Book Review: Tempted and Tried

Image

Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ is written by Russell Moore, the dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president  for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological  Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  Moore is a well known Christian thinker modeled after his close friend and mentor Albert Mohler.

I really hate to give this book a less than stellar review, but it was quite disappointing to me. I choose to use the book for a men’s group largely based on the reputation of Russell Moore and the overwhelming 5 star reviews on Amazon. I have not read any of Moore’s other books, but I have heard him speak and have read some of his shorter articles on the internet with profit. How could I go wrong? Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not reading the book in full before proceeding to use it for our men’s group.

The fact is, the book contains some real substance but is marred by several things. First of all, the chapters are way too long. Furthermore, they were not divided up into manageable reading chunks. Some kind of discernible outline for each chapter would have been helpful. It made it difficult to wade through page after page with no break. Secondly and related to the first point, the organization of the book did not seem well thought out. I realize that it is supposed to be an exposition of sorts of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. Continue reading

Advertisements

Review: Blood Work

Image

Anthony Carter’s book, Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation, is a simple and straightforward exposition of the principal passages of the New Testament that mention the blood of Christ in connection to the believer’s salvation. The 13 chapters are short, clearly written and chock full of Scriptural supports for the themes he covers. While the title and the principal passages focused on might seem to suggest a narrowly focused study, in reality the book is a wide ranging survey of key doctrines of salvation. As such, the book would serve as an good primer for new believers who would like to understand the gospel better.

I was surprised at how many passages in the New Testament treat the death of Christ by appealing to the image of the shed blood of the cross. Carter points out that the word “blood” is used 3 times as much as the word “cross” and 5 times as much as the word “death” in the New Testament. Clearly it is a powerful term employed to speak of the work of Christ – the blood work if you will. These passages connect the shedding of Christ’s blood to themes such as purchase, propitiation, justification, redemption, drawing near, peace, cleansed consciences, sanctification, ransom, and freedom. Of course these represent the main chapters of Carter’s book. Carter writes from a solidly Reformed perspective as you would expect from the Reformation Trust (i.e. the publishing arm of R. C. Sproul’s ministry). Subsequently, from my perspective, Carter’s soteriology is dead on and sorely needed in a day when the gospel has been watered down so much. Continue reading

Review: Church and State in America

Image

I have read a number of books on America’s religious history particularly in the Colonial and Revolutionary periods, however, Church and State in America by James H. Hutson is one of the best by far. Even though it is brief, it is comprehensive in scope, giving just enough details to give a full picture of the issues without being superficial. The book is scholarly (Hutson is the Chief of the Manuscripts Division at the Library of Congress), yet very readable and in fact enjoyable. I could not put the book down. He covers a number of fascinating details I had not encountered elsewhere in the debate on church and state. For example, Hutson was involved in the recovery of a blackened out portion of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in which the famous phrase “Wall of separation between church and state” appears. With the help of the FBI, in 1998, they uncovered deleted portions of Jefferson’s letter that casts a whole new light on what he meant by this phrase. The portion was struck out before being published upon advice of his attorney general for fear that it might have political repercusions. It appears Jefferson limited his understanding of the phrase to the function the president serves in matters of religion, not the government as a whole. Continue reading

Review: Starlight, Time and the New Physics

Image

Starlight, Time and the New Physics by John Hartnett is an important book in the world of Creation Science literature.  Hartnett is an avowed Young Earth Creationist who believes the creation account in Genesis is to be taken at face value.  As such, he seeks to deal with the thorny problem of distant starlight in a young universe. Hartnett earned his B.Sc. and his Ph.D. from the Department of Physics at the University of Western Australia. He works with the Frequency Standards and Meteorology research group, and is a tenured Research Professor at his Alma Mater.

As far as the intriguing and fascinating concepts of this book, it is superb. However, as far as readability and clarity, it is a bit tough going. Unless you have some familiarity with concepts in cosmology and astrophysics you will have trouble reading this book, and I am not talking about the technical appendices. Furthermore, it is not always clear how Hartnett is making his case for solving the problem of distant starlight in a young universe.

The first 2 chapters are easy enough and do a good job of explaining some background to the book. Hartnett was inspired by the more well known work by Russell Humphreys and his book of 1994 entitled, “Starlight and Time.” Humphreys was the first YECer to propose a theory for the starlight problem using a time-dilation model. Hartnett points out that most YECers have been reluctant to use such models because they have historically preferred theories that assume time is absolute. However, I think Hartnett is right that time-dilation models are profitable for pursuing answers to the problem of distant starlight. His book takes this approach. Continue reading

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog where I will post things of interest like book reviews, thoughts on the state of Christianity and culture, and my musings on Biblical truth.

I am a pastor of a rural church in southwest Colorado.  I graduated from The Master’s Seminary with an M Div. degree in 2001. I love my wife of nearly 20 years and 4 boys who keep me busy.  And I love the church God has graciously afforded me to serve – Summit Lake Community Church.  http://www.summitlakechurch.org/

Thanks for dropping by!