Book Reviews

.

The following overview lists all book reviews elaborated by this ministry since the year 2020 and currently being carried on in the year 2024.

Alphabetical List

  1. Aging with Grace: Flourishing in an Anti-Aging Culture, by Sharon W. Betters, Susan Hunt (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 13/05/2024)
  2. Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life and Relationships, by Curt Thompson (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/02/2024)
  3. Anyone But Me: 10 Ways to Overcome Your Fear and Be Prepared to Share the Gospel, by Ray Comfort (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 13/09/2022)
  4. The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek English Interlinear, by Charles Van Der Pool (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 11/01/2023)
  5. Baptistland: A Memoir of Abuse, Betrayal, and Transformation, by Christa Brown (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 08/05/2024)
  6. Basic Christianity, by John R.W. Stott, Rick Warren (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 17/01/2024)
  7. Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose: Freedom from Pressures You Thought You Had to Live With, by Derek Prince (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 27/10/2022)
  8. The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance, by John Trent, Gary Smalley (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 15/05/2024)
  9. The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, by Vishal Mangalwadi (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 16/08/2022)
  10. The Call, by Os Guinness (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 02/01/2024)
  11. The Canon of Scripture, F.F. Bruce (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/04/2023)
  12. Captive in Iran, by Maryam Rostampour, Marziyeh Amirizadeh (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 07/11/2023)
  13. The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, by Lee Strobel (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/04/2024)
  14. The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity, by Lee Strobel (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/06/2024)
  15. Chasing the Dragon: One Womans Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong's Drug Dens, by Jackie Pullinger, Andrew Quicke (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/05/2024)
  16. A Christian's Guide to Planet Earth: Why It Matters and How to Care for It, by Betsy Painter (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 07/03/2023)
  17. Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, by J. Warner Wallace (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 30/05/2024)
  18. Convergence: Why Jesus needs to be more than our Lord and Savior for the church to thrive in a post-Christian world, by Jon Thompson (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 03/02/2023)
  19. Courageous, by Randy Alcorn, Alex & Stephen Kendrick (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/11/2022)
  20. The Cross and the Switchblade, by David Wilkerson, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/04/2024)
  21. David Wilkerson: The Cross, the Switchblade, and the Man Who Believed, by Gary Wilkerson (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 12/02/2024)
  22. Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent, by N.D. Wilson (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 08/10/2023)
  23. Discovering the Septuagint, by David Bercot (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 07/12/2023)
  24. End of the Spear, by Steve Saint (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 15/03/2023)
  25. Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation, by Miroslav Volf (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 25/04/2024)
  26. Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry T. Blackaby, Claude V. King (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 17/04/2024)
  27. Fast Facts on False Teachings, by Ron Carlson (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/12/2023)
  28. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, Heath Lambert (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 19/10/2022)
  29. Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, by Nancy R. Pearcey (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 25/04/2023)
  30. Foxe's Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, William Grinton Berry (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 06/07/2023)
  31. Gender Ideology: What Do Christians Need to Know?, by Sharon James (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/07/2020)
  32. The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications, by John C. Whitcomb, Henry M. Morris III (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 27/11/2023)
  33. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, by Gregg Lewis, Deborah Shaw Lewis (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 18/04/2024)
  34. Glad You Asked!: Answers to 28 Tough Questions Teens Are Asking About God and the Bible, by Reasons for Hope (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 20/04/2024)
  35. God Calling: Devotionals for Restoring Faith and Serenity, by A.J. Russell (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 17/10/2022)
  36. God's Design for Women in an Age of Gender Confusion, Sharon James (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 31/07/2020)
  37. God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom, by Bob Fu, Nancy French (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 08/11/2022)
  38. God's Smuggler, by Brother Andrew, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 09/04/2024)
  39. God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies, by Costi W. Hinn (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 26/09/2022)
  40. Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ, by Matthew W. Bates (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 19/05/2023)
  41. The Gospel's Power & Message, by Paul David Washer (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 20/09/2022)
  42. The Green Letters, by Miles J. Stanford (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 13/12/2022)
  43. He Gets Us: Experiencing the confounding love, forgiveness, and relevance of Jesus, by Max Lucado (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 26/02/2023)
  44. I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference, by Thom S. Rainer (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/07/2020)
  45. I Declare War: Four Keys to Winning the Battle with Yourself, by Levi Lusko (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 22/02/2023)
  46. I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 15/04/2024)
  47. The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus, by Zack Eswine (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 17/01/2023)
  48. In His Steps, by Charles M. Sheldon (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/12/2023)
  49. The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, by Nik Ripken, Gregg Lewis (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 24/01/2023)
  50. The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places, by Nik Ripken (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 23/05/2024)
  51. Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 07/05/2024)
  52. Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament, by David P. Murray (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 16/05/2024)
  53. Jesus, Continued...: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You, by J.D. Greear (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 25/01/2024)
  54. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, by Katie Davis Majors (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 09/03/2023)
  55. Lectures to My Students, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/01/2023)
  56. Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holcaust, by Immaculée Ilibagiza (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 12/06/2023)
  57. Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity, by Gregory A. Boyd, Edward K. Boyd (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 13/01/2024)
  58. The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, by Adam S. McHugh (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/02/2022)
  59. Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, by Emerson Eggerichs (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 02/04/2024)
  60. The Love Dare, by Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 22/10/2023)
  61. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, by Bob Goff (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 19/03/2024)
  62. Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, by Nancy R. Pearcey (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/09/2022)
  63. Love Your Church: 8 Great Things About Being a Church Member, by Tony Merida (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/12/2022)
  64. Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies, by Hillary Morgan Ferrer (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 21/12/2023)
  65. Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/04/2020)
  66. The Mission of God's People: A Biblical Theology of the Church's Mission, by Christopher J.H. Wright (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/03/2024)
  67. More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/03/2024)
  68. More Than a Healer: Not the Jesus You Want, but the Jesus You Need, by Costi W. Hinn (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 21/09/2022)
  69. My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 29/05/2024)
  70. The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, by Edwin R. Thiele (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 03/12/2023)
  71. Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God, by Kaitlin B. Curtice (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 16/04/2024)
  72. No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green, by Melody Green (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 20/07/2023)
  73. Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, by Kyle Idleman (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/11/2023)
  74. Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 20/03/2024)
  75. Open Heavens 2015, by E.A. Adeboye (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/11/2023)
  76. Pleasing People: How not to be an approval junkie, by Lou Priolo (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/10/2023)
  77. The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 07/02/2024)
  78. Praying the Bible, by Donald S. Whitney (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 16/01/2023)
  79. Primeval Chronology, by William Henry Green (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 03/12/2023)
  80. The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine, by A.W. Tozer (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/02/2024)
  81. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Jeremiah Burroughs (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 14/03/2024)
  82. Reclaimed: How Jesus Restores Our Humanity in a Dehumanized World, byAndy Steiger, Sheri Hiebert (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 10/11/2022)
  83. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 21/03/2024)
  84. The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, by Mark Buchanan (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 21/04/2023)
  85. Return from Tomorrow, by George G. Ritchie, Elizabeth Sherrill (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/04/2024)
  86. Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 22/02/2024)
  87. The School of Biblical Evangelism, by Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 08/11/2023)
  88. The Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes, by Robert S. McGee (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 10/01/2024)
  89. The Secret Battle of Ideas about God: Overcoming the Outbreak of Five Fatal Worldviews, by Jeff Myers (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 21/05/2024)
  90. Secrets of a Prayer Warrior, by Derek Prince (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 25/10/2022)
  91. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, by Nabeel Qureshi (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 25/01/2023)
  92. A Severe Mercy: A Story of Faith, Tragedy, and Triumph, by Sheldon Vanauken, C.S. Lewis (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 21/09/2023)
  93. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms, by Tim Tebow (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 10/04/2024)
  94. Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, by Kevin Leman (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 30/04/2024)
  95. Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, by N.T. Wright (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 30/01/2024)
  96. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, by Ann Spangler, Lois Tverberg (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 13/10/2023)
  97. Song of Redemption (Chronicles of the Kings, #2), by Lynn Austin (Not Rated 〣 Reviewed 16/04/2024)
  98. Stay Salt, by Rebecca Manley Pippert (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 27/11/2022)
  99. The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home, by Russell D. Moore (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 17/04/2023)
  100. The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between, by Gregory Koukl (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 26/01/2023)
  101. Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by Charles Marsh (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 26/04/2024)
  102. Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution, by Carl R. Trueman (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 14/12/2022)
  103. Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber (1 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 04/01/2024)
  104. The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, by Andy Crouch (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 08/09/2023)
  105. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years, by Jaquelle Crowe Ferris (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 01/03/2023)
  106. Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 11/03/2024)
  107. Unashamed, by Lecrae Moore (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 02/03/2023)
  108. Unquestioned Answers: Rethinking Ten Christian Clichés to Rediscover Biblical Truths, by Jeff Myers (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 02/05/2023)
  109. Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way out of the Mormon Church, by Lynn K. Wilder (5 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 15/09/2023)
  110. Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem, by Robert D. Jones (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 18/03/2024)
  111. A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers (4 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 17/10/2022)
  112. When Crickets Cry, by Charles Martin (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 06/03/2024)
  113. When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances, by Carol J. Kent (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 03/10/2023)
  114. Why I Trust the Bible: Answers to Real Questions and Doubts People Have about the Bible, by William D. Mounce (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 27/07/2023)
  115. Why Not Women : A Biblical Study of Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership, by Loren Cunningham (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 05/2020)
  116. A Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George (3 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 16/04/2024)
  117. You Carried Me, by Melissa Ohden (2 out of 5 stars 〣 Reviewed 14/01/2024)

Aging with Grace: Flourishing in an Anti-Aging Culture, by Sharon W. Betters, Susan Hunt (2*)

A book with some good teachings, but with a heavy dose of Calvinism, Romanticizing and Spiritualizing.

PROS

+ The book provides much value and estimation for aging people. It fills an important gap. But considering that there is no known book from a male perspective, it would have been beneficial if one of the authors would have represented the male perspective, which is vastly different when aging.

+ Lots of biblical quotations and stories.

CONS

- The book opens with a quote from Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, a very problematic teacher who has led multitudes straight to hell. This sadly sets a miserable tone for the book and overshadows the partly good teachings that follow.

- The book does show a cult-like attitude, precisely the sign of exclusivity. It is not the first book I now read, which heavily quotes from Calvinists, but this book seems to do it exclusively which is problematic. It endorses false teachers such as Timothy Keller (at whose church one of the authors worked!), Spurgeon, Sproul, Packer and of course Calvin himself. The Westminster Confession is quoted with a record rarely seen in any book before, and is of course complemented by the Westminster Seminary et al.

- The reader is directed to visit the bookstore of the 'Presbyterian Church in America', where we find of course the whole array of Calvinists authors and their books.

- The authors do not agree with each other. While one author endorses the Sabbath, another treats it as something Jewish and encourages the reader to either celebrate on the first day or to alternately consider the passage of Hebrews in the light of Any-Day-Sabbatism (suggesting that we are now in some sort of eternal Sabbath). It is one thing what the author herself does. But to teach others to disobey the Moral Law, is wrong at best, and probably deserves the adjective 'heretical'.

- The book has a feminist touch. The authors pronounce that they are acting within the limits of God-given authority, but the fact alone that they have to explain themselves, shows already that they are willingly embracing the limits. They speak countless times of 'matriarchs' as if being the most normal term in the world, which they brought up without any explanation.

One of them clearly assumes the role of an overseer (=elder, shepherd) when stating that she oversaw or oversees small groups (a clear transgression of NT law) and another goes as far as to state that she disciples pastor's wives, which is in the light of the oneness of a pastoral couple highly problematic. The wife of a pastor being discipled under the authority of a woman from the church, is most certainly not a constellation we could imagine to find in the Bible.

- Calvinist doctrine appears several times in the book (the elect, chosen from eternity past, Romans 8 ...).

- The book often spiritualizes and romanticizes the whole Bible. Negatives aspects are rare, and even the horrific account of Babylon is told from the most beautiful perspective possible, going as far as to speak several times of the 'elect exiles', a term also never heard before elsewhere.

While it might be true that a few of the exiles were true believers, it is very clear that the majority of Jews in that specific time were neither saved nor elect. The authors also abuse several times the passage from Jeremiah "For I know the plans which I am planning for you ..." [a promise given to the Hebrews exiled in Babylon] ...

- The book decorates the Bible with questionable details such as how many rivers Ruth & Naomi had to pass on the way to Jerusalem, and states it as fact that they travelled alone, although this is highly questionable and not indicated as such. In the Bible we find accounts where it appears e.g. as if David travelled alone, only to read later that he was accompanied by dozens and then by hundreds of people. Two women would almost certainly have waited for the next travellers to join on that route.


Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life and Relationships, by Curt Thompson (2*)

While the book offers some interesting insights, I do not recommend it because of its promotion of Spiritual Formation and other serious issues which are contrary to the Word.

PROS

- He is knowledgeable in his field.

- He makes an honorable attempt to reflect Christianity in the light of psychology.

CONS

- He over and over recommends mindfulness meditation (of buddhist origin), specifically the 'body scan'. He further recommends to practise Tai chi and yoga, which are mind-body practices that involve movement, meditation, and breathwork.

- He promotes Contemplative Prayer and Centering Prayer, an unbiblical and problematic practise. Quote: "How on earth do you 'center' when the centrifugal forces of the moment seem so overwhelming? It helps to begin by focusing on your body. Remember that even before inviting the Romans to transformation by the renewing of their minds, Paul encourages them to offer their bodies as holy, pleasing and living sacrifices." This is a twisting and misuse of Scripture in order to justify practises which are contrary to the Bible and very close to New Age practises.

- It is to no surprise that he spoke at 'The Apprentice Gathering', a movement dedicated to Spiritual Formation and promoting a hall-of -fame of problematic teachers including Jesuits.

- He endorses twice Henri Nouwen and his books (Jesuit; Taught Contemplative / Centering Prayer, Hesychasm and the Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers. Desert mysticism included cave-dwelling, starvation, and, at times, bodily mutilation; Universalist. Taught Kenosis meaning to empty one's mind, being very similar to New Age/ Eastern meditation, but with Christian words; Collaboration with Richard Rohr).

- He endorses Walter Brueggemann and his books.

- He endorses the Spiritual Formation books of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard as "excellent, in-depth discussions". Foster clearly teaches New Age and very often quotes its teachers, is part of the Emerging church / Contemplative Prayer / Mysticism movements and wrote the 'Spiritual Formation Study Bible' together with Eugene Peterson. Willard was his partner in crime for the creation of this Bible, was a founding mem­ber of Ren­o­varé, held to either 'Christian Universalism' or the Wider Mercy doctrine, and was also part of the Emerging church / Contemplative

Prayer; he is also described as the 'spiritual twin' of Richard Foster)

- He quotes Leo Tolstoy who was not a Christian and excommunicated due to his opposition against the church.

- Recommendation of Rob Bell's material.

- There is no sense of holiness in the book. "I never thought of God as singing to me. Is he a tenor, a bariton or a soprano?" He even compared THEOS with the band 'U2' and asked us to imagine to be in a stadium where THEOS sings for us alone. He repeatedly reflected on the prefrontal context of JESUS and projected all kinds of thoughts and words on Him. The chapter with the fall of Adam and Eve is particularly marked by a creative license not seen before in any other books to such an extent. He claims that Eve felt shame before the fall, but shame is a product of a fallen world and could therefore not have existed before the fall.

- He leaves his denomination in the dark, but uses words such as 'mass' instead of service, and 'parishioners'.

- He is (or was) elder at a church, where 4 out of 8 elders are female.

- He promotes the Enneagram outside this book. He got into it through Dan Siegel, who provided the main inspiration for this book.


Anyone But Me: 10 Ways to Overcome Your Fear and Be Prepared to Share the Gospel, by Ray Comfort (5*)

Excellent book.


The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek English Interlinear, by Charles Van Der Pool (5*)

A superb, probably the very best and most reliable English Interlinear Bible translation.


Baptistland: A Memoir of Abuse, Betrayal, and Transformation, by Christa Brown (2*)

This much-needed book would be great, if it was only to reveal the ugly reality of the SBC. But she sadly used it also as a weapon against the remaining members of her family and most tragically against JESUS Himself. How beautiful would it have been to see her come to salvation outside the evil triangle of Catholics, Baptists (and Freemasonry).

PROS

+ Much needed report from a survivor of s**ual abuse. It has to be added that the SBC played a central role in racial segregation while opposing interracial marriage, has still a strong prevalence of Freemasons in their rows (membership in a Masonic Order is officially a matter of personal conscience!), has a very strong prevalence of Calvinists, predominately supported the abortion rights movement, and was the breeding ground for one of the biggest frauds in 'Christian' history, Billy Graham (who had a strong tendency towards universalism; key figure in the ecumenical movement; close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope; unfriendly takeover of Halley's Bible Handbook and deletion of Jesuit references; advised his friend Nixon to end the Vietnam conflict in a blaze of glory; trained female pastors; great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale; taught theistic evolution; promoted the Alpha Course). She sadly failed to give a more complete picture of the SBC.

+ This book does a great job in describing the s** abuse not only of her, but provides also a general picture, although being relatively vague considering the vast information she collected through her rather secular ministry. She adequately describes how the SBC maliciously and systematically covered up cases for now several decades.

+ She did well to give us a background of her upbringing, but went way too deep in the realm of gossip, when giving us dozens of ultra-detailed accounts of her ugly exchanges with her family members. A few accounts of each problematic aspect would have sufficed.

CONS

- She most certainly never experienced the real JESUS, which is bitter because she should have seen it at some point clearer than anyone else, that her environment of a fortune-telling grandmother killed by her own husband, of a Billy Graham- and Oral Roberts- addictive father, of a Franciscan mother, and of abusing Baptists is certainly not where the true JESUS is to be found.

Did she really hope that while she was used as a caulbearer and proforma priest for the confessions of her mother, who wanted her also to continue with fortune-telling, that she would find in that setting the true JESUS?

If she had found JESUS, there would certainly not have been additional suffering for decades, but forgiveness towards her family and restoration for herself. And she would have probably shed light on the SBC decades earlier.

Quote: "So when I hear people say "Jesus never fails" and "put your trust in Him," sometimes I just want to scream."

Quote: "Even God abandoned me. It wasn't a matter of unbelief, for unbelief would have been a mercy. Rather, it was as though God had become something monstrous at least toward me — an uncaring and rejecting God who was prone to sadistic whims."

Quote: "[Her husband] I have faith in lots of things. I have faith in you. I have faith in us. I have faith in science. I have faith in the future. I have faith in humankind. I have faith the sun will come up. Christians don't have some monopoly on getting to define what faith is and isn't. I'm a person of faith too. It's just different. I realized Jim was right. He was indeed a person of faith, and he had lived his faith day in and day out the whole time I'd known him. Meanwhile, I was the one still floundering in the paradox of being a person of faith who wished not to be. How many times had I prayed that God would please cease my belief? Too many. At least Jim had a faith that made some sense."

Quote: "After all, God had turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt when all she did wrong was to glance backwards at her home."

Quote from 2020 (X): "So... if Mary's consent wasn't possible, given her age & the authority figure of an omnipotent god, does this mean that Jesus was a child of rape?"

- She believes in VISITATIONS from the dead:

"I dreamed of Mom and Dad. Their presence was so real that, when I first awoke, I could have sworn they were sitting on the edge of the bed, smiling at me. It felt more like a visitation than a dream, and even now, I half-believe they were really there. [...] How could I tell her that I talked with ghosts? Yet, there they were. Even in death, Mom and Dad had both returned to me. It was an extraordinary gift."

