Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review: "Exploring Christian Theology - Revelation, Scripture and The Triune God" (Volume 1)

When I first received this book I was a little concerned that it was going to be some really dry, purely intellectual reading, but I was wrong. This book is really good on sharing the importance of theology. This volume isn't too long with 272 pages, and covers two subjects (nice length); the way in which it's designed is really like having two books in one. The first subject is Scripture and all that entails including the inspiration of the Scriptures. This subject really has to be covered first as it is foundational.  If you don't come to the conclusion that the Bible is 100% inspired by God (Holy Spirit), then you will have no basis upon which to build any of your beliefs. Along those lines let me quote from page 109 of this book, "The proper conception of inspiration holds that the Holy Spirit acted on the writers of the Bible in an organic way, in harmony with the laws of their own inner being, using them just as they were, with their character and temperament, their gifts and talents, their education and culture, their vocabulary and style. The Holy Spirit illumined their minds, aided their memory, prompted them to write, repressed the influence of sin on their writings, and guided them in the expression of their thoughts even to the choice of their words." (Quote by Louis Berkhof).  

The first section also includes 10 memory Scriptures as they relate directly to the subject of the inspiration of the Scriptures. There are also little blocks of information through out the pages for quick reference on the subject at hand, and are also very well-written.

The second subject or book in this volume is on the Triune God, the Trinity. The Trinity is one of those doctrines that is foundational to Christians worldwide, and it will be hard to understand unless you accept as fact that God's Word (BIBLE), as stated in section one, is truly 100% the inspired Word of God.  This section will cover and explain how God exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, yet there is one God (not three as erroneously taught by some). While this may be one of the hardest doctrines to wrap our finite minds around, it is taught throughout the Bible (Old and New Testaments) as you will see in this section. I feel this book did a good job of explaining the Trinity and showing many passages that teach this foundational truth of Christianity.  

This second section includes 14 memory Scriptures, again, related to the subject. There are also other handy tools such as a glossary of terms. This is helpful as many of the terms in this book are words you've never heard from a modern day pulpit. There is also a section at the end of each part of the book called "shelf space," which refers you to other books on the same subject for further study (and in most cases more in-depth), which I found helpful. The book suggestions are broken down into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  By their own rating system, I would say they would likely consider this book intermediate. So, if you did find this book a little too detailed, look at their book suggestions and look for a book rated beginner; if this book was too simplistic for you, then look at their book suggestions and pick a book that is rated advanced.

I would give this book four and a half stars. it's a good book on theology, not too terribly long and pretty easy to read. That being said, if you pay retail price 1 volume is just $16.99, but it only covers two subjects, inspiration of the scripture and the Trinity, so to get a more fuller study of theology you need to buy the other 2 volumes (soon to be released), which means putting out about $50 ($40 if you look around) to cover basic theology.  Volume 2 covers creation, fall, and salvation; and volume 3 covers the church, spiritual growth, and end times. While that doesn't cover absolutely everything in theology, with those three volumes, you should have a pretty good handle on biblical theology when you're done.

I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review of "What the Bible Says About Prayer"

I am a minister of the Gospel and believe prayer is of utmost importance in a Christian's life. Your Christian life will always be lacking if you are not in prayer on a regular basis. As with all Rose Publishing products, their products are always easy to read and and I love the visual layout of their materials. I also like the durability of their laminated/gloss pamphlets, and it's flat enough that you can keep it your Bible.

This pamphlet "What the Bible Says About Prayer" is only 14 pages (panels),  but it has over 100 scriptures, so while it is a quick read, it has a lot of scriptures to review.  You get all the basics on prayer that you'll need to get your prayer life going. This is a great tool for a new believer to understand the basics of prayer and its layout makes it very easy to understand. If someone understands this pamphlet they'll be on their way to a fruitful prayer life. This would be great for a Sunday School class or a "New Believers" Bible Study.  You want to check it out.  I believe you'll be very pleased and it is only $3.99 (or less with or - you just can't beat it! I give this 4.0 out of 5 stars as it is very good for a new believer, but very basic for anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time.  

Rose Publishing has provided me with a reader copy for my honest review.