Book Review – We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong (21/2)

There comes a time where courageous people has to stand up against what is wrong, no matter what the consequence. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. think homosexuality and same-sex marriage is one example of such issues that Christians have to stand up against.

We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and WrongMohler wishes to show historically what has led to this shift in our culture. Mohler does this first by pointing readers to 60s and 70s — the sexual revolution. Mohler then traces through it highlights the various shifts that cumulates in what has happened in our generation finally — the call for equality in same-sex marriages. What Mohler does in this book is to honestly bring to light the agendas of the LGBT community. He quotes their strategies and plans and shows how they have achieved what they have today.

Mohler also very courageously talks about his own change in some stance over the years. Mohler  is rightly to be credited for how he has humbly stated, in writing what he has wrongly held that homosexuality is a choice, and that they have the ability to choose their orientation. Mohler has now believes that they may not have the ability to choose, but there still remains a responsibility for us to not to follow our sinful inclinations. Here is a lengthy quote from this book what on he said about this issue:

“We must also recognize that we have sinned against homosexuals by speaking carelessly about the true nature of their sin. I indict myself here. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, as a young theologian I was invited to speak at a conference of evangelical leaders and thinkers as the movement toward gay liberation was first taking organized shape. At that time, evangelicals were sure the element of choice was the central issue behind the sinfulness of homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle. Thus, we felt the moral and theological obligation to deny the notion of a homosexual “orientation” and to insist that homosexuality was, in every case, freely chosen without regard to any predisposition. For this, I must apologize to the homosexual community, including a host of Christians who have struggled to be biblically faithful even as they have struggled with same-sex orientation.

In a fallen world, every single human being who has achieved puberty is a sexual sinner. Every single one of us has a pattern of sexual attraction, arousal, and interest that we cannot truly say we ourselves have chosen. Eventually, erotic interest comes into our awareness, and, as most adolescents can testify, it comes without any warning or explanation. I now know that a more mature, faithful, and consistent biblical understanding of human sexuality affirms that the fall has so impacted human existence that every single one of us has, to one degree or another, a fallen sexual orientation. Most Christians testify that their fallen sexual orientation is directed toward the opposite sex. Still, no Christian with a heterosexual pattern of sexual interest is free from sin or free from uninvited erotic impulses, interests, and thoughts.

Nevertheless, these uninvited thoughts do not acquit us. The Bible makes clear that we are always responsible for our sinful acts, even condemning us for our sinful thoughts.”

Mohler ends by highlighting some issues that Christians and churches have to think about in handling this issue. I thought this section was especially thought-provoking and will help christians think hard about it. Mohler also ends by answering some of the questions raised regarding the christian’s stance towards homosexuality. Regardless of whether you agree with the observations and conclusion of Mohler, you will find helpful materials on the movement and planning of how the homosexual movement has come to where it is today.

Rating: 4 / 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

P.S. If you’re interested in the what the bible has to say about homosexuality, I recommend What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

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Book Review – Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told (7/1)

The teachings of Jesus that people remember most often are either the sermon on the mount or the parables that he has taught. Parables leaves a lasting impressions on those who listens to them, especially when they are used to shock the listeners.

Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus ToldIn this book, John Macarthur wants to help christians understand the parables of Jesus correctly. He starts the book by explaining why Jesus teaches using the parable. He debunks some of the wrong teachings that other have proposed and he brings readers to consider what the bible have to say about why Jesus taught using parables.

Having done that, Macarthur then moves on to explain 10 parables to the readers. Macarthur is careful to interpret the understanding of the parable within the context of the passage. This is one clear strength of the book. Macarthur leads readers not just to the parable itself, but also to the parables that precede and proceed from the parable. Because Macarthur tries to be faithful to the understand the parable from the text, the meaning of the parable flows naturally. It does not sounds weird or abrupt  when linked with the passages that comes before or after it.

One clear strength of the book is how Macarthur is able to explain the parables in a way that is easily understandable. He does not use any technical terms and ensures that his explanation actually helps readers gain a clearer understanding. Readers will be able to learn much from Macarthur and will find this book helpful in understanding parables.

Rating: 4 / 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

P.S. For those who wants a more exhaustive recommendation, try Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus, get it here and here (free international shipping).

Book Review – Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness (24/11)

What does a warrior, a rights activist and a nun has in common? Answer: They can all be accomplished by a woman. Biographies on women are far and few between. This is why I’m glad Eric Metaxas has written this book highlighting the lives of several accomplished women.

