Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century (27/9)

The mission of God brings the missions of God. This is the crux of the message of this book. Timothy Tennent has written what would be a standard text for anyone interested in missiology.

Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first CenturyWhat is unique about this book is how Tennent grounds all aspects of missions into the Mission of God. This is then further broken down by Tennent into the mission of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I am especially thankful that Tennent has written a textbook that looks into the trinitarian aspect of missions. This has been one aspect that has often been overlook in the study of missions but Tennent (and Chris Wright) has rightly pointed out that missions exist because God’s mission exist.

I also liked how Tennent traced the idea of missions throughout the old and new testament. I found that this really helped me ground my understanding of missions on the what the word really has to teach about missions. This I think, is one of the clear strength of the book. Some other chapters however will be slightly more difficult to comprehend and will need more than one reading for readers who are new to missiology.

I think this book will be really helpful for those who are thinking about missions or evangelism. Tennent has helped me understand deeper that missions is not just about evangelising to people across country/culture. Rather missions is really bring to gospel to everyone in a way that is relevant and understandable to them.It has broaden my understanding of missions to see how I can do missions at where I am currently.

In addition, pastors will be interested to know that this book will help broaden their understanding of missions and be able to see their outreach at church more holistically. This will help them see that missions does not just lie outside the border of the country you are in, but lies outside the borders of the church wherever it is.

Rating: 5 / 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

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Book Review – Martyrs of Malatya (4/10)

How much is Christ worth to you and to your neighbour? That was the thought that constantly came across my mind as I read this book. I love biographies and this books talks about 3 christians who had to pay the ultimate price for their faith and because of their desire to bring the gospel to those who are utterly lost.

Martyrs of MalatyaJames Wright starts by narrating to the readers the life story of the lives of these three christians. All three of them came from very different background. One was from Germany, another was groomed to be a devoted muslim while the last was university student. Yet each of them found Christ in their own time and was called by Him to serve together in the land of Turkey.

Wright gives an inside picture into the life and thoughts of these christians showing how their lives have changed as they slowly opened up themselves to the truth of the Bible. Each of them was slowly but surely transformed by what they have read in the bible. They were finally convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, the Saviour of the World and follow Him till the end.

Wright also shows very clearly the difficulty of the work that Necati, Uğur and Tilman was involved in. They were not fools, they knew the danger and the courage they needed to be doing this work. Each of them were ready to give their best, their all for the Lord.

As I read this book, I mourn with those who has lost their beloved because of the faith, and I groan with the rest of the world that the lost may finally be turned from their lost state towards Christ. I have been encouraged and challenged by what I’ve read. It was a stark reminder that martyrdom is not just something that happened in the past, but it is something that still happens even today. May the Lord keep us all faithfully to the end and may He come quickly!

Rating: 4.25 / 5

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

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

P.S. I would recommend Foxe’s Book of Martyrs as an companion to this book too. Get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle

Book Review – What Christians Can Learn From Other Religions (25/12)

There are some books I hate to review. Some are books I disagree with, the other are books that are very badly written, whether theologically or just plain bad. I hate to review these books because these review will hurt the authors and the publishers, but reviews exists for a reason – to help potential buyers discern whether to buy a certain book. So it is with this intention in mind that I pen this review.

What Christians Can Learn From Other ReligionsFirst, let me say what is good about this book. I like how the book decided to cover a whole spectrum of religions. I’m quite certain most readers will not be well-versed with at least some of the religions mentioned in this book. Philip Wogaman, handles the religion with tact and thoroughly, he does not skip over the surface but interacts with the different faiths carefully. Wogaman also reminds christians that when comparing or studying other religions, we must be careful not to compare the best of our faith to the worst of their faith. This often is one of the weakness of evangelical christians, Wogaman should be applauded to point this out to us.

Similarly, I found the chapters on Islam and Hinduism very well written compared to some of the other materials that one might find usually. However, this is not to say that this book is not without fault.

Wogaman firstly does not trust the reliability of the gospels by saying that “there is more than a little doubt whether Jesus himself ever uttered those words.” (p. 1). Next, Wogaman thinks that Jesus is not the only way to God, this can be found in his own summary at the end of the book “The Christian view of Christ as the way to God can be interpreted through the love of Christ as a manifestation of the love of God, so that love—not exclusive adherence to Christianity—is the way to God. That love is also to be found in other religions.” (p. 126).

