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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Soul Keeping - John Ortberg

Caring for the most important part of You.  Foreward by Dr. Henry Cloud.  Published by Zondervan Publishing.  I have enjoyed the author's previous books, and was looking forward to this one.  I enjoy the honesty, humor, and downright humanness he brings to the subjects.  Dallas Willard is mentioned so often in this book, he might as well have been listed as co-author.  That is not a criticism, but an observation.  In fact, The Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation at Westmont College logo is on the back of the cover.
The question is asked"When is the last time you thought about the state of your soul?"  We all think about our bodies, our possessions, our careers. But, how many times have we actually though about the most important part of us. Some of us are more concerned about a dent on our car, then a dent on our soul. And it's so much easier to hide a dented soul.
John Ortberg is senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Ca. The soul "holds our connection to eternity and can help us see past the petty concerns of the present." as the author states.  Three parts make up this book, What the Soul Is, What the Soul Needs, and The Soul Restored.  In the final chapters, Mr. Ortberg describes the death of Dallas Willard, the life he lead, and the legacy he left. This book being one of those.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Dallas Willard, and needs to discover, or be reminded, of the importance of care of the soul.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Heaven is For Real Review

Because of the immense popularity of this movie, I feel the need to address the issues I have with it.
I don't doubt it's a good, inspiring movie.  I will
try to explain my issues with this type of book/movie.
I believe the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God.
(2 Timothy 3:16)"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
Everything in life, for me, must be held up to it, to determine
truth. (1 John 4:1) "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

We are commanded not to add or subtract from anything
in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19) Proverbs 30:6-
"Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar."
I agree with John Macarthur when he says, "By insisting God is still giving new revelation to Christians today, the Continuationist Movement opens the gates to
confusion and error."  I don't think we need to believe every account of  "visions of heaven" that is told to us, even though they may be sincere.
If this movie had been one child's opinion of heaven without insisting that it actually happened, I would not have the same reaction.  My skepticism is raised because this is presented as
a factual account of heaven.

 Of those few raised from the dead by Jesus, none gave
an account of their experience. If we were to know what had
happened in their experience, it would surely have been
told and written.  1 Cor. 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
After this statement, John was
given a vision of Heaven, and again told to never change what's been written, so
everything God want us to know about heaven is already there.
 The Bible is no longer being written, and it stands complete as is.
 Because the Bible is the inspired
word and must not be added to, or subtracted from, we cannot
take the word of every person who now says they saw something
that in any way differs from what God has told us.  Satan is the
great imitator.  We're told throughout scripture to be wary of those
who come in His name, and look genuine, although they are not.
The problem this movie presents, is that it claims to prove that
heaven is real, when the only proof we need is that the Bible says
it's real.  God doesn't need confirmation from an outside source to
be proven right.  From all accounts and reviews, this movie doesn't
present the Gospel, or mention that repentance of sin and belief in Jesus
is the only way to heaven.  Many who seek proof of heaven's existence are
now clamoring to the movies and bookstores to study a someone's account, and
instead of seeking God directly through His Word. The Bible says we are sinners
from birth.   Anything from sinners, therefore is clouded by that sin.  If we
want to know the unclouded truth of Heaven, we need only to seek Him
through is word, and not the added words of a sinner that don't quite
measure up to the inspired word of God.  But don't take my word for it
either, for I am also a sinner.  Hold everything up to the Scriptures to determine truth.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis - Alister McGrath

Exploring the ideas of C.S. Lewis on the meaning of life.  The author is uniquely qualified to write this book, having written an exhaustive biography of Lewis, and done much research on his life.  This book has many quotations and excerpts from his books, but also gives context and background on his writings.  In many ways, this book is a "book about other books" but not just that.  It is a look inside what this author imagines conversations with someone he has never met.
There is a danger in writing a book such as this to make presumptive and blanket statements to what the author imagines what would be said in conversation, but it does not cross that line.  Instead, he brings a fresh insight to Lewis's writings and helpful background about times, places, and personal relationships.  In particular, his relationship with Tolkien makes for interesting reading.  Here were two authors that were alike in some ways, but very different in others.
Recommendations by Eric Metaxas and Timothy Keller, both well known authors are on the back cover.
The author is Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College London, and has become one of my favorite authors.  Perhaps I could write If I Had Lunch with Alister McGrath next?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Works - Cal Thomas

 Common sense solutions for a stronger America. Forward by Sean Hannity. It's Groundhog Day in Washington. Cover features Mr. Thomas with a groundhog and dressed in a top hat like it's Groundhog Day. He goes as far as even mentioning the Bill Murray movie of the same name.
 "We haven't just emerged from a cave and must discover fire or invent the wheel."
With quotes from the book of Ecclesiastes and the Federalist Papers, Mr Thomas makes this point right off the bat. We need to go back to what works and stop doing what doesn't work. This book is broken down into four parts part one consult the past and use common sense Part 2, concentrate on people not politics ,Part 3 we can solve our problems and part 4 what will work . The author is one of the most popular syndicated columnists in the country. 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of his syndicated column. I have been reading Cal Thomas for a long time, had read his previous books, and was expecting a book like this one very soon. Given the unrest of today, the author is a voice crying out in the wilderness. I would consider this a Christian political book as it explains politics from a Christian perspective. The Bible is quoted along with the founding fathers. The basics of the book to get back to what works. We don't need to relive Groundhog Day everyday. My concern is most people won't read this book that really need to because it comes from a Christian conservative columnist.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how to fix the problems of this country, and to those who already agree with the author, to realize you are not alone. There are others with a voice in the media who agree with you.