August 18, 2010

Book Review

The Supremacy of God In Preaching by John Piper

This is an excellent book about how the focus of preaching should be God, not story telling or entertaining, or anything else. God should not only be the focus of preaching, but He should be the focus of our life. Whatever you do, do for the glory of God.

The book is split into two parts. Part 1 is about the supremacy of God in preaching. Part 2 is about Jonathan Edwards as an example of the supremacy of God. Personally, I had no interest in the life of Jonathan Edwards as far as this book is concerned.

While I thought the first part of the book is excellent, I am surprised that a book like this even needs to be wrote. Everything Piper wrote should be intuitively obvious to any preacher. Unfortunately, many preachers don't make God the focus of their preaching or ministry.

One of the things that I found helpful and interesting was Piper's method of preaching with the strength of God. He uses the acronym APTAT to remember and explain his process.

Admit that without God you are powerless.
Pray for help, insight, power, love, humility, etc.
Trust in God's promises in His Word.
Act in confidence that God will fulfill His Word.
Thank God at the end of the message.

I would recommend at least the first part of this book to anyone wanting a refresher or reinforcement of what the focus of preaching should be.

August 04, 2010

Book Review

I finished reading "Confronting the Controversies" by Adam Hamilton last night.

The author is a pastor who took a sermon series on controversial issues and turned it into a book. The author claims to describe both sides of the controversies and then look at them from the biblical perspective.

The book deals with the following topics:
  • Evolution
  • Church/State Separation
  • Death Penalty
  • Euthanasia
  • Prayer in School
  • Abortion
  • Homosexuality
I found in most cases the author did not do a good job of presenting both sides of the argument.

For example, with the death penalty, the author provided about 1 page on the "for" side and about 3 pages on the "against" side.

The only two topics that I believe the author did present sufficient information about both sides of the controversy was with abortion and homosexuality.

On some of the issues I believe the author is just plain wrong with his conculsions and several statements. For example, the author seems to agree with the basic principles of evolution and believes that there is no danger in teaching it to our children. The author even alludes to mankind as being an experiment of God's! I am not sure what Scripture he twisted to come up with that interpretation.

Another example is the church-state separation issue. He tells people when praying publicly not to pray in Jesus' name so we don't offend anyone! The purpose of praying in Jesus' name is certainly not to offend people, but we are to pray to God in Jesus' name as described in Scripture.

I do agree with the author about prayer in school somewhat. I do not believe it is the school's job to raise children, especially in the faith. The responsibility to teach children about right and wrong comes from the parents, the family, and the church.

Overall this book seems to fail at providing an independent look at both sides of these controversies. In some cases I believe it even fails to look at them from a proper biblical perspective. Therefore, this is one book that can be skipped.