"Mom's presence was palpable, as though her shoulder were brushing mine, and I felt such peace."

- Despite her trauma regarding her mother, she clearly failed to distance herself from CATHOLICISM, but rather seems to be close to it.

"I loved her [her friend] for it, and I also envied her. When I learned that she prayed to Mary, I wished that I, too, could pray to a woman."

"I stopped at the Joan of Arc statue on my way out and lit a candle for Mom."

"... the Southern Baptist Convention was—and still is—the largest non-Catholic faith group in the country. [what a telling viewpoint]"

"... she gave me her cross necklace, and another time, her blue rosary beads. Mom had been raised Catholic."

She also quoted the Catholics Bruce Springsteen, Desmond Tutu (Anglican-Catholic) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and over and over compared the guilt of the RCC as small in comparison with the SBC (although possibly with good intentions).

- She describes herself as a 'fanatic for HALLOWEEN'.

- She endorsed the wearing of AMULETS and her life centers around the practise of yoga.

"... whether I could hack it in law school. But wearing a locust encased in plastic amber as a good luck amulet, I aced the first exams."

"So, I dropped out of the PhD program and instead began training as a yoga teacher"

- She repeatedly rejected the concept of ETERNAL HELL and of ORIGINAL SIN.

"She [her daughter] had grown up wholly unchurched, yet she was filled with empathy and kindness. She was and is goodness incarnate — original sin be damned."

- Constant use of FOUL LANGUAGE (e.g. 9x ...sh*t, 2x pissed ...)

- She stated that she changed several times her counsellor, but did not reveal if she was a Christian. This is strange for a book of 12 hours - to find literally no information on her counselling.

- She actively supports and celebrates H**UALITY.

"This was still two decades before Ellen DeGeneres would take the landmark step of coming out as g*y on a television sitcom. "

"If we wind up building a movement that recognizes only "good survivors"—those who are white, cis, heteros**ual, faith-filled in the "right" way, and "nice"—then we will have built it on the same authoritarian theological and ideological foundation that brutalized us."

- She is a serious FEMINIST and does not accept biblical authority regarding the prohibition of female elders (while the Bible indeed stipulates female deacons).

"I took comfort in recalling that Charlotte Brontë, the author of one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre [the first major feminist novel], had also rejected a marriage proposal when she was twenty-two."

"I felt called to be a pastor."

"... they [the SBC] now use biblical proof texts to justify female submissiveness and male headship."

She endorses in this book a very long list of feminists, e.g.:

Barbara Kingsolver (Feminist novelist, essayist, and poet)

Charlotte Brontë (s.a.)

Cynthia Ozick (Feminist writer and novelist)

Ellen DeGeneres (Feminist musician)

Emily Dickinson (Feminist poet)

Flannery O'Connor (Feminist novelist, writer and essayist)

Gloria Jean Watkins (aka Bell Hooks, Feminist author and activist)

Joan of Arc (RCC saint, Feminist)

Judith Herman (Feminist psychiatrist, political activist, intellectual, and writer)

Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Feminist author, historian)

Linda Ronstadt (Feminist musician)

Mary Oliver (Feminist poet)

Sarah Stankor (Feminist writer)

Zora Neale Hurston (Feminist author, anthropologist, filmmaker)

- It seems as if she believes in INCARNATION and several souls.

"With each new language, you acquire a new soul."

"With each of my demises, seeds from the prior life were blown into the next one, where they took root and rebirthed me into a new life, nourished in the dirt and decay of the prior incarnation."

- Although she warns the reader that not all details might be accurate, it is still questionable how she would have such a photographic memory to supposedly remember details from 5 decades ago, including childhood accounts of her sister shoveling spinach on her plate, specific prayers of her father et al.

- Endorsement of MLK (regarded the virgin birth of Christ as 'mythological story'; repudiated the doctrine of the deity of JESUS; rejected that Christ was raised bodily from the dead ...).

- The audiobook, although being brand new, is a patchwork of several recordings and snippets.


Basic Christianity, by John R.W. Stott, Rick Warren (3*)

A book that knows only two extremes - some very good teachings, mixed here and there with bad teaching and a fundamental lack of discernment.

He worked out a very good defense for Christianity and stimulates unbelievers, new believers and seasoned believers alike, to see that precious faith in Christ from different perspectives and to affirm it through those.

CONS

- The biggest problem of the book -which hits the reader like a hammer- is him saying that there are 'fantastic' apocryphal gospels. This immediately leads a reader to works such as the Gospel of Thomas or other outmost heretical works. It is one thing to consider some Old Testament apocrypha as profitable for private and discerned reading, but to consider New Testament apocrypha as 'fantastic', should instantly disqualify any minister from teaching the Word of God, no matter how very good 95% of his teaching might be like in his case.

- He claimed that JESUS resurrected at 3am (after 36 hours or only 1.5 days in the grave, his starting point for the 36 hrs being the temple curtain torn at 3pm). I never heard something like that before. Although I have no problem with discussing several interpretations, I see this interpretation certainly as the most extreme ever heard and with an evil undertone - specifically the resurrection during the night hours which we usually associate with evil. Christ resurrected with the light of the new day, at daybreak.

- He stated that Christ went down to hell in the time of the grave. This is well known to be a very questionable doctrine, with no scriptural basis.

- He erroneously claims that the Sabbath changed to the Lord's Day without explaining it. But he at least underlined the requirement of being obedient to one rest day per week.

- It is conspicuous that he changed the wording of some verses. e.g. to say that JESUS had not brothers, but 'brethren'.

- He stated at one point that no matter what denomination we belong to, we are all brothers in Christ. This might to some degree be a good thought, but looking at it from Christ's perspective, it can simply not be true. There are some, if not many denominations which are definitely not among those who THEOS would call His own people. Having a quick look at his book 'Evangelical Truth', we can also find a passage where he calls on page 11 Catholicism one of the 3 'Christian schools of thought'. Roman Catholicism is the opposition to THEOS' thoughts.

- He elaborated on the story of the woman caught in adultery (Joh 7:53 - 8:11), although well-studied ministers should know that this is maybe a true story, but -NOT- part of the Word of THEOS.

- Foreword written by Rick Warren (Ecumenism, Spiritual Formation / Contemplative Spirituality, close collaboration with the New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard ...).

- Repeated endorsement of C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ).

- Endorsement of Billy Graham (strong tendency towards Universalism, ecumenical movement, close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope ...).

- Endorsement of Augustine (key figure for introduction of Apocrypha, RCC doctor and provider of most doctrines, patriarch of Calvinism).

- Endorsement of Spurgeon ("I believe there will be more in heaven than in hell", strong embrace of ecumenism, follower of the Knights Templar Bernard of Clairvaux, Augustinian / Calvinist ...).


Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose: Freedom from Pressures You Thought You Had to Live With, by Derek Prince (4*)

Very good book on a topic much needed to be covered.

Sometimes with a touch of Pentecostalism (baptism being equated with speaking in tongues is not scriptural) and a touch of Prosperity Teaching (nothing unscriptural but marginal).

Overall very solid teaching.


The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance, by John Trent, Gary Smalley (2*)

From a worldly perspective a wonderful book, from a biblical perspective a terrible abuse of Scripture.

PROS

+ Great teachings concerning the importance of affirmation and physical touch.

+ Great ideas on how to leave small notes for the family during business trips, and how to brief and involve them.

CONS

- The book teaches plain Universalism. One story, where a drug-addict son was lost for several months or rather years, ended up breaking in and plundering the entire house of his parents, and probably died of an overdose (they leave that detail out but it is obvious), then concludes that the parents and the son will see again in Heaven ... THEOS can restore any sinner, but if there was no sign of repentance and death in the midst of severe sin, then it is false and highly misleading to teach that this man made it to Heaven.

- Similar to the Circlemaker or the Prayer of Jabez, this book takes a vague idea from the Bible and blows it up.

While it has good teachings, it terribly confuses simple affirmation with biblical blessing. There is certainly an element of affirmation in a blessing, but the biblical blessing is very specific, punctual and rather prophetic. Yes, we should bless our children at important waypoints of their lives. But this book does not stop here. It builds its 'foundation' on the Esau and Joseph blessing, recognizes that those were punctual, but then simply implies 'why not apply that to our every day' and to specifically consider it as a 'lifestyle'.

Quote: "You may only see someone once—like when you're on the road and that barista in the drive-through hands you your Americano. In this book you'll absolutely learn how to bless people once. However, the Blessing is meant to be a lifestyle practiced with the people we live with, as a clear way to love like Jesus. For it is because of Jesus' love for us that the DNA of the Blessing can be woven into the very fabric of our everyday lives."

The biblical blessing is rather the opposite to an every-day-act and has nothing to do with a lifestyle. The authors pretend to understand its concept, but either willingly or naively misapply it while tickling multitudes of obviously thirsty Christian souls out there and creating a huge business with courses, certificates, cross-referenced books, blessing-games, blessing-groups, speaking appointments et al.

Yes, we have to become better communicators and in general better in fellowship. But not by twisting the Word of THEOS to our needs and 'yearning ears'.

- In the whole book there is not found a chapter, not even a few sentences on how THEOS might receive a blessing and how THEOS might answer this in the life of the giver and receiver. Nothing. They speak exclusively about me, me, me, you, you, you. It becomes painly obvious at this point that the Bible is just a toolbox for them and they don't really care about THEOS. They go as far in their gross misapplication of Scripture, as to repeatedly ask people to bless -THEMSELVES-, while basing this idea on the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. Oh Lord have mercy.

- They overwrite Scripture with their pop-psychology. While Scripture teaches that we ought not to have pending unforgiveness after having gone to bed, they teach the 24 hrs-rule, meaning to intentionally ignore the biblical teaching and to intentionally speak the next day. While with good intentions, it shows their little respect for Scripture.

- They have not even respect for JESUS. He is at least 3 times in the book referenced to as a 'guy' (curiously enough only found in the audiobook). Statements such as 'here it was that guy named Jesus' are repeated.

- Eugene Peterson's 'The Message' is endorsed as 'eminently readable', which is highly problematic and shows on which foundation the authors are standing. The book goes as far as to directly quote from the MSG.

- Both father and daughter are active in marriage counselling, but the daughter is divorced and remarried. It is obvious that this should disqualify the daughter from coming in as author after the divorce (even by secular standards), but obviously not a problem in their view.

- They overall treat divorce as just one status more out there besides singles and married people. They also speak of multiple relationships and treat it as something normal in younger years. While this is certainly the reality, it is wrong to make it even more the reality and to not clearly judge it. Meanwhile, the book repeatedly admonishes to never speak negative words and healthy criticism is only mentioned briefly once in order to have it 'addressed', and the opposite of blessings, namely curses, are not even mentioned in the book. While Derek Prince does a wonderful job in his book on Blessing and Curses, this idealized book fails in most regards.

- The book is saturated with careerism, with titles, PHD's, in short the American dream, packaged in a false Gospel.

- The author states that the decision to learn Greek was a bad advice. This is a truly shocking advice for Christians out there, knowing well that the Bible received for more than 6 centuries (250 BC - 5th c. AD) was Greek in both OT and NT. Every serious teacher of Scripture should challenge people to learn Greek in order to understand the biblical text without relying on a translator.

- He somehow connects the watching of a Billy Graham movie to his salvation (Graham had a strong tendency towards universalism; key figure in the ecumenical movement; close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope; unfriendly takeover of Halley's Bible Handbook and deletion of Jesuit references; advised his friend Nixon to end the Vietnam conflict in a blaze of glory; trained female pastors; great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale; taught theistic evolution; promoted the catholic-influenced Alpha Course).

- They endorse the Narnia witchcraft books as 'wonderful'.

- Repeated endorsement of his 'good friend' Chuck Swindoll.


The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, by Vishal Mangalwadi (5*)

Incredible book.

Highly recommended.


The Call, by Os Guinness (3*)

This book is a mixed bag.

PROS

+ The audiobook is read by the author, very pleasant to listen to.

+ Overall good theology.

+ Contains a lot of very good perspectives and reflections on Christianity.

+ Very good writing skills.

+ Some good discernment.

CONS

- Lots of very bad discernment.

- The Reformation is credited for having reduced antisemitism. This is highly misleading. The same Luther, who is endorsed over and over in the book, expressed in his works anti-Judaistic views, calling for the expulsion of Jews and burning of synagogues. Based upon his teachings, the prevailing view among historians is that his rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany and of the N**i Party.

- He endorses over and over Augustine, one of the most problematic figures in Christian history, being the doctor of the RCC and the patriarch of Calvinism, and of countless heresies that came into the church through and shortly after him, only to mention the Apocrypha, infant baptism, financial tithing, sex being evil, perpetual virginity of Mary, prayers to saints, the 7 Catholic sacraments, amillennialism, .... He was also the father of the doctrine of persecution.

- He endorses the highly problematic writer C.S. Lewis, and draws a lot of inspiration and actual content from him.

- Scripture quotations are very rare and quotations of other authors and personalities by far overshadow the Bible.

- He stated that 1/2 of the world's population follow the great abrahamic faith. This is a disastrous statement, especially since he repeats it twice in similar form. Many of those abrahamic religions are distortions of it and they are surely not great, but pure evil.


The Canon of Scripture, F.F. Bruce (4*)

Very valuable book, with a lot of research.

CONS

- The author endorses Origen without any discernment. There is no mention in the book of him being a heretic, instead the author praises him several times (e.g. "One feature of his work which makes it difficult for students today to appreciate him as he deserves is his proneness to allegorical interpretation").

- It is also not made clear that Josephus was a traitor and three times divorced, but the author mentions at least that he had been associated with the Pharisees.

- The canon mentioned for the three uncials is lacking some books.


Captive in Iran, by Maryam Rostampour, Marziyeh Amirizadeh (4*)

Incredible story - incredible book. It is hard to image going through something like they experienced, and to be able to write it down in such a well-thought and elaborated form. Oh, how wonderful are the fruits of true Christian faith, in the midst of the worst - not only trouble, not only persecution, but imprisonment, gracefully without any torture. What an encouragement, to make the best out of the worst and to serve Christ powerfully in such an environment where others rightfully would have sunk into self-pity and resignation. They served others and stayed relatively strong, while doing this and distracting themselves from their own misery. Very powerful testimony.

The book does not contain any errors, but one small but significant theological error, to consider the Vatican as part of Christianity, while in reality it is as evil as Islam, although the RCC believes more of the Bible than Islam.

Quote "Then why is the Vatican involved in your case? What's going on?"

"I have no idea. We've been in prison and have had no news of what's going on in the outside world. However, it's only natural for the Vatican to get involved with our case because we have been imprisoned on charges of being Christians and believing in Jesus. (We never learned any more about the Vatican's reported involvement)"


The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, by Lee Strobel (2*)

A good defense of Monotheism, but his 'g'od takes the backseat in the creation of the planets.

This book is a dangerous potpourri / blend of ideas. I go as far as to say that it is more dangerous than what Darwin has written or said, because it pretends to endorse the Bible while it does not even reference one single Bible verse in 95% of the book (only as afterthought in the final words) and plainly contradicts the creation account. His version of the creation implies billion-fold death before Adam.

While Strobel generously allows THEOS to have come into action with creation day 1, he assumes in this book a passive role of a spectator who had to wait until the big bang had made Him the earth and other collisions formed the moon and so on.

This is heretical. The Bible clearly states that JESUS laid the foundation of the Earth (he quotes the respective verse at the end of the book, but plainly contradicts it in all the book), and the act of 'laying' is contrary to watch an accident happening. And it says that He created bodies like the moon.

While this author enlightens us with a good defense of special creation, he appears to have been intimated by his cuma laude friends. Why is he not asking how they can be certain about the materials the sun consists of, or why it should be billions of years old? Why did he not confront them with Bible verses that state that THEOS laid the foundation of the earth and created the sun?

It is hypocritical to have an investigative character and boldness when it comes to opposing certain lies of the more obvious enemies of THEOS, but to leave this same character at the door when meeting with his friends of worldly prestige.

Another fatal point is the blatant deception regarding the Cambrian explosion. When the topic comes up in the first half of the book, it pretty much sounds like 5500 BC (Adam) or 3300 BC (Noah's Flood), when all the animals suddenly appeared at the same time. It is then a huge surprise to read at the end of the book and after having been left with this totally false impression, that this explosion in his reality lastet 5 million years and took place 530 million years ago. He tries then in a silly way to compare this to 5 minutes of a 24hrs day (which would make 1440 million years!!!), in order to water down the obviously close similarity to the concept of evolution. Who cares if 5 millions or a couple of million years more. Both concepts are outmost heretical when compared with the Word implying 6 ordinary days.

Don't get me wrong, Mr. Strobel certainly makes a very good overall case for Christianity and defends it well in many aspects.

But this book should have been published as a scientific paper and rather not reached the audience of the average churchgoer. I am certain that it is not in the will of THEOS that someone spends 20-40 hours for reading intellectual banter, no matter how sophisticated and meaningful it might be. That time could be much better used to serve the church in a practical way, than being drawn in a parallel world of intellectual prestige and academics while endlessly listening to their oh-so-impressive credentials.

I use the word banter because it is a back-and-forth without any spiritual direction. Although the author has his heart possibly in the right place, it is a heartless and bone-dry book lacking for the holiness and passion for the true Creator.

Humans cannot be convinced by truth and arguments alone, they are convinced by truth combined with example and passion. And most importantly and the author does not even see this, it is THEOS who needs to take away a veil in order to see those truths. No matter how smart and right and good many of his arguments might be, if he shows no heart to at least pray and call the reader to pray for those veils be taken away, then this book is useless.

PROS

+ Well informed; partly a good defense. Lots of good arguments and insights.

+ He made a good choice to read the audiobook himself.

CONS

- He exclusively interviewed academics. No pastors or ministers consulted for this book.

- Repetitive (e.g. the fine-tuning of the universe is repeated and could have been significantly compacted).

- He clearly makes the case for a designed Big Bang as repeated over and over and affirmed at the end of the book, following the highly problematical teacher William Lane Craig, with whom he repeatedly worked together and who holds to this view (Theistic evolution; Adam&Eve = Homo heidelbergensis; one million years ago ...; claims that the genre of Genesis 1-11 is pure myth; rejects the Flood and the Tower of Babel; rejects inerrancy of Scripture ...).

He simply assumes that the incredibly complicated 'inner life' of our planet was composed within 90 seconds of a gigantic battle of material. This is heretical. The LORD makes it very clear that not only the furnishing of the earth is a miracle, but that He delicately designed its inner life (as Strobel also pointed out at one point, but overall shows a fundamental contradiction). The theory of a big bang in a Christian context is a 'slap into the face' of the LORD.

- Endorsement of Teresa de Avila, as being 'eloquent' (Key figure of Catholic and Christian Mysticism, First female Doctor of the Catholic church, levitated). To quote her, is to essentially quote the devil.

- Endorsement of Augustine (creator of most Catholic & Calvinist doctrines; the patriarch of Calvinism; preeminent Doctor of the Catholic Church; amillennialism; rejected also the Genesis account being literal; key figure in bringing the OT Apocrypha into our Bibles; father of the doctrine of persecution; Ransom-Theorist). To quote him, is highly problematic.

- Endorsement of Francis Collins (Teaches that man comes from evolution; supports Genetic Enhancement; aborted fetal tissue research ...).

