Monday, April 02, 2018

Books read Apr 2018

1. Insight Guide( Scotland)[INSIGHT GD SCOTLAND 6/E] by InsightGuides

Colourful guide to the culture and history of Scotland. A good one volume introduction for visitors. Edinburgh receives the most detailed attention, the regions much briefer. Beautiful photographs.

2. Evangelical Feminism by Wayne Grudem (Author)

I have long been convinced that egalitarianism is heresy, complementarianism orthodoxy. In two spheres God has ordained a male headship of authority, the family and the church. Here Grudem deals with the latter, not the former. He shows that female ordination is a post 1850 phenomenon, unknown for earlier centuries.The denominations that have pursued it are in line with the spirit of the age, not Scripture. Depart from inerrency and you depart from a proper understanding of leadership in the church. This who keep to it are either inerrantists or sacrementarians, the letter of which have another reason for their position. Grudem believes that this denial inerrancy is the thin end of a wedge leading to ordination of homosexuals and liberalism too. He cites plenty of evangelicals who are egalitarians but have not gone down this route. He believes their successors will. I concur. Those is this group are sometimes surprising but their wrong interpretation requires this erudite refutation. They include, Jewett, France, Marshall, et al.

3. Sin and atonement in Islam and Christianity by Iskandar Jadeed (Author)

Sin in Islam is shown to be a simpler thing than in Christian doctrine. There is no original sin inherited from Adam nor is all of man affected, the will is free. Islam's atonement is prayer and good deeds. Christianity teaches the sacrifice of the lamb of God. A helpful quiz at the end will test the reader's comprehension of the good teaching here.

4. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (Resources for Changing Lives) by Edward T. Welch  (Author)

A superb resource for addicts and those dealing with them in any context. We are all addicted to sin so may all be blessed by the practical reformed theology here. Addiction is not a disease but a result of sin. The answer is Christ in his Word by His Spirit and the fellowship of believers who must befriend the addict. AA is critiqued as secular help, often the only one available, but not a Christian way. Each chapter concludes with practical advice for the addict and those seeking to help.  Excellent advice and most practical.

5. Christian Pipe-Smoking: An Introduction to Holy Incense Kindle Edition by Uri Brito (Author), Joffre Swait  (Author)

This was a fun counter-cultural read. To my surprise, while surfing through some old bookmarks I found I had this on my MacBook. What is more I had read and reviewed it thus over a year ago. 'A small booklet in praise of the present unfashionable habit of pipe smoking.I do not think it will encourage anyone to start puffing but it will give pleasure and some good quotes for afficionados.' I write this now from hospital where I have been deprived of this pleasure for a couple of weeks. But that is the thing about pipe smoking. Pick it up, put it down. Unlike cigarettes need not be an addiction. The doctors tell me to give it up completely. I will not. One thing not appreciated is that I cannot copy, cut and paste from the Kindle version. But one of those rare books which I have read more than once.

6. iPhone Book, The (Covers iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS) by Scott Kelby  (Author), Terry White  (Author)

I have recently acquired an iPhone 5 and found this a useful guide though lacking answers to some question like details on haw to use maps.

7. Sikunder Burnes: Master of the Great Game by Craig Murray  (Author)

When I started this I did not realise his first name was a transliteration of Alexander as is Kandahar and Iskander. A first rate biography of a man whose memory was maligned due to political infighting, something the author knows well first hand. I have reviewed two of his previous books and enjoyed them. he is able to make the contemporary resonates. 
   Burns was the young master of the Great Game. Had he been listened to the disastrous first Afghan War would never have happened and a glorious career ensued. But his masters in India messed up gig time.
   Burns comes across as a remarkable man though a child of his time, Scot, Freemason, promiscuous and rationalist. He was in advance of his time for race relations.
   An excellent biography and history. It would be improved by a glossary of words commonly used but not in the West. Also there is a dearth of maps so one is in the dark for the geography. Some battle maps would be of great help too.
   Some of the follies of the empire are mercilessly exposed and the immorality and brutality of the British.

8. Walking Literary London by Roger Tagholm  (Author)

I have not yet done any of these but it looks helpful and informative. 

9. Lonely Planet West Africa (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet (Author), Ham (Author), Bewer (Author), Butler(Author), Carillet (Author), Clammer (Author), Filou (Author), Karlin(Author), Lobeck Kane (Author), Masters (Author)

I have not been there for 35 years but it seems very good on the places I know. I can see Jos has changed a great deal, commercially advanced but political decline with post 9/11 tensions. Helpful.

11. I Shall Not Die, But Live: Facing Death with Gospel Hope by Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies Douglas Taylor (Author)

Amazon's description of the author is not is own in the book so I suspect an error here.

   This is an exceptionally fine work. Started when the author was diagnosed with terminal cancer as a daily blog. To his surprised he was spared with several more years of life which he put to maximal effect here. It is not a daily account of suffering but daily meditations. They would be suitable for daily family devotions. His illness has minimal coverage but one is aware of its relentless progress. His account is particularly helpful on ealing with (drug induced) hallucinations. 
  A man rich in his treasury of reformed authors, particularly Puritans and Covenanters. Spurgeon and Rutherford are favourites, two met who knew the depths of depression and sadness as well as the heights of mountain top fellowship with Christ.
  The author loved and quotes may hymns and metrical psalms. I concur with his opinion that 18th century hymn writers are unsurpassed in excellence.
   A great book which will encourage and comfort all who read it. if you have a friend facing death, give them a copy.

12.The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner n/e (Oxford World's Classics)by James Hogg  (Author), Ian Duncan (Editor)

This is often thought to be an anti-Calvinist novel. It is not. it is anti-antinomian. Antinomians believe the elect are not subject to the law of God. That was the temptation here. if you are elect you can do as you like. The novel shows this is from the devil himself. He may come as an angel of light concealing his real nature.

