Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Book Review: Angels are for Real

Review: Angels are for Real by Judith MacNutt

This book, with its endnotes and references, would be good for launching an independent study about angels: Are they real? What do they do? What does the Bible say?
Good:  The author shares heartwarming, reassuring stories of believers being ushered into heaven by angels, preachers and missionaries protected by angels, and people experiencing miraculous healing or deliverance from imminent danger.   Especially interesting are eyewitness accounts from the Yom Kippur War in which thousands of "Israeli soldiers" were seen on Israel's borders and stayed there until the real solders were able to arrive with their arms.  The surprise attack by Israel's enemies on their highest holy day did not surprise the God who made a covenant with Abraham!

The anecdotes are combined with scripture references to angels: seraphim, cherubim, fallen angels and other messengers.  Quotes from early church fathers are included as well.  MacNutt also quotes from the apocryphal books, but not nearly as much as she quotes from scripture.  References are provided so you can do further research as you wish.
Of possible concern to some readers is MacNutt's charismatic perspective.  You may not agree with everything in this book.  Of course, what is the point of only reading books that agree with you and never present you with any questions or challenges?  The combination of stories, scripture and scholarly research means this book offers something to everyone.

All in all, this is a well-written and well-researched book.  The author studied from Genesis to Thomas Aquinas to Billy Graham.  She gives anecdotes form Catholics, evangelicals and charismatics of all ages.  I am more confident than ever that God has His hand all around us—His Spirit, His Word and His angelic servants.
I received a free copy of this from Chosen Books for review.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dug Down Deep: A Great Introduction to Christian Theology

Why study doctrine?  Joshua Harris gives the best reason I've heard yet on page 76 of Dug Down Deep when he says"…Why spend time figuring out a way to hold on to church attendance and Christian tradition and even Christian morality while not really believing much of anything about Jesus except that he was a really great guy?"  Doctrine tells us what we believe, which in turn tells us why we do what we do.

This book is an introduction to the fundamental doctrines of Christian faith for those who do not want to wrestle with a systematic theology textbook.  A chapter by chapter study guide makes Dug Down Deep an excellent teaching tool for mature middle school students through adults.  Harris concentrates on the non-negotiables of the faith, such as the deity of Christ and the authority of Scripture, while avoiding denominational distinctives, making this book appropriate for most churches.

Especially meaningful to me was Harris' account of the familiar story told about the railroad conductor who is forced to flip a switch and kill his son, trapped in the gears, in order to save a train full of people.  I heard this supposed illustration of God and Jesus when I was younger and was always bothered by it.  Joshua Harris explained why it bothered me:  Jesus was not helpless and trapped!  His death was not a tragic accident.  Jesus chose, before we were even born, to lay down His life out of His great mercy and love.

Finally, Harris concludes with a call to "humble orthodoxy" rather than using doctrine as a club against one another.  On page 217 he states: "Here's what deflates my arrogance faster than anything else: trying to live the truth I have."  Indeed, we should all think of this when tempted to pride!  This is a book I will place in my church library and recommend to pastors and teachers.

You can find this book at Lifeway.com.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Your Child Gifted?

Check out this Hub for information on giftedness, Einstein Syndrome (one cause of late-talking children) and twice-exceptionalism.