November 26, 2010

Book Review

Reinventing Paul by John Gager

The author's goal of this books is to challenge the assumption of the traditional view of Paul and present a new view(s). There are 5 chapters in this book:
  • The Traditional View of Paul
  • New Views of Paul
  • The Letter to the Galatians
  • The Letter to the Romans
  • Loose Ends
In my opinion, the author makes some serious errors right from the beginning. First, it seems he is operating on the assumption that Paul wrote Galatians and Romans. While it is true that Paul is the human author, we must remember that the words are inspired by the Holy Spirit. So it isn't really Paul writing what he thinks, rather it is God telling us what He wants us to know about the Jews and the Gentiles and salvation.

Second, the author focuses on and compares Galatians and Romans. When trying to understand the meaning of a particular portion of Scripture you must compare it with all other Scripture of the same topic. The author does not do this, rather limits his use of Scripture to attempt to prove what he thinks and wants to accomplish with his book.

It seemed to me the real purpose of this book was to simply publish something. Often times academic institutions strongly encourage the faculty to produce something. It looks as though this book is an example of that mentality.

Much of the book is simply quoting what other people have already wrote. In fact, there are over 400 footnotes that take up over thirty pages in the back.

Overall, in my opinion, this book is totally worthless and filled with nonsensical ideas. To give an example, Gager says of himself on page 151 that he is "a non-believing 'Christian'". I am not sure what that means, but I am certain he will figure out what it means someday.

Skip this book!

November 23, 2010

Book Review

Can America Survive? by John Hagee

This book is separated into 4 parts:
  • A Nuclear Iran
  • The Fall of America
  • The Beginning of the End
  • The Final Days
Part one deals with Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. The author says Iran will use them against the United States as well as other nations. The current political diplomacy needs to stop because it has allowed Iran to simply stall and build their arsenal.

In part two, the author looks at several problems with America. He believes a bomb will be used to wipe out our electrical system for months or years. He then talks about the world rejecting the dollar and the United States rejecting Israel's plea for help. Finally, he believes Christianity will become a crime in the United States.

The last two parts of the book are a little more focused on what the bible has to say about the return of Christ and the end of life as we know it on earth.

I am not sure of the purpose of this book. I would guess that it was wrote to simply get people (Americans) thinking about these topics. The author goes into a lot of detail about Iran, which I do question his "expertise" on Iran. However, he also goes into a lot of financial and economic detail about the United States, which I believe he has his facts correct for the most part.

I also question the title of the book, Can America Survive?. The ultimate answer of course is no, but as far as Christians are concerned it won't really matter since they will all be taken to be with Christ right before the tribulation.

The subtitle is also a little misleading, maybe it is just a marketing gimmick, 10 prophetic signs that we are the terminal generation. The 10 signs are given only in chapter 9 and are things like: oil, knowledge, television, and deception.

Overall, this book was interesting and easy to read but was otherwise unimpressive. Like I wrote earlier, I am not sure what the point of the book really is. What is the motive of the author: to get people thinking, to lead people to Christ, or to simply get his name out there and sell books about a provocative hot button issue?

While there is nothing really wrong with this book, if you have read the bible and are familiar with Revelation then you can probably skip this book. If you are not familiar with the bible then go read it first.

November 19, 2010

Book Review

Serenity - a companion for the twelve step program (NKJV Bible)

Serenity is a bible for those in the twelve step recovery program. This is a red letter New King James Version with the entire New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.

The first eighty pages explain the twelve step program. Scattered throughout the bible are examples and scriptural support for each of the twelve steps.

I believe the bible is an excellent book to live by, but especially for those struggling with an addiction. While I also believe the NKJV is an excellent translation, I think there are other translations, like the ESV for example, that maintain biblical accuracy, yet are a little easier to read and understand, especially for someone struggling with an addiction.

Overall, I would recommend this bible to anyone struggling with addictions or learning about the twelve step program.