Category: Book Review


The Prodigal God

I just finished The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. I really enjoyed the book. I read most of it in a day or two and then was away from it for over a month. Some of the good aspects of the book is the correction of my understanding of prodigal. Based on the parable, I assumed it meant sinful. Keller adjusts that view and explains that prodigal means abundantly giving, which actually makes sense with the actions of the younger brother. He was abundantly giving with his resources when pursuing sin, but the point of the parable is the abundance given from God. Though the father had no relationship with either son because of the disinterest of the sons, the father gave and gave when his son returned, desiring to do the same for the older son.

What Keller tries to get at is that the two sons represent two different kinds of people in the world. The older brother represents the legalistic, self-righteous and religious people. The younger brother represents the outwardly sinful. Both are separated from God and have no relationship with him. The father though wants to have a relationship with his sons, so as the father is representing God, we see how God made that possible through Christ. The sin of both kinds of people separates them from God and God wants to bring us back to himself because we were created for fellowship with Him. He accomplished that by clearing the sin away through Christ’s death on the cross, making it so nothing stands in the way so we could have fellowship with Him, like we were created for.

Keller ends his story with the feast. Jesus talks about a feast. The Old Testament ends with a feast. Why a feast? “There is no better way to convey vividly what it means to live out a life based on [Christ’s] saving work.” (p. 106) The feast in the new Jerusalem on the new earth, depicted by the parable, is where we get to “taste” an understanding of the grace of God purchased through the gospel of Christ.

I commend this book to people. I’ve read another review saying the opposite because he believes that Keller gets the emphasis of the parable wrong. What do I commend then? I commend using discernment. Have your Bible open with you when you read this book, when you read any book. Paul commends that.

In Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung goes over the idea of finding God’s Will. I read this book on the way back from the Resolved Conference 2010. Since I had a long ride, I figured I could read this book. It’s pretty short. About 110 pages of reading. The audience of the book is for high school aged to about 30’s. He does a pretty conclusive look at God’s Will, explaining what it is and what it’s not.

In the first chapter he pretty up opens the book. Introduces it, gets the topic going over making decisions and looking at statistics. He looks at why younger people are so passive.

In the second chapter he takes a look at what it means to say God’s Will. He covers three ideas. God’s will of decree or his sovereign, predetermined, planned will. The second will that is covered is God’s will of desire. This is God’s revealed will in scripture, His commands and such. The third is where people get hung up. He calls it God’s will of direction. This is where people are trying to figure out which way God wants them to go in life. Trying to figure out what God’s sovereign will is. God does not want us to figure out his sovereign will. He will give us wisdom in choosing, but he does not expect us to figure out what He wants us to do for the next step.

In chapter three he covers why he believes people have issues with trying to find God’s will. He lists 5 things: We want to please God, Some of us are timid, we want perfect fulfillment (in this life in the stuff), we have too many choices, and that we are cowards.

In chapter 4 DeYoung covers why approaching God’s will in this way is wrong. Worth reading.

Chapter 5 covers looking at waling in God’s will from a Biblical way perspective. He use quite a few passages from scripture and explains them well.

In chapter 6 he compares God’s guidance to other supernatural ways God guides in the bible.

Chapter 7 and are back to back comparison passages on how not to find Gods will and ways to, as well as having wisdom and how to get wisdom from God.

Chapter 9 covers two specific topics, finding a job and getting married which are two of the biggest topics people want God’s will for. He covers the topics well.

In chapter 10 he closes the book in giving an example in the life of one of his grandfathers.

This was a good book. I’d recommend it to anyone. Joshua Harris is pretty much sums my opinion up in the forward if the book with this quote: “And the highest praise I can give this book is that this book is my new go-to book on decision making and ‘finding God’s will.'” If someone asked me about finding God’s will, I’d recommend that they read this book.

Many thanks to my pastor for giving me this book. Todd, this review is in honor of you.

Here are a couple of links to the books on a couple of sites. These are some ministries I’d like to support. Check to see which price is cheaper.
On CVBB.com
On Monergismbooks.com
On wtsbooks.com

Not that long ago I was reading Jonathan Aiken’s biography of John Newton, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace. I finished it a while back but I didn’t give myself the time to write a review.

From Disgrace to Amazing GraceJonathan Aiken has done a good job with this Biography. It covers Newton’s entire life. As Michael Leake states in his review A Great Sinner with a Great Savior, Aiken “did not have at its center the magnificent work of Jesus Christ.” I agree but I was also coming to the book to learn about John Newton. Leake was ready for someone to make that comment because he also wrote: “Newton was the main character when it should have been Jesus. Because of this we miss discovering what it was that made Newton tick.” (I’ll link to the review later) He has a good point. It made me want to learn more about John Newton. I did buy more about John Newton (Life of John Newton by Josiah Bull and Letters Of John Newton both on Banner of Truth Trust) and I hope that those cause me to seek more of His Savior Jesus Christ who is my Savior.

Besides that the book was good. As I said it covered his whole life. It covered his whole life from all aspects. I recommend it but it shouldn’t be your only book about Newton. The book included some pictures in the middle of the book and it also included a bibliography, source notes and an index.

This review probably isn’t that good. I never have reviewed a book before but I hope my reviews get better.