- Endorsement of Alister Edgar McGrath, who is an Anglican priest, who has attended/taught at Oxford and Regent College, both outmost problematic institutions, no matter how much the world esteems them.


The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity, by Lee Strobel (1*)

This book is a gong-show for Roman Catholicism. It starts (and ends) with a lengthy endorsement of Billy Graham (heavily involved with Rome; one of the biggest frauds of modern Christianity) and contrasts him to Charles Templeton (Presbyterian = close to Catholicism), who lost his faith while walking on his side.

One would assume that Strobel would have his alarm bells going off and employ discernment on Graham, but far from it. After Strobel interviewed Templeton, he even brings Templeton's doubts and questions to -of course a Catholic, a fact which he even admits in the book- and asks Kreeft for advice. Kreeft then compares the LORD to a bear hunter who first wants to kill us and then graciously releases us while we still believe to be in the trap (a comparison Strobel obviously did not sufficiently reflect on, although his intentions were good).

He continues to endorse the evil Teresa de Avila (Catholic doctor & Mystic; levitated on a number of occasions; diabolical learnings) and Augustine (Catholic doctor & patriarch of Calvinism; the probably greatest antichrist of 'Christian' history; brought the Apocrypha and the majority of RCC doctrines into the church, including the doctrine of persecution ...). In some versions of the book this endorsement was removed (the same being the case for references to 'Jesuits').

While the book becomes better after the introductory chapters, it becomes clear (and time) that Strobel comes officially out of his closet as Catholic, a fact substantiated through countless passages in this book. It has also become clear, after having read now several of his books, that he does not only role-play the doubter, but that he himself shows significant doubts (19 years after his salvation in 1981), and uses a terrible and highly disrespectful language when speaking about the LORD, often even dramatizing what a doubter would dare to say. It is one thing to accurately reflect the position of an imaginary doubter (if that task is even ordained by the LORD - nowhere in the Bible do we read of a similar method of 'evangelism' ...). But he goes far beyond the necessary and by his choice of words it becomes clear that he has a serious problem, and that his supposedly firm faith is anything else than firm.

"That's still hard to accept, it sounds like a cop-out to me".

"[speaking about the LORD from the perspective of Satan] I can't believe He is that stupid, love has dulled his brain"

"If I sat there and did nothing while my child got run over by a truck, I wouldn't be good, but an evil father. And God does the equivalent to that [...] so why isn't He bad [asks Strobel]?"

"[Strobel] I caught my head. Is that really reasonable, to give the Bible the benefit of a doubt?"

I have read now many books from apologists, but never noticed such an accumulation of DISRESPECTFUL, BELITTLING AND BLASPHEMOUS words when speaking about the LORD, while lacking on the contrary any balance to the positive attributes of the LORD.

PROS

+ It is only the second book I have read which mentions the age of accountability, gracefully to the knowledge of Norman Geisler, a fact which Strobel apparently did not even know, and an incredibly important fact which the other popular apologists out there also do not speak about or do simply not know. But I missed more boldness and definition, as he does neither specify the important age of 20 years, or to elaborate more on aborted children. In the US alone, this makes tens of millions of additions to Heaven every year which are caused by abortion, and it is therefore very important and long overdue to speak about this aspect. Many families who lost their children to tragic accidents, including of some popular pastors, would greatly benefit of such Bible knowledge.

+ Many good defenses of Christianity, but mainly from a Catholic viewpoint.

CONS

- Substantial and very SPECIFIC ENDORSEMENT OF TEACHERS CLOSE TO CATHOLICISM (the Catholic historian Anthony Grafton, the Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas, the Catholic writer Blaise Pascal, John D. Woodbridge (American Catholic Historical Association; senior editor of the Catholic-driven Christianity Today), the Anglican John Stott, the Catholic philosopher Francisco de Vitoria, the former Catholic / Dominican priest Francisco J. Ayala, the Jesuit priest Luis de Molina, Luis Palau, the Episcopal Madeleine L'Engle, the Catholic Mother Teresa, the Anglican Os Guinness, the Catholic actor Peter Boyle, the Anglican Robert Boyle; speaking always positively about Popes Alexander III / Innocence III / John Paul II / Paul III / Urban II ... ) and to Augustinianism / Calvinism (Augustine himself, D. James Kennedy, James Stewart, John Calvin himself, Joni Eareckson Tada, R.C. Sproul).

"Romans Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, all have been deeply involved in helping the poor [notice the order]"

- Substantial and very specific WATERING DOWN OF THE CATHOLIC CRIMES of the past (crusades and inquisition):

"Certainly there is evidence that the RCC had lost its way in launching these inquisitions, but Protestants sometimes used inappropriate tactics as well ..."

"IF CRITICS BELIEVE that aspects of the crusades should be denounced as hypocritical and violent [what an evil point of view], well, they have an ally in Christ"

"Pope John Paul II made his historic confession and asked God's forgiveness for sins committed or condoned by the RCC during the last 2 millennia"

"I think the Pope's statement is courageous because he is acknowledging that the RCC has GLOSSED OVER SOME THINGS [the understatement of the year] ..."

"During Spain's colonization of Latin America, there were Roman Catholics who were appalled at the way natives were being exploited for economic purposes in the name of Christ' ... These Christians were willing to speak out against abuses."

"One key figure, Bartolomé de las Casas [Dominican friar], was driven to his reforming attitude, after reading a passage in Ecc in the Roman Catholic Bible, which says ... Having read this, he and other Roman Catholics opposed the malevolent things that were taking place in Latin America. [nearly identical endorsement for Francisco de Vitoria]"

"The Catholic church has an impressive record of taking care of the poor during the middle ages."

- Partial JUSTIFICATION OF ANTISEMITISM:

"What kind of rumors? That they [the Jews] had been involved in the poisoning of wells at the time of the black death, that they desecrated Christian sacraments when they could, that they privately had sacrificial deaths and tempered with Christian scripture and so forth".

"Luther, earlier in his life ... was a lover of Jews and because of his love he hoped there would be a mass conversion [a truly terrible distortion of reality; the prevailing view among historians is that his rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany and of the N* Party]"

- He downplays the killing of Servetus to a state-affair, although it was mainly instigated and driven by Calvin.

- Clear ENDORSEMENT OF PURGATORY. He employs a safeguard by calling it 'speculation', but his treatment of the topic is clearly leading the reader to suppose that purgatory is true. He employs a subtle manipulation by pretending to be critical to the assertions of the person he interviews, and adds between the lines the label 'speculative', but it is obvious to the most naive reader that both he and the interviewed are unabashedly propagating purgatory.

Quote: "Some Christians believe that certain persons may have a chance after death to hear the Gospel clearly presented, and to decide about Jesus in a fully informed manner [pseudo-objection] notice that the verse doesn't say judgment is immediately the next thing a person faces after death ... not people who steadfastly resisted God during their lifetime, but perhaps other people who never heard the Gospel or were taught a twisted or distorted Gospel or couldn't understand the Gospel because they were mentally disabled or died as a child [manipulation based on emotionalism; contradicting the age of accountability] and for those who are given the postmortem opportunity it wouldn't be available indefinitely [analogous to Catholic & modern Jewish teaching] ... Even the reformer Martin Luther wrote in a 1522 letter "God forbid that I should limit the time of acquiring faith to the present life. In the depth of the Divine mercy there may be opportunity to win it in the future." ... If God commands each person without exception to repent, then it would make sense that He would give each person sufficient grace to fulfill that command, despite their earthly incapacities [manipulation based on emotionalism], ignorance or unwittingly inaccurate views of the Gospel ..."

- He calls THEOS a Mother, going hand-in-hand with Mariology.

"The Bible calls him a father, and even a mother sometimes." [the Bible compares Him to, but does not call him a mother!!!]

- He clearly makes the case for a designed Big Bang, following and interviewing the problematical teacher William Lane Craig, with whom he repeatedly worked together and who holds to this view (Theistic evolution; Adam&Eve = Homo heidelbergensis; one million years ago ...; claims that the genre of Genesis 1-11 is pure myth; rejects the Flood and the Tower of Babel; rejects inerrancy of Scripture ...).

Strobel dates the big bang to 14M years and the creation of animals (= humans) to 570M years (both numbers obviously even contradicting each other within the same book). It becomes obvious that he is juggling with figures when reading in the other book 'The Case For A Creator' that the Cambrian Explosion took place 530M years ago and lasted 5M years ...

This is wild-west theology. The LORD makes it very clear that not only the furnishing of the earth is a miracle, but that He delicately designed its inner life. The theory of a big bang in a Christian context is a 'slap into the face' of the LORD.

- Problematic quote on Buddhism:

"[quoting John Stott] I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the Ghost of a smile playing around his mouth ... detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I had to turn away and in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross."

- Endorsement of Catholic Mysticism. He even went as far as to invite Dallas Willard for a conversation which is reflected at the end of the book. His son Kyle has a ministry exclusively dedicated to Catholic Mysticism. Dallas Willard was the dissertation advisor of J. P. Moreland (Biola University, part of a fraternity of Freemasons), an important interview partner in this book.

"It was a rare opportunity to talk with the author of two of the most celebrated Christian books of recent decades"

"I don't think faith can develop without some contemplative time."

- Mistranslation of Isa 64:6: "... all our righteous acts are like filthy rags ..." The word behind 'righteousness' does not include the term 'acts' which is interpolated; while ignoring that the Bible elsewhere teaches that there are many important Works of Faith that are surely not filthy!

- He compares Aslan from a C.S. Lewis book on witchcraft to a Jesus-figure.

- He credits Leo Tolstoy with Christian faith, which is a misleading assumption.

- Endorsement of the problematic authors / teachers such as C.S. Lewis (Believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ), Hugh Ross (Big Bang Theory), Philip Yancey ...

Occurrences of specific terms: Billy Graham (30x), Catholic (15x), Pope (13x), C.S. Lewis (9x), Mother Teresa (5x) ...


The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary R. Habermas, Michael Licona (3*)

It is a good book, but I am sadly not able to recommend it based on its endorsement of Theistic Evolution, Hugh Ross, the Big Bang and 4.5 billion years.

PROS

+ A very good point appears right at the beginning of the book, a point which many of the apologetic books out there miss entirely: No matter how convincing your arguments and the time invested in someone, we are only tools and servants, but THEOS alone draws the people (and takes away the veil!).

+ Focus on a proper attitude at the end of the book. We ought not to be sparring partners, but to transfer the truth with humility, wisdom and precision. We ought to avoid smoke screens coming from atheists and instead focus on the relevant questions and topics.

+ Some good examples for conversations, which are sadly rare in apologetic books.

+ Probably the first apologetics book which does not provide a platform for Bart Ehrman ...

NEUTRAL

o They offer some good discernment on a few religions, but the 2 or 3 findings on each one are the bare minimum what one would expect. A good discernment must include some basic facts on the respective religion and then point out the flaws when compared to Christianity. Not with many words, but a list with at least 10 points of each should be included in a book, which over and over repeats other topics without hesitation and takes a lot of time to elaborate on its principal ideas.

o The book quotes the Talmud without speaking out a clear warning. But it later used 1 or 2 negative examples in regard to content, which hopefully creates a sufficient warning for readers.

CONS

- Total focus on the NT. They entirely miss the OT prophecies and how intertwined the NT and OT are. Instead they focus with a supposing minimal approach on the creeds, but the only 'proof' for Paul supposedly having quoted a creed in 1 Corinthians, is that someone in the ancient past thought that it could be a creed. A skeptic is not interested in foundations of denominations, he is interested in Christ and how He had been announced in the OT and realized in the NT.

- They used the Big Bang even as an argument against Atheists. It is indeed biblical that the ~naked~ planet earth (biblically described as the foundation) predated the young creation account by an unknown time, but it is highly problematic to transfer THEOS on the seat of a spectator when it comes the precise creation of the world, and to essentially say that He watched a big explosion happening from the sideline.

At least this book brings some light why the Big Bang even came up, but it is a rather spurious story, one of a scientist in the 1960s extrapolating some very particular conclusions after finding a simple magnetic field, which could have been caused by, or be the result, or the byproduct of a number of factors. It is a sad reality that university students nowadays feel obliged to have a naturalistic explanation instead of simply believing that JESUS CHRIST masterfully created the world in a way we will never be able to fully grasp in this age.

- The book offers absolutely nothing new when compared with all the other apologetics books and was very dry for the first 3/4.

- The book endorses the highly problematic teacher Origen, without any word of discernment. Furthermore, Josephus is endorsed, again without any discernment.

- The most problematic endorsement includes Hugh Ross (claims that the creation days of Gen 1 do not represent literal 24-hour periods; there are about 12 species of bipedal primates that predated Adam and Eve but they're in the same category the chimpanzees orangutangs and the gorillas; science and the Bible should be equated in authority; close collaboration with Francis Collins from BioLogos; Guest at the infamous 700 Club).

- They almost treat the OT Apocrypha as Scripture and went as far as to mention how often a word was found in the NT, and in the same breath in the OT Apocrypha, or another term used in the book, Intertestamental books (which is highly misleading because the 15 books had not even been finished when the NT was written).

- Endorsement of the dean John Rodgers of Trinity EPISCOPAL School for Ministry.


Chasing the Dragon: One Woman's Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong's Drug Dens, by Jackie Pullinger, Andrew Quicke (2*)

Amazing story, but clearly instrumentalized for the Jesuit & Episcopal church, which is not only obvious by the choice of the name of Jackie's organization, SOCIETY of St. Stephen (Jesuits = Society of Jesus), but through countless other sublime details in the book.

I was glad that the true Spirit orchestrated it that I had read just weeks earlier the highly problematic book 'The Cross and The Switchblade'. While reading now this book, I recognized instantly almost the same pattern - one of miraculous provision, miraculous healings, mixed with the promotion of the Jesuit church and in this case their Buddhist friends, and was not at all surprised to later read in the book that she even handed out copies of 'CATS' and 'Run Baby Run' to new converts.

PROS

+ Great example on how to go out into the world and serve others.

+ Wonderful examples of transformation of drug addicts.

CONS

- I never read any book with as many prophecies and 'visions of Jesus' (it must be at least 6 visions). While we can still expect visions in our age, this accumulation is highly suspicious.

- The book includes -the resurrection- of a boy who was dead, to resurrect after his mother had taken the dead body to two hospitals and then to her home, to resurrect there later. Oh what wonderful imagination Satan has.

- Some of the healing stories are problematic. One story describes one of the guys with a hole in the throat, being overnight miraculously healed and speaking 2 days later to the church. The author does not provide any details, we just have to assume that the hole somehow disappeared overnight. JESUS can certainly do this, but this account is dubious.

- The ghostwriter compares her repeatedly with other missionaries and points out how much better she did things. Bragging is not a Christian thing.

- Endorsement of the freemason Winston Churchill. The book CATS is also closely linked to Masonry (the ghostwriter being an employee of Norman Vincent Peale, a 33 degree freemason).

- Very Catholic language (Vicars, bishops, priests, Saint Mark, Saint Peter, nuns et al). Pullinger's mentor was Jean Stone Willans, whose home church is St. Mark's Episcopal church.

- Profoundly shaped by (and sadly also shaping) the beginning of the Charismatic movement orchestrated through the Episcopal (Catholic) Church. Pullinger's mentor wrote for the magazine 'Trinity' which pushed Harald Bredesen, who together with his friends Norman Vincent Peale and Pat Robertson (700 club) had been key for the taking off of the 'charismatic renewal'.

- Foul play in the use of tongues. The couple who introduced her, was at first disappointed that she did not receive the gift. This is not biblical, to expect a specific gift and to be disappointed if not received. We can ask for the gift, but not demand it. Another bad example is a character having spoken in tongues before having been born again. It can happen at the same time, but not previously. We also read several times in the book that not only a few, but all her believing boys spoke in tongues. This is clearly heretical. Tongues are the main topic in that book - a strange and extremely unbalanced focus. She over and over mentions that she prays all day long -usually in tongues- and mentions at one point even that they only stopped praying during the whole day, when they ate and drank. This is a clear example of self-sanctification and of a primitive impression upon those believers naive enough to be impressed with an account which would not even fit into the Bible.

- Foul play regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In one story she prays in a coffee store with a guy the sinner's prayer and tells us that he received the Baptism of the HS "in the midst of coffee cups", with no immersion involved.

- It is not credible that she as an active musician and active teacher could after more than 9 months speak only 2 or 3 sentences. Chinese is complicated. But this is made up.

- Repeated endorsement of Buddhists. The maid of her landlords was one, and her landlord was such a good (and strange) Buddhist that she specifically waited for a Christian to occupy her place ...

- Endorsement of the false teacher Billy Graham (strong tendency towards universalism, key figure in the ecumenical movement; close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope; unfriendly takeover of Halley's Bible Handbook and deletion of Jesuit references; advised his friend Nixon to end the Vietnam conflict in a blaze of glory; trained women pastors; great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale; trained Rick Warren; taught theistic evolution; promoted the Alpha Course).

- At the end of the book she ironically criticizes those who put gifts over serving, precisely when she realized after many years of ministry and the previously described focus on gifts, that she was literally alone and begging for people to help her. It is very sad to still see her having this unbalanced focus while fighting alone for making converts to the Charismatic revival.


A Christian's Guide to Planet Earth: Why It Matters and How to Care for It, by Betsy Painter (4*)

Great and much needed book. Beautiful that it follows along Scripture.

Even though it would be beautiful to have it written not primarily for the US (there is no indication for this specific target group before purchasing the book), but for the whole world. It is also heavily overloaded with information and practical tips - if someone would follow only a fraction of those suggestions one would not have time anymore for THEOS.

Entirely missing is the stimulation of intrinsic motivation, e.g. through field reports of people being involved in any of those practices to save the environment. A listing of possibilities is not enough if the motivation to pursue those is not really provided.


Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, by J. Warner Wallace (3*)

A great and overall recommendable book, but under the almost entire absence of spiritual discernment.

PROS

+ Good defense of Christianity, although on a theoretical and rather dry level.

+ Good reflection on the early church fathers.

+ Some good insights into his profession. Especially helpful was the realization that witnesses have a greater value, when their testimony has obviously not been harmonized.

CONS

- He wrongly claimed that JESUS had in Mat 8:16 to wait until the evening, in order to cast out demons, because it was the Weekly Sabbath. But reading the previous two verses, it is very clear that JESUS healed earlier that day. The author has also a faulty understanding of the Weekly Sabbath itself. Only 2 out of 7 High Sabbaths began in the evening (Passover & Atonement), while a Weekly Sabbath is biblically stipulated to begin with sunrise. Modern Mainstream Judaism is no reference for us, if not we would have to start the biblical year in autumn et al.

- No spiritual guidance for unbelievers on how to come to Christ. No reflection on the role of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of people and what role his book can play. No reflection on how the veil of people can be lifted.

- Incorrect statement that JESUS died the day before Passover, clearly contradicting the Bible in numerous accounts.

- Incorrect statement that Jewish scribes protected the OT. This might be the case for the Masoretes in the 8c. AD, but it ignores the well-known fact that the Masoretes themselves admitted to have received a corrupted text, meaning the Proto-Masoretic text had been manipulated by Jewish scribes (2c. AD). It is also remarkable that the Greek OT is not even mentioned in this book, although having been the predominant Bible for at least half a millennia, also predominantly used for translations of nearly all codices and early translations.

