Book Review – God with Us: Exploring God’s Personal Interactions with His People throughout the Bible (27/2)

Would you use the adjective humble to describe God? Why or why not? Yet, for God to communicate with man, isn’t that an act of grace, an act of God descending to communicate with those who are not equal to Him.

God with Us: Exploring God's Personal Interactions with His People throughout the BibleThis essentially is what this book is about. God’s divine condescension with His creation. Glenn Kreider has written a book that shows the readers what the bible has to say about God’s condescension. Kreider moves from the Old Testament to the New Testament and shows the readers God’s act of grace towards his creation.

I found that Kreider has really done a good job showing the readers how gracious God was towards His creation, and still is very gracious towards us.

I would highly recommend Presbyterians to read this book, given that the Westminster Confession makes special reference to the divine condescension of God, this book would be an excellent resource to deepen one’s understanding of it. Even if you’re not a Presbyterian, you should give this book a read, I would recommend those who wishes to see what the Bible has to say about His grace and compassion towards us to read this book. Likewise, for those who are interested to learn about humility, they are recommended to read this book.

Rating: 4.75 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Covenants Made Simple (18/2)

One word that you often see in the bible, in both testaments is the word covenant. But what exactly is it? And what does covenants have to do with me?

Having read, but not finish “God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology” by Michael Horton, owing to my own inability to understand it, when I read the title of this book, it was a book I looked forward to reading.

And this bCovenants Made Simpleook really makes covenant theology simple to understand. Jonty Rhodes starts the book by highlight a passage spoke by the Lord Jesus “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt 26:28). Often as we read it, we often miss out the impact of the word, the “blood of the covenant”, as Rhodes puts it, would it really matter if the phrase was blotted out? Of course it matters, unless you don’t see a need for covenantal theology in your belief.

With that introduction, Rhodes then traces throughout the bible to see whether covenantal theology is biblical or just made up by man. Rhodes brings the readers through the major covenants that God made with man, and through it highlights the implications of the covenants, the blessing and curses that comes along with it. Rhodes shows the readers that covenant, if put simply is “an agreement between God and human beings, where God promises blessings if the conditions are kept and threatens curses if the conditions are broken.”.

Rhodes does an excellent job tracing the covenantal theme throughout the whole bible, showing how God relates to us within the covenant that was set with man.  As an additional point, this book is thoroughly Presbyterian, I do like the fact that this book is both covenant and reformed (i.e. TULIP), and Rhodes put forth very clearly the rationale the ecclesiology of Presbyterian and a defence for pedo-baptism. Though I am not entirely convinced, I found his points to be made excellently and his presentation of other church structure to be fair and well-represented. Rhodes also added in various figures to illustrate the points of the chapters, which I found them to be excellent summary and showed visually the points he was making in the chapters.

This book would be good for any Presbyterian, especially those who are new to the faith, or a youth in a Presbyterian church. For those who are not, this book remains helpful to allow you to grow in your understanding of covenant, and also give you knowledge on the rationale behind the Presbyterians. A simple and easy to read book, but by no means a simplistic book.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can find it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Here’s a free resource on covenantal theology.

Book Review – Heaven (Theology in Community) (16/2)

Often, I had students ask me what heaven is like. Frankly, I find that question quite hard to answer. It seems that although heaven is where we are going, there really isn’t much that we know about it. So it was quite surprisingly to see a substantial book written on it.

Heaven (Theology in Community)This was the first book I’ve read in this series, and I’m quite like what the authors and the editors have done. As the series suggests, this is essentially a biblical theology series, taking one topic and reviewing what various parts of the bible says about them.

First there’s a quick overview on the book. Next comes the teaching on heaven. The chapters move from old testament to new testaments, zooming in to the Gospels, Paul’s letter and the general epistles, and John writings individually. The book deals mostly with passages in view and highlights to the readers what we can learn about heaven from them.

Next, comes five special chapters on heaven. I especially like the chapters by Gerald Bray and Ajith Fernando. Gerald Bray brings the reader through the history of heaven, how our understanding of it has change, widen and deepen. In addition, Bray shows how the reformers understanding of heaven differed from the roman catholic. As such, I found this chapter especially enlightening. The chapter by Ajith Fernando was a little different, he talks how the hope of heaven presents us with the strength to endure through persecution. What is more, Fernando writes having had first-hand experience of being persecuted. Fernando shows the readers why it is worth it to be consider to be able to suffer for the sake of Christ.

I would think this book would be most helpful for those interested in the topic, and wants to see how each part of the bible contributes to our overall view of heaven. Pastors, or even lay leaders should be able to benefit much by reading this book.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you are interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – For the Glory of God: Recovering A Biblical Theology of Worship (14/10)

There might never be an end to worship wars this side of heaven, but for a topic that has been so hotly fought over, it is surprising to see not many books on the theology/biblical theology of worship. What comes to my mind immediately about this topic is the book by David Peterson “Engaging with God”. But now, I think there is another solid contribution on this topic.

For the Glory of GodDaniel Block has written a 400+ page study on the biblical theology of worship. This book according to the author, in contrast to the one by Peterson, is able to present more deeply the topic of worship from the Old Testament, and after i’ve finish this book, I fully agree with him!

Block has done a comprehensive study on worship, he examines all the nooks and crannies of worship, and in my opinion has truly left no stones unturned (maybe other than spiritual gifts bit).

It would make this review far too long to examine every topic within the book. So I will give broad comments on book as a whole. First Block brings the readers to see how the audience in OT and NT first understood worship, giving many valuable insights to this topic that is not often found elsewhere. From it, he derives his definition of worship, which he expands in the chapters that follows.

Block then logically moves from point to point within his definition and covers everything within the topic of worship. He would first examines from the Old Testament (he uses the word First Testament instead) what it says about the topic, discuss about them in their context, and make a quick summary based on what is covered. Then he will move to the new Testament, and examine what has changed/remained, and explaining why these changes have happened. Sometimes, for certain topics, he would also enlarge his findings to the records found in the early churches. Next he moves on to give some of his suggestions or thoughts on the particular topics and what it implies for us today.

Block’s observation from the text has been very detail, showing his depth of research and work put into this book. Block’s suggestions and thoughts often found at the end of each chapters was also very perceptive. Through them he guides readers to think even more deeply about these topics and how that should affect our worship.

One tiny critique to this book, in his definition, Block defines worship only as human acts, however don’t the angels in heaven also worship the Lord alongside with us? This lack however will in no way affect the content of the book.

This might not be Block’s magnum opus book for the laymen, but will surely be one of the best reference book on worship for a long time to come. Highly recommended for pastors and worship leaders to think deeply, biblically on this topic. Be warned though, to complete this book will be no walk in the park, but you will be deeply rewards for your efforts, and thankful to God for what Block has done for the christian community.

Rating: 5 / 5

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.