Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax













  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (March 24, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 080242337X






For generations the church has attempted to overcome false gospels. Those "lost" sections of scripture that attempted to distort and change the words of Jesus. However the modern church is in a crisis, not of changed words of Jesus but a change perceptions of the meaning of the Gospel. In an attempt to make the gospel more easy to understand, more palatable, less controversial, and all and all less dangerous it has created a counterfeit gospel. This gospel is even more dangerous because it hasn't changed the Bible itself necessarily but rather exchange the dictates and the standards by which we should be held to.
In Counterfeit Gospels Trevin Wax describes the threefold crisis in the church:
  1. A lack of confidence in the Gospel
  2. A lack of clarity in the Gospel 
  3. A lack of Gospel community

The book describes the counterfeits very well. With the "three legged stool" approach to the gospel Wax tells what counterfeits are eating away at each leg of the stool. From the idea of the Therapeutic Gospel: which looks good on the outside but doesn't really take care of the root of the problem, and the Judgmentless Gospel: this basically says we're all going to heaven and who you to judge me? We see this problem very prevalent in the modern church. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings with the gospel because that "wouldn't be nice".

The seeker friendly attitude that has become prevalent in many churches today has water down the truth of the Gospel. What Jesus said was hard-hitting, edgy, and honestly not as culturally appealing as some might really think or wanted to be. Truth be told it was rather counterculture, but we want to try to make it as easily palatable as possible. Acceptance of the Gospel requires a life change, the difficulty in getting there is that a true life change must occur out of the knowledge of  where a person is, is not where they should be.  Hopefully with books like counterfeit gospel we will be willing and able to stand up for what is actual truth not just easily palatable truth.


I have personally seen this type of counterfeit gospel at work in the church for a long time and it's incredibly disheartening. Mostly because it's something that comes from the people of the congregation. and pastors generally just allowed to continue on. Pastors as the leaders are held to a higher responsibility to stand up for truth to stand up for the right reading of the Word and to know that we are the leaders of those communities. If we are not leading our people, they will begin falling behind and they will fall away. Much of it is because we are preaching a counterfeit gospel. I would recommend this book for most evangelical pastors to read through and truly evaluate what's being said on Sunday morning and also what's being talked about our sermons on Monday afternoon keep in mind just because you preach it doesn't mean your church members are following it. This would be a good recommend read for a small group or community Sunday school class. 

FTC Disclaimer: 
These books/products are given to me to evaluate and decide if I like them or not and then write an honest review about them that I display on this blog. I do no receive monetary compensation for these reviews and all my reviews state my honest opinion of the products/books. I am in no way swayed by any type of bribery or cajoling. My opinions are my own and will be negative or positive depending on the book or product.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FTC Disclaimer

Since the FTC has so kindly taken to regulate bloggers I have to state that, yes I get free books and sometimes products to review. These books/products are given to me to evaluate and decide if I like them or not and then write an honest review about them that I display on this blog. I do no receive monetary compensation for these reviews and all my reviews state my honest opinion of the products/books. I am in no way swayed by any type of bribery or cajoling. My opinions are my own and will be negative or positive depending on the book or product.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

In the spirit of giving... and Coffee #OperationRedCup

















There is an amazing story floating out there right now about a Raleigh NC mom of two, named Sunny Myers, who after having a "really bad parenting in the trenches day" (her words not mine) decided to post a picture of her Starbucks card on Instagram to encourage people to buy coffee for one another. This has gone viral (of course, Coffee + Giving = Viral Content)

The cool part about this is that everyone can get involved, if you want to participate all you need to do is show the card at the register have them scan it. If there is any money on the card you get to get free coffee MAKE SURE YOU TAKE A PIC and post it #OperationRedCup and if there isn't well then you need to reload it (cheapskate) I recommend putting  At lest $10.00 on it, why not, imagine what that could mean to some other mom (or dad) of two or in my case four... I could use a coffee break, I am writing two papers on the evidences for and against "Quantum Mechanics and its effect on the brain" (sorry don't mean to lose you)





Check out the whole story here:
Free Starbucks Goes Viral 

and follow Sunny's blog: 

Moments with Love

and on Instagram:
TwoSmartyPants

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism


True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism (Kindle Edition)




  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Patheos Press (March 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007J71S62








I have read many of the books on both sides of the debate myself, from God Delusion, God is not Great, Portable Atheist, and many others, by Harris, Dennett, Dawkins and Hitchens, as well as the "oldies" by Darwin, Russell, and others. Being well versed on the New Atheist perspective and also a university level educator. I can say that this book holds reason and rational thinking to the light. It is not personal digs or venting half-cocked ideologies like those who are claiming to be the "brights" or the reasonable ones of the New Atheist Leadership. True Reason is simply straightforward easy to read and logically laid out.
This book very clearly and without the sarcastic belittling (that many New Atheists write with) held the feet to the fire of the outrageous, ridiculousness, and often just misguided claims made in many of the aforementioned books.

