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!

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