past is still impacting your future, it's not the past.

Wilson's book is a call to live with hope because God is able to do the impossible. We can have hope for a better future even if our past is full of brokenness. The book illustrates Wilson's point using Scriptures and stories of real-life people who have experienced the joy of hope in Jesus. 

This is a great book on how to transform pain into something good instead of transferring it onto other people. Wilson writes with a pastoral heart and shares from that heart, making this book a truly authentic call to embrace the hope that God has for each of us.

Review copy provided by Thomas Nelson through BookSneeze

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review of THE EYE OF MINDS by James Dashner

The VirtNet is an incredibly realistic virtual reality gaming world, and Michael is one of the best gamers there is. The realism has begun to get out of hand, however, as people inside the VirtNet begin taking their lives. These people claim an expert gamer named Kaine is trapping people inside the VirtNet. A powerful organization known as the VNS wants Michael and his friends, Bryson and Sarah, to help hunt down Kaine and lead them to him. They soon find out that the game is no longer just a game.

James Dashner's THE EYE OF MINDS is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine trilogy, and it is an intense and compelling beginning to the series. The ending to the book was completely unexpected, and I wish I had the second book in my hands right now.

The story world Dashner has created with the VirtNet was difficult for me to get into at first because I wasn't sure that there were any real stakes involved with a gaming world where when you die, you wake up to play another day. That's not the way the story world turns out at all, and I wasn't prepared for what the stakes really were for Michael and his friends. The story is much bigger than a story about videogame-obsessed teenagers. The concept of Dashner's story is brilliant and incredibly executed.

Michael is the main character, and we spend a lot of time getting inside of his head. This is really important for how the story progresses. Sarah and Bryson make the perfect best friends for Michael and their interactions with him make the story so much better than it would be without them.

Kaine is the antagonist of the story, and he's definitely not the villain you expect as you're nearing the end of the story. Kaine may be one of the most terrifying villains I've ever read about because of his background and what makes him who he is.

THE EYE OF MINDS was one of the best books I've read this year. James Dashner is gaining a substantial following and for good reason.

Review copy provided by Delacorte Press

Photo Credit: Delacorte Press

Review of BUT I SAY UNTO YOU by John G. Reisinger

In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he made several statements that were meant to contrast either the Mosaic law itself or the Pharisees interpretation of it. Theologians are divided on what exactly Jesus meant, but John Reisinger in his book BUT I SAY UNTO YOU seeks to simply let the Bible speak for itself in this passage, and as he shows, what Jesus meant couldn't be clearer. The problem, Reisinger says, is that people often come to the Bible with certain theological presuppositions. Specifically, Covenant Theologians and Dispensationalists come to this passage with their theological construct already in place, and their theological construct doesn't allow the most basic interpretation shine forth. 

Reisinger looks at the words of Jesus and shows that it's most clear that Jesus was contrasting the Mosaic law. He's careful to point out that Jesus wasn't saying the Mosaic law was wrong, but that he brings a new and higher law. The Mosaic law wasn't the highest expression of God's moral law. The law of Christ, as revealed in Jesus' teaching and the teachings of the apostles, is the highest expression of God's moral law. Reisinger shows that Jesus quoted the Old Testament laws themselves, and then he said, "But I say Unto You..." This means Jesus was contrasting the Mosaic law and presenting a better law under a New Covenant. The Mosaic Law was meant to be the moral obligations under a theocracy in the Old Covenant for the nation of Israel. But the Mosaic Law was never meant to be permanent. God was moving in the direction of revealing his highest law based on grace and love.

I loved reading this book. I've never wrestled much with what Jesus meant in the Sermon on the Mount, but when I've studied it, this is the direction I've always felt it pointed. Thanks to the work of John Reisinger and A. Blake White, I've developed a deeper appreciation for the New Covenant. I highly recommend this book.

Review copy provided by New Covenant Media

Review of ABRAHAM'S FOUR SEEDS by John G. Reisinger

Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism both make mistakes in how the Old and New Testaments relate by imposing an external system upon the Scriptures. John G. Reisinger, in his book ABRAHAM'S FOUR SEEDS, seeks a third way, one that starts with the Bible's as its foundation. Reisinger sees how we answer the question of who Abraham's seed is in Scripture as vitally important to how we understand the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. He shows that Bible reveals Abraham to have four seeds: the natural seed, the special natural seed, the spiritual seed, and Christ the unique seed.

Reisinger comes from a New Covenant Theology perspective, which means that the Old Covenant made to Israel was fulfilled in Christ, and the promises made to Abraham are fulfilled in Abraham's spiritual seed, nee covenant believers.

Reisinger writes with clarity and reveals the pitfalls of the two systems. He handles the Scriptures with integrity, allowing them to speak for themselves.

Review copy provided by New Covenant Media