Friday, November 02, 2018

Books read in November 2018

1. What Happened ! - a sequel to 'My Damascus Road' by Francisco Lacueva (Author)

A former Spanish Man Catholic priest and professor explains how having left Roman Catholicism and  be married in England, he came to leave his wife and return to Spain and the Jesuits there. He lives for two years in two monasteries. The pope refused to reinstate him as a pries and he is released from priestly RC vows. After three years there is evangelical repentance and a return to his wife, held and England. Why he had returned to Rome/Spain he thinks to be sinful but in large part psychological. His evangelical repentance may have been prompted by the arcane legalism of the RC church. It is not in the book but he persevered in evangelical faith to die in old age after work as a missionary and theologian.

2. Humanism & Human Rights by Richard Forbes.

Written in Canada in response to the International Year for Human Rights in 1968. A Reformational=neo-calvinistic critique of humanistic human rights. From reading this, only the Covenanters have so far got it right. The state should confess Christ is King.

3. The Christian Idea of the State (University Series, Historical Studies) by Herman Dooyeweerd (Author)

As a big fan of Kuyper I have until this book struggled with Dooyeweerd. I wanted a dummies guide as I found the philosophy beyond me. But here Dooyeweerd  is at last understandable. He expands the concept of sphere sovereignty to show that the humanistic view of the state is a return to the old pagan view of pre-Christian cultures, the state is the controlling reality and point of integration. Dooyeweerd  shows that the proper antithesis is creation, fall, redemption, God's covenant purposes integrate the true world and life view and so should inform our politics and critique of the state. Rushdoony's introduction is helpful too bringing a 1930s lecture more up to date.


4. A History 0f the Work of God in COCIN/RCc Gwoza 1949-1999

Published in 2000 and compiled by authors I have known since they were children. Sad to say how Gwoza has changed since this was written due to the murderous Boko Haram which declared its caliphate based at Gwoza. 
   As is common with much Nigerian history significant parts are not written. I worked in this area 1973-74. I also met Stanhope White, DO in Gwoza in the colonial era. In that time the hill people were animists living in the hills to escape the Kanuri slave raiders before Pax Britannica. Due to tribal fighting in the hills the area was closed to expatriate missionaries until Dr Chandler founded the hospital in Gwoza at the invitation of the Muslim chief. When we were there at Limankara COCIN missionaries were church planting in the hills and on the plains. Maryamu Gula (Kathleen Lillie before her marriage) was our nearest expatriate Christian neighbour and her husband Daniel was yet to be trained for ordination. The area was peaceful. 
   Since then tremendous church growth as described here. I knew many of the Christians named. Some are now in the church triumphant. Others in the church militant have had to flee the Islamists of Boko Haram. Many took to the hills then fled to IDP camps away from the area. We pray for the suffering church and for the overthrow of this satanic manifestation of the religion of the false prophet.

5. Daughters of the Millennium by Val Inchley

The author and my wife trained together in missions in Ealing in 1969-70. As she received the OBE for a lifetime in missionary work in Nepal, she is in a different class, lifetime missionary service. She intersperses her own biography with the life of a contemporary woman in rural Nepal, - unwanted, illiterate, multiple pregnancies and infant mortality. Te Hindu rituals of the year are described in detail and real understanding of Nepalese culture is shown as well as the family being introduced to Christian faith.

6. Uzuakoli Miracle: A True Story of Bush Babies in Nigeria by Alan Cox

The story of Methodist mission in Igboland saving motherless babies. As in the area where we worked there was terrible infant mortality due to lack of hygiene and medical care as well as the beliefs of traditional religion and its juju. Roberts, a Methodist missionary minister, cousin of Margaret Thatcher, together with his former SIM wife, rescued babies orphaned or abandoned and started a home for them. The church moved the missionaries but the home continued and miraculously the work survived through the Biafran war though all the buildings were destroyed.

7. The Westminster Assembly: A Guide to Basic Bibliography by J. Ligon Duncan (Author), David W. Hall  (Author)

Published in 1994 after the 350th anniversary of the Westminster Assembly,  there are now other resources to include but this is a valuable short primer for understanding History, context, content and importance of the Westminster standard, the secondary standards of Presbyterian churches.  Prices too will have changed and there will be more on line resources. 


8. A Man for All Ministries: Richard Baxter 1615-1691 (St Antholin's Lectureship Charity Lecture ) by J I Packer

Packer did his doctorate on Baxter so is eminently qualified to give this tercentenary lecture commemorating the death of Baxter. His irenic disposition is well described as is his struggle with a fiery disposition. He worked and suffered for Christ. Baxter lived in Acton after the Great Ejection and has been criticised for leaving his young wife there when he sought safety elsewhere during the plague. But there is no mention of this in what is a brief lecture which warms one to the memory of a great puritan.


9. Oliver Cromwell - a Vindication by John Broome (Author)


 A 1964 lecture in Winchester which does what the title says, vindicates Cromwell as a sincere and godly Christian and as a soldier who followed the rules of siege warfare of his day. His behaviour at Drogheda was according to contemporary ways of war.

