Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A blog that I respect that will lay it on the line is I'm Speaking Truth
In this post he poses a great question...“Is Eckhart Tolle A Christian?”

Mr. Tolle is one of the latest buffoons that is on Oprah's crazy train. He is a New Age teacher that is widely popular and has a large following.

But the question of "Is Eckhart Tolle a Christian?" intrigues me. I suppose the answer could be as simple as:
If Oprah is a Christian then Eckhart Tolle is a Christian.

I think the real issue is what is your definition of a Christian? If it is being good and religious then I suppose both of the above mentioned are Christians.
But if the definition is a person who admits they are sinful and in desperate need of Christ and Him alone then I suppose they are not.

The real question is What is a Christian? If we just give opinion as to what feels good then maybe everyone is a Christian. If we just stick to the Bible as the SOLE authority (sorry to all of my anti-sola scriptura readers) then I think we might find that fewer than we think are probably saved.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Turning Your Heart Toward God- Thigpen and Kline

I have never read a book that I liked so much all the while gritting my teeth but it has now happened. Let me explain.

It is a non-fiction work written in a study guide format. One of the authors is editor of the bi-monthly "The Catholic Answer" which presents problems in the theological field.

The book touts itself as "a 12-week exploration of the spiritual disciplines." Let me say that it definitely delivers from that perspective. It covers topics like simplicity, forgiveness, reticence, obedience and several others that are often overlooked. These topics A few times it sort-of comes across as New-Age(y) but I don't think that is the intention.

What you will notice is the constant mention of Desert Fathers, Desert Wisdom, or Desert Elders. The "Desert" jargon was a term given to Ascetics and Monks who lived in the 4th and 5th century who were heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

My problem is there seems to be more of a reverence for the "Desert Wisom" than for the Word of God. There are many scriptures throughout the book but it seems to be in the shadows of the Desert Wisdom.

It reads very easy and the disciplines themselves are good to focus on. I would recommend this book for a discerning mature Christian who can differentiate between "thus says the Lord" and what Agatho said.

Between Two Worlds- Mike Timmis

This book is basically an autobiography of a man who struggled with his Catholic upbringing not “enjoying” the Christian life. His struggles led him to a very empty life and to become a workaholic.

At the prompting of a friend who recognized the deficiency in his faith the author agreed to attend a men’s Bible study held in his hometown of Detroit. He said "I will go once just to get my friend off my back." He went and based on the openness of the men there he committed his life to Christ wanting what these men had.

His life changed dramatically from this time on and he went on to become a committed evangelical leader of many para-church organizations including Prison Fellowship International.

He refused to leave the Catholic church believing rather that he should stay and seek to change the church by his witness. Based on his testimony, he feels he has made significant inroads to that end.

Overall an interesting book to read, easy to read, particularly his time spent witnessing to several world leaders.

This made me think of Martin Luther in a very small way in reference to his desire to see the church reformed.

Free To Be Bound- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

This is a non fiction work written in a report form largely describing the author’s experiences growing up in the deep south and the racism that he saw in the churches and his desire and goal for reconciliation between the white and black church.

I do not believe this book represents a thorough analysis of the subject matter since it is written from his viewpoint only with no room for any contradictory or differing opinions.

It is quite clear that the author believes very much in his subject matter but again leaves little or no room for any differing thoughts on the matter. He is into the Black Jesus theology (even though he is white and attends a predominantly black church) that I understand is prevalent in many black churches today. He clearly believes that the black church and their worship style and teaching/preaching is something that the white church should adopt. He accuses the white church of not fully engaging the power of Jesus in its ministry meaning that it recognizes His power only as power to save us from sin but not to deal with all the problems of life.

Overall, the book is easy to read but is slanted to one thought process only and assumes that the black church is superior in every way to the white church. He is committed to this viewpoint and has made it a huge part of his life living in a slum area and worshiping at a black church in Durham NC.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Look at this link and tell me what you think.
What does this say to the world? What does he really hope to gain from this besides money? To me, it's just another sad state of "Carnival Christianity."

