Posts Tagged ‘ book review ’

The Essential Edwards Collection for Half Off!

Here are two videos of Doug Sweeney and Owen Strachan talking about there great new books, The Essential Edwards Collection. For those of you who want to get copies you can get all 5 books for 50% over at wtsbooks between now and aug 2nd! Click here to get yours today!

Also we have read and reviewed three of the books so far:

Edwards on Heaven and Hell by Starchen and Sweeney

Jonathan Edwards, Lover of God by Starchen and Sweeney

Jonathan Edwards, The Good Life by Strachen & Sweeney


Book Review; Post War by Tony Judt


  I just finished my ten minute reading ( the reading I do when I have a little time or am up really late and can’t think really hard.), in this case the book in question is Tony Judt’s mammoth post war history of Europe. This book is large in size; it is over 800 pages.  Reading this phone book was a real labor of love for me. It took me over just 9 months to complete it, but again I was planning on going slow. I recommend this book as summer reading. If you are planning on going to the beach to make butt prints in the sand this book is the one to take with you. Here is why:

1. The book reads like fiction! Judt is masterful in his writing and is able to weave the complex history of the last 50 years in to an amazing meta-narrative.  It was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize and one of the New York Times top 10 books of the year.

2. This thing is encyclopedic. This book is THE history of modern Europe. I learned something new on almost every page. The work Judt put into gathering all the facts is staggering.

3. The history of the cold war and emergence of the EU is an important story to know and tell. I found this work enriched my understanding of the world around me, where it has come from and where it might be headed. I came way better for having read the book and that is a mark of a good book.

In light of that I recommend this book to loves of history and those seeking to understand the world they live in better. 

Click here to get a copy of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Book Review: Jonathan Edwards, “The Good Life” by Strachen & Sweeney

Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney capture the heart and essence of Jonathan Edwards labor on the subject of: The Good Life. This quick short read (152 pages) is just what the church of Christ was in need of. God has used Edwards in monumental aspects to help inform, convict, and shepherd his flock for the nearly the past 300 years. Whether it was through his preaching, writing, or actions men and women had a better picture of who Jesus Christ is and the work in which He has done, is doing, and will complete.
The specific piece looks at Edwards labors on the idea that, “The Good Life” as God intended it to be is filled with JOYFUL OBEDIENCE to Him, Jesus Christ. Edwards contrast what culture speaks to as a “good life” with that from a biblical perspective in which the “Good Life” is focused solely on the will of God. His will is to us joy through Him. WOW and praise God! This is foreign thinking and takes supernatural power to accomplish.
Strachen & Sweeney unfold the heart of what Edwards saw God promise, desired, and commanded for us to have “The Good Life”. They walk through not only the abstract idea of this lofty pleasure, but also what it would look like practically day to day in the life of the believer.
I recommend this book for anyone, but especially if you have never read Jonathan Edwards this is a must read and a great introduction to him (he is not the easiest to pick up, read, and comprehend). Personally I believe how an individual responds to the question, “What is the Good Life”, will reveal the heart of their desires. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ then a biblical & eternal perspective is what should be saturated within us and spilling into all our conversations!

Be encouraged with the fact that God’s will is for His people to have, “The Good Life” but it’s solely achievable ‘by whom and for whom all things exist, Jesus Christ’ (Colossians 1:16 ’emphasis added’)

Read more on the authors:

Owen Strachen

Doug Sweeney

Grace and Peace,

Book Review; Jonathan Edwards, Lover of God by Starchen and Sweeney


Starchen and Sweeney have Written a fine introduction to the life and thought of Jonathan Edwards. this short book provides a U2 fly over of the highlights of Edwards’ life is a strong showing. Brief but engaging, I found myself looking forward to reading more.

The authors serve the reader well by including application points att he end of each chapter in a winning effort to help you apply what they have drawn out of the life of Edwards. Additionally, the reader is served by a balanced, Truthful treatment of the facts of Edwards’ life. Good bad and ugly are discussed in this biographical sketch. this is not hero worship, nor is it a smearing of Edwards. What Starchan and Sweeney have done is find the middle road of truth and walked that tightrope. At times they have strong words for edwards, such as their discussion of his owning slaves and his interaction with his congregation over issues of salary. At other times they stand in the owe appropriate of contemplating the writings and life of this giant of the faith. Simply put Starchen and Sweeney don’t have any sour grapes, but also don’t pull any punches, either.

