Review: The Donkey Who Carried a King by RC Sproul

The Donkey Who Carried a King
The Donkey Who Carried a King by RC Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Encounters with Jesus can affect people in so many ways.  In our own day there are people that use Jesus’ teachings to as permission to hate other people, to burden people with requirements on how they should live, and some reject him either quietly or sometimes loudly.  Even when Jesus walked on the earth people felt much the same way as they came for healing, for blessing, or to curse and eventually plot to kill him.

RC Sproul tells a story of Davey, a little donkey who had a unique encounter with Jesus.  Even though he was passed by for other important jobs, Davey was picked to be the one for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem as king on Palm Sunday.  On going back home, however, Davey decided that he did not need to do his regular work because he was special enough to carry a king.

This book presents a simple, yet challenging story of the life of the Christian.  Even though we have been chosen for salvation, we have also been given work to do, and any work assigned by the king is kingly work and should be done in his honor.  Davey learns this valuable lesson by witnessing the life of Jesus firsthand and we can learn from his experience and by the witness of the Bible:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Colossians 3:23

With warm and vibrant pictures, Sproul tells Davey’s story that intersects with Christ’s during Holy Week, but it is not overtly an Easter story.  Share this book with your children any time of the year to help them learn the value of their everyday lives in service to God who loves them enough to send his Son to take their place.

Note: a copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.  No obligation was given to give the book a positive review; all views expressed are my own and not influenced by the publisher.


What Science Cannot Do

 

 

 

 

Follow this link to the post at the other blog to which I contribute.


Review: The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About The Humanity Of Christ

The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About The Humanity Of Christ
The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About The Humanity Of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Sure, Jesus was the Son of God, which means he was fully man, but he was also fully God, right?”  That is certainly where most of us Christians like to draw the line.  After all, when we consider the majority of attacks on our faith, talking about Jesus’ humanity is really not a priority.  Why, then, in trying to defend our faith against those who deny the divinity of Christ do we bother looking into his humanity?

 That is perhaps a perfect question to bring you to read this impressive book by Patrick Henry Reardon.  The spotlight is turned to the humanity of Christ, his formation, and his understanding of his personal mission to save sinners.  Reardon talks about how it may be that Christ did not just know his goal was to die on the cross, but that he may have come to that understanding gradually.  After all, Mary was told that he would “save his people from their sins,” but it was not a plan fully innumerated.

Reardon also makes brilliant points about how Christ’s humanity means as much as his divinity in his role as our intercessor, our substitution, and our imputed righteousness.  After all, the fact that Jesus lived a human life and never failed to live up to God’s standard means not only that he qualified to be our substitute, but that we stand to inherit his perfect record; his perfection is credited to our account!

Although there were sections that went a bit off track into other aspects of his character, this was a book that definitely challenged me to see more clearly what the book of Hebrews means when it says that Jesus was not ashamed to call us his brothers.

Note: a copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.  No obligation was given to give the book a positive review; all views expressed are my own and not influenced by the publisher.


Review: Letters From A Martyred Christian

Letters From A Martyred Christian
Letters From A Martyred Christian by H.L. Hussmann
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What would a Christian martyr want to say to us beyond the grave? What wisdom would he impart having passed beyond this world? What unique perspective would he share? In his book Letters From A Martyred Christian, H.L. Hussman takes on the guise of Aulus Aurelius, a man who died for his faith in Christ in the first century, and talks about the meaning of life and spirituality.

Frustrations with this book began from the preface. Hussman says that this is a work of fiction, loosely based on the life of Aurelius. However, only the first chapter recounted his story, and because of a general lack of knowledge of the historical record, it is impossible to separate what may have been fact from what is fiction. At the end of the book is a list of questions to use in discussing the book in a small group, but he already said in the preface that it is a work of fiction and should not be taken seriously.

After the first chapter, stories ranging from a bizarre space journey to tales whose point is to simply draw emotion rounded out this short book. It was difficult to decide what point the book makes as a whole and why it had to be told through the perspective of someone we know so little about.

Quixotic at best, this collection of Lucadoian stories were very disappointing. My trust in the author was immediately betrayed by his premise and did not offer much to justify the time spent reading it. Had the premise not frustrated me so much, I am not sure how much I would have appreciated the rest of the book. However, had I known this book was a collection of man-centered moralistic stories I would not have read it in the first place.

I simply cannot recommend this book.


Review: Relentless Pursuit: God’s Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us

Relentless Pursuit: God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us
Relentless Pursuit: God’s Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us by Ken Gire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do you ever feel alone? Do you have resentments about the past and regrets about where those bad decisions have taken you? Have you found yourself in the gutter with no idea of how you got there? Are you aware that as much as you have tried, you still do not see how you can live a pure and moral life?

If we are honest, we have all been there and may be there still. Our world is wrecked beyond recognition of those who saw God’s original design for his creation. We all bare the stain of sin and wickedness. But it is no state that God cannot not find us.

In his book Relentless Pursuit, Ken Gire takes us into the raw ugliness that life can bring and shows us that even in these bleak times, God seeks after what is lost with wreckless abandon. He leaves behind the 99 who have been found to search for the one who is lost.

Gire sets this scene in the haunting poem ‘The Hound of Heaven’ by Francis Thompson, who in the late 1800s found himself alone, abandoned, and addicted. Yet in his most desperate condition, he experienced God’s incessant involvement in his life, as a hound that chased him with the goal of his capture. What started as something fearful to escape, Thompson, at the end of the poem, describes his surrender to the only one who could save him.

The first chapters of this book were beautiful, and at times even the prose were poetic as the author shares not only his story, but experiences of others who have described their pursuit by God in so many powerful ways. The appreciation of this book breaks down for me in later chapters as the author begins to deemphasize God’s loving pursuit and begins to turn the light on us as individuals and lays on the burden of self-discovery and self-recovery. I had a difficult time connecting what the author thinks of the pursuit of God and our personal responsibility in the process.

Gire definitely uses an approach to talking about God in terms of relationship and experience rather than theology and exposition of the Bible, which is what gave this book its weakness. No doubt there can be a balance between this author’s gifts of story-telling and creativity with a solid grounding in the truth of Scripture.

I do not know that I would recommend this book, even with the beauty and power of its opening chapters. If you do decide to pick this one up, don’t feel badly about abandoning it early.

Note: a copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.  No obligation was given to give the book a positive review; all views expressed are my own and not influenced by the publisher.