- He provides a platform to Bart Ehrman. It is sad that so many writers are copying each other in their references. Without people like Strobel, Turek, Wallace and Winger, Mr. Ehrman would not constantly increase his visibility and attention.

- He repeatedly referenced Josephus and went as far as to compare his works to biblical writings. If he would have done his homework, he should have known that he was not even one of the Jews anymore, and was most certainly far away from being a Christian and to be fully relied upon. Yes, he was and is an important witness, but it does not suffice to mention in the addendum that readers of the previous edition of the book did exhort and urge this author for spiritual discernment, which he now proudly brushes off with the argument that 'differing views are not disqualifiers'.

Yes, 'secondary beliefs can be relevant for historicity', but to say e.g. that Origen was an 'important CHRISTIAN leader' (which is a ridiculous claim) is to actively mislead people. A spiritually mature author can mention such characters, but he gives between the lines a quick warning to readers. At least he does intentionally not mention Augustine ...

- The mention of CS Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ) in a Christian book is shocking (no matter who many others do the same). He uses him to open and close the book, meaning he gives him special importance.

- Mother Teresa was a fraud, and direct enabler of sexual abuser and JESUIT priest Donald McGuire. Nevertheless, Wallace describes her in this book as 'noble' and the opposite of H**ler.

- Endorsement of Billy Graham (great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale, strong tendency towards Universalism, Key figure in the ecumenical movement, used Roman Catholic lay people as supervisors and altar workers, close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope).

- The Catholic Lee Strobel wrote the foreword, which is problematic.


Convergence: Why Jesus needs to be more than our Lord and Savior for the church to thrive in a post-Christian world, by Jon Thompson (1*)

A book full with references / quotes to Eugene Peterson (Universalism, heretical Message Bible, promotion of Richard Rohr and The Shack), Dallas Willard (Universalism, Contemplative Prayer / Mysticism, heretical Spiritual Formation Study Bible), Richard Foster (Contemplative Prayer / Mysticism, Catholic, Spiritual Formation Study Bible), C. Peter Wagner (NAR), Wayne Grudem (Theistic Evolution) ...


Courageous, by Randy Alcorn, Alex & Stephen Kendrick (5*)

Excellent book. It starts very secular, but then wonderfully connects many lessons from the lives of those characters to our lives and teaches us more than a couple of theological books could ever do. Very recommendable.


The Cross and the Switchblade, by David Wilkerson, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (2*)

Tremendous story, but theologically highly problematic. Avoid this book.

The ghostwriter, Elizabeth Sherrill, has worked for 7 decades directly under one of the most prolific Freemasons, Norman Vincent Peale, at Guideposts. She also endorsed Masonry in her book 'Return from Tomorrow'.

PROS

+ Great writing skills.

+ Impressive story, but unclear how much of it is actually true. One example includes a female character of the book, who after specifically 1 liter of Whiskey and 3 heroin shots (!!!) supposedly made a phone call to a Team Challenge member to please come and to prevent her from killing a specific person.

CONS

- The book teaches the doctrine that everyone who is born again should automatically speak in tongues.

- Very intense promotion of the Assemblies of God (which gave ministry credentials to Benny Hinn; expectation of speaking in tongues as an evidence of the Holy Spirit's baptism; divine healing as an expected part of salvation; sometimes members are slain in the Spirit and "holy laughter".)

Quote: "We started mostly as an Assemblies of God program, and before we knew it, we had an Episcopalian and a Presbyterian and a Baptist and a Dutch Reformed committee member."

- Endorsement of the Lutheran and Dutch Reformed minister Harald Bredesen, who created a 'Prince of Peace Prize' he later also gave to Mother Teresa and Billy Graham (both outmost problematic). Bredesen was often called the father of the charismatic movement. He was friends with Pat Robertson and founded with him the Christian Broadcasting Network, after having introduced him to the Pentecostal experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

- Comprehensive promotion of the Episcopal Church (Anglican Puritans; interface between Roman Catholic Church and Reformed / Calvinist Church)

- Endorsement of Jesuits. Quote: "... we had a visit at the center from a Jesuit priest. He, too, wanted to know more about ... "The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a denominational experience," I said. "We have Episcopalians and Lutherans and Baptists and Methodists working with us, all of whom have been filled with the Holy Spirit."

- Endorsement of Fordham University, a top-ranked Catholic university in NYC, offering exceptional education in the Jesuit tradition.

- Specific endorsement of the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible.

- Endorsement of female pastors. Quote: "The next day I went down to Glad Tidings and had a long talk with Mrs. Marie Brown, co-pastor with Stanley Berg of the fine old church."

See also my review on 'Chasing The Dragon' (Jackie Pullinger), which follows a nearly identical pattern and religious background, the author even mentioning in her book that she handed out copies of 'The Cross And The Switchblade' to new believers in Hong Kong.

Avoid also ' Run Baby Run'.


David Wilkerson: The Cross, the Switchblade, and the Man Who Believed, by Gary Wilkerson (2*)

This book shows in a painful way the backsliding from a generation of our grandparents that maybe was sometimes a bit legalistic but much closer to THEOS, to a generation which has lost most discernment.

It is shocking how he sees the backsliding of his aunt - first into Catholicism and then into Eastern Mysticism - only as a sin issue and not a salvation issue. His grandparents were right (maybe not with cutting the contact but in their discernment), but he criticizes them in his book sweepingly as legalistic.

I stopped reading the book, because a Christian should not participate in gossip which is in this case close to slander. His grandparents have no means to defend themselves and surely did not accuse him in public, which would be the only justifiable reason for such gossip (if both were public figures). We can point out generic differences between generations, but to specifically call them out as 'legalistic' while being adored by the high cheeks of his attractive aunt, is highly problematic. Honor your father and mother surely includes grandparents. He grossly violates this command.

I would be curious to read the rest of the book and to figure out, if he instead of his grandparents might not even be saved (his defense of Catholicism and endorsement of Billy Graham in the book suggest that), but again, the Bible forbids us even to listen to gossip / slander. As soon as somebody starts with such an attitude, we have to walk away for the time being.

I also disliked the obviously selfish motifs in endorsing his father practically as an idol. It is good to point out the great strength and biblical success a person had in his life, but his sense of entitlement clearly shines through, with little humility and seeing himself and his family as very, very special because of his father.

And last but not least, the title is highly confusing and willingly misleads the reader to believe that this book is the original book, with both the name and title of its author in the title. It is very sad that the appearance of this book has also eliminated the original audiobook from Everand.


Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent, by N.D. Wilson (3*)

PROS

+ Superb writing style.

+ Christian messages in ordinary life stories.

NEUTRAL

o He is trying hard to copy the problematic teacher C. S. Lewis, and he has indeed a more creative and less intellectual writing style.

CONS

- He clearly watered down Adam's sin

- Hardly any key message transmitted through the book, it is rather a showcase of his writing abilities mixed with some Christian elements here and there.

- Repeated endorsement of J. R. R. Tolkien - very concerning. He goes as far -and here it gets heretical- to mention Gollum (The Hobbit), C.S. Lewis and the biblical Adam in one breath, giving great credibility to those extrabiblical figures.

- His background is Lutheran and he tells how he visited the church where the creator of Heidelberg Catechism (both Lutheran, with strong Calvinist leanings) taught.

- He claimed that Mary has been a teenage mother, what is highly unlikely:

1. But a look at the biblical genealogies clearly contradicts this. Zerubbabel was born 20 generations before Christ (Luk 3:23, 27) in between 587 and 539 BC in Babylon, what provides us an average begetting age (although not always firstborn) of 28 years (562 BC - 2 BC / 20 = 28 years) between Zerubbabel and Christ. We have to remember that the vital records in the bloodline of JESUS have rarely been typical.

2. In addition, Mat 1:19 speaks of a 'just' (man) who had mature thoughts of not making a public example of Mary. Children under the biblical Age of Accountability of 20 years can hardly be labeled as 'just' - according to THEOS' Word they do not even 'know good or bad' (Deut 1:39).

3. Any person under the age of 20 was not included in a census, but Luk 2:3-4 makes it clear that Joseph and Mary travelled to a census. With the census being Roman in nature, the minimum age could have changed, but the fact that an unmarried couple travelled without their parents to a census and intended to 'book' an inn, indicates already the age of an adult of at least Joseph.


Discovering the Septuagint, by David Bercot (5*)

Truly excellent analysis of the history of the Greek Old Testament.

Highly recommended for every Christian!


End of the Spear, by Steve Saint (5*)

Incredible story - incredible book.

Must-read for every Christian.


Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation, by Miroslav Volf (2*)

This book is probably the perfect expression for the biblical meaning of "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal". It stands for an endless rambling of words, with some very brief references to Christ injected here and there, but those appearing totally foreign to the book.

I read 3 chapters without learning anything, nor did I draw any closer to Christ through any remarks. While it could be true that the book might turn out more practical after the author has sufficiently shown his intellectual bright side (as many other similar books start out and turn later more practical), I felt in the Spirit to stop listening to this book, although time would not have been an issue to do so.

- He initially states that he wrote the book for himself, but we find in the book several statements such as 'this book seeks to ...'. A Christian should never lie. He wants to protect himself from criticism (which is also shown by his removal of the 'gender'-section in the second edition), but his need should not have led to this grotesque lie.

-His 'Christian' world consists essentially of the Catholic and Orthodox. He heretically describes 'Catholicism as a variation of Christianity.

- He speaks about 'jealous goddesses' as if those were real beings. Quote: "But the new Croatia, like some jealous goddess, wanted all my love and loyalty."

- He endorses / quotes 4 times from or through Augustine (one of the most problematic figures in Christian history, being the doctor of the RCC and the patriarch of Calvinism, and of countless heresies that came into the church through and shortly after him, only to mention the Apocrypha, infant baptism, financial tithing, sex being evil, perpetual virginity of Mary, prayers to saints, the 7 Catholic sacraments, amillennialism, .... He was also the father of the doctrine of persecution).

- Quotations from Nietzsche and Nicholas Wolterstorff (Calvinist).


Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry T. Blackaby, Claude V. King (2*)

I read the first 10 chapters and although the book contains some good teachings and encouraging anecdotes, it also contains teachings on hearing the voice of THEOS which are rather to be viewed with a critical eye.

It appears that he spiritualizes in the way that, although 'burning bush experiences are certainly not the norm, we can have similar experiences. He speaks a lot about how THEOS speaks to us, but there are no details on what he means with this. We don't know if he means a small voice in your head or if he means a literal voice, but it has rather the appearance of a literal voice which indeed is problematic.

He also quotes Charles Spurgeon, who was a highly problematic teacher even though endorsed by many Calvinists and even non-Calvinists.

Henry Blackaby is also endorsed by Guideposts, owned by the 33' Freeemason Norman Vincent Peale, which is a very concerning sign.


Fast Facts on False Teachings, by Ron Carlson (5*)

Excellent and much needed book. It summarizes very well in short chapters what a certain religion or cult is about, without going into the last detail and consuming too much time of the reader. On point, and precise enough without filling unnecessary pages as so often done today. Highly recommended.


Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, Heath Lambert (4*)

A good book for every man and woman struck in p***graphy. It only misses entirely the fact that women have a great share in the consumption of pornography and need to be equally addressed.

But beware of the authors background, being a Calvinist.


Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, by Nancy R. Pearcey (4*)

While 'Love Thy Body' was excellent, this book is only average.

It provides a good basis on why Christianity is superior to all other ... ISM'S, but it dives in at a level which is too high for the average Christian reader and does not really explain the individual concepts. I do not expect a detailed explanation, but some basic information (when did the movement / religion start, where, how ...]. Especially when people today predominantly listen to such audiobooks, they cannot be expected to stop the book every few minutes and go to Wikipedia in order to get the info there.

Here is e.g. her full explanation of Gnosticism:

"Gnosticism taught that the world was so evil that it could not be the creation of the highest, supreme deity but must be the handiwork of an evil sub-deity. The supreme God would not demean himself by mucking about with matter. Gnosticism denigrated the physical body as the "prison house of the soul." The goal of salvation was to escape from the physical realm and leave it behind."

4 sentences are definitely not enough to provide at least a basic understanding of the concept.

She also quotes a lot of highly problematic teachers and should seriously consider taking some lessons on discernment. This is sadly a widespread problem in modern Christianity, that authors who have little knowledge in discernment are shaping our theology. We willingly consume great teachings from authors such as Nancy, but at the same time are constantly being directed by the very same authors into highly problematic teachings of other teachers, such as C.S. Lewis, Dallas Willard, Ravi Zacharias, Timothy Keller, William Lane Craig ...

Overall a book that can be recommended, to be read with discernment.


Foxe's Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, William Grinton Berry (4*)

A book hard to find words for. A true must-read for every Christian, in order to recognize the spirit of Antichrist in the Roman Catholic 'Church'.

It fortunately does not endorse Calvin, but some caution is required when it comes to his, Luther's or very often Augustine's name (the latter usually used by the enemy, but surprisingly also by the martyrs.

A beautiful aspect of the book is that the author showed who were the true reformers, the Waldensians.

Caution is required when the author endorses quiet contemplation as done by the monks.


Gender Ideology: What Do Christians Need to Know?, by Sharon James (5*)

Excellent introduction, without a glimpse of hate.

Extremely well documented book.


The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications, by John C. Whitcomb, Henry M. Morris III (4*)

Very good, and overall biblical defense of the flood. It is rather an inhouse discussion among academics and many details won't interest the average reader, but every average reader is still edified by this book.

The following errors have to be noted:

- They claim that the main source of the flood was the rain, instead of the abyss. The hydrological cycle is -as its name already implies- a cycle which cannot suddenly multiply its volume of total water contained. It is abstruse to assume that the majority of flood waters was hanging for ~2200 years somewhere between the clouds or above. They offer the option that humid air is surprisingly 40% lighter than dry air and justify their theory of a canopy above the heaven with the firmament in Gen 1:6. But they commit a fundamental mistake by ignoring Gen 1:8, where the firmament is called 'heaven' (singular). The problem is that our current 'heaven', which is not a canopy, was called throughout scripture with the same word. They offer nowhere an explanation how the same heaven should now accommodate two vastly different systems without any change of the designation.

- The flood duration is calculated based on the corrupted Masoretic text, the result of 371 days is wrong and the correct result would be 360 days according to a biblical year. The mistake lies in the 17th instead of the 27th day, and in the first day of the 10th month instead of the first day of the 11th month. Those errors are repeated in the book.

- The genealogies are also taken from the Masoretic text and the correct begetting ages of the Greek Old Testament would even strengthen their arguments (e.g. more population before Noah because of greater time elapsed between Adam and Noah). At least the authors quickly mention the LXX time span at the beginning and also in the appendix of the book. But it is weird, to see them coming so close to an acceptance of the Septuagint, but something unexplainable holding them back from lifting that veil of Satan. Instead, they argue in the appendix why Genesis 5 and 11 should not be strictly interpreted, contradicting now the essence of the book and destroying it in parts. What had been sound doctrine and exegesis, sounds like coming out of the mouth of a worldly scholar when one reads the appendix. If they would only have had the same courage as previously seen in the book, to take away the biases and accept the Greek Old Testament in its superior authority to the Modern Hebrew text. A big chance missed, but maybe it was the guidance of the LORD, knowing that the book would not have found acceptance if they would have broken with Jerome's new tradition, who on the other hand broke with all the Greek traditions of the previous centuries since and before Christ's First Coming.

- No, Noah did not take 2 of each animal with him as they interpreted it through the plain reading of the text. He took 2 pairs = 4 of each kind of animal. In the same way the Bible does usually not count female humans, so the Bible consequently does not count female animals. This pattern becomes apparent when it comes to the second command to take 7 of each animal (Gen 7:2-3). If we would assume it to be 7 individual animals and not 7 pairs, then this would result in 3.5 males and 3.5 females. The absolute proof for this is found in the Greek Testament in Gen 7:2-3. The transliteration reads 'hepta hepta arsen kai thely', meaning 'seven seven male and female'. And further it states 'duo duo arsen kai thely', meaning 'two two male and female'. Nowhere it speaks of pairs and it is a serious mistake of translators to add 'by' in between the numbers. It simply says 2 males and 2 females, or 7 males and 7 females.

- They interpret e.g. the previously mentioned 7 animals with the Modern Hebrew reading of the text, while ignoring the important fact that even the Koine Greek text is much closer to the Paleo Greek than the Modern Hebrew. Modern Hebrew can provide us with additional information, but should never be our main source for reliable information.

- The book surprisingly does not even speak about the change of a calendar year and the astronomical reasons behind. The Bible clearly states a calendar year to be 360 days long, and it is surprising that this book does not reflect at all on this very important fact and its vast consequences.

- Especially chapter 5 overwhelms the average reader. It should not be too difficult to explain terms such as 'Jurrassic Period' or explain other principles briefly. The average reader will still be able to read between the lines, but why has the book the need to impress the academic while neglecting the Christian reader who has in all probability not a degree in geography?


Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, by Gregg Lewis, Deborah Shaw Lewis (2*)

This book pretends to be Christian, but is in many regards the antithesis to the Gospel.

If I had read this book as a 'Milk Christian', it would have left me in awe and wonder. ~Oh, what a wonderful story of justice and success~. But reading this book with spiritual eyes and a proper discernment, it becomes obvious that it is the work of the one disguised in a masterly manner as the angel of light, just as JESUS warned us.

PROS

+ Great (ghost)-writer and reader of the audiobook.

+ Great story we can greatly empathize with.

+ Great contribution to justice.

CONS

- The book abuses a noble cause (defeating social injustice), in order to manipulate the reader into accepting a false religion and many erroneous or strictly anti biblical doctrines.

- Ben had just a few pages earlier been baptized in a Seventh Day Adventist church, and then becomes very irritated, with bursts of anger which result in stabbing a friend at home. We read about his pleas to THEOS to stop his anger, but we do not read a single word of repentance regarding the intended murder, neither towards THEOS nor towards his friend. Nor of a surrender to the police.

Nor do we read of any reflection of him, how he could become such a worse person after receiving his baptism (!). To the contrary, we read at the end of the book how proud he is to be an elder at an SDA. What a tragic spiritual journey - with no happy end.

- It is one of the countless American books, where the author puts himself intentionally down at the beginning of the book ("I constantly received zero points, I was so dumb"), only to soon brag himself in the most outlandish way. I actually never read from an author who bragged himself more than he (even Bob Goff, who employs in 'Love Wins' an identical strategy of false humility followed by shameless bragging, appears to be an amateur in this discipline when compared to him). One could argue that not he, but the ghostwriter endorsed his character. But this falls instantly flat given the I-perspective employed throughout the book. I was the best, I outsmarted them all (with a small break at Yale University, only to continue his 'flight' throughout the rest of the book). I, I, I. The Antithesis of any biblical teaching.

- If others are smart, you ought to be smarter. If others criticize your clothing, you have to read a lot and criticize through even smarter words ...

- A very sad example of worldliness, of Christian careerism. He calls himself to be the over-achiever. You ought to be connected to the powerful. You ought to study at a university. Quote at the end of the book: "Success in life revolves around recognizing and using your raw material". Could anyone picture such a quote from the mouth of JESUS or Paul? An advise to the youth includes "show them the car you drive". The exact opposite to the Gospel.

- Strong manipulation through the signs and wonders, an approach found in books e.g. of Elizabeth Sherrill. Yes, the LORD works through signs and wonders. But it is sad that we see such an abuse of this, especially by cults. JESUS warned us also of this. Luk 11:29 "This generation is an evil generation. It is seeking for a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of a prophet."