10. The scriptures, sex and satisfaction by Harry H McGee (Author)

A short but very helpful treatment on love and sexual relations in marriage. Surprisingly explicit and practical.

11. Difficulties about Baptism by Douglas Bannerman

Written in Scotland in 1898 it is helpful in addressing the questions of the mode and subjects of baptism. But it reflects a culture where baptists were in the minority, not the situation in England today where it is the evangelical default position. Helpful to argue that the arguments for baptising covenant children are not from proof texts but cumulative biblical and theological reasoning.

12. Baptism: Meaning, Mode and Subjects by Michael Kimmitt

A concise modern response to the regarding of baptism as a primary matter in Christian faith. it is a secondary issue and the modern default evangelical view is historically a minority view. Published in 1997 for a Northern Irish Reformed church.

13. On My Way To Heaven byMark Ashton

Given six to nine months to live he did survive fifteen months after his cancer diagnosis. But the hope in this book is not that the doctors may be wrong but that a terminal diagnosis is not the end of the world. In Christ and by faith in his resurrection there is a sure and certain hope. I found this book utterly realistic as t the difference three faith in Christ should make. Te suffering is no less but it is borne with realistic fortitude and thankfulness. Chemo was refused. Eternal life anticipated. A great testimony which should be a help to those facing death and their families too.

14. 365 Days with Calvin: A Unique Collection of 365 Readings from the Writings of John Calvin, Selected and Edited by Joel R Beeke (356 Days with) by Joel R. Beeke (Author)

After a brief biographical introduction to Calvin we have the daily readings. Calvin is a favourite author but this could have been done better. We read it for family devotions. First problem, the use of the KJV. Most of us have moved on many years ago. Secondly there is no indication as to the sources of the daily quotations, which works, which editions. It seems we have quotes from older translations of Calvin and this does not help the understanding of modern people unused to the English of the 19th century.

15. Reading the Bible by Geoffrey Thomas (Author)

A concise practical encouragement to systematic and regular reading of scripture. Somewhat surprisingly we are not told from which version the quotations come . Though this was published first in 1980 it seems to be the KJV. Which version to use is not the author's concern. Why you should read it, how to cultivate a regular habit, and proper attitude to the scripture are the important matters. A helpful schedule for regular reading is given. similar to McCheyne's.

16. Like The Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell by Simon Heffer  (Author)

I reviewed this in August but I had not then quite finished it and it was due back in the library. Now borrowed again and finished, I can give you a little more in my review. Simply the best political biography I have read - and the longest. The best prime minister we never had. Professor at 25, private soldier to brigadier in WW2, politician who rose to cabinet rank but was sacked by Heath who like many others thought him a racist. He became out of office more popular than any other politician for he dared today what most people thought about the dangers of immigration. He was simply too principled to get to the top of the greasy pole. He was all about principle not political compromise. He probably won an election for Heath who even on Powell's death could not find a good word about him. A towering intellect and keen fox hunter. An atheist turned Anglican and biblical textual critic. We shall not see his like again. This book reads like a thriller with many twists in the plot.And there are surprises. Why was this arch-conservative socially liberal over capital punishment and homosexuality? The latter years are very different out of the Conservatives and sitting as an Ulster unionist MP. He was at first something of a male chauvinist in his attitude to Thatcher but she followed his monetarist policies and they developed a mutual respect and admiration.


17.The Literary Impact of the Authorised Version by C. S. Lewis (Author)


Rather technical from Lewis in 1950. He does not deal as many do with the phrases from the Bible that have become part of the language. They come in the main from Tyndale anyway. He distinguishes the literary impact of the AV as distinct from that of the Bible. He does not seem to see a great impact for the Bible has not been and will not be read as mere literature but as a sacred text for believers. Unbelievers are not interested in it for literary merit.


18.Teach me your way, O Lord! by Iskander Jadeed

19. Test everything, Hold on to the good by Iskander Jadeed

This is a Christian answer to a message from a Muslim. It is available in Arabic so that may have been the original. I do not know why the message to which the author is responding has been omitted. He considers points raised, the cross in Gospel and Koran, who started wars, sin and why it is not so important to the Muslim, Buddha and Christ, Christ Son of God. The author shows good grasp of Christian Scripture and truth as weals being conversant with Koran and Hadith. His is a courteous apologetic. A booklet to give to a Muslim.

20. How do we pray? by Iskander Jadeed

Translated from Arabic I had thought this book might draw out the differences between Muslim and Christian prayers. It is written to answer two questions. What is Prayer/ What is the number of prayers rejoined daily and at what times? Muslim questions one might think but the answers given as straightforward Christian teaching for a new Christian. It is sound, practical teaching.

21. How can we know the truth of the gospel? by Iskander Jadeed

Answering questions from a Muslim. How can you prove the Fatherhood of God to Christ? Have the Torah and New Testament been changed? Do you have any evidence that Christ died on the cross? Is not four gospels evidence of the NT being changed? Answered factually and graciously.







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