Seven Women: And the Secret of Their GreatnessSome of the women in the book mentioned in the book will probably be known by many, other will probably be new to readers. What makes their lives remarkable is how they were able to showcase their lives for Christ.

Metaxas writes in a very engaging manner giving a chapter summary of each of the women in his book. If you’re new to these people, you will definitely find this book to be an extremely helpful introduction to their lives. What I liked about why Metaxas has written about these people is the fact that he recognises the fact that what makes these women great is not about whether they were able to achieve or out-do what men had already achieved. Rather he wants to write about what women has excel in by their very own identity.

For example, on his chapter on Susanna Wesley, Metaxas reminds readers that Susanna Wesley’s greatness lies in the fact that she was a superb mother who single-handedly had to raise a large family, providing, caring and discipling them and every one of them. This teaches readers that to be a great woman does not mean you have to perform as well as a man, rather you are to be excellent at the identity that God has given to you.

I’ve enjoyed the book, but one drawback of the book is that the comments by Metaxas is rather short. No doubt Metaxas does indicate his opinions throughout the book, if his concluding paragraphs for each chapter was slightly longer it would be excellent. Metaxas does a good job at highlighting the important contribution of each women, I only wish he could have written a more elaborated piece on each of them.

All in all an easy to read book, informative and engaging. If you’re a woman and want to know about what makes this women great, then you should read about them in this book.

Rating: 4 / 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 – The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World (1/6)

Should a Christian always be happy? Or morbid? Perhaps some might think that it is more “biblical” to be morbid that happy but David Murray has actually written this book to help christians be happy christians.

The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy WorldIn essence Murray wants to highlight the importance of joy and happiness in the christian life. But rather than just showing the benefits of being positive, Murray also wants to show that being positive is actually biblical. He brings 10 ideas to the readers and shows how each of them can help us be happy Christians.

Murray first shows how psychology and science has shown how important happiness is to the general health of a person. From it, he wants to teach and show how we can learn to reframe our thoughts and see things in a new light. Things that might have caused us to be frustrated, when viewed from a Christian perspective might even cause us to be thankful for it.

Murray also reminds the readers of very basic truths that christians should be happy about. For example in one chapter he writes about the good news of our salvation found in Christ. Or in another chapter, Murray writes and shows how the church is more about Christ than about Christians, and how we can learn to love those who are unlike us.

All in all, I have found this book to be a good read and backed up secular statistics or research. Though I would have preferred that Murray built up the foundation from biblical foundations first, this book is still backed with many biblical truths and principles. If you want to know how you can be happy despite the many troubles in life, this is one book that you should read.

Rating: 3.5 / 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 – The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War (17/4)

Are there things that the Christian God needs to hide before people will believe in Him? Some of the atheist (or even christians) seems to think that there are. However, as readers will find out in this book, it is not God who has skeletons in His closet, rather, it is us who has these skeletons.

The Skeletons in God's Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy WarWithin the book, Joshua Ryan Butler seeks to address many touchy issue within the christian faith, but does so in a way that is not often seen in the current literature. The three big issues addressed within the book are Hell, judgement and holy war.

First, Butler addressed the issue of hell, whether it is “right” for unbelievers to be in hell after they died simply because they did not believed in Jesus. Butler showed that the issue is not so much that hell is a judgement centre. Rather, heaven is just a wonderful place, God “protects” it by keeping those who do not wish to be in heaven, to be in hell.

Next Butler, showed why judgement rather than being bad, is actually a good thing. Butler shows how God is not just concerned about the appearance of things, but He is deeply concern about all areas in our life. Similarly, since God’s judgement is universal, no one will be able to ever escape from His judgement.

Lastly, Butler address the issue of genocide within the Old Testament. He shows the readers that this is not really a war where the strong bullies the weaker, rather this is more of the under dog winning against a mega empire. Consequently, it is meant to show the readers that this is not the typical war that one might assume when reading such bible verses.

I do enjoy how Butler addresses many of these issues. I have found them to be refreshing and invigorating. However, I do have some concern for the way these issues are addressed. I am not fully convinced that the bible does not portrays hell is as a place judgement.

I do recommend this book to those who wants to gain a new perspective about these issues. Read and learn, though you should do it with caution. College or university students should find this book helpful.

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 – The Grand Paradox (28/2)

‘Paradox’ – that would be one word to describe the christian faith. Our faith teaches us to lose our life to gain it, to bless those who curse us, to pray for those who persecute us and that the meek will inherit the earth. So what does it mean for us to be followers of Jesus? What is the christian faith about?