Similarly, there are even more troubling things that one can find in this book. In the section where Wogaman talks how Muslim finds it hard to accept that Jesus is God, he talks about how Jesus ‘claims’ not to be God.  Wogaman uses Mark 10:17-18 (“Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”) to substantiate his point.  Next, he writes that “Christians can continue to believe that Jesus was a very good man and that his goodness is a decisive clue to the nature of God. I certainly do. But the point is that Jesus clearly was not claiming to be God!” (p. 35).

Next, he makes his point explicit by adding this “Muslims similarly are entitled to believe that Muhammad was a very good man… But Muhammad also did not claim to be God. There remains a difference between the two religious traditions, for Christians believe that God was expressed in and through Christ… But the point to be gained is that while God was expressed in and through Christ, Christ was not, himself, God.” (p. 35). Maybe the author meant that Christians do not worship Jesus as the Father, that I wholeheartedly agree. But the passage is so poorly worded that it might meant something theologically flawed. It might mean that Jesus is not fully God. That will never be accepted in any evangelical church.

This is where I find this book such a mixed bag. Quite ironically, I do not think the author even represents the best of christianity. And if that is so, should I therefore trust the author to teach me about other faiths? I find myself wary to believe everything that is written by the author.

I think this book can only be recommended for those who are discerning. Those who are able to shift the wheats from the tares. It is sad that such a book has to receive this review. I was honestly looking forward to gaining valuable insights from this book, but I went away wanting. Perhaps someone else will fill this gap that still lingers even after reading this book.

Rating: 2.5 / 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 – Go and Make Disciples (21/11)

If you have ever had a try at treasure hunting before, you would have experienced the thrill and joy you had when you managed to find the ‘treasure’. This was my very experience when I first started to read this particular book. At the time of writing, this book had 2 review on the mighty Amazon reviews, and 8 ratings on Goodreads. Quite a small audience for a book that’s published 15 years ago! It turns out I’ve discovered a gem that’s probably too underrated. So do not be mistaken by them, maybe you should give this book a read and then give me your impression of it. Because this turned out to be a really good book to introduce christians to the mission work.Go and Make Disciples

In this book, Roger Greenway first start by setting the context for the readers, first by showing how the world needs the gospel, next, he sets the definition for the word ‘missionary’, and lastly the motivation the church should have for mission.

Next, Greenway shows the readers from the bible the foundations and reality of mission within the word of God. He gives wide sketches of how missions is present both in the Old and New Testament. Following which, Greenway shows how especially in the New Testament the uniqueness of Jesus and how God’s people has always interacted with the other religions present in among them, thus presenting how christians ought to interact with them, and how to bring the uniqueness of Jesus to them.

In the last section, Greenway deals with the practical issues with regards to actual mission work. Greenway allows the readers to take a sneak peek into the lives of a missionary, the issues that one has to deal with when in the field. This is part of the reason why this book is so good, it’s able to present a comprehensive picture without tying the reader down with needless details.

What is great about this book is how insightful it has been, it was already talking about the need to go to in the cities 15 years ago! Comparatively, it was only 2-3 years ago where there was a sudden surge of book on the importance of going into the cities and doing the work of evangelism planting churches in them. Next, it also discusses about the ethics of evangelism, although the answer provided in this chapter was a little brief, it shown how far-sighted the author was.

In summary, if you’re interested to have a great introduction to missions, or wants your church to think in this direction, I would highly recommend this book to you. I’m sure this book will help you in thinking through the practical and theological issues related to world missions, and give you a firm foundation as you advance in other books that handles particular topics in greater detail.

Rating: 4.75 / 5

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

Book Review – For the World (10/7)

Books

For the World is a festschrift for Richard Pratt, esteem educator and president of Third Millennium Ministries, included in this book are 14 essays written in his honour, and these essays do vary from each other to a certain degree.prpbooks-images-covers-lg-9781596387287

The essays are separated in 3 aspects, ‘Biblical & Theological Studies’; ‘Ministry & Missions’; Ministry Training & Theological Education’.

