Saturday, April 05, 2008

Books read in April 2008 (10)

1. History Without the Boring Bits: A Curious Chronology of the World by Ian Crofton

The fact that articles in this book are arranged chronologically is the one thing historical about it. Many items are mere legend not serious history. Too many are pruriently sexual. But it is a fun book to dip in to. Perhaps a suitable volume for the smallest room in the house or a source book for the trivia quiz master.

2. Portofino by Frank A. Schaeffer

I am surprised than no reviewers here have picked up on the fact that this is not so much a novel as a sort of autobiography. Despite the standard fiction disclaimer of no relation to living or dead persons the author has subsequently referred to semi-autobiographical novels and his Crazy For God autobiography published in 2007. In both cases an American Presbyterian missionary family resident in Switzerland holiday in Portofino. Their US sending church denomination splits.They are Bible believing Calvinists with premillennial eschatology. The father is bad tempered and violent but not so pious as the mother, she of long prayers, social superiority over her husband and embarrassing evangelism. The boy narrator goes to boarding school in England. He has learning difficulties. Sex plays a big part in his young life. His pious elder sister are good obedient little missionaries. He is not. He loves to be with the local homosexual artist. All these are in the recent autobiography so how much of the rest is fiction is open to question.

The author is gifted in his descriptive writing of Italy and his adolescent development rings true but unless I had known some of this family in real life I would not have found it a gripping plot. His mother's agressive evangelism and his father's violence are hard to believe. Calvin Becker is an angry young missionary kid. Frank Schaeffer seems to be still angry even now in his fifties. Calvin Becker said other children told lies to appear different but he told lies to appear normal. So one wonders about Frank's veracity,

3. Colossians & Philemon (Preaching the Word) by R. Kent Hughes

The author knows how to expound and apply Scripture in a contemporary way. He is a first rate communicator. highly recommended and I shall look for more of his work. More preachers should follow his example. He has great illustrations.

4. Colossians and Philemon (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) by H M Carson

Tyndale Commentaries are a good sound series but as most of us have moved on from the AV/KJV they are in this respect dated. Herbert Carson was a good teacher of the Word and I am indebtedto him for his ministry in London when I was a student. Concise and sound. Use it.

5. A Translators Handbook on Paul's Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon by Robert G. Bratcher

This series of books is written for those translating the Bible into other languages. i am sure they will be a great help in that. They also serve as helpful commentaries too and are to be commended as such also.

6. The Message of Colossians and Philemon: Fullness and Freedom (Bible Speaks Today) by Richard C. Lucas

Dick Lucas has in recent years preached at our church. Now in his eighties he remains an expert expositor of God's word. Here he expounds and applies these two epistles in a way that serves as an example of how Scripture is to be interpreted and applied. All Christians will be able to benefit from this book. The author is a teacher of teachers of the Bible.

7. Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (New Testament Commentary) by William Hendriksen

If you want the best commentary on these books I recommend Hendriksen. Her deals with the text from the perspective of believing submission to the word of God. he is a help to all Christians, especially the preacher. Top rate.

8. Colossians and Philemon: A Digest of Reformed Comment (New Testament Commentaries) by Geoffrey Wilson

This small commentary is based on the AV text. His strength is the many quotes from older reformed commentators.

9. Colossians: Another commentary on an inexhaustible message by Gordon Haddon Clark

This is a helpful reformed commentary but when Paul denounces the legalism of the church I think this author, following the traditional Anglo-Saxon reformed view of the fourth commandment, does not. I believe Paul was against sabbatarianism. Clark though is a traditionalist. Apart from this it is a good commentary.

10. In Him the fullness;: Homiletic studies in Paul's Epistle to the Colossians by R. E. O White

Not a commentary but a series of expositions through the epistle. Evangelical and helpful.

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