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All articles from issue June 2018

July 2018
Reviews > Book

Determined to Believe: The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith, and Human Responsibility

Lennox is a professor of mathematics at Oxford University and has become well known in evangelical circles for his books and debates with atheists. One tribute honours him as ‘one of today’s finest evangelical minds’. Lennox states that his objective in writing is ‘to challenge deterministic arguments that claim to be based on something I do not challenge: the biblical doctrines of the sovereignty of God and human responsibility’ (p.357). The first chapter puts the discussion of human free will in the context of philosophical concepts. He argues that we have free will and that God has not determined our choices. He is persuaded that...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

Warlike Christians in an Age of Violence: The Evangelical Case against War and for Gospel Peace

 ‘War is sin’ (p.2). This introductory statement accurately gives the thesis of this book, which it seeks to prove from Scripture. The writer repeatedly refers to the ‘gospel of peace’. This phrase is used to mean more than peace with God or peace between Christians. It is extended to mean peace as an absence of armed conflict. There is further room for disquiet. The author’s examples of Christians include Tony Blair, the pope and Desmond Tutu. Throughout the book, examples of non-violence are drawn indiscriminately from all sections of the so-called ‘Christian church’, not just those who would claim to be evangelical. This does not...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

History Revealed in Advance

This book is subtitled ‘Predictive prophecy in the Book of Daniel’. Daniel and Revelation are commonly misapplied by cults to justify their bizarre theories; such is not the case here. The author seeks to expound the prophetic passages of Daniel according to biblical principles of interpretation, albeit acknowledging that his views on prophecy have evolved over the years. This is a readable and enjoyable work aimed at the general reader. No knowledge of biblical languages is required. The most technical comment is the observation that Daniel is written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic. Before beginning his exposition, Parsons deals with the issue of...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism

James E. Dolezal has served the church well with this new book. In recent decades, there have been both subtle and overt attempts to reshape the doctrine of God for the church. This book attempts to recover lost ground by restating ‘classical Christian theism’ (p.1), in contrast to what the author calls, ‘theistic mutualism’ or ‘theistic personalism’ (pp.1-3). These latter terms incorporate a range of theologies that deviate from the historical Protestant and confessional understanding of the doctrine of God. The seven chapters simply and helpfully address various topics: models of theism, the unchanging God, the simple God (the oneness of God), the eternal Creator...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

Daily Readings-the Early Church Fathers

Although the fourth in a series of ‘Daily readings’ by Christian Focus, this one may be unique. I’ve never come across readings taken from the writings of the Early Church Fathers. There are many Christians (including ministers) for whom these Church Fathers are unexplored territory. This is a huge omission, especially for those who revere the sixteenth-century Reformers. As editor Nick Needham (lecturer in church history at Highlands Theological College) points out that the Reformers held the early church councils in the highest regard. Calvin said their work was ‘the pure and authentic exposition of Scripture, which the holy Fathers applied with spiritual wisdom’. This...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

Turning the Tide: Reclaiming Religious Freedom in the UK

This is a booklet that every Christian ought to make an hour or so to read. It distils so much of what is vital to the preservation of Christianity in our nation today and will save many hours of research on the historical background, recent cases and constitutional issues. Its purpose is stated: ‘This booklet has been written to explain the reason why Barnabas Fund is seeking a new Act of Parliament in the UK to guarantee seven fundamental aspects of freedom of religion. These seven freedoms have developed in the UK by various mechanisms over the last five centuries but are now under threat’. Do...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

Theology Made Practical: New Studies on John Calvin and His Legacy

This book is a series of essays written by three different men on various aspects of Calvin’s life and theology. Its aim is to demonstrate the practical relevance of his theology. Some of the essays were more successful than others in this regard. There are four sections: Calvin’s biography, systematic theology, pastoral and political theology, and legacy. With one exception, all three authors contribute to each section. The first biographical essay is by Michael Haykin. It surveys Calvin’s early life, conversion and training. Haykin also contributes essays on Calvin’s teaching about the Trinity, his missionary endeavours, his vision for the purpose of marriage, and on...

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July 2018
Reviews > Book

Prayers of the Bible: 366 Devotionals to Encourage Your Prayer Life

Books of daily devotional readings are not for everyone. Many such books are already available and this one may seem intimidating at over 700 pages. Readers should not be put off, however. It distils more than 30 years of prayer meeting addresses by Gordon Keddie. This is a worthwhile and helpful volume, containing a meditation on prayer for each day of the year. My heart was warmed as I continued to use it. The book aims to cover all the main prayers of Scripture and many of its passages about prayer. These are set out in the order they occur in the Bible. This makes...

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