Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Epic (2013)


An excerpt of a review recently posted on Schaeffer's Ghost:
In a post Occupy Wall Street world, we’re used to hearing about the 99%, used to hearing about how those rich jerks owe it to us poor schlubs of the world to help us out and spread the wealth. We hear community touted right and left, but it is a community of entitlement. Community means I deserve. I am owed. I am entitled … to a house or a car or a bigger chunk of my neighbor’s paycheck. I have rights, and heaven help anyone who tries to take them away or infringe on them in any way. Community, in America, seems to be about what we can get
Not so in … Leafy-town or wherever it is that the story takes place. Here, the mantra is ‘Many leaves, one tree.’ As Captain Ronin explains it, this kind of community is one of service. America, with its ‘take take take’ attitude, has the community stick by the entitlement end. Ronin and his fellow Leaf-Men, by seeking to serve others, have figured out what we are still struggling to understand.
Full review available here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Comforts from Romans: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time, by Elyse Fitzpatrick


Counselor and author Elyse Fitzpatrick's devotional study of the book of Romans. The book is broken up into 32 daily meditations, each under 10 minutes, as well as an introduction and appendices. Fitzpatrick's focus is on, well, the Gospel--specifically, the finished work of Christ on the cross. In fact, she focuses so much on Christ's finished work that she winds up sounding (at least to this recovering legalist) borderline antinomian. Not explicitly antinomian, mind you--she is adamant that the completeness of Christ's work in freeing us from the law should not result in lawlessness. But she is clearly focused on undoing the evils of legalism and salvation by works, the earning of God's favor by our own efforts. And good on her for taking that bull by the horns. But as someone who is all to willing to tolerate my own sin, I know I need a good kick in the pants and a healthy dose of teaching on how to fight the sin from which I have been set free.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Sermon on the Mount: Kingdom Life in a Fallen World, by Sinclair B. Ferguson


The inimitable Sinclair Ferguson takes on the Greatest Sermon of All Time. Obviously, the result is well worth reading.

I came to the book having read and, nor the most part, enjoyed several other books on the subject, including Charles Spurgeon's God Will Bless You, Puritan Thomas Watson's The Beatitudes, and Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy. I think Ferguson's is my favorite so far.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices, by Chris Brauns


An excerpt of a review recently posted on Schaeffer's Ghost:
In this fascinating, insightful, and well-written book (which I highly recommend), author and pastor Chris Brauns explores the corporate nature of life and faith—that is, the connectedness between and among people whereby we are, well, ‘bound together’ in what Brauns calls ‘the rope principle.’ 
This principle rang chillingly true as I read this book against the tragic backdrop of the Boston bombings. If there is a clearer picture of our vulnerability to the aftermath of others’ choices, I don’t know what it could be. An unhinged terrorist plants bombs in the midst of unsuspecting citizens—he makes a choice, and despite any claim to autonomy or independence, others suffer the consequences. Lives are ripped apart—many lives—because of someone else’s choice. 
As much as we want to only be judged, only be punished, or only be rewarded for the actions we ourselves have taken or the choices we ourselves have made, the fact remains that we are all connected.
Full review available here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the True High Without Putting People Down, by Joshua Harris


Why are all the truly orthodox Christians--the doctrinally minded, theologically sound ones--complete jerks? Why are nice, loving Christians typically wishy-washier than Charlie Brown? Is there a way to love your neighbor and love truth, to uphold good teaching without being an arrogant ass? According to Joshua Harris, the two qualities--humility and orthodoxy--not only can be combined, but should be.

Clocking in at just over 50 pages (not counting the study guide and other extra material), Humble Orthodoxy is an expansion of a chapter from Joshua Harris's recent (and much longer) book, Dug Down Deep. Apparently lots of folks (including John Piper) told him that this topic needed its own book. Who am I to disagree?