NOT IN THE BOOK, BUT IMPORTANT TO KNOW

In an interview with The Des Moines Register in August, Carson called Seventh-day Adventism "a typical Protestant denomination with traditional values."


Glad You Asked!: Answers to 28 Tough Questions Teens Are Asking About God and the Bible, by Reasons for Hope (4*)

This review includes a brief scan and not a full reading of the book (no audiobook available at the time of the review).

PROS

+ Great defense of the Gospel and of the most urgent questions of young people (How did the world and everything on it come into being; Why does our LORD allow suffering; Does He always heal and why not; Why can't evil be stopped? ...).

+ Great defense of the 6x 24 hour-creation week and their case against Theistic Evolution. Quote: "First, is there any evidence that suggests that dinosaurs and man inhabited the Earth at the same time? YES."

+ A great format with precise questions, short but very informative and well-investigated answers, and good summaries ending short chapters.

+ Good to see interracial marriages being promoted; shocking to hear about churches actually having their own bylaws forbidding this and enforcing it through 'deacons who scan' their congregation ...

+ As far as I could see a very biblical defense, especially when it comes to the hot topics of abortion and sexuality.

+ No endorsement of a particular denomination noted.

+ Use of NKJV, ESV and NASB Bible.

CONS

- No mention in the book of the Greek Old Testament / Septuagint, although it deals with the transmission of Scripture. It is very important to point out that the -entire- Bible was for 5-6 centuries predominantly read in Greek, both the OT and NT. Many of the contradictions / supposed errors / contradictions mentioned in this book exist only because the RCC fed us in 405 AD with a new 'original' Bible.

- The authors state that creation is 6000 years old, which is at odds with the Greek Old Testament. We know today that our Masoretic texts had been manipulated in less than 1% of the text, and we should reflect this knowledge of the ~5554 BC creation date (which is also less a stumbling block for unbelievers).

- They argue for a young earth, which does not accurately reflect Gen 1:1-2. We can have an older earth (the foundation of the core and water covering it) without implying any evolution or created beings / nature. The earth is older than 8000 years. It could be 8001 years, or 8000 million years old. We don't know. Important is the fact that the earth was there and that it was flooded, that there was no human nor animal life before Adam, and that creation as we know it came to be ~7600 years ago. Old earth, young creation.

- Several endorsements of the highly problematic teacher Norman Geisler, who teaches Big Bang and Theistic Evolution, which is fundamentally contradicting this book (he is also a Calvinist / soft Catholic; defense of Jesuits as Christians; friends with Andy Stanley ...).

Geisler goes as far as to actively oppose what this book teaches - quote from his book: "Intelligent Design is not Creation Science either, ID scientists don't make claims that so-called Creation scientists make. They don't say that the data unambiguously supports the 6x 24-hour day view of Genesis or a worldwide flood; instead they acknowledge that the data for ID is not based on a specific age or geologic history of the earth."

- 2 Quotations from C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ).

- Endorsement of the MacArthur Study Bible, John Piper and Joni Eareckson Tada (all Calvinists).


God Calling: Devotionals for Restoring Faith and Serenity, by A.J. Russell (1*)

New Age garbage.

Quote: 'Think Love, and Love surrounds you, and all about whom you think.

Think thoughts of ill-will, and ill surrounds you, and those about whom you think.

Think health—health comes. The physical reflects the mental and spiritual.'


God's Design for Women in an Age of Gender Confusion, Sharon James (5*)

Definitely the best book I have read so far on womanhood. Out of 4 books.

Biblically absolutely faithful, but still reflecting perfectly our age. Extraordinarily valuable.


God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom, by Bob Fu, Nancy French (5*)

Very, very recommendable book. One of those books that deeply enrich you and you will never forget.


God's Smuggler, by Brother Andrew, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (2*)

Brother Andrew's story as a whole is probably not untrue, but I question the truthfulness of the written narrative, based on the following reasons:

- The ghostwriter, Elizabeth Sherrill, has worked for several decades directly under one of the most prolific Freemasons, Norman Vincent Peale, at Guideposts. She also endorsed Masonry in her book 'Return from Tomorrow', although it is unclear if she and her husband John had been Freemasons themselves.

- Chapter 22 (audiobook only) includes a direct endorsement of Norman Vincent Peale (& Guideposts), and the Sherrills bragged themselves to have converted Brother Andrew after the writing of the book from a Protestant to a de-facto Catholic. Quote: "...attending our Episcopal church [when Andrew visited the Sherrill's several times and lived at their home], Andrew found the service too formal: there is no spontaneity. Going to his evangelical prayer meetings, we [the Sherrill's] missed the sense of the past. There is no history. We preened over our powers of persuasion when in the early 1990s Andrew was ordained a priest in the Anglican church of Pakistan [...] We delighted in calling him father Andrew".

- When you search for 'Working with Corrie', you will find an interview with Sherrill about the book 'The Hiding Place', where Sherrill compared Corrie Tem Bom's communication skills with a blind man trying to describe colors. This is not only a strongly anti-Christian attitude. It is condescending towards the blind and towards Tem Bom, and carries probably the underlying justification of her enormous creative license when having written the book for her. A silent cry with the sublime message, saying "yes, I invented many of the details, but look, it was her fault because I could not even communicate with her". Even if I might be wrong on this, it is nevertheless a disgusting attitude of hers.

- In this book, there is now the story when the engine of Andrew's car would fail, and he would arrive 10min before the closure at a shop in Western Germany:

"How long would it take to put in a new one?" He stopped to consider. "My crew leaves in ten minutes. They could have a new engine in for you in an hour, but you'd have to pay them a good tip for staying overtime. How much would the whole thing cost, including the tip? Five hundred marks."

The author makes us believe that the entire shop worked overtime for him (what might be true but highly unusual in Germany), and that they changed an entire car engine in 1 hour while he changed money and a miracle brought more money from a complete stranger. This whole story is undoubtedly a plain lie. In that time an engine cannot even be taken out. Usually a change of an engine takes 2-4 working days (a simple engine back in those days maybe 1.5 days). Could it be that they only worked on parts of the engine, but did not change it? No, because she later reiterates how he was proactively looking for a second car, although his car had a new engine.

- At the beginning of the book, he escapes a tourist group in order to visit churches. It turns out that the leaders were phoning hospitals and police stations and that the group was stuck for half a day. It might be true that unconventional evangelism sometimes requires unconventional methods and involves suffering of others. But Sherrill writes it in such a manner which is condescending to the group leader and rather paints an irrational picture of the leader. According to her story, Brother Andrew did neither at least give a hint to someone from the group, nor did he apologize after the fact or in the book, stating something like ~he was not proud of the story and that it is a very bad example~. But zero repentance.

- The book is deeply ecumenical. It heavily endorses the Catholic and (to a slightly smaller degree the) Calvinist church all over the book, both fundamentally indoctrinated by Augustine. It gives us the impression that Andrew was on the one hand Protestant/Baptist, but this is at stark contrast to him having preached dozens of times inside a Roman Catholic church as implied in the book. Could it be that he was so confused about his faith and had practically zero discernment on good and evil? Could it be that Sherrill decorated the whole story with a Catholic frame? Or had he indeed already Catholic tendencies in the time before the writing of the book?

- His partner in crime / missions partner turns out to be Hans Gruber. When you look up that name, the first thing that comes up is the fictional character of Hans Gruber in the 'Die Hard' series. Is this a coincidence or has she borrowed a name? While Hans was a very common name in Germany in that time, this combination is very rare. It could be a coincidence, but a negative connotation remains.

- Either the author is the most fortunate woman to attract all those people with miracle stories, or? After having now read 3 of her books (The Cross and the Switchblade, Return from Tomorrow and this book), there is a strong common theme in each book : all are plastered from beginning to end with dozens of small miracle stories of signs and wonders, where the LORD always provided in the last second through the most incredible means, matching the exact sum of money or other need the main character of her book needed in that moment.

This could be true, and our LORD truly wrote and writes many such stories, but I have never seen from any author such an accumulation of miracle stories. Not even close.

Given her background and the overall perception, there is a good chance that she made up many of those miracles in order to impress and manipulate the readers, and to boost the sales of her books. Once again, I have no proof for this, but a strong negative connotation remains.

- A common theme in her books (specifically in The Cross and the Switchblade) is also the heavy endorsement of the Pentecostal movement, which was strongly shaped by the Dutch Reformed minister Harald Bredesen, who was often called the father of the charismatic movement. He was friends with Pat Robertson and founded with him the Christian Broadcasting Network (700 Club), after having introduced him to the Pentecostal experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

- In this book the author describes now Brother Andrew's income having mainly been generated by his articles he wrote (as did Corrie Tem Bom by the way) for 'Kracht van Omhoog', which means 'Power from Up', the name of a Dutch Pentecostal movement. It has drawn much criticism even within the Pentecostal church and has led to a deep split, e.g. because one of its founders (Van den Brink) taught replacement theology by denying that Israel will be restored at the end of our times. He also rejected original sin, and formulated that human first sinned because he gave in to demons which have to be expelled by the people pertaining to his cult ...

Questionable quotes:

"I met with Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Church; our ministry helped to support their printing and publication programs."

"While I was in the middle of the Gospel According to St. John, a letter was delivered" (Which denomination adds the prefix saint?)

"I found myself holding on to a core of resentment, which was just opposite the joy Thile and my Franciscan nuns were talking about"

"... we had really met, she the Catholic from Eastern Europe, I the Protestant from the West. There on the crowded tramway we met as Christians."

"On three Sundays I had visited Presbyterian, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, and Methodist churches. Five times I had been asked to speak at their service"

"The Roman Catholics, however, had not yet yielded, and for this they had the admiration of the most ardent Protestants."

"However, all churches, Catholic as well as Protestant, have suffered alike under the new regime, and the group that suffered most is the clergy. Priests and ministers are classed as ..." [note the order]

"There is a Roman Catholic priest in Rumania whom we have been helping to buy Bibles and other supplies for years."

"... Andrew went to the palace of Aleksey, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church, to deliver the one millionth New Testament in person [...] It would please me if we could pray in my little chapel. He led the way to a gorgeous little sanctuary with a wall of glowing icons, the Iconostasis [...] I knew in my deepest heart since we have the same father, Aleksey was my true brother."


God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies, by Costi W. Hinn (4*)

This book impacted me heavily - living in the very same city (Vancouver) the Hinn's previously abused.

A wonderful testimony that helps you understand where the evil of Prosperity Gospel -which poses as blessing but is truly a curse- came from, how to recognize it and how to approach & recover people currently involved in it. I read it already twice and highly recommend it - it should be sold in every church in Vancouver, in order that history does not repeat itself (or continue).

The author is Calvinist, so discernment is required regarding other works.


Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ, by Matthew W. Bates (2*)

The author makes some interesting points, but the Spirit stopped me to my surprise after the first chapters from further reading the book.

But it should not have come as a surprise if I would have done my homework and would not have been intimidated by his harsh criticism of those who are not ecumenical. Having read 'Foxe's Book of Martyrs' a few weeks later by divine providence, I knew why THEOS prevented me from reading this author who should be avoided.

- He attended the ecumencial and highly problematic Regent College in Vancouver, Canada (they photoshopped once the Pope in front of their building).

- He attended a Catholic university for his doctorate (Notre Dame).

- He teaches at a Catholic-Franciscan university.

- Open endorsement of the false teacher C.S. Lewis.

" I as a Protestant would be happy to receive communion with the pope".

"I pray the Catholic morning office and attend Mass on occasion".

"I do not think that my Catholic or Orthodox brothers and sisters have rejected or compromised the content of the Gospel. This is why I consider them my full brothers and sisters in Christ."


The Gospel's Power & Message, by Paul David Washer (3*)

Good book, although coming from a Calvinist. One of the very few teachers (apart from John Piper) who does not teach a Single-Tense-Salvation leading to the Once-Saved-Always-Saved dogma, but Salvation as Past-, Present- and Future reality.

Terms such as

  • Past Salvation (from the condemnation of past sin; being born again)
  • Present (or Progressive) Salvation (from the power of ongoing sin over us; progressive sanctification) and
  • Future (Eternal) Salvation (from the presence of sin in the world; glorification after Judgment)

are not specifically mentioned in the Bible (same principle as Trinity), but plainly described as regards content through the respective use of past, present and future tense.

But he commits some serious errors, e.g. to use Isa 64:6 in order to teach against works. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags ..." A faithful translation is: "We all have become unclean ['unclean' = Old Covenant Law], all righteousnesses are a filthy rag ..."

>> The word 'acts / works' is erroneously added; while ignoring that the Bible elsewhere teaches that there are many valuable Works of Faith that are surely not filthy. This verse essentially teaches that it is His righteousness what counts, not our own righteousness. To use this verse against works, is blatant heresy as it requires an active manipulation of the verse as now seen. Even if the word 'works' was allowed to be included (what is clearly not!), it would clearly refer to 'Works of the Law', an entirely different concept than 'Works of Faith'.


The Green Letters, by Miles J. Stanford (3*)

A good book with good teachings, just too much eloquence and little that sticks to the mind or stands out.

The bigger work 'The Complete Green Letters' includes some erroneous calvinistic doctrine such as 'Unconditional Election', therefore the author cannot be recommended.


He Gets Us: Experiencing the confounding love, forgiveness, and relevance of Jesus, by Max Lucado (3*)

An encouraging book, with many beautiful facets of the Good Message. A book that rightfully challenges believers. But after having read it 3 times, the central question remains. To whom is it written?

To believers, who are surprisingly more often addressed than unbelievers?

Or is it written to unbelievers as the campaign rather suggests? It certainly uses a well elaborated concept with a (sometimes too) liberal language to address those.

But apart from many beautiful truths, there is no direction. Is an unbeliever already in the right place or are there steps he or she needs to take? What about repentance? What about belief that could turn into faith? What about leaving the old life behind? Are they already one of those children of THEOS the book is speaking about? Why does the book focus on the death and not the resurrection?

It is sad to see so much money being invested and at the end to receive a message that could have 1:1 been preached by someone who propagates universalism. Several passages indeed make the reader feel that JESUS' atonement is automatically applied to everyone, no matter where he or she stands.

If the Gospel is not a challenge to the unbeliever and a guidance into a specific destination, then this partial Gospel does not help. The campaign may explain this truth at a later stage, but many people will read this book only. Why do we then miss the chance to give a firm hand to the unbeliever and to guide them into salvation?

Specific errors:

Chapter 4:

Assumption that Mary was a 'teen mom', although both travelled without parents to a census (minimum age of 20 to be registered), booked an inn on their own and Joseph is described as 'just' (which implies knowing good or bad = Age of Majority).

Chapter 6:

False doctrine of not judging insiders: "Stop pinpointing the shortcomings of others [...] If you judge others, you judge yourself guilty [...] It's one thing to have a conviction, it's another (in his eyes a bad) thing to convict a person."

Chapter 7:

Erroneous teaching that JESUS literally slept in the Tabernacle: "The word for 'dwelled' traces its origin to the Tabernacle. Jesus did not separate Himself from creation, He pitched His tent in the neighborhood."

Chapter 11:

"Jesus was not exclusive, He was radically inclusive" [correct in the particular context of inviting sinners, but not as general interpretation of the Gospel].


I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference, by Thom S. Rainer (4*)

Great and short book, which serves pastors and the purpose to have people stay in the church.

But endorsements from Andy Stanley and Rick Warren are not a good sign.


I Declare War: Four Keys to Winning the Battle with Yourself, by Levi Lusko (2*)

It rarely happens that I stop reading a book, especially given the case that time is not an issue in times of audiobooks & ear pods.

But I could not continue listening to it after he mentioned the fifth or sixth time Eugene Peterson and his Message translation, and afterwards several other significant errors. I can forgive the nowadays common endorsement of false teachers such as C.S. Lewis, whom he of course also quoted (6 times including specific mention of witchcraft books). But to quote 17 times in a book a specific heretical translation and its author, makes it very clear that Lusko is not a sound evangelical.

Another significant issue is the obvious copy & paste from Carolina Leaf's books, another false teacher. Some passages feel almost like having directly been copied from her book which appeared 3 years before his book. In the end it is all about pop psychology decorated with a little bit of biblical references.

Levi also uses in this book wolves as an affirmative illustration for spiritual warfare, despite the fact that wolves in Scripture signify false teachers. He goes great lengths in order to describe their positive features while leaving out entirely their negative features.


I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek (2*)

This book is a dangerous middle-ground between Darwinism and the Bible. Their Theistic Evolution, what they inconspicuously call 'Intelligent Design' states in this book that it is irrelevant or at best secondary when the first human was created, or how long a biblical creation day actually is.

This is to a certain degree more dangerous than Darwinism itself, because it pretends to be biblical, but results in a new 'Third Way'.

Following their own analysis of the truth claim, they should know very well that there cannot be two truths or a half -truth; either the Bible is true or it is not. It is not half-true or up to scientific adaption while reaching one hand out to Darwinists.

PROS

+ In many areas a very good defense of the Bible.

+ Great analysis of the Gospels & Acts, and the related proofs.

+ Bold discernment on Harvard University.

+ Great reader of the audiobook.

CONS

- The book is a nice summary, but essentially a repetition of countless similar books written on this topic. It might be more complete than other books, but it essentially repeats the same errors found in those.

- They are literally paying homage to C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ). One mention could be bearable, but dozens of quotes in a Christian book are shocking in the absence of any discernment.

- They endorse the Big Bang, which has long ago proven to be wrong, because many of the planets rotate in different directions, contrary to physics that would demand that all objects should rotate in the same direction if they share a common point they expanded from (52 out of 67 moons of Jupiter orbit backwards, Venus rotates backwards, et al).

- They erroneously teach that the Apostles stopped obeying the Weekly Sabbath, but elsewhere go great lengths in defending the Moral Law, by even recognizing it to be written by the finger of THEOS and not by Moses (e.g. High Sabbaths). To the contrary, there are many passages in Acts alone that underline their obedience of the WS both in Israel and other countries, both with Jews and with other Nations (Gentiles).

- They teach that divorce is allowed in case of adultery. They use a false translation of the exception clause to include the oxymoron 'except on the basis of unfaithfulness, commits adultery'. The content of this exception clause cannot be identical with the result which is 'adultery' = marital unfaithfulness ... Correct translation: "But I say to you, that anyone who should abandon his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her commit adultery."

- They teach a fast-track-crucifixion within 12 hours, which is nowhere found in the Bible.

- They fully endorse the theology of William Lane Craig (proponent of Theistic Evolution Adam&Eve = Homo heidelbergensis; one million years ago ... contradicting the 77 generations in Luke 3:23-28); he claims that the genre of Genesis 1-11 is pure myth; rejects the Flood and the Tower of Babel; serious errors related to the Trinity and Incarnation; he does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture).

- Inclusion of the sinner's prayer as a means to achieve salvation.

- They endorse Hugh Ross (he supports the Big Bang Theory and claims that the creation days of Gen 1 do not represent literal 24-hour periods; "there are about 12 species of bipedal primates that predated Adam and Eve but they're in the same category the chimpanzees orangutangs and the gorillas ... and they're roughly similar to us ..."; Ross subtly equates science for nature - science and the Bible should be equated in authority; close collaboration with Francis Collins from BioLogos; guest at the infamous 700 Club).