The Grand ParadoxThis is what this book wants to communicate to us. Ken Wystma presents to his readers topics and issues in the christian faith that might often be overlooked. I especially like his chapter on doubt. Wystma writes honestly to his readers that christians, even faithful christians doubt certain things in their faith. To have doubts is not wrong, yet it is necessary for us to be honest with these doubts and to wrestle with them honestly.

Wystma also help readers wrestles with the paradoxical truths within the bible. Wystma must be commended for his efforts to help christians think through about such issues. In this day and age where the prosperity gospel thrive and grow, Wystma shows us that there are indeed hard truths in the faith which we must be prepared to accept and believe.

Having said that, I did however find that the book did not have an overarching direction. As such, it seems as though each chapter was individually independent from another. Each chapter was easy to read and understand and would be suitable for any christian. I do not have any particular recommendation for any age, but I would think this book would be aimed towards new believers or for believers who are very comfortable with the christian faith. Perhaps this book will help you see how our faith might not be as simple as what we think.

Rating: 3.5 / 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

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (24/8)

Lots of deals from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan this week, this is a good opportunity to stock up on some really good deals.

 ($0.99):

Jesus on Every Page, Joni and Ken: An Untold Love StoryDeath by LivingStrange FireRisky GospelYawning at Tigers (check out my review on it too), The Dude’s Guide to Manhood


And, this is a really good read on problem evil and the goodness of God. A Strangled Baby and A Gold Cup

Book Review – Yawning At Tigers (5/8)

Yawning At TigerWhen was the last time you heard a sermon or read something remotely close to God’s holiness? How about the last time prior to that? I bet that will probably leave you scratching your head for a little while. Now compare that with the love of God, i’m sure that would be an easy question to answer, but wouldn’t it surprise you that God is far more often praised for his holiness in the bible? What’s with this skewness in our churches today?

With this concern in mind, Drew Dyck hopes to remind today’s christians that God is holy, and a untameable God. Dyck introduces God as a being who’s holy, one who’s set apart, one who’s the ‘other’, and fully worthy of praise. He mentions the importance of having the vision, the vision of God’s holiness which no doubt will shape and mould our lives. I agree with him on this point, as the common aphorism states ‘your attitude determines your altitude’, so much of weaknesses in today’s christianity often lies in the low, trifling view of God.

Dyck also brings out the point of the relief of holiness in this book. RELIEF you say? How can holiness be relieving? Well, it can, because you and I are meant to be holy, and by being holiness we will find relief from our greatest enemy: sin. (You have to read the book for this and many more! I shall not reveal too much)

Often as I read, I find my self thinking, have I have too low a view of God? Have I been worshipping a puppet God? And this is the strength of the book, it help us to reflect on what kind of God we’ve been worshipping, is that the same God as the God described in the bible? Far too often we want a tame down version of the God of the bible, but that will only be to our detriment. We need to recover a right of God, and soon, because God is far, far too valuable to be tamed.

This is a great book for all christians, but especially preachers or small group leaders. Ask yourself this, does your church treat God as holy? If not, read, be enthralled and repent.

Rating: 4.5/5

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 – Ex-Muslim (8/7)

Naeem Fazal was a muslim serving Allah, but now he is now a christian serving the Lord Jesus Christ, and this book is his story how his life has been changed.

1400206073.jpg_4Naeem Fazal certainly lived a unique life, though he was born a Pakistani, he lived in Kuwait. And through many divine interventions came to know the Lord Jesus Christ in the US. This book is well written, recounting the author’s life chronologically (as you would expect from any biography), with in-depth details on the historical and culture context of his own life.

What is good about the book is that it’s very east to read and follow. Not only so, you can get to have a tiny “feel” of what it’s like to be a muslim, though it was not too many to overwhelm you, you do get to see bits and pieces of it scattered around the book. Furthermore, by reading this book, you do get a quick introduction to the basic belief of Islam and Hinduism.

Additionally, Fazal is able to show us how community is an extremely important area for a muslim, and if we intend to reach out to them, this is certainly one area that must never be overlooked. Also, he is able to show how there are some “point of contact” between muslims and christians that we can use to identify ourselves with them, and why the Lord Jesus is the only solution to the problem of sin.

Although much has been said about the Islamization of Europe, this book gives us hope that the muslims are searching for the same thing everyone else is — salvation from our sins, and only jesus can give that.

Although I may not agree with everything said, I do recommend it if you’re interested to read up about how to evangelise to an muslim, and/or if you generally like biographies. I have yet to read “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”, so it’ll be hard for me to conclude which is better.

Rating: 3.5/5

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 trailer for this book