I feel like regardless of your personal belief or unbelief, if you are truly interested in Reason and Rationality, and not an obfuscation of bad historicity, poor rules of logic, or sophomoric philosophy (though as Alvin Plantiga says, that is even unfair to sophomores) then this book is well worth the nominal price.

Unlike Michael Ruse, philosopher of biology at Florida State University. Who said "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."
True Reason makes me proud to be a Christian.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: The IVP Concise Atlas of Bible History


The IVP Concise Atlas of Bible History

Book Review



Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: IVP Academic (September 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0830829288
This book is a wonderful full color, very well laid out easy to read yet highly informative structure. This concise version of the classic IVP Atlas of Bible History packs a punch with:
  • Great photos and Images
  • One hundred maps 
  • A variety of panoramic reconstructions 
  • Multiple site plans
  • Clear chronological charts
  • And much more

This volume contains the latest findings of historians and archaeologists. From the origin of the Bible & Creation all the way through to the beginning of the New Testament Church and spread of early Christianity around AD 337.

The Concise edition benefits from a four-color design with highlight images, maps and charts is a must to any student of biblical geography, history or anyone just interested in knowing more than what the maps at the back of your Bibles shares. Its designed to be read at various education levels so that everyone from teachers to laypeople can understand the mapping of the Bible. This lightweight version will be a welcome addition to any course work at the college or graduate school level and serve as a great companion for personal or group study. 

Paul Lawrence studied Akkadian, Hebrew and Near Eastern archaeology at University of Liverpool. He earned his Ph.D for his work on the relationship of Assyrian generals to the king. He is currently working on Bible translations for SIL International and is the author of The Books of Moses Revisited.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Open the eyes of the Watchmaker



There are many scientific camps that are beginning to open their minds to consider the philosophical and scientific worldview espoused by the Intelligent Design movement. As discussed in Dr. Fazale Rana's book The Cell’s Design, the best way to use biochemical information to make the case for intelligent design rests on analogical reasoning in the tradition of Watchmaker analogy. While men like Richard Dawkins have tried to discredit this analogy by declaring the watchmaker to be blind, his perspectives can't overcome the obvious glaring truths that the systems found in nature beg for a designer. 
The similarities between man-made information systems and those found in the cell, expressed in the form of an analogy, logically and reasonably leads to the conclusion that biochemical design is intelligent design. Based on this line of reasoning, life does indeed appear to be the work of a Creator.
The Cell, in its highly complex form shows what many secular Origin of Life scientists like Leslie Orgel and Paul  Davies concede as design elements. Like the amazing mechanical engineering that is witnessed in the bacterial flagellum with its universal joint, propeller, drive shaft and rotor. Hume’s old and outdated argument that these appearances and analogies don’t stand up to the rigors of science have begun to diminish even more in the current light of proper analogical reasoning. There still is an unfortunate tendency within certain apologetic circles to take less convincing arguments and use them, due to their appeared value in a non-academic world. This only hurts the apologists ability to seem Relevent to modern science. 
However when you look at the biological arguments that stand up to reasons exam, you will find that many of the best arguments are those that have similar findings as man-made machines. Dr. Rana looks at a few instances where nanotrechnology seems to attempt to mimic the natural order of the cell to create machines, however even in our abilities we are unable to create an exact replica of the complex machines that exist within the cell. 
The strength of the argument lies within the ability of the cell to continue to impress and confound those scientists that are trying to explain away the clear general revelation that is witnessed within the world. To this I say, keep the open mind to reason that you declare to have and as more fingers point to an intelligent designer be willing to accept this just as you would any other hypothesis that after continued testing shows itself to be true. Don't just relegate the I.D. Movement to the far corners of the philosophy or theology department but as other scientists have begun to open their eyes to it, you do the same. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Virtuous Minds




VIRTUOUS MINDS [Paperback]



Philip E. Dow 
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0830827145
  • ISBN-13:  978-0830827145






This book brings up key issues facing the modern church and Christians alike. For quite some time the, "God did it, and that enough for me" answer was sufficient and the idea of a "God of the Gaps" seemed to be a valid response to the tough questions. However we live in a modern era of having to put aside not only rage, anger, brawling, and slander, but also intellectual laziness, arrogance, ignorance and cowardice. When taking God at His word, it doesn't mean that we simply stop seeking out truth or that we don't attempt to search out for completeness in our knowledge of who He is and how He operates in our world.

"Intellectual character is the force of accumulated thinking habits that shape and color every decision we make."

Being Virtuous in our mind has always had a connotation of upholding purity in our thoughts, which is valid and needed. But we must also hold up in our minds the intellect that God has given us. Honest curiosity seeks after the truth in a balanced and objective way.

I Love that Philip E. Dow breaks down "The Seven Intellectual Virtues" with such insight and understanding.
1. Intellectual Courage
2. Intellectual Carefulness
3. Intellectual Tenacity
4. Intellectual Fair-mindedness
5. Intellectual Curiosity
6. Intellectual Honesty
7. Intellectual Humility

Without one of these we run the risk of faltering on our journey to education, engagement, and integrity.