You can find more reviews on Amazon. Click Here. You can also find the rest of Michael Leake’s review there.

Remember to read biographies of past Saints. That is suggested in the Bible in Hebrews (13:7)
For His Glory,
Mark

Hey Guys.
A lot of my friends are Mormon so this one caught my attention. Tim Challies wrote a book review on his blog on the book Mormonism Explained. Check out the review. Click here to go to the review.

Here is a little preview of his review:

Many Christians seem unsure of how to react to the rise of Mormonism. Mormons are adept at using Christian language and in affirming their love of the Bible and of Jesus Christ. But behind the language and behind the similarities is a whole world of difference. Christians do well to arm themselves with some knowledge of this religion and of those who adhere to it. In his new book Mormonism Explained, Andrew Jackson offers a book that can do just that. A short study and one geared to the popular level, the book, well, it simply explains Mormonism. … Jackson looks at the religion’s origins, its teaching and then spends several chapters teaching about the Mormon concept of salvation. In about 200 pages he gives a ground-level introduction to this religion and shows how it is not consistent with the Christian faith.

Click the title of the Book above to get to the Publisher Page of the Book. From there you can read the description, read the contents, see the back cover and download a PDF of the Introduction and Chapter 1. Enjoy.

I decided I would include the list of Recommended Books that was at the end of the Resolved Conference Booklet from 2007. The next six books were recommended in the booklet. The paragraphs included under the titles were also included in the booklet from the conference.

GOD IS THE GOSPEL By John Piper
“With his inspiring writing style, John Piper calls you to meditate on the gospel and be satisfied with an intimate knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. As you read this biblical and cross-centered book, Piper will draw your focus to justification, forgiveness, the glory of Christ in evangelism and sanctification, gladness in the gift of God Himself. ‘The glory of Christ is ignored by the synthetic, man-centered message so often shared in evangelism. But the true gospel of God proclaims the death and resurrection of Christ.’ As you read this book, expect to be confronted with the glory of Christ and encouraged to diligently proclaim His message!” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE By Jerry Bridges
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for initial salvation! God calls us to take up our cross daily and strive for holiness. Achieving this though is not always easy, but instead requires self-examination in all areas of life. Now available with a study guide, this recent and powerful book refuses to avoid the unpopular topic of sin. Instead Bridges will help you understand and implement the power of the gospel so as to enjoy real freedom and continued victory over sin and legalism as you follow Christ!” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

THE GLORY OF CHRIST By John Owen
“To see the glory of Christ is on the greatest privileges that a Christian can enjoy. In his immense essence, the infinite God is invisible to our finite human eyes, and will remain so for eternity. Only ‘in the face of Jesus Christ’ can we see God and be filled with peace and rest. Reading this good will present you with a sense of his uncreated glory, blazing for in Christ, to the intent that you will be satisfied and filled with joy.” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review
A second Review




THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE APOSTLES By John MacArthur
“Ever since the days of the apostles, Christian have struggles to define the proper relationship between faith and works. Salvation, according to Paul, is ‘not by works, so that no one can boast.’ But James argues that ‘faith without works is dead.’ In his characteristic, compelling style, MacArthur reconciles these two seemingly divergent threads of biblical truth.” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

LIVING THE CROSS CENTERED LIFE By C.J. Mahaney
“Too many Christians get caught up in the life’s optional extras and then wonder why they are drifting in a sea of difficulty. The simplle reason is that they have lost sight of the core reason for their new life—the cross of Jesus Christ, our mediator. C.J. Mahaney reminds his readers of the importance of the cross and describes how its gospel message provides strength for the present and assurance for the future. Be encouraged to regain your moorings and set sail under the power of a cross-centered life!” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review
A second Review

THE CROSS AND CHRISTIAN MINISTRY By D.A. Carson
“Jesus’ work on the cross not only won our redemption but also stands as the test and pattern of all Christian ministry today. This heartwarming exposition will challenge and encourage church leaders and their congregations. What can a first-century view of the cross teach us about Christian leadership? Plenty, says this respected New Testament scholar. In his thorough exposition of 1 Corinthians, Carson explores factionalism, servant-leadership, shaping “world” Christians, and other issues to help you gain a better understanding of what the death of Christ means in ministering to God’s people.” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

New: Young, Restless, Reformed « The Shepherd’s Scrapbook
A Post by Tony Reinke on his blog

In our culture the influences upon young men and women include everything from vocal atheism (God Is Not Great) to influences within the church culture towards postmodern originality (Everything Must Change). Yet the demographic of young Calvinists—those returning to ancient theological roots—is growing. Young men and women are confessing that God is great and the need for all-out change within the church is exaggerated alarmism.

This fascinating growth in Calvinism among young Christians caught the attention of Christianity Today editor Collin Hansen. Hansen invites others to ride “shotgun” as he travels across the country discovering the far reaches of the emerging Calvinism in his new book—Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists (Crossway, 2008).

This is one of the most engaging and adventurous books we’ve seen in 2008. Read it to meet the cast of characters behind this rise; read it to discover the far-reaching influences of Calvinism on the lives of young men and women; read it for the excellent and descriptive perception of the author.

Young, Restless, Reformed is a must-read and now available from Crossway.