13. The AA Guide to Norfolk & Suffolk by AA Publishing  (Author)

Preparing for a Norfolk holiday this is informative and has pointed me to the top places for the family to visit. One omission is where to hire a boat to explore the Broads.

14. Tartan Turban, The by John Keay  (Author)

A remarkable account of an extraordinary man. The veracity of his story is questioned by various authorities for his own memoirs were lit with the murder of Alexander Burnes in the First Afghan War. It seems that Gardner was an American educated in Ireland. He passed himself off in various guises including a deserter from British service which he was not. He explored central Asia including places no-one else had explores. In three journeys he lived as an outlaw with an armed band of companions.He was imprisoned and had numerous hair raising adventures before spending his latter years in the service of the Sikh empire when it collapsed into fratricidal conflict the war with the British. he was a colonel of Sick artillery dying in old age in India leaving a fortune never discovered by his Anglo-Indian daughter. He was guilty of cruel butchery but seems to have been almost remarkable traveller and self-taught soldier of fortune. 
    In parts most exciting and captivating. The Sikh conflicts are very detailed and might have been easier understood with more maps. Some glossary of Asian vocabularies would have helped too.

15. Norfolk, Suffolk & Cambridge Footprint Focus Guide (includes Essex & The Fens) by Jo Williams (Author)

Handy guide to carry with one. Written for the verses visitor but of help to all. We shall certainly be using their advice for boat hire on the Broads.

16. War and the Death of News: Reflections of a Grade B Reporter by Martin Bell (Author)

Informative, entertaining and humorous. Bell is an accomplished journalist and a man of principle in the mould of the late Malcolm Muggeridge. he has seen convicts all over the world both as a soldier in Cyprus and a BBC journalist all over the world. He sees that military solutions do not solve political problems for often the military are inept and the politicians mistaken. His account of becoming an independent MP for one term is very funny and most revealing. The book leaves me thigh admiration for Bell's integrity. He gives a good history of radio and the development of TV news reporting. The extent of the censorship, both official and editorially is most alarming. You only get the truth the editors think you should receive. A lot of truths come out here which were hidden in their time. His Observations chapter has some laugh out loud anecdotes. I do not share his final pessimism on the death of news. Truth will out - eventually.

17. Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes by Nancy Pearcey  (Author)

An excellent book equipping Christians for the task of apologetics. The author came back to faith after visiting L'Abri Fellowship and the apologetic of Francis Schaeffer is much in evidence here. Understand the non-Christians worldview and post out its inconsistencies. She shows that all non-Christian systems involve idolatry, putting something in place of God, and dehumanising reductionism. her critique of the self-contradictory nature of such systems in very telling. She also fills Schaeffers example of the need to speak truth in love. Befriend and love you friend who you seek to win over. A book to equip Christians and give them confidence. First rate and practical.

18. The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself by Andrew Pettegree  (Author)

An informative fascinating account of how through the ages news has been disseminated. It is not a subject on thought about and takes for granted. But first of all the book considers communication through the ages. Te production of paper then printing produced the revolutions in news.  Private posts and government intervention affected the development. One news sheets were circulated then government control and censorship was inevitable. The influence of war and the reformation are recounted as is the God centred world view which sought to interpret the workings of Providence in current events.

19. Promise and Deliverance - Volume II - the Failure of Israel's Theocracy by Simon Gerrit De Graaf (Author)

In an earlier review I wrote, 'Promise and Deliverance is simply the best tool to help the reader understand the Old Testament. Writen to instruct Sunday School teachers in hermeneutics it gives consistent covenantal christocentric approach to understanding Judges to Esther plus Daniel. The main history books are harmonised.Never again will you see the Old Testament as a mere collection of moral tales. Here the living God speaks of his salvation in Christ.'  Promise and Deliverance is simply the best tool to help the reader understand the Old Testament. Writen to instruct Sunday School teachers in hermeneutics it gives consistent covenantal christocentric approach to understanding Judges to Esther plus Daniel. The main history books are harmonised.Never again will you see the Old Testament as a mere collection of moral tales. Here the living God speaks of his salvation in Christ.' This book comes in a rare category for me, ones worth reading more than once. Again I have been using this in daily personal devotions with real profit.

20. The Nation's Gospel: Spreading the Christian Faith in Britain Since the Reformation: Volume 1 (Volume 1 (1516-1791) Reformation to Revolution) by Mr Jeremy Thomas (Author)

A comprehensive survey to three centuries spread of the Christian gospel in the UK. Mainly England as expected and very little on Ireland. There is a breath of detail here which has rarely been covered it it all. What adversely affected the prosperity of the faith is described as well as its promoters. One thing would have been a help, the addition of a time line, especially one including other historic events.

21 God and Churchill: How The Great Leader’S Sense Of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World And Offers Hope For Ours by Jonathan Sandys  (Author)

The great man's great great grandson is one of the author's, a man of more evident faith than his noble ancestor Churchill was not open about his faith in an evangelical way but the book shows his whole life was suffused with Christian principle. He owed more of this to his nanny than to a syphilitic neglectful father and a promiscuous mother. 
   Te great man had a remarkable prescience of a great future when aged sixteen and this did influence him. He clearly thought he did not need to fear death except in God's time. 
   Churchill is compared with Hitler in terms of leadership and ethics. One committed to Christian civilisation, the other to being a megalomaniac Antichrist.  What made them both what they were is analysis. If anything I would say that Churchill's manic depression does not really receive consideration and the book seems a bit preachy at times.

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