This book recommends that instead of shutting off when we feel tired, pick up a book and learn something. Like a marathon runner, you don't simply wake up one morning and jog the whole thing. You practice and build up stamina, start walking then build up with a half mile jog, keep going up to a full mile and so on. This analogy is a great one, since I am a runner I understand the difficulty that comes with a long run. Likewise we must train our minds daily to be ready when the time comes to put them to the test. These keys to Intellect are often overlooked in a world where it seems like “might makes right” or he that shouts loudest wins. With the rise of the New Atheist movement and those who are so clearly intellectually deficient, yelling at the top of their lungs falsehoods and lies. We must stand firm and rise up to a level of better thinking and truly Love God With All Our Minds!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Abusing Scripture: The Consequences of Misreading the Bible By, Manfred Brauch IVP Academic



Abusing Scripture: 
The Consequences of Misreading the Bible [Paperback]



Manfred Brauch 

  • Publisher: IVP Academic (March 17, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0830825797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825790


This is one of the best books on the topic of Biblical Misrepresentation I have read. Braunch has a definite way of putting into clear context sections of scripture that have for years been pulled out of context and form fitted to someones doctrinal idea of a "truth". Many times preachers will unknowingly pull a sentence or two out as a sermon illustration or as a topic starter thinking there is no harm in this, but what happens when we begin adding to The Word ends up belittling the truth of scripture. Its not our job to make scripture fit our sermon or our notes, but rather our duty to make sure our sermons and notes fit the truth of Scripture. After Reading this book I have to agree with the very appropriate and concise review given by George P. Wood the Director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God.

 Brauch is past professor and president of Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary), as well as the author of Set Free to Be and Hard Sayings of Paul. The seminary has been described as "conservative, yet progressive" because of its combination of theological orthodoxy and social activism. The primary example of this conservative progressivism is undoubtedly Ron Sider, Palmer's best-known professor. Brauch is also an able exponent of that tradition.

Abusing Scripture offers a sixfold taxonomy of ways evangelicals (including us Pentecostals) are guilty of "doing violence to" Scripture:

  •  The abuse of the whole gospel through a failure to address human need for salvation in both "personal and social dimensions"
  • The abuse of selectivity, which "is not an outright distortion of the meaning of given texts" but rather entails "ignoring or rejecting...other parts or passages of Scripture that support a different teaching, or present an alternative perspective, or advocate an opposing view"
  • The abuse of biblical balance by means of "emphasizing certain biblical doctrines, perspectives, teachings, themes or mandates, while ignoring or minimizing the equal, or even greater, importance of complementary ones"
  • The abuse of words, "when words and expressions are decoded (by teachers or readers) in ways that are not in keeping with the original encoding [by the biblical authors]"
  • The abuse of literary and theological context, in which the meanings of specific passages are not derived from "the immediate textual materials that surround them" or from "the overarching theological concepts in broader literary contexts"
  • The abuse of historical situation and cultural reality, which is really a failure to discern between "those things in Scripture that are culturally or historically relative, and, therefore, limited in their inspired authority to the people and situations addressed at that time, and the things that are transcultural and transhistorical, where the authoritative Word of God ins binding for all Christians at all times and in all cultures"

Throughout his discussion of this taxonomy, Brauch returns to three illustrations of these kinds of abuses in practice: "(1) the use and justification of force and violence in human affairs; (2) the relationship between men and women in home, church and society; and (3) the concern for justice and the sanctity of life in all areas of human relationships, institutions and culture."

Source: http://www.amazon.com/review/R23U6F0YQUQT7C/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0830825797&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain (Paperback) IVP


God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain 

Chad Meister (Editor), James K. Dew Jr. (Editor)


  • Publisher: IVP Books (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830837841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830837847



This book is a very good resource for an individual looking into this topic either for the first time or are relatively new to the argument.

I am impressed with the large number of essays covering a vast number of topics, its great to see so many different individuals contributed to this book thereby attempting to reduce bias. While the majority of the contributors are Evangelical Christians, the number of scholars and theologians compiled in one volume are generally not available outside of a costly text book.
I am always hesitant to promote any one book, but rather I recommend gathering a number of books on the same topic, so as to be able to get a wide range perspectives, however this book does a good job of making those perspectives available.
I am also very glad to see the debate between William Lane Craig and Michael Tooley available in print, I wish there were more of these types of resources available.
In all I would recommend this for an individual who is learning about the topic of evil, its not overly heady, but does give a good basis of comparison.
While no one volume could possibly cover all points of this ever changing and hotly contested topic it's a good book, in true InterVarsity Press form this book is well thought out with highly credible contributors to create a very timely book.
There are a number of recent situations that have occurred where the question of how to reconcile God and evil or pain. This topic is certainly needing a few more good in depth studies but I am happy to say that this book does a good job of giving well thought out answers to the questions.

We must be mindful of overstating or over expecting any single volume to cover all sides of an argument. The most we should logically expect is that a volume worth reading (and buying) will have a good coverage. I firmly believe that this book qualifies.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Feeding America One family at a time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvG6qg8j54A&feature=share&list=UUsroi4rRBMwrs9CIpJP4jiw&index=2