Monday, October 02, 2017

Books read in October 2017

1. The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail  (Author)

This is the most shocking novel I have ever read. Written 44 years ago it is uncomfortably prescient. For its fulfilment look around and read Murray's The Strange Death of Europe. I had not recognised the title as biblical but it is from Revelation 20 where the hordes of God and Magog encompass the campus the saints on the last day. Here is the last day of Western Christian civilisation as France is invaded by a million starving Indians in a commandeered fleet of 100 ships from the Ganges, the precursor to Europe falling to invasion from the Third World. This is an apocalyptic satire mocking the attitudes both of the liberal West and the ruling class of developing nations. The invasion is both violent and obscenely sexual. It results in total anarchy and the collapse of civilised life. Sicking is too mild a term. At times it is rather verbose but the overall effect is one of horror. I am not surprised that no film has been made from this. It would be too terrible to view and the makers labelled scaremongering racists. But look and see how Europe is being invaded. See how the establishment in the West has lost pride in its own history and culture as well as its religion. Shudder and fear.

2. Contending for the Truth: Papers read at the 2016 Westminster Conference

It is fitting that approaching the 500th anniversary of Luther's 55 theses the conference heard two papers on the history of the man and his  theology. Hamilton on the impassibility of God is worth the price of the book. Excellent survey of sixty years of recent evangelical history from a man who has lived through it all and of course Iain Murray is the historian with as usual an excellent biography on Ryle. He does not tell us which prime minister made him a bishop to spite his successor but I believe that would be Disraeli to spite the high church Gladstone.

3. The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution by Christopher Hill 

A masterful analysis of the radical revolutionaries of 17th century England, political, social and theological. Some are well known like the Levellers and Quakers, others obscure like Grindletomians and Muggletonians.. Of all the groups only Quakers have continued but the Marxist Hill sees in others the precursors of later revolutions. One learns many new things including about some wild people. The general social revolutionary impact of Puritanism is well described giving the lie to stereotypes and for an unbeliever, Hill copes well with the theological niceties. I have one criticism of Hill's judgement. Baxter was not well to do. He gave away most of his curate's income when he had one and refused royalties to keep the price of his books low. One thing missing is any indication of the numbers of adherents to these various groupings.I know there will be no accurate figures taken at the time but some indication could be offered.

4. Preaching With Spiritual Vigour: Including lessons from the the Life and practice of Richard Baxter by Murray A. Capill  (Author)

Expository preaching is essential but not enough. The preaching must be done with spiritual vigour, with rigorous application. This is taught from the preaching of Richard Baxter. The preacher must preach to himself first. He must purposefully shepherd souls, stealing to the heart and driving the message home with thorough analysis of doctrine and detailed application. All to be done with passion and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Learn form the man who because he was chronically ill from his youth said he preached as a dying man to dying men.

4.CH Spurgeon Forgotten College Addresses:Forgotten annual conference, college and communion addresses by Terence Peter Crosby (Author)

Unpublished conference addresses plus some previously in The Sword and the Trowel, as were some of these lectures to his students, also communion meditations. Useful too is a chronological index to Spurgeon's 3563 sermons published up to 1917.

5. The Pearl of Acionna: Book One - Pulled Under by Lizzy O'Connor (Author)

I am not a reader of fantasy but a friend asked me to review this so I did manage three chapters. It seems fine if you like fantasy involving teenagers. However I am surprised to read about a sack of mashed potatoes. Never come across that pack before!

6. Morning by Morning by Charles Spurgeon (Author)

I am reviewing this modern edition but mine is part of the 136th thousand printing by Passmore and Alabaster. We find it helpful to use after breakfast, a great thought to start the day. Sometimes the language is Victorian but that is no problem. The man was a spiritual phenomenon.

7. Evening by evening : or, Readings at eventide for the family or the closet 1868 by C. H. (Charles Haddon), Spurgeon (Author)

My copy is one of the original Alabaster and Passmore printings done in Spurgeon's day. A neat way to end your day is to sleep with Spurgeon's inspiring devotionals in your mind. 

8. World Turned Upside Down by Melanie Phillips  (Author)

The author is an agnostic Jew, more influenced by her Jewishness than her agnosticism. First one small factual error. James Edward Leslie Newbigin (8 December 1909 – 30 January 1998) was a British theologian, missiologist, missionary and author. Though originally ordained within the Church of Scotland, Newbigin spent much of his career serving as a missionary in India and became affiliated with the Church of South India and the United Reformed Church, becoming one of the Church of South India's first bishops. He was not an Anglican.  There is also an error in the foreword. The origins of the title precede the 17th century.  It is from the Acts of the Apostles in the first century. That apart I commend the basic flow of her thesis that the West had in abandoning its Judaeo-Christian heritage has lost its basis for rationality. We are given over to cults and conspiracies like those around Diana and Obama. Environmental Armageddon is a myth. The Iraq war was is Israel. We have the triumphalism of an unscientific scientism with its reductionist materialism. There is an Islamophilia and anti-semitism. The enlightenment has unravelled into irrationality.Western civilisation is despised. Where I part company with her is over some of her understanding of Christian reaction to Israel. Some of us are not Zionists but in no way anti-Semitic. Some of us believe in replacement theology because we believe the Bible teaches that the church has inherited all the promises to Israel. The return to the land was promised to a covenant keeping nation. The Jews have rejected the new covenant in Jesus Christ and have no God given right to the land. here are no holy places. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. A plague on all who see Jerusalem as holy. The new Jerusalem is the Christian hope and it will descend from heaven at the return of Christ. But I still give it five stars for her expose of the irrationality of the dying Western culture is spot on. After I wrote this review I found to my surprise that I had reviewed this on Amazon seven years ago!

9. 150 Years of Middlesex County Cricket Club by John Stern (Editor), Marcus Williams (Editor), Joe Provis (Designer)

Here is the history of Middlesex cricket from 1864. It starts with seven remarkable cricketing brothers, the Taylors and gives articles and statistics on all the country's greats over the years. Learn what it is like to start to play at Lord's, the home of cricket but where the county are mere tenants.

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