“Theology and Slavery” by David Torbett

Theology and Slavery is definitely a scholarly read, not for the faint of heart when it comes to footnotes, detail, and deep, deep background information. Having given that warning, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Being from the South, I am always intrigued to learn more about the role of slavery – then and now – in shaping the culture. Slavery of course is an evil part of the history of the United States – but it is history nonetheless and should not be forgotten.

This book combines two of my favorite things: history and theology. The author David Torbett seeks to highlight two prevailing views on slavery during the time of the Civil War, and he uses the two most outstanding American theologians of that period to do so.

Charles Hodge was the conservative, traditional theologian with an inerrant, inspired view of God’s Word as the ultimate source of spiritual and moral authority. Horace Bushnell, who has been called the father of modern liberalism, was the liberal theologian who looked to inject new insights and sources of inspiration into his spiritual journey. Both were pastors and had very influential voices in antebellum America.

The importance of the church and her leaders to shape the culture is imminently evident in these books, as Hodge and Bushnell drove the contemporary thought of their day on the issue of slavery in America. Eventually, their ideas would help lead to it’s demise.

If you are looking for a book that explains the complex, intricate problem of slavery in America (and particularly the South) using theology as a base of discussion, this book is a great resource.

Book Review: Free Book by Brian Tome

I was not a fan of Free Book after the first chapter. I was after the last. At first, the author got on my nerves. He called me a “Bible thumper” (which I am). He shatters the idea of moral absolutes (pg. 14 – “it isn’t even right for everyone to drink”). And he says the Bible is unfairly viewed as a “book of restrictions” (pg. 15). Umm…..it is. It’s called God’s Word.

But later in the book, Brian Tome deals quite effectively with some deep topics. Forgiveness, confession, the spirit world, and strongholds in life are all discussed. I was reminded by this book of just how real Satan is and how much he hates Christians.

Free Book” is written to help Christians find freedom in the Spirit. I think the book gives an excellent path to that.

I would recommend the book to more mature Christians who may be struggling with freedom in a certain area. It may lead to some real breakthroughs.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Fearless

After a much needed hiatous for the holidays, I’m back with another book review. This time, the latest book from Max Lucado: Fearless. If you aren’t familiar with my reviewing style, I don’t give a chapter by chapter overview of the book. I give my favorite parts (and not so favorite parts) from the book, and then tell you whether I would recommend it or not. Enjoy…

Much of Max Lucado’s work gets easily dismissed because it is so easy to read. But don’t let that fool you- the author is certainly a scholar and theologian, and has a knack for transmitting difficult principles in everyday language. Fearless is no exception. My favorite parts:

pg. 24: A story about Chinese orphans learning of their worth as God’s creation:

When they first distributed these books to the children and staff of the deaf school, the most bizarre thing happened. At a certain point everyone started crying. I could not understand this reaction.. . . Americans are somewhat used to the idea of positive reinforcement. . . . Not so in China and particularly not for these children who are virtually abandoned and considered valueless by their natural parents because they were born “broken.” When the idea came through in the reading that they are special simply because they were made by a loving creator . . . everyone started crying—including their teachers! It was wild.

pg. 26: On being God’s masterpiece…

Why does he love you so much? The same reason the artist loves his paintings or the boat builder loves his vessels. You are his idea. And God has only good ideas. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10 nlt).

pg. 35: On the dangers of mishandled fear:

Fear, mismanaged, leads to sin. Sin leads to hiding. Since we’ve all sinned, we all hide, not in bushes, but in eighty-hour workweeks, temper tantrums, and religious busyness. We avoid contact with God.

All in All

If you are looking for an inspiring, easy read that is theologically sound – Max Lucado can’t be beat. Fearless is a good book to reconnect you with the basic principles of being a child of God. I recommend it.

Book Review: Primal

If you are looking for a last minute gift, or maybe something to buy yourself after you’ve collected your gift cards, I can recommend the new book by Mark Batterson, “Primal“. Primal is a search for the “lost soul of Christianity”, and in the book Batterson addresses foundational issues that will get any Christian thinking about their own faith.

My book review style is not to rehash what every chapter covers, but rather to give a few things that really spoke to me. By doing that, hopefully I will show you how impactful the book is. So here it goes:

page 9: “Does you heart break for the things that break the heart of God?”  This really stopped me and got me thinking about the direction I am going. I think it’s a great question for any Christian.

page 28: “What is my God ordained passion?”  Batterson introduces this question almost in passing in the chapter, but it hit me very hard in thinking about how God wants me to serve Him specifically.

These two questions are substantial enough to make the book worth the price, but it is full of more thought provoking information as well. It definitely got me thinking about where American Christianity is going, and where I am headed as well.

Again, I recommend this latest book from Batterson for anyone seeking to grow in their Christian walk.

Did I mention this book has an awesome size to it? Fits perfectly in a briefcase for traveling.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: The Necessity of Prayer

I recently read a volume of work by E. M. Bounds on prayer entitled “Necessity of Prayer”. I encourage you to take the time to read over some of it. The work is lengthy, but well worth the effort.

prayer

Click here to download it free as a pdf. Or buy it here on Amazon: The Necessity of Prayer

The piece is at once revealing, convicting, inspiring, and telling. It is a work on true prayer that, upon initial encounter, is deeper than other books concerning the same.  It is revealing in the fact that Bounds covers much theological ground in handling the subject of prayer. This task in itself reveals the mystery and deepness of true biblical prayer. Bounds discusses faith, perseverance, righteous living, the house of God and more – all centered around a Christian’s prayer life. It is convicting, as we will see in a moment, in that the truth that he uncovers applies instantly to any Christian reading it who has any spiritual pulse at all.

It is also convicting to read that a mere man writes (and presumably lived) this way. To have a full understanding of these things he addresses means that he has worked them out himself in the battlefield that is the Christian life. This is not a theoretical thesis from a fresh grad student – this volume is wisdom in print. It is inspiring, however, in that Bounds does not leave us destitute on the roadside along his straight path to righteousness. He stops and picks us up and points the way, so that we too can experience this awesome prayer life he speaks to us of.

Lastly, it is telling in that a majority of the evangelical Christian population today would not comprehend the content of Mr. Bound’s work, much less be inspired to attain to it, having understood its biblical relevance.

There is too much information to cover in detail, or even at a distance, for that matter. So, I will be selective. I trust that the material I provide will inspire you to read or re-read the work, if you have already done so. In the first section of the paper, Bounds tackles the notion of faith and prayer, and their relation.

 When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are, in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today.”

His assertion here is that the biblical teaching is to attend to things of today and not to worry about what will happen tomorrow. If we spend time praying for tomorrow’s needs today, and God knows of our need and was going to provide when the time came, our prayers were in essence “unnecessary and redundant”. Food for thought.

Later in the volume, Bounds addresses issue of sincerity in prayer. He speaks specifically of desire and its relation to our prayers:

 Desire goes before prayer, and by it, created and intensified. Prayer is the oral expression of desire. If prayer is asking God for something, then prayer must be expressed. Prayer comes out into the open. Desire is silent. Prayer is heard; desire, unheard. The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words.

The truth here is self-evident for any Christian: prayer without sincerity is dead. We ask God for what we have need of, and those needs come from our desires for our lives. This work by E. M. Bounds is full of similar spiritual truths and insights. It is bolstered by the fact that he references Scripture as his guide throughout. Sadly, these truths and similar ones are the farthest thing from many of our minds for many of our days. We have become a generation focused on quick information, when the truths to be found, like those concerning prayer, require patience, long-suffering, and diligence.