- They repeatedly endorse Bruze Metzger as great (professor of Bart Ehrman; general editor of the highly problematic Reader's Digest Bible; he denied biblical inerrancy and the infallible inspiration of the Bible; he advocated that Matthew incorporated errors in his genealogy of Christ; claims in his 'New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV' that the O.T. contains "a matrix of myth, legend, and history", denies the worldwide flood ("heightened version of local inundations"), calls Job an "ancient folktale", claims there are two authors of Isaiah, calls Jonah a "popular legend"; sat on the ecumenical committee of the NRSV translators amongst Catholics; private audience with Pope Paul VI)

- They seriously and repeatedly consider Mother Teresa to be the antithesis of evil. Their discernment is below grade - she was actually a monumental fraud in history, a direct enabler of se**al abuser and JESUIT priest Donald McGuire).

- They endorse Berry Leventhal, and specifically UCLA and his Jewish Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. This leaves the reader with a big question mark so as to why they make this specific mention twice, and if there is a background of freemasonry.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

- When referring to the differing angels after the resurrection, they missed the differentiation between 1 sitting (Mat 28:2-4), 1 sitting (Mar 16:5-7), 2 standing (Luk 24:2-10) and 2 sitting (Joh 20:11-18) angels.

QUOTES

"Our friend Andy Stanley put it well: My high school science teacher once told me that much of Genesis is false."

"Intelligent Design is not Creation Science either, ID scientists don't make claims that so-called Creation scientists make. They don't say that the data unambiguously supports the 6x 24-hour day view of Genesis or a worldwide flood; instead they acknowledge that the data for ID is not based on a specific age or geologic history of the earth. ID scientists study the same objects in nature than the Darwinists study; life and the universe itself, but they come to a more reasonable conclusion of the cause of those objects. In short, regardless of what the Bible may say on the topic."


The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus, by Zack Eswine (2*)

It would be a recommendable book if it would be for the content of the first half of the book.

But it sadly turns nearly into a manual of contemplative prayer (key words "desert", "solitude", "emptying yourself", silence"; a concept closely connected to Catholic Mysticism).

Eugene Peterson seems to be his favorite author and is repeatedly endorsed throughout the book (universalist; author of heretical Message Bible with deletion of same-sex-passages, promoter of same-sex lifestyle; editor of the heretical Spiritual Formation Study Bible; front cover endorsement of The Shack; promoter of Richard Rohr).

Further characters quoted are Henri Nouwen and Teresa de Avila, who is known to have levitated on occasions, meaning that she was living on the very dark side of this spiritual world.

Richard Foster and his book 'Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth' is also quoted (Catholic Mystic; co-author with Eugene Peterson; claims that the book of Genesis was merged from other religions; JESUS is a translated in Isaiah as "human agent"; worked with Richard Rohr; part of Emerging Church/Contemplative Prayer/Mystic movement)

The author has also a strange idea of the Weekly Sabbath

"When I've lost track of sabbath Fridays or Mondays ..."

Unfortunately no recommendation despite the first good half of the book, but rather a warning.


In His Steps, by Charles M. Sheldon (5*)

A truly wonderful book which I enjoyed very much. It is highly encouraging what consequences good obedience can have.

No errors found in the book, no dubious quotations, absolutely nothing to object, what is very rare to find.

Highly recommended.


The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, by Nik Ripken, Gregg Lewis (4*)

Outstanding book. What an incredibly powerful story.


The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places, by Nik Ripken (4*)

A book of extraordinary value, but also a book which has the potential of being destructive over being constructive.

PROS

+ Many very valuable insights and teachings.

+ Overall sound theology.

+ Very valuable chapter regarding the Egyptian eunuch.

+ Much needed clarification regarding dreams & visions being a fundamental element of THEOS' powerful work to draw people to Him.

CONS

- The book contains a lot of very important exhortations. But the balance between exhortation and encouragement is highly problematic. While their highly critical mindset is appreciated, the book is made up of maybe 70% exhortation and 30% encouragement. Most of the book is about DONT'S and almost nothing is read about DO's. They have vast experience as missionaries, but they lack to give tips, strategies and best practises from them and from other missionaries they know. While strong believers might benefit from their insights, I suspect that the majority of believers is rather discouraged and unsettled through this book.

- One particular problematic passage in chapter 4 reads as following:

"Believers were killed because of who they worked for, or because of the outsiders with whom they worshiped. Persecution soared when local people were found in possession of literate, religious materials, even though they were typically unable to read it. It is heart-breaking to recall the Somali believers who were killed because Westerners employed them to evangelize their own people and taught them to use western modes of evangelism."

- They state at the beginning of the book that they spent several years, 1 million dollars and had a handful of converts. Although I appreciate their honesty and the exhortation to not look at numbers, it becomes clear that this extreme imbalance cannot be from THEOS. It is unthinkable that THEOS had people donating 33 000 man hours (assuming a salary of 30USD per hour = 1M total) and in addition the Ripkens sacrificed thousands of hours of their own time, and then have 1 convert or so per year. Something is very wrong here, and the book sometimes reads as to question THEOS. Their first book was also critical of THEOS and their faith never seems settled, but always with significant doubts which nowhere disappear in those two books.

- They state that they are part of a denomination, but neither in this nor in the previous book reveal it. At least we know that their world consists of Lutherans, Presbyterians and the Assembly of God, the first two being problematic and close to Catholicism and Calvinism. But where the book really becomes problematic -and this being the reason why I cannot recommend it- is the point that they endorse the Roman Catholic church as positive, writing about it as the opposite to a vacuum. This is not just a false tolerance or lack of discernment. This is misleading their readers.

- The beginning and end of the book includes some repetitions from the previous book, but more annoying is the repetition inside the book. It is ok to explain a concept from 2 or 3 different perspectives, but not to speak about the same issue for 6 or more times, and to choose over and over other words. Yes to sharpening, no to a hammer and filling a certain amount of pages predefined by the publisher.

- They consider non-tithers as highly problematic, which in itself is problematic. Tithing is pre-Pentecost in their terminology, but giving is post-Pentecost. We ought to give by heart whatever the Spirit directs us to, not to tithe a fixed amount under compulsion and potential condemnation.

- The foreword is written by Brother Andrew (Ordained priest in the Anglican church; high endorsement of RCC; part of the Dutch Pentecostal movement with replacement theology and rejection of original sin). BA in turn recommends in his forward to read a Calvinist book.


Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman (2*)

This was a book difficult to read and to evaluate. Listening in parts a second time to it, helped clarify some things and to better adapt to his convoluted and overly eloquent writing style. It is a book which left me with the question, why did he write about JESUS? Was it to honor the faith of his grandmother or because JESUS was simply the most suitable character he could find, who defended the cause of the poor and the disinherited at perfection?

We do not know, but it is painfully obvious that he was not a Christian and would have probably written about any other religious figure if he or she had been a more powerful example for his cause. And we do not even know for sure if his grandmother was a Christian, a woman who would even refuse to hear the majority of the New Testament, simply because her oppressors read a lot about Paul, probably decades earlier. This is the sad essence of this book. His grandmother, although claiming to be Christian, could not even forgive and blocked herself from reading the Holy Book. He, Howard, teaches a lot of good things in the book, but little to nothing about sin and forgiveness. He teaches a Social Gospel, but does not offer the real Good Message to the people. Both oppressed and oppressors will not significantly change through this book.

PROS

+ Some much-needed teachings and reflections on a very important issue.

CONS

- The book is based on the teachings of Vladimir Simkovitch, a professor of economics at Columbia University and a Marxist! But Thurman clarifies that the book only contains his own conclusions, not those of Simkovitch.

- He treats Christianity almost as an outsider, although with a very sympathetic language and some good Bible knowledge. He repeats several times the phrase 'the religion of Jesus' and described Judaism as 'a worldview' ...

Quote: "The basic fact is that Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewishing teacher and thinker [referring to JESUS which is condescending because He is not just another guru], appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed [this is heretical; we cannot reduce the Christian faith to a technique]. Then it became, through the intervening years, a religion of the powerful and dominant used sometimes as an instrument of oppression. [this might be true, but in the context of the previous phrases shows his real conflict with Christianity]".

- He called JESUS a 'spiritual genius', and although showing appreciation for Him, he repeatedly uses questionable language: "If a Roman soldier pushed Jesus in the ditch, he could not appeal to Caesar. He would be just another Jew in the ditch." Another highly problematic quote: "But if it would be true, as I think it is, that Jesus felt He was serving merely as a creative vehicle for the authentic genius of Israel, completely devoted to the will of God, then in order to love those of the household, he must conquer His own pride." [this is deeply heretical; pride is a sin and JESUS was sinless].

- In the same way his grandmother had her significant problems with the teachings of Paul, he even portrayed Paul and his teachings as (partly) responsible for the abuse in America. ~Paul was oh-so privileged in his role pertaining to 3 people-groups (he calls it Paul's 'magic formula'), and then he comes along and tells us in his letters to obey our masters.~ This is deeply troubling, and those who hoped that he would add some clarification towards the end of the book, remain disappointed. The only somehow balancing comment he made, was that Paul only once used this privilege. But our image of Paul suffers significantly, if we do not protect ourselves from this spiritual attack.

Quote: "But this other side [of Paul] is there, always available to those who wish to use the weight of the Christian message to oppress and humiliate their fellows. The point is that this aspect of Paul's teaching is understandable against the background of his Roman citizenship, it influenced his philosophy [the NT is not a philosophy] and resulted in a major frustration that has born bare fruit in the history of the movement [nor is or had Christianity ever been a movement] which he, Paul, did so much to project on the conscience of the human race."

- As if not being enough, he put the victory of David over Goliath in the context of violence, and it has the strong connotation as if he wanted to condemn this as an illegitimate outburst of anger by David.

- He erroneously stated that to speak against JESUS is the unforgivable sin. This is not true, but to speak against the Holy Spirit.

- He retold the story of the woman caught in adultery as if belonging to the Bible. But the worst part of his retelling is his addition that the woman received a crown from JESUS. This is deeply heretical. Even if meant metaphorically, it means the contrary of JESUS' teaching. Yes, He forgave. But He warned her (or would have warned her if that story be true) to not repeat the same sin, and the very last thing would have been a reward.

- It is very telling that this book was a significant inspiration for the great false teacher MLK (regarded the virgin birth of Christ as 'mythological story'; repudiated the doctrine of the deity of JESUS; rejected that Christ was raised bodily from the dead; serious allegations of systematic adultery). He is twice endorsed in the book, although originally written much earlier.


Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament, by David P. Murray (3*)

A book with many great teachings, but with a few rookie mistakes and a serious lack of spiritual discernment.

PROS

+ He was upfront and made it clear from the beginning, where his theological background is. This is highly unusual for a Presbyterian/Calvinist.

+ In general some very good teachings, taking away some of the imbalances our modern theology is suffering when it comes to the treatment of the OT. But while his conclusions are mostly correct, the path to those is sometimes not convincing, and sometimes not even sound.

+ Especially the part with the Angel of the Lord is great. He only missed the Messenger of the Great Counsel passage (Isa 9:6 LXX, "For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and His name is called the MESSENGER OF GREAT COUNSEL, for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to Him."), which is a key passage for the proving that JESUS is the Angel of the Lord.

+ Great motivation to study on your own.

NEUTRAL

o He randomly states that not Malachi, but Nehemiah was the last book of the OT. What is absent, is a brief explanation how he gets to that conclusion.

CONS

- The rookie mistake (although a very common one amongst Protestants) was his assumption that the Moral Law initiated with Moses. This is especially strange when considering that he correctly associated the Weekly Sabbath with Genesis 1 and 2. We know very well that the WS is essentially a part of the Moral Law and that only some superimposed regulations thereof were part of the 600+ OC Laws.

Adam and Eve coveted and stole (Gen 3:6, 17), Cain was greedy, committed sacrilege, killed and lied (Gen 4:8-9, 13), Ham dishonored his father (Gen 9:25), Abraham lied (Gen 20:2), Jacob's household committed idolatry (Gen 35:1-4), murdered and stole (Gen 34:27), the prohibition of murder was already specified within the Noahic Covenant (Gen 9:6; some 1850 years before Sinai), Pharaoh (time of Moses) and his people had other theos (Exo 10:16), and adultery was already described more than 600 years before Mt. Sinai as a great sin condemned through severe plagues (Pharaoh vs. Abram & Sarai in Gen 12:17), condemned through barrenness (Abimelech vs. Abraham & Sarah in Gen 20:9, 18), feared by kings (Abimelech vs. Isaac & Rebekah in Gen 26:10) and leading to false accusations (Joseph in Gen 39:9).

- Not a rookie mistake, but an (apparently intentional) misleading is found in his ~interpretation~ of Jer 31:31-34 ("Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a NEW covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda"), where he makes the case that the covenant was not really NEW, but only RENEWED, based on the Greek Old Testament not using 'neon' (meaning new from the viewpoint of looking into the future), but 'kainos' (meaning also 'new' from the viewpoint of looking back, but according to him 'renewed').

Firstly, Strong's dictionary (G2537 'kainos' = fresh, new, unused, novel) does not support his case. Secondly and clearly affirming his misleading, is the fact that JESUS was laid in Mat 27:60 in a new ('kainos', G2537), and certainly not in a renewed tomb. I have seen many cases of bad exegesis, but rarely such an impertinence. But to his defense, he seems to have copied this from O. Palmer Robertson's (Calvinist) book 'Christ of the Covenants' without verifying it.

Quote: "... and then suggested I read O. Palmer Robertson's Christ of the Covenants. [...] He [JESUS] was deliberately and consciously fulfilling God's promises of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31–34. The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses kainos, the word for "renewed," rather than neos, something "brand-new," as do Luke 22:20 and Hebrews 8:13, the New Testament quotations of this passage."

- He erroneously stated that creation occurred in ~4000 BC, which contradicts the Scripture predominantly received until Jerome & Pope Damasus (the Greek OT & NT > creation in ~5500 BC).

- Repeated endorsement of Anglican authors and the confession of the Church of England.

- Endorsement of the great heretic Augustine (doctor of the RCC and the patriarch of Calvinism, and of countless heresies that came into the church through and shortly after him, only to mention the Apocrypha, infant baptism, financial tithing, sex being evil, perpetual virginity of Mary, prayers to saints, the 7 Catholic sacraments, amillennialism, ... he was also the father of doctrine of persecution).

- Endorsement of Calvin (copied his religion from Augustine; 'The Protestant Pope' and brutal a tyrant; promotion of Apocrypha, questioned the truthfulness of parts of Genesis; accused Matthew of mistakes; Christ died only for the elect and intercedes only for the elect ...) and repeatedly of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

- Endorsement of John MacArthur (Figurehead of Augustinian-Calvinism; Cessationist ...).

- Endorsement of Wayne Grudem (Calvinist, Former Steering Council member and elder at the Vineyard Movement; Theistic Evolution; rejects Noah's flood).

-The audiobook is a patchwork with dozens of inserted snippets. +Great speaker.


Jesus, Continued...: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You, by J.D. Greear (3*)

A very mixed bag. A book with great overall theology, but overwhelmingly bad references and endorsements.

PROS

+ Excellent theology (except see below).

+ He is very honest when he says what he does not know.

+ The first Calvinist to come along to not be a Cessationist.

CONS

- He equates biblical 'faith' with the term 'Narnia' from C.S. Lewis books. He further speaks of witchcraft as the most normal thing, and compares Aslan with JESUS, which is blasphemy.

- Specific endorsement of Rick Warren and his 'Purpose Driven Life'.

- Endorsement of Augustine (Doctor RCC, responsible for -most- of Catholicism's doctrines and practices, patriarch of Calvinism, key figure for Apocrypha canonization, doctrine of persecution, infant baptism).

- He stated that his church invited the Calvinist John Piper to speak at his church.

- Repeated endorsement of C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ).

- Repeated endorsement of Billy Graham (great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale, strong tendency towards Universalism,Key figure in the ecumenical movement, close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope, used Roman Catholic lay people as supervisors and altar workers).

- Repeated endorsement of Spurgeon ("more people are in heaven than in hell", ecumenism, Augustinian / Calvinist, "infants cannot but be odious and abominable to God", preached against baptismal regeneration).

- Endorsement of Timothy Keller (Ecumenism and explicit promotion of the Catholic Church, Gospel Coalition, Theistic evolutionist, Contemplative Prayer / Catholic Mysticism, Lectio Divina, Emerging Church, Calvinist, Marxism ...).

- He is essentially in love with Martin Luther (Augustinian, extraordinarily devoted to the 'Blessed Virgin Mary, Antisemitism, execution of Anabaptists, rejection of biblical inerrancy, rejection of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation, Non-Sabbatarianism, rejection of free will).


Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, by Katie Davis Majors (4*)

Truly remarkable, beautiful and powerful story, which continues to the present day.

The only serious issue with the book is the mention of the Message Bible, probably based on her upbringing as a Catholic.

But it is beautiful to see at least a few Catholics being saved, and doing powerful works of faith and of love.


Lectures to My Students, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (3*)

PROS

+ Many very good teachings.

+ Excellent collection of anecdotes.

+ Wonderful excursion into astronomy.

+ The 1000 pages are almost never repetitive; at no point does the book get flat or boring.

CONS

- He constantly tries to impress through his in all cases totally unnecessary use of latin language.

- He makes it several times very clear that in order to become a preacher who is respected by him, you ought to go to Havard or another university, which is not biblical at all.

- Bible verses are -with exception of very few- cases never cited, but quoted.

- Partially loose handling of Scripture, injecting assumptions that Noah preached in the shipyard.

- Sometimes very condescending and hateful preaching with words such as 'fools', 'idiots' or 'ridiculous'. Quote: "a conspicuous absence of brains; brethren who would talk for ever and ever upon nothing ... not capable of conceiving or uttering five consecutive thoughts, whose capacity is most narrow and their conceit most broad ... these brethren will do quite as well without education as with it, and therefore I have usually declined their applications."

Mat 5:22 "... whoever says to his brother, 'Stupid fool!' will be subject to the council, and whoever says, 'Obstinate fool!' will be subject to fiery hell."

- He goes as far as to call Arminianism a heresy. "I was afraid the people might veer towards Antinomianism, an extreme as dangerous as Arminianism". "Calvinism is the true Gospel, not just a nickname". "Calvinism, then, is the spiritual meat which enables a man to labour on in the ways of Christian service". "We must connect her with the glorious steam-tug of gospel truth, and drag her back. I should be glad if I could take her round by Cape Calvin, right up into the Bay of Calvary, and anchor her in the fair haven which is close over by Vera Cruz, or the cross.""

- Entire rejection of free will, he calls it 'ridiculous'. This means that he is not teaching the Good Message of JESUS CHRIST, but a Gospel which overlaps in many aspects, but is still fundamentally different. There is no Gospel without THEOS' love, and there is no love without free will. Stay therefore away from his teachings.


Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holcaust, by Immaculée Ilibagiza (2*)

Incredible and very sad story, but deeply penetrated with Catholic doctrine and rituals.

- The book was published by Hay House, a publisher specialized on New Age, who publishes e.g. the books of Doreen Virtue.

- Catholic upbringing of Immaculée (her father was a chief administrator of Catholic schools):

"My parents were devout Roman Catholics and passed on their beliefs to us. Mass was mandatory on Sundays [...] I especially love the Virgin Mary. Believing that she was my second mom watching out for me from heaven."

- Regular mass attendance throughout her life. Idol worship of the Virgin Mary. The first half of the book does not even mention JESUS, only God and the Virgin Mary. She also mentioned the Rosary much more often than the Bible.

"It was past noon and I've been praying the rosary since Dawn."

