Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: Soul Keeping by John Ortberg

Soul KeepingNow this review is special as I had the privilege of getting an advance copy of the book from Zondervan which is published today (22nd April)

Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book : 

Many people think that the “soul” is a theologically abstract subject. But Jesus said it’s worth more than the world! With Ortberg’s signature insight, inspiration, and wit, you’ll rediscover your soul and how to care for it. Making a challenging topic accessible, he’ll help you take your relationship with God to the next level.

Continue reading Book Review: Soul Keeping by John Ortberg

Book review: Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge

I haven’t reviewed for a while, but I have been reading!  Here’s a fresh one for you

Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book : 

Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off. The result is a dry, two dimensional person doing strange, undecipherable things.

Continue reading Book review: Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge

Book review: Love in Hard Places by D.A. Carson

Another review for your reading pleasure

Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book : 

Too often the Christian version of popular culture’s sentimental view of love is that, of all things, Christians should be nice. After all, people ask, isn’t the Church about forgiveness? Aren’t Christians supposed to love others without condition?

This book not only focuses on the aspects of Christian love that are not easy–such as when it comes to loving our enemies, and even forgiving those loved ones who have hurt us–but also helps readers understand, then, what biblical love really is. As author D. A. Carson points out, thinking seriously about Christian love soon embroils us in reflection on justice, revenge, war, the authority of the state, forgiveness, hate, and much more. This book shows some of the important ways in which the love of Christians is a reflection of the love of God, and enables believers to develop an appropriate understanding of how to love in the hard places of life.

My thoughts :

This book is an amalgamation of 3 lectures, so it reads like that rather than a book and keeps referring to the other lectures.  Carson starts by exploring the various aspects of Gods love and presents some truths that are hard to swallow, such as, while God has love for all of his creation evidenced in common grace, for example, he also shows conditional love in forgiveness (if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive yours)  He then goes on to talk about 2 large issues, namely racism and terrorism.  The lectures were given post-9/11, but many years before Osama Bin Laden was killed, and he references that in the book.  He talks about the God-given authority of the state to wield the sword in judgement, about revenge, forgiveness, just war and wrongly using rasicm to personal advantage, and he finishes with the purity of the gospel, which is highlighted in Galatians 2:11-14

It was a bit heavy going and not so laden with one-liners, but many points sub-divided into further points until you lose track of which number you’re on.

I found it challenging, informative, at times inspirational and at other times really difficult to read.  Most of what you need in a book about the love of God really.

The book is centred around the 2 greatest commandments “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40

If you can nail these, everything else will fall into place, and you will be able to love in the hardest of places. Easier said than done, yes, but still possible.

It is one I’d read again, if only because it’ll be easier the second time around, but also because I’d be able to glean more from it.  You too should go and read it.

First sentence | Last sentence :

“Three years agoI gave some lectures that were eventually published uder the title The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God” | “But the love will remain, unalloyed, immensely rich, reflecting in small but glorious ways the immeasurable love we have received”

In a nutshell :

Love is a distinguishing feature of Christianity and should motivate everything we do, being fuelled by an undivided and complete love for the Godhead.  This will allow us to love even the most cruel and evil of people.

Score :

4/5

MrTheKidd

Did you find this review helpful? Leave a comment and let me know!

To find out more follow on Don twitter (@DACarson_) or find him on facebook. He is also a member of The Gospel Coalition, which you can find out about here, on facebook and on twitter @TGC

Book review: Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson

They’re coming thick and fast…

Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book : 

Everyone’s idea of discipleship is different. Some people emphasize evangelism-sharing their faith. Still others promote a hierarchical system for spiritual growth, a way for older Christians to pass on best practices to younger believers. Yet, both ideas are incomplete. Real discipleship is so much more.

Avoiding extremes and evaluating motives, Jonathan Dodson’s Gospel Centered Discipleship insists on a way of following Jesus that re-centers discipleship on the gospel.

This book helps us understand and experience the fullness of discipleship as God intended. It combines the mess and the weight, the imperfection and transformation, the honesty and wonder of being a disciple who revolves around Jesus. Here is a practical guide to discipleship that is Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, field-tested, and easily implemented.

My thoughts :

This book was a very quick read, especailly after some of the other books I’ve read lately, and I found it to be repetitive and light.  The theology is sound and the anecdotes are useful, but it didn’t really take me in until it got the chapter about the work of the Holy Spirit, which for me should have been much longer.  The basic thrust of the book is that we should be striving to live the gospel rather than being stuck in either false piety or distracting mission focus, both of which are reliant on works for salvation.  In contrast, living the gospel does have works, but they are an outworking of faith, not the fuel for it.  The idea of fight clubs – groups of 2-3 with regular meeting, sharing and accountability – is a good one, even if the name is cringe-worthy, but again, the section dealing with them was repetitive.  As I read the book I realised that I started to see many sentences as quick tweets or status updates, which would sound good and cause friends to stop and think “hmm, yes, excellent point”, but I feel that a book full of standalone statements can really stand alone.  Whilst the main theme was interesting and well thought out, I would suggest that this book be used as a step toward achieving deep relationships rather than a piece of defining literature.
I feel terrible being generally negative, but for all the good about it, it didn’t blow me away and I doubt I’ll read it again, unless as part of a discussion with my sensibly-named accountability group.

First sentence | Last sentence :

“I’ll never forget my introduction to discipleship” | “Until we learn to meet him face to face, may we learn the gospel, relate in the gospel, and share in the gospel with ever increasing devotion”

In a nutshell :

Dont’t build discipleship on works or piety, instead focus on the diagonal gospel of Christ in a company of men/women in which there is 100% accountability.   Think of this book as a useful tool for your kit.

Score :

3/5

MrTheKidd

Did you find this review helpful? Leave a comment and let me know!

To find out more visit the website www.gospelcentereddiscipleship.com, follow on twitter (@gcdiscipleship) or find on facebook

Book review: The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge

It’s been a while since I reviewed a book, so here you go

Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book :

Our God is not distant deity, but a passionate, loving Father. Because of his love he has often wooed us with a life filled with unparalleled beauty, intriguing relationship and wonderful adventure. But we often reject his advances in order to pursue our careers, find self-fulfilment and seek after any number of lovers who are far less wild. In The Sacred Romance John Eldredge and Brent Curtis challenge us to let go of these “less-wild lovers” so that we can begin the journey back to the passionate lover of our souls. Don’t miss this opportunity to return to the intimacy, beauty and adventure of life with God. Continue reading Book review: The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge