Saturday
Jul142012

40 Questions About The End Times

Book Review by
David H. Rogers

Over the course of years of exposure to preaching and teaching, we absorb many traditions of interpretation, so much so, that we may develop instant subconscious negative reactions to interpretations different from that of familiar acquaintance. The new presentation may flow from intensive analysis of biblical texts, but sometimes we prefer the comfort and consistency of the customary. We assume the tradition we have always heard to be a trump card. Further biblical study that introduces other ways of understanding is often strongly resisted since the answers have been determined.

Eckhard Schnabel’s “40 Questions About the End Times,” Kregel Publications, 2011, is one of a series of volumes that examines Christian issues through a format of answering 40 questions on selected biblical, theological and practical topics. The book is divided into four parts: “General Questions about the Future,” “The Return of Jesus Christ,” “The Millennium and the Last Judgment” and “Interpreting the End Times.” Subsections of these parts address the questions, including: “When Do the End Times Begin?” “Will the Church Disappear in a Rapture to Heaven?” “Does National Israel Have a Special Destiny?” “Who Is the Antichrist?” “Will Jesus Return Soon?” “When Will the Day of Judgment Take Place?” and “Why Should I Care about the End Times?” Each chapter ends with reflection and review questions for the reader.

Some of his answers may bother those with locked-in assumptions. Whether one agrees with Schnabel or not, a careful reader will be challenged and deepened in understanding the issues by processing what is presented. Schnabel does not introduce any interpretations that are foreign to other well-studied conservative interpreters.

While he attempts to explain some matters for beginning readers, my impression is that it will be most accessible to those who have some previous exposure to the terminology in biblical scholarship and end times studies. However, even a new student to the topic willing to make the commitment to work through the material will be richly rewarded. This book will serve as an excellent resource for pastors and Bible study leaders.

Tuesday
Feb212012

New book explores strategies for rural church planting

Book Review by
J.D. Payne

Rural Church Planting: A Missional Footprint, A Collection of North American Strategies and Stories, North American Mission Board, SBCJ.D. Payne has posted on his blog, Missilogically Thinking, an interview with rural missiologist George Garner:

"A new and unique book has been published by the North American Mission Board. As of yesterday, I was told that it is not yet available to order–but that option is coming soon.  I recently received my copy; so, check out the agency’s web site for updates as to when it will become available to you.

"George Garner has complied a series of chapters related to rural missions in the book Rural Church Planting: A Missional Footprint.  I was honored to be able to contribute a chapter to it. Since many of you have a heart for the 60 million people who live in rural areas of the United States and Canada, I have been been looking forward to posting this interview. George is one of very few outstanding rural missiologists in North America.  He has both years of rural church planting and pastoral experience in the United States as well as  academic missiological training."

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Thursday
Feb092012

Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality


Book Review by
Bill McCall

In today’s culture, young and old alike are bombarded by false teachings about spiritual matters. Many are foregoing traditional beliefs to embrace a “new spirituality.” In his latest book, “Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality,” Christian author and apologist Ravi Zacharias alerts readers to the dangers of this New Age spiritualism. More importantly, Zacharias lifts up and defends Jesus Christ as the only Truth that can satisfy a person’s spiritual needs. 

By Ravi Zacharias, FaithWords, 2012 “Why Jesus?” reveals how our culture arrived at this point, from the entertainment industry’s promotion of the supernatural to the influence of books, movies and powerful media figures, such as Oprah Winfrey. Zacharias reminds us the media can cleverly influence two of humanity’s most precious traits – feelings and imagination. He describes how over several decades, in the midst of cultural rebellion, religious scandals and postmodern relativism, the New Spirituality has spread.

Zacharias highlights a key point – the current culture’s lack of knowledge about the biblical Jesus – linked with the deliberate misrepresentation of Jesus that the New Spirituality advocates. 

The author states, “This is the strongest indictment I make against the New Spirituality. They have violated the true Jesus and formed Him in their own image. While exalting themselves, they have denigrated Him.” 

Zacharias directly challenges the works of writers such as Elizabeth Lesser, Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch and Deepak Chopra.

Citing many examples from Scripture, Zacharias points to the biblical Jesus as the clear Truth against the distorted image portrayed by the New Spirituality. He reminds readers that spirituality is not a game.

While seeking “spiritual fulfillment,” the world increasingly pursues Eastern mysticism, paganism and a new spirituality. In “Why Jesus?” Zacharias directs the reader not to an idea, not to a place, but to a person – Jesus Christ.

Bill McCall is founder of “Higher Thoughts,” a Christian discipleship and apologetics ministry with the purpose of helping Christians grow, defend and share their faith in today’s world (www.higherthoughts.org).

Thursday
Jan262012

Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian

Book Review by
Jesse Lobbs

In “Bloodlines,” the latest book from John Piper, pastor of preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Piper discusses exactly what the subtitle says: “Race, Cross and the Christian.” Piper has embarked on a pilgrimage to pay his debts from the days of his racist childhood growing up in South Carolina – something every Arkansan can relate to today. He writes to magnify the cross of Christ through the gospel and present the implications of that cross and gospel in regards to race.  

Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper, Crossway Books, 2011. “The bloodline of Christ is deeper than the bloodlines of race,” says Piper, which is the heartbeat of this book. As Christians, we have experienced the wonder of the gospel firsthand. 

Piper presents the power of the gospel as dynamite that has the potential to change racist mindsets and create ethnic harmony that greater glorifies Jesus Christ. The gospel is not only the power that reconciles man to God, but also the glory that reconciles man to man. 

The author points to the only one way the world may overcome racism supremely – through the Lord Jesus. Through reconciliation, man overcomes hopelessness, greed, inferiority, self-doubt, fear, pride, guilt, apathy and Satan.  

Actually, the Bible tells us our Lord has overcome the world by the way of the cross. Piper examines further how the gospel relates to each facet of racism and even interracial marriage, which is still a sticky subject in the South. The glory of it all, though, is that Jesus, the Sacrifice, is common access for all nations. Through one blood comes one new man in one new body in one Spirit and for one Lord.  This is a great exposition of Scripture in defense of the unity of the gospel and the God-glorifying diversity of the church.

Jesse Lobbs is a sophomore at Arkansas Tech Univesity majoring in English and communications and is active in Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

Thursday
Dec152011

Jacob T. Marley: The Story of the Ghost who visited Scrooge

Book Review by
Adam Brown

During this time of year, you might see the movie “A Christmas Carol” on TV. Most of us are familiar with Ebenezer Scrooge, the grumpy old man who only cares about money and himself, depicted in Charles Dickens’ classic book “A Christmas Carol.” The journey Scrooge takes into Christmases past, present and future, can make us consider what we would have done differently and has no doubt made many consider their present and future priorities. The story is a classic, and many times classics have further tales to tell. 

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