"My bedroom was like my own little chapel. With my Bible, and statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on my night table. It was a place where I connected with God and my own spiritual energies. I knelt by my bed and looked at the statues, saying a prayer to God to protect my family from danger."

"And once I even got to portray my favorite Saint, the Virgin Mary."

"After the attack I went to my bedroom to get my scapular. A kind of cloth necklace that Catholics wear. The scapular is very precious to me because it's blessed with the Virgin Mary's promise that whosoever dies wearing it shall not suffer eternal fire. It shall be a sign of salvation. A protection in danger, and a pledge of peace. I bought it when I moved away to University, believing that if anything happened to me, my scapula would speed my journey to Heaven."

- Spiritualizing, unreliable praying times:

"Sometimes I felt as if I was floating above my body ... In my mind I heard myself speaking in exotic languages I've never heard before. I instinctively knew that I was praising God's greatness and love. During my waking hours, I was in constant communication with God praying and meditating for 15 to 20 hours every day. I even dreamed of Jesus and the Virgin Mary during the few hours I slept. In the midst of the genocide I found my salvation.

- Even though she was trapped for months with 8 women, there is not one account of a spiritual conversation with any of them, nor any conversion. It is all about her silent prayers and meditation. Not even ordinary conversations or names are mentioned, nor does the book tell us anything about the fate of those women and if Immaculée is still in contact with them.

- She uses Norman Vincent Peale's (Freemason) technique of 'Positive Thinking':

"Once I knew where I wanted to work, I visualized that I already have a job there. Using the same technique of positive thinking I always use Believe and receive. I went to the UN website, printed out the directory that listed the employee's names and titles and then added my name to the list. I even gave myself a telephone extension. I tacked the directory onto my wall and looked at it every day. Of course, I also filled out an application."

"I asked God to bring me the man of my dreams. I began to visualize it believing in my heart that it had already come to pass. I put it all in God's hands and knew that it was only a matter of time before he would bless me with my wish. But to hurry things along, I took out my father's red and white rosary and began praying for my husband to show up. Three months later, he did."

- The book is written by the ghost writer Steve Erwin. While the overall story is probably true, the narrative is probably instrumentalized for the RCC and significantly altered. There are several small, and some major inconsistencies found in the book:

- Immaculée was trapped for several months in a bathroom. When there were 6 people, it is described as a situation where they took turns for standing up, such narrow it supposedly was. Weeks later they even received 2 additional women. But later we read a passage where the author states that the bathroom was "much more crowded" than usual, although no one went out nor in.

- While being trapped in the bathroom, the ghostwriter tells us that 40-50 killers were in the bedroom of the pastor. 1. She could not have seen it. 2. This amount of people would require a gigantic bedroom and is inconsistent to assume that they all gathered simultaneously in one room.

- In one account, 10 000 people gathered in front of their house looking for her father.

- In one account Immaculée can look through a window curtain to the outside, while in another account the enemy could not even look inside after climbing up the window, and supposedly found for hours no way to climb a few centimeters higher.

"I stood on my tiptoes and peeked out the window through a little hole in the curtain. The other ladies grabbed at me trying to pull me down. They're looking for us, get down before they see you."

"... the boy began tormenting us. We could hear him moving around outside the bathroom window all afternoon. We knew that he was listening for voices or any movement trying to confirm his suspicions before going to the killers. We didn't move a muscle for hours. At one point, he dragged a stool or table beneath the window and climbed up. [...] The window was just beyond his reach, but he still stood there for the rest of the day. Waiting and listening. Eventually, someone called him away."

The boy was clearly lower, but somehow produced a shadow against the curtain. This is impossible in the afternoon time in Rwanda, which lies just 120 kms south of the equator, meaning the sun stands vertical and produces therefore vertical, not horizontal shadows.


Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity, by Gregory A. Boyd, Edward K. Boyd (3*)

The interaction with his father is certainly encouraging for many, although it can also create doubts in believers who are not very firm in their faith.

CONS

- He is good in arguments, but poor in discernment. The repeated endorsement of C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ) shows this clearly, no matter how many other authors quote him. It becomes absurd when he mentions Mother Terea as the contrast of evil, although it should be well known that she is the direct enabler of the Jesuit priest Donald McGuire who was convicted of horrific crimes to 25 years of prison. The repeated endorsement of Martin Luther underlines his fundamental lack of discernment.

- He has a high, but not a holy view of Scripture and treats it repeatedly as an object. He claims that Matthew 28:1 "and early on the first day" is an unnecessary detail and quotes other 'unnecessary' passages. He might have some limited and good intentions, but it remains heretical to be the judge over THEOS' Word and to weigh certain passages for their relevance. Who are we to judge THEOS' holy Word?

- Although it is well known that Luther was about to take the book of James out of the Bible, he stated the opposite, that Luther affirmed it.

- He treats the Catholic church as part of the body of Christ, which is highly concerning. Transubstantiation, a cause wherefore many martyrs died, is treated by him as a secondary issue. It is certainly not relevant for salvation, but it would have been wise to choose other examples for secondary issues and not to water repeatedly down the vast differences to the Catholic church.

- His view of THEOS not knowing the future is problematic and rather unbiblical. THEOS can grant us free will and foreknow those decisions we make.

- His endorsement of Annihilationism is attractive for many, but remains unbiblical.

- Use of the 'sinner's prayer'.


The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, by Adam S. McHugh (1*)

A book praised by many, but very suspicious. Before reading it, I came across the notes with names such as Richard Rohr, Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, Henri Nouwen, John Ortberg, Richard Foster and Ruth Haley Barton. This knowledge alone would have been enough to not even order a book being related to, and praising so many problematic teachers.

It is sadly too late now to return it, but not too late to briefly go over some of the references without reading the entire book:

Page 55 "Ruth Haley Barton proposes that the turmoil happening outside the cave echoes the stirrings tormenting Elijah's inner world"

--> this is heresy! 'Torment' is associated with evil, but 1Kin 11-13 clearly describes a breathtaking theophany involving Yahweh showing Himself through the elements and His voice, undoubtedly not Satan tormenting Elijah. Outmost heresy!!! It is one thing if one author gets it totally wrong, but another thing to copy a false teaching and to declare it "magnificent" (footnote page 216) If the author would have opened a good study Bible, he would have quickly noticed that Elijah's experience at Mt. Horeb contained literary allusions to Moses, who also covered his face when God appeared, but neither Moses was tormented in his inner world as those two authors want to make us believe.

Page 79 "Our union with God ... consists chiefly in a conversational relationship with God while we are each consistently and deeply engaged as His friend and colaborer in the affairs of the kingdom of the heavens"

--> We are children, but not a 'friend' of THEOS. Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that we are buddies with THEOS! Nor is it mentioned that we intervene in the Kingdom of the Heavens (plural!). We have a -limited- influence through our prayers on His Kingdom on the earth, but surely not of the Heavens (= the whole universe) and even less as a 'collaborator' in THEOS' mighty affairs. This comes very close to the little gods theology of Joel Osteen ...

Page 83 "the mystic Teresa of Avila said the "God walks among the pots and pans"

--> Teresa of Avila taught Jewish Kabbalistic mysticism. It is plainly wrong to even mention such a person in a Christian book!

Page 95 "Eugene Peterson calls the written word the "dehydrated" form of the spoken word - two dimensional and DRAINED OF ITS interpersonal FULLNESS. When we open the Bible we must do so in faith that God has the power to resurrect DEAD LETTERS".

--> this passage leaves me almost speechless. I rarely read such a fundamentally false teaching. The Bible is described as our bread, as the "living Word". Heb 4:12, "the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow ...".

Page 216

"See Ruth Haley Barton's magnificent book 'Invitation to Solitude' --> this book teaches Catholic Mysticism based on the teaching of monk Brother Lawrence, who received his mentorship from Teresa of Avila, who taught Jewish Kabbalistic Mysticism.

Those are just a few fragments I noticed going over some passages ...


Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, by Emerson Eggerichs (4*)

I was positively surprised to find a bestseller which has actually a lot of quality and does not contain heresy. Very rare in those days, where the adjective 'NYT Bestseller' very often means to find highly questionable books.

PROS

+ Great choice to have the author speak the audiobook. He did it with the gran quality of emotions and a lot of humor. What a loss for those who read the book and miss essence.

+ Mostly excellent teaching on a much-needed topic, RESPECT. It would have just been nice to find some groundwork, precisely why he chose in Eph 5:33 the translation 'respect' over others (Strong's G5399, phobeō = frighten, that is, (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere: - be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence).

+ The part on 'rewards' is very encouraging and motivational for the reader. The following conclusion, that we suffer and do everything for Christ, would have and will change the lives of many readers, who are frustrated to not see results. Wonderful section.

+ His transfer of the reader to a viewpoint towards the son/daughter-in-law, is a very good method to have a spouse see their husband with other eyes and take the huge bias away.

CONS

- The audiobook is a potpourri of 3 or 4 recordings and it urgently needs to be re-recorded by the author. This is the most unprofessional recording quality ever experienced.

- A serious flaw of the book is his legitimation of divorce and remarriage in the case of adultery and other non-specified issues. This is clearly heretical, because the Bible stipulates 'Unchastity' as the sole reason for divorce. He quotes Mat 19:9 as justification, but his implied reading is an oxymoron / duplication of 'except on the basis of

adultery' and again 'commits adultery'; the content of this exception clause cannot be identical with the result which is 'adultery' = marital unfaithfulness.

Matthew 19:9 "And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

- Two other errors include the John 8:7 reference to the women caught in adultery (a story definitely not found in the Bible) and to 490 times of forgiveness (this is 77 times, but rather an error of translators than by him).

- His teaching is - although to a minor degree - marked by his own personal experience. Theos uses our suffering for good, but he is sometimes a bit too sarcastic and traumatized by his wife :)

- He transgressed twice through the remarks 'give that wit** a broom' and 'I would have kicked the children'. Lots of good humor, but this went too far.

- His definition of the weaker vessel was a bit shorthanded and more driven by evil (feminism) than the Bible.

- He visited the highly problematic Wheaton College, where only 2 out of the 200 professors on campus believe the Genesis creation account to be literal, where Catholicism is deeply ingrained in their college and specifically taught, where each year students are sent to visit the Vatican, and where there is a long list of highly problematic alumni. Certainly not something he should be as proud about as he is.

- Elitist touch of the book. He points out several times the important titles of friends and collaborators. This is not a Christian attitude. JESUS would have never bragged to know the CEO of company x. This seems to be an American problem, seen in countless other books where the authors want to elevate their personal profiles.


The Love Dare, by Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick (4*)

The title of this book sounds cheap and 'fishy', but the content is all the better.

I was very positively surprised about the book.

+ A very useful guide for those who are lost, or could get lost in their relationship.

+ No questionable quotations or endorsements as in most of today's Christian books.

- He (they) mentioned at some point that Theos always shows the same love to us, no matter what. This is not biblical, because the Bible makes it clear that His love is rather benevolent and rudimentary towards unbelievers - and rather unconditional, grateful and complacent towards believers who do His will.

- The book has rather an egalitarian touch, although the headship of a man is mentioned in passing. But a book dedicated to the biblical purpose of a marriage has not done its duty if the headship is not explained in much detail. If we do not teach the biblical principle, we can teach hundreds of other good things and still fail greatly in a marriage.

- Although the book has a biblical background, it has rather a touch of counseling. It is somewhat surprising that specific biblical instructions and prayers had obviously been entirely missing from the original book and are only found in the addendum.

- Endorsement of the 'Sinner's Prayer', combined with the suggestion that repeating this prayer now saved the reader.

- Generally a good selection of Bible verses, just two of them taken out of context ("where 2 or 3 come together" as so often applied to any context, although found in the Bible in a very specific context).


Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, by Bob Goff (1*)

Out of nearly 100 books reviewed through my ministry, this comes in amongst the worst 5. Bob Goff is clearly disqualified to be a Christian author.

PROS

+ He has a great writing talent and his voice was a good choice for the audiobook.

+ His practical focus is laudable, but his practical standards are highly problematic.

+ Beautiful example of his itl. trips with his 10-year old children (although of course also a display of his elite status).

CONS

- He preaches a Gospel light. Just "remain inside the circle" and everything will be fine. JESUS does not ask for anything else ...

- Goff has all the marks of being a member of the Emerging Church (Liberal doctrine / Relativism over sound theology · Personal interpretation (eisegesis) over exegetical or expository Bible study · Experience over reason · Subjectivity over objectivity · Spirituality over religion · Christianity as a Relationship only, not a Religion · Outward over inward · Feelings over truth · Seeker Sensitive · Non-confrontational · It's not my place to judge). He also shows many marks of Progressive Christianity. He calls all statements of faith religious, his mission statement is "be awesome".

- The entire book follows the scheme of first / alternately recounting some embarrassing stories (clearly false humility) in order to then generate the mental allowance to shamelessly brag how extraordinary his life is (his friend is a bestseller, another friend the inventor of a popular drink, even his children are friends of high ranking politicians ...). I have seen this scheme now repeatedly in American books. When you see someone putting himself down, you know that he will very soon brag about himself. The book is replete with self-centered parables, while injecting JESUS as an afterthought and often making very strange and clumsy connections from his self-centered stories to JESUS, or to biblical love. In one clumsy example, he compared a botched valentines card to THEOS' love. Or a destroyed wedding cake with stones and dirt inside to THEOS' love ...

- His depiction of biblical love is faulty at best. He does not even biblically define what love is. He actually opposes at the end of the book those who demand the Greek meanings of love or other words. He has little interest in the Bible, but in himself - decorated with the Bible. Christianity is a means for him. Of the very few Bible verses, I do not remember one actual quote, but only paraphrases.

- He is very elitist and several times in the book degrades professions such as key makers e.g. versus lawyers. Strong anti-Christian attitude.

- He speaks about God as a 'guy', and a few chapters later of the apostles as 'guys'. Absolutely zero holiness in the book.

- He promotes the act of lying through the book. He even lied at a hearing test. No repentance, no warning to readers to not repeat such foolishness. He remembers to have had 17 bruises in high school sports. Very difficult to believe all the details of the book. It is also hard to believe that he went on a roadtrip with a friend the day after his wedding and did not know nor was told by him that he had married, until they returned days later to the wife. Sounds rather like a (partly) invented story.

- He promotes stealing without any signs of repentance. He and his wife stole services worth more than $400 from his friend, and he sells it to his readers as a prank. Years after the theft, he still feared his retaliation. Crazy to find something like this in a Christian book.

- After he and his entire family stole themselves into a movie set and he bragged to have been with Nicolas Cage, he compared the security guards to religious people and compared them to pharisees. Speechless.

- He promotes the 'bigger and better' game, where intentionally something of low value is offered to gain something better. This is highly anti biblical. At least they (his friend) donated the product of that game.

- He promotes guns (4 or 5 stories involving guns; the word 'gun' or 'rifle' is used 67 !!! times in the book). He recounted with a lot of pride his wounds from a pellet gun and earlier from his dad's gun shooting inside their house.

Quote: "He [his dad] would also go off on tangents about how guns were mentioned in the Constitution, and the way I remember it, it was OUR RESPONSIBILITY [this is sick!] as Americans to own them, and Americans are supposed to train their children to use guns so they can SHOOT THE BRITISH IF THEY TRY THE INVASION THING again [this is very sick, this author has a serious problem!]."

I have never ever seen such a blatant promotion of guns in a Christian book. JESUS CHRIST despises even the readiness for violence. He looks at our heart.

- He indeed endorses violence, again without any corrective comment or sign of repentance.

Quote, his childhood: "We started our fight with a lot of pushing and shoving and tough talk. Then we slugged each other for a while and traded headlocks. By the time a teacher came over to break it up, Dale was covered in blood. Nobody realized all of it was mine, so I declared myself the winner and we both got suspended for a couple of days. HERE'S AN IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE. If you're going to schedule a fight with a bully and risk getting suspended from school, ALWAYS PICK A FIGHT ON A THURSDAY. That way, you get a long weekend out of the deal."

Quote: "So when my clients are being deposed, I tell them all the same thing each time: sit in the chair and answer the questions, but do it with your hands palms up the whole time. I tell them to literally have the backs of their hands on their knees and their palms toward the bottom of the table. I'M VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS. In fact, I THREATEN TO KICK THEM IN THE SHINS if I look down and they don't have their palms up."

While pursuing his work as a lawyer, he actually sent two arguing Christian clients into a literal boxing ring. No words of the help through an elder or biblical counseling. A boxing ring ...

- He physically waited and stalked for ~8 days the responsible for admission at the law school, and then praised this as a model we ought to pursue. If things do not work out, then we maybe have to force them, and THEOS still might be behind it ... >> a shameless self-glorification of his rather unhealthy persistence.

- He first writes against materialism and endorses himself for not having a car, then later in the book brags himself for having purchased a painting "worth four times a car".

- When he recounts the story of having been rejected by a girl in his youth, he speaks about visiting the house of Freemasons as the most normal thing in the world.

- He endorsed C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ).

- Promotion of Taylor Swift.


Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, by Nancy R. Pearcey (5*)

Love Thy Body is a challenging & excellent read.

Much needed wake-up call for our society, no matter where you come from and where you stand.


Love Your Church: 8 Great Things About Being a Church Member, by Tony Merida (3*)

A book which is in most parts very valuable, and which gives good guidance and motivation for church membership, fellowship, discipleship and the great commission.

The only downside of the book is found in chapter 3, precisely the teaching on what the author calls the Lord's day.

The term 'Lord's Day' occurs only once in the entire Bible (Rev 1:10) and is simply an unfortunate translation of (κυριακῇ kuriakē), literally meaning 'pertaining to the LORD'. It simply describes the Weekly Sabbath (modern Saturday) through an adjective.

John, who wrote the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John, never called the First Day a Sabbath, but used the term 'First Day of The Week' (Joh 20:1 and Joh 20:19) exclusively for referring to a Sunday, while using the term Sabbath on 9 occasions exclusively related to the Weekly Sabbath referring to a Saturday.

The term 'Lord's Day' applied to Sundays is a human tradition that had initially nothing to do with the Weekly Sabbath, but had been celebrated as a separate memorial day dedicated to Christ, who rose the day after the Weekly Sabbath.

The author also claims by quoting F.F. Bruce, that Acts 20:7 must be interpreted as the norm for believers coming together on that first day of the week. But the Bible clearly states that Paul "was going to leave the next day", which simply indicates an extraordinary teaching / fellowship in addition to the Sabbath teaching the day before. To convert a farewell meeting into a norm for believers today, is to twist the Bible in order to justify a human tradition which THEOS detectably never sanctioned.


Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies, by Hillary Morgan Ferrer (3*)

A great book I recommend also for fathers.

It is a book which is needed, but also not much needed, as it essentially rewrites the ideas from books such as 'The Book that Made Your World' (Vishal Mangalwadi) and other similar books.

PROS

+ Encouraging and refreshing writing style

+ The audio version read by the author is wonderful, and she shows that professionalism in writing can go along with a good portion of humor

+ Well investigated

+ The purpose of the book is almost understated to be limited to mothers only

+ They show how essential it is to train mothers and therefore the next generation

CONS

- The majority of quotations are problematic to highly problematic. Very often Calvinist characters and contributors, but this does thankfully not reflect at all in the theology, which is contrary to the endorsements, speaking explicitly of free will and the individual responsibility to accept and provoke others to accept the Gospel.