Another strength of this work is it gives you a working understanding of Edwards’ thought and life with out being exhaustive. I now know enough about him to be conversant, but I also, as a result of reading this book, want to go and learn more about Edwards.

Lastly, and what I feel is the most important thing that Starchen and Sweeney provide is an additional voice to that of John Piper on Edwards that is decidedly orthodox and evangelical. While we are indebted to piper for introducing so many of us to Edwards, Having another voice on the topic is helpful in expanding the insights we can gleam from the life and thought of Edwards.

Book Review; Art for God’s Sake by Philip Graham Ryken


First off I would like to give props to Designworks Group, who did the cover and laid out the book. great work. This book looked artsy and made me enjoy reading it. I looked hip and relevant reading it on the train! When I was holding that book up you wanted to ask me about it, trust me.

Now to the content. Ryken has really published an essay here (it is only 58 pages). He argues that Art is are a reflection of God and the divine imprint that only man possesses; what else is all of creation makes things? Answer, nothing. The reason for this according to Ryken is that God himself is a maker and creator of beautiful things and because we are made in his image creation of things, Art, is part of our make up as humans.  Secondly, he argues that Art is easily made an Idol and we must safe guard the arts by honoring God in how we create. Ryken then offers three categories to keep in mind when Art is being made; goodness, beauty and truth. As a result the arts can be recovered for God’s sake.

I found this book so helpful! I have an Arts background and have been trying to find a road map for thoughtful, God honoring visual arts. I believe that Ryken has proved to be a good starting point in my quest to figure out the role and responsibilities of the Christian Artist.

Book Review: Commentaries for Biblical Expositors by Jim Rosscup

Rosscup has given us a real labor of love; Dr. Rosscup has read, reviewed and recommended hundreds of commentaries, looking for the best one for bible expositors. This guide is a gift for the pastor who cares about finding easily good helps for getting at the point of the text at hand. I Love this guide for two reasons:

First, the reviews are short and helpful; they actually allow you to judge not only whither the commentary is good in general but if it will be a help for you.

Second, he has ranked the top five commentaries in three categories for each book of the bible so that you can easily find the commentary for you; detailed expository, expository survey, and devotional. So If I don’t want to read all of the reviews for a given book but just want to have five places to start, Rosscup has provided me with an easy point of starting.

For someone who is looking to build a lay commentary library, I have found this book to be a helpful guide.
Buy a copy Commentaries For Biblical Expositors here.

Book Review; The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church By David Wells

David Wells packs a lot into this tiny pamphlet. I found myself nodding along and writing affirmations in the margins. Wells is concerned about the evangelical church becoming the mainstream and he points out a surface level issue that troubles him in three ways:

A shift from a doctrinally framed church to a market ethos driven church.

  1. The church is tailoring its message to be bought and sold by consumers.
  2.  The professionalization of pastors; pastor as specialist.
  3. The explosion of evangelical originations and the personal fiefdoms and infighting that come with fame grabbing.


Wells follows this up by pointing out one issue that is under the surface but he feel is important to note in light of what is viewed from the surface.

The disappearance of theology.

Wells illustrates it this way,

It is not that theological values are being denied, but that they have little cash value. They don’t matter. I like the situation to a child who is in a home but ignored. It is not that the child has been abducted; the child is there. The child is home, but has no legitimate place in the family…God now comes to rest lightly and inconsequentially on the church. This, however, is just our own private, evangelical version of the larger culture.

Lastly, he offers two remedies to the bleeding of the evangelical church.

            1. Recovery of the word of God.

            2. Recovery of a vision of the holiness of God.

 I found this short 12 page pamphlet to be one of the better reads I’ve had this year. Wells makes astute observations of the current evangelical climate, how we got here and how it might be corrected. I recommend this book highly.

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