The first section ‘Biblical & Theological Studies’ contains the most difficult chapters to comprehend within this book. A knowledge of Greek and Hebrew will be necessary in order to fully appreciate the first 3 chapters, having said that, I do not have a working understanding of greek or hebrew, and will leave the comments of those chapters to those who are more apt to the task. Within this section, Holcomb does write an interesting piece regarding metanarratives, though (in my very limited knowledge) I’ve not heard anyone who has had the same view as him, it remains to be an eye-opening piece that will spur others on in (I hope) the right direction with regards to this topic.

The next section deals with ministry and missions, which were very engaging as they are talk about topics that were more “down to earth”. Each and every of the chapter will be helpful for pastors who are serving in churches and who will undoubtably have to wrestle with these issues one time or another within their ministry and thus this is a good book to start with.

One of the topics that was repeated a number of time includes how Pratt, a professor and a Harvard graduate, is humble and personal with his colleagues and students alike. Included inside was also his ex-students reflection on his (in)famous ‘Introduction to Theological Studies’ (you can get this course on his website for free). Having viewed a couple of videos on this series, I have to say, Pratt’s course was able to challenge both kinds of students, those who are firmly reformed and calvinist, and those who are not. Pratt drives the students to the word of God and often tells the former to be more humble and open-minded, and to the latter, to see if what he teaches is truly what the bible says. After you have finished reading  this section in this book, I’m sure you will be interested to take the course for yourself too.

The last section, talks about the contribution of Pratt within the area of theological education. It is heartening to see how Pratt and others have seen the weakness/lob-sidedness of the current theological educational system, and have made efforts in trying to reform it. This final section would most helpful for those are or intends to go for theological training. The contributors highlight what is lacking and problems that current theological training have and their solutions to resolve it. These are good solutions that would have to be seriously considered by churches and seminaries.

After reading, I do come away with a deeper appreciation of the work done by Richard Pratt and  I do wish Richard Pratt and his team all the success they can have with this endeavour, and may the Lord use his efforts to train up well-equipped pastors for His own church.

Rating: 4.5/5

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

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

Book Review – Dispatches from the Front (19/5)

Books

This is one of the few books I really enjoy reading and while reading, I constantly give thanks to God for what He has done.

51Zr-8jtoPLIf you have read before “Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists” by Colin Hansen or “A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir” by Colin Hansen and John D. Woodbridge, the format of this book would be very familiar with you.

In Dispatches, Keesee takes us through almost every continent in the world and the many countries that have been “closed” to the gospel. Many of these countries includes former Soviet countries like the Central Asian countries, China and Albania.

Interspersed within his stories are many pictures and maps of these christians mentioned in this book. You will no doubt read of many heart wrenching stories, and many many bravery stories, stories of how willing these Christians are to suffer for the gospel sake. These and many stories like it are repeated almost in every country that Keesee has written about. Not only so, you will see the different needs that these people have and how Christianity has been meeting these needs and especially the great need for salvation in Christ Jesus. Keesee’s writing is engaging, thoughtful and enjoyable. I do not remember having to pause at any time just to take time to digest the stories, but with every chapter finished, I looked forward to reading just another chapter.

Many a time as we see how the Gospel has been marginalised in the West, Christians can feel rather disheartened about the situation, but as you read, your heart will be warmed to see how God has been and still is converting these hearts for Himself. Not only so, God will continue to send His servants to them despite the tremendous difficulty and hardship that they will face.

Not only will your heart be warmed by these stories, it will also be tugged, you will come away wanting to see the Lord work more in this world before Jesus returns again. I know of no other way to help you better see this than to give some quotes from the book itself “The world is more willing to receive the gospel than Christians are willing to give the gospel”, “Is Afghanistan sealed against the entrance of the missionary? Or is the land only waiting for those who will pay the price of bursting its barriers?” and lastly, “On the front lines of gospel advance, there is no medals, no helmets, no sword – just men and women transformed by the gospel to take the message of Christ to the next city or country or next door”.

I would highly recommend every christian to read this book, especially those who want to know more about missions, and I pray that after reading this, that God will send more to go, and even more to pray for those who have gone, and for those who will go.

Rating: 5/5

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.

Here’s a video for you. This is one of the countries mentioned in the book.