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Fear of Mine

For quite some time I have shared with the church that I pastor and with others one of the biggest fears that I have. It is not about my safety, job security, paying bills or our economy. It is about those folks that sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday.

I am not trying to sound over-pastoral, if that is possible, but the concern is real.

The burden that I have is one that many of us as Christians have. It is simply the concern that many, and I mean many, that sit in the pews on a regular basis are not saved and believe they are.

I regularly preach and teach those who care nothing for the Word, for holiness, for lost people, or for the glory of God to be revealed in their life. They are just content on being there, doing their duty, and going through the motions.

I think the reasons for this are wide and varied but I want to go over two reasons.

Before I go any further let me say that I am aware that God is the One who convicts us and draws us and awakens our hearts to our sinfulness and His greatness. The reasons I list here are ones that I think are our fault in the matter.

There is a basic misunderstanding of what salvation is. I suppose a lot of this is because of the preaching itself. If we preach that God want's to heal your marriage, finances and wayward children and not that we are hell-bound sinners because of our separation from God then ignorance will abound.

The second reason is just as pervasive. Though it appears to be the same as what is mentioned above, it's slightly different. The church has become a carnival of activities. The gospel is not preached and so the community views the church as a moral funhouse. A safe place where you can go and get re-filled, pumped-up, or simply a few laughs. Then many join the funhouse and growth is reported.

I believe the church is responsible for this huge mirage that has been put out there for the world to see. Satan does not have to be directly involved in this deception when the church is more than willing to do it for him.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Crescent Through...- Nabeel Jabbour

This book is a non-fiction work, although it is based in large part on a mythical character created by the author, dealing with how to reach the Muslim world with the message of Christ.

It presents the authors view on this subject through the lens of his Arab heritage.

His point is well taken in that the Christian world should and needs to modify its way of presenting the Gospel to Muslims rather than using Christian talk and language though I have never been one to feel that we need to de-christianize our talk to witness.

While trying to be objective in his approach, the clear bias of the author is evident everywhere. Claiming to be a conservative he at the same time clearly is anti-Jewish, anti-American and pro muslim in my view. He often speaks in terms very much leaning toward the Muslim side of the issue and again, in my judgment takes liberty with the scripture to make his case. Just one example is that he accuses Joseph of using his position with Pharaoh to enhance his own family at the expense of everyone else in Egypt, including the Pharaoh. His point is that we Christians do the same thing with Muslims by taking advantage of them so as to enhance our own position.

All in all I was disappointed with the liberal tone of the book.

Dangerous Faith- Joel Vestal

The book is a non-fiction work dealing with world missions and evangelization.
It is primarily reporting the authors’ experiences in his missionary work but does try to interpret those experiences in a way to encourage others to be more involved in mission work.

His obvious viewpoint is that everyone should/needs to be involved in mission work in some fashion which is true. It may be financially or best of all (in his view) to commit your life to mission work in a foreign mission field.

This subject has polarized many through the years. Some say that local missions are the way to go while othes say that foreign missions are the only way. This book will definitely appeal to the latter crowd.

The book is reasonably thorough but with a clear emphasis on his personal experiences.

Overall I personally did not enjoy the book but will admit that the author is clearly passionate about the subject matter. While making comments to the contrary he seems to use guilt as a tool or means of convincing others to get involved in what he has been called to as his life’s work.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
--Augustus M. Toplady

Friday, July 04, 2008


I am honored that NavPress has allowed me to be on their Preview/Review list for books that have come out or are coming out soon. In the next few weeks, in between regular posts, I will post a book review/preview of the selection of books that have been sent to me. Some of the books I would not have bought on my own and other books I would have picked up the day they were released. I hope that you enjoy reading the critiques and I welcome your comments.


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