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All articles from issue January 2019

Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

How the Bible Can Change Your Life: Answers to the Ten Most Common Questions about the Bible

This book started as a series of sermons preached at Wheaton Chapel in which Pastor Moody aimed to answer questions about the Bible. I appreciated Moody’s aim in addressing these questions. His points were often fresh, illuminating and helpful. One example is his discussion of the relevance of the Bible. He highlights the common but mistaken view that unless what is read is immediately useful it is unhelpful. Moody points out that this attitude is a consumerist approach to the Bible and cannot address the deepest needs of the human heart. ‘Is the Bible interesting?’ is a further issue that is well addressed. Moody demonstrates...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

Long Story Short: The Bible in 12 Phrases

This is an ambitious little book. The eponymous ‘long story’ is the Scriptures. The subtitle describes what Scrivener is attempting: ‘The Bible in 12 phrases’. There are nine pithy chapters covering the Old Testament. Three are given to the New Testament. The implicit aim of this well-known evangelist is to put over the storyline of the Bible in a brief, compelling way. His prime audience appears to be young people, including unbelievers. The assumption is that they read very little. There are many encouragements along the way to read the real thing. At the end of the chapters, biblical passages to read are included, along...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

John Newton (Christian Biographies for Young Readers)

Christian Biographies for Young Readers seek to introduce seven-to twelve-year-olds to some important characters from church history. This addition to the series is well researched and documented. The author takes care to set John Newton in his historical setting, explaining events and customs likely to be unfamiliar to modern readers. Illustrations are used on almost every page. Some are scenes from Newton’s life, such as you might expect to find in a child’s story book. Others are pertinent contemporary illustrations which help bring the eighteenth century to life. Maps and modern photographs of places associated with the story can also be found. In a work...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

The Pastor’s Soul

On the basis that pastors live and work under considerable pressure, this short and lucid book aims to offer them some of the help they so greatly need. The authors are both Baptist pastors in Louisville, Kentucky. They write with concern for the wellbeing of the pastor. They argue that it is not uncommon for pastors to neglect their own souls either through the sheer demands of ministry or through wanting to avoid looking within themselves for fear of what they might or might not find. The authors have concern that many pastors fail to ‘take [due] heed to themselves…’ (Acts 20:28) and so fail...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith

This book aims to provide a simple expression of the core beliefs of the Christian faith. What better way to do this than to work systematically through the Apostles’ Creed? There has been a recent survey in order to answer the question: ‘How much do people in Britain today know about God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ?’ The short, unsurprising answer is not much. But it appears that there is more theological ignorance than hostility, many answers to questions being ‘I don’t know’. This book could be a useful tool to dispel ignorance. The introduction to this book on doctrine (first published thirty years ago)...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal

Alister McGrath has written a masterly biography of the distinguished and influential Swiss theologian and professor, Emil Brunner (1889-1966). If you studied theology in the 1970s or 80s, Brunner’s name would have soon come up. Who then, was Emil Brunner? He was the dominant writer for the revolutionary new currents of German theology that began flowing after World War I. Karl Barth was another key figure and the revolution is often called ‘Neo-orthodoxy’. This label is rejected by McGrath — rightly, in my view (it does no justice to the sheer complexity of what was taking place in German theology). Brunner, although connected with Barth,...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

The Genesis of marriage – God’s Declaration, Drama and Purpose

Rick Shenk’s noble project is to elevate Christian marriage, reinstating its sacred character. Secularists may hijack the term ‘marriage’ but Christians must live by God’s revealed teaching. Destructive human meddling in this institution cannot change God’s original design. The blurb says the book is ‘stimulating and provocative’. I did find it exciting but also exasperating. Professor Shenk adopts a twin creation account, making aspects of his exegesis of Genesis 2 troubling. For instance, ‘God made the creatures to resolve Adam’s situation (aloneness), but this did not “work”’ (p.32). Adam’s aloneness is seen as an incomplete image of God and necessitates the creation of Eve. It...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

The Ark of Safety: Is There Salvation Outside of the Church?

Tucked away in Chapter 25 of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is a reference to ‘the visible Church… out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation’. To lovers of Protestant theology, this statement may sound a little, well, Roman Catholic. However, The Ark of Safety demonstrates persuasively that, when understood correctly, it is true and biblical. Ryan McGraw goes on to provide that correct understanding, albeit taking a rather circuitous route to get there. He begins this little volume by delving into the subject of the church’s invisible and visible natures. His survey of the writings of various Reformers reveals a consensus...

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