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All articles from issue July 2018

August 2018
Reviews > Book

Thinking Through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique

The author’s intention was to ‘write the book that I would have wanted to read as an undergraduate student’ (p.137). With both panache and conviction, he has done precisely that. The book is an antidote to the disposable, woolly thinking of social Marxism that is so prevalent in academia today. In the foreword, John Frame hits the nail on the head: ‘Watkin is a surprise: a well-trained philosopher who is also a clear and helpful writer’ (p.x). The book presents ‘a vision of biblical doctrine not as a series of facts but as a framework for understanding any facts whatsoever, approaching the Bible not as...

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August 2018
Reviews > Book

Praying for the World – understanding God’s heart for the Nations

This book aims to encourage prayer for the world. It provides a series of 60 daily readings, divided into three sections of varying length. Each section, allocated to one of the contributing authors, takes a different perspective on prayer. In addition, there is a brief daily reflection from the writings of J Hudson Taylor (founder of the China Inland Mission, now known as OMF). The first section, ‘Effective Prayer’, is by Oswald Saunders and summarises the nature and principles of prayer. Topics such as persevering in prayer, prayer as a spiritual battle and pleading God’s promises are included. The second section, ‘The Prayer of Faith’,...

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August 2018
Reviews > Book

The death of Western Christianity

This is a well-written book, subtitled ‘The death of Western Christianity: drinking from the poisoned wells of the cultural revolution’. Using various statistics, the author develops his thesis with clarity while lamenting the decline of church attendance over the decades. He does not hold back as he surveys the evidence: ‘Since the 1960s Christian leaders have progressively betrayed the gospel’; ‘the humanist leaders were zealous and creative evangelists, surpassing the fervour of Christian missionaries’ (p.2). He exposes the hypocrisy of those contemporary evangelical groups who fail to discern the good from bad in today’s godless Western culture, by their support for and praise of ‘raunch...

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August 2018
Reviews > Book

Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief

Take Heart displays the strengths and weaknesses of a popular work by a New Calvinist celebrity pastor. Positively, Chandler encourages his readers to have a ‘big view’ of God. He surveys the idea of God as a warrior, defeating Satan and defending his people. Rather than bemoan the end of Christendom, Chandler encourages believers to embrace the opportunity to stand out, now that nominalism is unattractive. Practically, he makes thoughtful suggestions, such as encouraging hospitality: ‘giving loving welcome to those outside your normal circle of friends’ (p.96). Sadly, there are significant weaknesses. Chandler is flippant about the Fall, suggesting Adam was bird-watching: ‘Ooh, look, a...

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August 2018
Reviews > Book

Sex in a Broken World: How Christ Redeems What Sin Distorts

The Bible tells us that we live in a deeply broken world and that there is brokenness within us. That brokenness is nowhere more evident these days than in the realm of human sexuality. In this book, Paul Tripp hammers home the message that the sexual struggles we experience are essentially a problem of the heart. The current sexualization of society doesn’t help, but the real problem is inward. Tripp says, ‘You always give your heart away before you surrender your body to what is wrong’ (p.58). Our hearts should be ruled by God, not by pleasure. Tripp describes sex as a good gift from...

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August 2018
Reviews > CD

OA Preaching & Facing Tough Questions (CD)

Available directly from the Open Air Mission website, these two CDs address open air evangelism. There can be little doubt of the validity of open air preaching. Scripture and history both bear witness to it and the Lord has blessed this activity through the salvation of many. We are given approving quotations by some of the greatest preachers given to the church: ‘Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin … you have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore be spent in this work’ (John Wesley). ‘It would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has...

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August 2018
Reviews > Book

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian professor who hit the headlines in 2016 for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns. His YouTube lectures receive millions of views, striking a chord particularly among disillusioned young men. In 12 Rules for Life he brings together his accumulated wisdom. Peterson is not a Christian, but there is much to enjoy here. His writing is entertaining and articulate, full of illuminating personal stories. Christians would agree with much of the practical advice he gives. We see echoes of Proverbs, whether it’s Peterson’s Rule 3 (Make friends with people who want the best for you) or Rule 9 (Assume that the person...

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August 2018
Reviews > Book

Do you pray? A question for everybody (J C Ryle series)

It is to be welcomed that EP Books has republished three of JC Ryle’s lesser-known short tracts. The subject of this one is a vital question: ‘Do It is to be welcomed that EP Books has republished three of JC Ryle’s lesser-known short tracts. The subject of this one is a vital question: ‘Do you pray?’ As always, Ryle gets to the heart of the matter and the reader soon realises that the real question is, ‘Are you a Christian?’ Ryle explains why personal prayer is crucial for a person’s salvation and a sure mark of a true Christian. He provides encouragements to pray, both...

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