- They quote Timothy Keller, one of the worst false teachers of our generation and being Marxist, contradicting the great teaching and warnings about Marxism found later in the book

- They positively quote C.S. Lewis and Tolkien ("her favorite author") and lead their readers into reading highly problematic books apostles such as Paul would have rather burned. Quoting Lewis seems to be the good tone today and many authors are guilty of endorsing such a highly problematic teacher, but in a book dedicated to discernment, such a slip should never occur.

Lewis teaches another Gospel (Lilith from 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' is a character based on a demon who was married to Adam before he married Eve; theistic evolutionist; "Man is physically descended from animals"; he considers Hindus/Buddhists/Muslims as brothers in Christ; belief in purgatory ...). The endorsement of Lewis could be excused through the author having been misled by Gregory Koukl, whose mission is to a certain extent to imitate as good as possible Lewis and to quote him as often as possible, but his unbelief in the biblical creation account and the blatant endorsement of the Big Bang Theory should have been enough warning signs to not blindly trust him.

- Another incredible slip is the endorsement of Francis of Assisi, known as an Italian mystic and Catholic friar who founded the religious order of the Franciscans.

- Although the theology is overall great, the chapter 'Emotionalism' is weak. It describes the problem well, but it redirects from one error into the same pop-psychology warned about earlier in the book. I noticed several phrases that I have heard from the problematic teacher Carolina Leaf, or which could come straight from her mouth.

- Although I agree with basic aspects of their proposed theology of jewing & spitting which is repeated all over the book, this theology is not found in the Bible anywhere close to the extent as described in the book. It is indeed good to train children to spit out what is not good and to train them suitable patterns of recognition of error, but the biblical focus is always on avoidance and determined opposition to evil instead of going along with evil and walking constantly through a minefield.

It is the same mindset prevalent in those Christians who have the naive assumption that one can read or watch anything, even including spurious or false teachings from Lewis or Tolkien involving the same witchcraft the Bible over and over warns us about, and not being affected by it. We tend to see ourselves spiritually stronger than we are, and do very often underestimate the effect of heretical content, especially if consumed in small doses.

Again, overall a very good book, sadly with very bad elements. It would be very easy to clean it up in the next edition.


Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis (2*)

Not a review, but a general warning. Stay away from C.S. Lewis!

1 Strongly influenced by George MacDonald (a universalist): "Adam was married to a demon named Lilith before he married Eve ... the devil will eventually be redeemed." The character of Lilith shows up in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', as the mother of the white witch.

2 'Christianized' white witchcraft. Wrote the heretical book series (Chronicles; Narnian; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) long after his 'conversion' in 1931 and 8 years -after- 'Mere Christianity'.

3 Lewis dedicated his autobiography to Bede Griffiths, who founded a 'Christian ashram' in India. Lewis: "Hindu temples are a sacrament." ... "No one can say in the proper sense that the Hindu, the Buddhist or the Muslim is an unbeliever. I would rather say that we have to recognize him as our brother in Christ."

4 "Pagan religions have truths." ... "Christianity fulfilled paganism".

5 He presented 2 Roman gods as visible angelic deities on Planet Venus in his book, Perelandra.

6 He denied the literal Adam and Eve; theistic evolutionist. "Events found in the first three chapters of Genesis are true myths". "Man is physically descended from animals". "God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself."

7 "Tao contains the highest morality of all religions".

8 He rejected biblical inerrancy and believed in neither sola fide nor sola scriptura.

9 "Purgatory (Catholic doctrine) is a real place." "Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me ..."

10 Very close friends with J.R.R. Tolkien.

11 J.K. Rowling (author of demonic Harry Potter series): "C.S. Lewis is one of my two favorite authors"!


The Mission of God's People: A Biblical Theology of the Church's Mission, by Christopher J.H. Wright (2*)

Some very good theology, mixed with terrible discernment and some erroneous teachings.

PROS

+ The book includes many wonderful teachings and I would give 5 stars for the first third of the book. Truly wonderful, but then it goes down rapidly as seen below.

+ Very good balance between the Old and New Testament.

+ Well stated that people were saved by grace already before Exodus 19.

+ Beautiful teaching, that we ought to pray for the welfare of hostile environments we are in, in the same way the Israelites were even asked to pray for the welfare of Babylon.

+ Very wise decision to have the book narrated by its author.

CONS

- He wrongly stated that obedience is no condition to salvation. While this is possibly not stated as such in the Bible, it is unquestionably implied throughout the Bible. No obedience, certainly no salvation.

- He made the very dubious claim that the biblical authors borrowed a term from the Romans, when they used the word 'Gospel', being better translated with 'Good Message' and in its original the word 'ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ' (evangelium). This claim is false, because the Greek Old Testament, which is the text the 1st c. church received as authoritative, includes the very same word already in 2Sam 4:10, when David received the 'Good News' of Saul's death (although not being such in David's eyes).

- The author equated in the book circumcision with the keeping of the Weekly Sabbath. I had to re-listen to the passage, in the hope that he mentioned Sabbaths in plural form, which would have correctly pointed to the Laws of Moses and not to the Law of THEOS given with creation. It is a mystery why he had 612 other options to chose from and chose the Weekly Sabbath, which he implied is mentioned in Acts 15 (which is clearly not) and which he (in)directly implied to be abolished. This is heretical and truly surprising for someone with a PHD. Every student of the Bible knows very well that the Weekly Sabbath was essentially part of the 10 commandments intensified by JESUS, and only certain aspects of the WS were part of the Law of Moses (those aspects being abolished but obviously not the main law itself). While we can be glad that he did not teach the Catholic 6/10 theology, a 9/10 theology is not much better. Either we keep the Moral Law or we fail it. There is no middle ground.

- He taught several times in the book the polytheistic term 'Lord of lords'. But nowhere in the Greek text is found the noun 'lords' (or sometimes even translated with capital 'Lords'), but the participle 'ΚΥΡΙΟϹ ΤꞶΝ ΚΥΡΙΕΥΟΝΤꞶΝ'. The only correct translations are 'Lord of the ones dominating' (ABP), 'Lord of those that exercise lordship' (DBY), 'Lord of them that wield lordship' (EBR). There is a significant difference between a temporal action and a permanent title. Polytheism does not (only) begin in the minds of the readers, it begins with the words of translators and studied ministers like him who propagate those erroneous translations.

- He taught about the Jerusalem assembly as a council, which is not biblical. In the Bible there is a specific word for 'council', and it is not being used in Acts 15. It was an assembly - the text using the very same word as for every church gathering. It was certainly a special assembly, but we have to be cautious when using the word 'council', as this 'Jerusalem council' had been abused as a basis to legitimize a lot of not-so-biblical councils, mainly driven by his (Catholic) church.

- The book is essentially a pamphlet for the Lausanne Movement, which is over and over being referenced in the book.

- He endorsed Billy Graham as 'great evangelist', which is a serious transgression (strong tendency towards universalism, key figure in the ecumenical movement; close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope; unfriendly takeover of Halley's Bible Handbook and deletion of Jesuit references; advised his friend Nixon to end the Vietnam conflict in a blaze of glory; trained women pastors; great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale; trained Rick Warren; taught theistic evolution; promoted the Alpha Course).

- The author comes from a Calvinist (Presbyterian) background / family, but (or rather and) attends a Catholic (Anglican) Church, All Souls in London.

- He quoted twice the Calvinist John Piper, and also a certain Don Carson, who probably refers to D.A. Carson, also a Calvinist. Another Calvinist he quoted is Lesslie Newbigin.

- He endorsed at the end of the book Winston Churchill, who is very well known to have been a Freemason. This is truly shocking. Why do so many PHDs not even know such essential basics? Is there no discernment being taught at universities?

- He criticized two of the elders / ministers of his church (one being a former minister) in public, but did not state if he had conversations with those two people before bringing the matter into a book. The context implied a good and valid example, but why had he to mention those specifics (although not the names)?

Overall a book that saddens me. It started out as a wonderful book, but turned out to be problematic.


More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell (4*)

Excellent book. It is short and precise, without overwhelming the average reader with elaborated theology, a trap many other apologetic books fall into. Highly recommended, but with a little discernment.

Two small issues:

- They endorse C.S. Lewis, who was a false teacher (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ).

- They state at the beginning of the book that the command to not work at the Weekly Sabbath is obsolete, which is clearly wrong. This would imply that 3500 years before Israel was even heard of (5500 - 2000 BC Jacob), people would have worked 30 days a month and 360 days a year. This does obviously not make sense.


More Than a Healer: Not the Jesus You Want, but the Jesus You Need, by Costi W. Hinn (4*)

Very good book. Much needed exhortation on Spiritual Gifts, although the book just touches the surface.

The content of the book does thankfully not reflect his Calvinism and is rather contrary to the doctrines taught within that religion (prevalent and erroneous doctrine of Cessationism).


My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers (3*)

PROS

+ Overall good theology (with the exceptions mentioned below).

+ Excellent teachings on how to be a servant (in his terms a doormat).

+ He refutes the 'Once-Saved-Always-Saved theology.

+ He does not water down the Good Message and is not shy of the difficult points (except to challenge people for healthy judgment of each other's sin where he clearly fails).

+ No questionable endorsements or quotations of problematic teachers, except the singular endorsement of Augustine.

NEUTRAL

+ Lots of good exhortation, although his guilt trip goes too far. He would find guilt in every person, no matter what.

CONS

- He is spiritualizing throughout book and his use of symbolism and typology reaches problematic levels. Many of his comparisons are very stretched. He goes to the very limits of biblical interpretation and sometimes transgresses those in terrible ways.

"... your body is the Bethlehem of God's Son"

"... I cannot continue without my Elijah. Yet God says you must continue alone at your Jordan [His interpretation of 2Kin 2:14 "14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. "]

" You must be willing to go through God's winepress where the grapes are crushed [if he only knew what this means in the end times ...]. You must struggle, experiment and rehearse your words to express God's truth clearly."

- Terrible teaching on 'do not judge'. Probably the worst exegesis I ever heard on the underlying verses, with a total absence of righteous judgment of sin:

"If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own"

"Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me"

"Every time I judge, I condemn myself."

- Many problematic statements, such as:

"It takes God all of time and eternity to conform a man to his purpose."

"It is wonderful to remember that Jesus Christ has needs which we can meet. Give me a drink."

"We are not commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification. We are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ."

"If God were human, how sick and tired He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation and for our sanctification."

"... Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you and yet possessing all things. This is poverty triumphant." [His interpretation of 2Cor 6:10 "as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything."]

- Self-contradictory statements:

(Jun6) "And our will always agrees with God. Yet you say, but I don't know if my will is in agreement with God. Look to Jesus and you will find that your will and your conscience are in agreement with Him every time. What causes you to say, I will not obey, is something less deep and penetrating than your will. It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God. The most profound thing in a person is his will, not sin. The will is the essential element in God's creation of human beings. Sin is a perverse nature which entered into people. In someone who has been born again the source of the will is almighty God."

- He teaches that 'self-pity is satanic' (his very words). He is often exaggerating and dramatizing.

- He is probably the champion in 'IS NOT' statements. I am tired of author number XX trying to say what a certain principle or idea of the Bible is not, while trying to find an exclusive definition above all other definitions. This is a sad reality in literary Christianity, that the more books you read the more confused you become (if you would not filter), because you will find so many authors trying to find a definition no one else came up with before. Chambers could not even reconcile all his 'IS NOT' statements in his own book, because they conflict sometimes. While he is saying in one chapter 'do this', he says the exact opposite in another part of the book.

- He endorses in the book the Puritans, and exactly one person, which makes this emphasis even more problematic, as he has chosen one of the greatest antichrists of Christian history. Augustine, the doctor of the RCC and the patriarch of Calvinism, and of countless heresies that came into the church through and shortly after him, only to mention the Apocrypha, infant baptism, financial tithing, sex being evil, perpetual virginity of Mary, prayers to saints, the 7 Catholic sacraments, amillennialism, .... He was also the father of the doctrine of persecution. One could impossibly have chosen a worse endorsement for this prominent and singular position in his book.


The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, by Edwin R. Thiele (2*)

The main reason why we still believe in a deflated timeline with overlaps of up to 11 generations, is essentially the fundamental lack of spiritual discernment in academic circles. Edwin R. Thiele's chronology 'The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings' has become the consensus view among Old Testament scholars. It certainly contains much valuable work, but fails spectacularly when it comes to the superiority of the Greek over Modern Hebrew. Should we have not been more cautious knowing that he was a Seventh-Day-Adventist, a clearly heretical cult? Why are we blindly accepting core teachings from someone who is possibly not even a Christian?


Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God, by Kaitlin B. Curtice (1*)

I had beautiful expectations after this book had been recommended to me. A beautiful expectation to learn more about important cultures. But the book turned out to be heretical.

I first winced when I read her recommendation of Richard Rohr and his 'beautiful' book, knowing well that Rohr is one of the figureheads of New Age teachings and teaches Universalism.

Then I winced again when she endorsed spirits of their forefathers.

Next she spoke about the creation account by giving priority to extrabiblical accounts and questioning the validity of the biblical account.

Then she goes over to question the requirement of accountability (meetings) in church.

Then she tells us that she is only a loose Christian and might lose her faith at some point in the coming years.

I continued to listen until she described God as a mother, as Mama G***n.

Blasphemy. One of the very few books I stopped reading after less than an hour into it.


No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green, by Melody Green (4*)

Highly encouraging book, with a tremendous story. Generally with a balanced doctrine.

But outmost discernment is required when it comes to the repeated mention of the highly problematic teacher Kathryn Kuhlman and some other characters. It would read like an endorsement, if there would not be the indirect hint that the Green's renounced at a certain point to focus on healings, also after they had not been healed by her.


Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, by Kyle Idleman (4*)

Excellent book and wake-up call for many Christians, especially those in North America, of whom many are lukewarm, thinking to have purchased the ticket to heaven through a prayer and some follow-up. A world where once-saved-always-saved is rather preacher than holiness and sanctification. This book does not tell much about his theology and does not include much Bible, but it is an excellent motivation to push people on the way that leads right through the narrow gate.

The only concerning things read in the book are the endorsement of C.S. Lewis and to describe Ken Blanchard (promoter of New Age!) as a friend of this church, but at least he uses the chance to criticize his book.


Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1*)

Entirely useless book by a confused author.

It comes as a big surprise that this author is being recommended by at least 2 major Christian ministries (one of them the (half-)Catholic Christianity Today, once again confirming their evil agenda).

Now that I had the chance to listen to this book I was shocked. There is absolutely no Christian theme and the handful of times THEOS is mentioned, it is either in vain or while swearing, with only one real reference. The book is painful to listen to, but I finished it.

+ Good defense of free will.

- He makes clear that he despises Germans and French people as a whole >> strong anti-Christian attitude.

- Especially the beginning of the book is full of rambling; and he is aware of that and tells us that he does not care ...

- He writes that he is not writing for readers, just for himself.

- He elevates himself by calling himself several times 'very intelligent'.

Stay away from this book, it is a waste of time and money.


Open Heavens 2015, by E.A. Adeboye (1*)

Run from this book and from this charlatan.

Some excerpts:

1) "If you want returns in Dollars, sow in Dollars. Do not sow in Naira and be expecting a harvest in Euro. It does not work like that."

2) "It is the particular denomination that you use that God will multiply and return to you."

3) "Do yourself a favor by using the biggest denominations so as to get the greatest harvest."


Pleasing People: How not to be an approval junkie, by Lou Priolo (4*)

Very good and recommendable book.

It is refreshing that he puts the Works of Faith in their right perspective and encourages us to do those, without endorsing Works of the Law.

Some minor criticism:

- He says in one passage that it is all about our happiness, which is not biblical. THEOS wants to bless us and to have joy, but happiness is certainly not a biblical purpose.

- His background of being a Calvinist / Presbyterian shines through when he mentions the Westminster Confession, elaborates on Total Depravity, endorses J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, Richard Baxter et al. It is concerning that he pronounces over and over in the book that his sources are of the Puritan denomination. Why does he have the need to do so?

If he would not have constantly sown in his problematic background, then this book would be great. But with some discernment, it is still recommendable.


The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian (5*)

This will be one of my shorter reviews, which usually implies excellence.

It simply includes a warm recommendation for a wonderful book which should not only be read by women, but also by those men who know that they will react in a defensive way if they are being directly addressed.

The book only contains one error, it endorses Old Covenant tithing through Mal 3:10 which is addressed to the former priests only, but later in that paragraph uses the correct word 'giving', which is the thing we ought to do, to give by heart and not under the compulsion of Old Covenant Law.

The book is one of the very few books which do not include any questionable endorsements. And it contains many Bible passages and wonderful prayers, along with an encouraging testimony of her and her husband.

What a delight of a book.


Praying the Bible, by Donald S. Whitney (4*)

The probably best approach. So much better than other books on prayer.

But sadly coming from a Calvinist background, although thankfully not written from that perspective.


Primeval Chronology, by William Henry Green (1*)

Heretical conclusion of the book "A simple glance at these numbers is sufficient to show that the Hebrew is the original"

The Greek Old Testament is clearly proven to be superior to the Modern Hebrew / Masoretic texts.


The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine, by A.W. Tozer (2*)

This book is hard to review.

PROS

- Good theology.

- Important exhortations, although it is not clear at all to which church he is speaking (to Europe, to America, or even including Asia?).

- He correctly criticizes the Roman Catholic Church at the end of the book, but throughout the whole book he over and over endorses specifically Roman Catholics. This is hypocrisy at its finest. We could argue that he often endorsed Catholics who lived before the Reformation, but even those had not been ordinary Catholics of a still 'unified' church, but those with very particular connections to the Pope.

CONS

- He positively quoted the Chinese sage Laotze (Laozi, a supreme deity in Daoism, wrote the foundational text of Taoism and is generally considered its founder).

- Repeated endorsement of Augustine, one of the greatest antichrists in history ( responsible for -most- of Catholicism's doctrines and practices, doctor of the RCC, patriarch Calvinism, Apocrypha, doctrine of persecution, amillennialism, infant baptism, tithing, marital sex is sinful, ransom-theory, JESUS had no brothers et al).

- Repeated endorsement of Francis of Assisi (Italian mystic, poet and Catholic friar who founded the religious order of the Franciscans).

- Endorsement of saint Bernard of Clairvaux (Abbot, mystic, co-founder of the Knights Templar, a Catholic order).

- Endorsement of Nicholas of Cusa (appointed cardinal for his merits by Pope Nicholas V in 1448, in 1459, he became vicar general in the Papal States).

- Endorsement of Frederick William Faber (a noted English hymn writer and theologian, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1845, ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1847).

- He promoted the book 'The Cloud of Unknowing', which is Mysticism. He also made several allusions to Catholic Mysticism throughout the book.


The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Jeremiah Burroughs (1*)

Little gods theology - stay away from the book. He states that we are individually married ('spouses') to Christ long before our glorification, that we are lords of heaven and earth, and lords over life and death (blatant heresies; there is only one LORD over life and death, and over heaven and earth). Joel Osteen looks like an amateur compared to such a teaching, which cannot be described anymore as little gods theology, but rather ought to be titled 'big gods theology with a small g' ...

Quote 1 (p. 126):

"The relation that thou standest in to Jesus Christ, thou art the SPOUSE of Christ: what! one married to Jesus Christ & yet troubled and discontented. Hast thou not enough in him? doth not Christ say to his spouse, as Elkanah said to Hannah, (1. Sam. 1:8. Am not I better to thee than ten Sons? So doth not Christ THY HUSBAND say to thee, Am not I better to thee than thousands of riches & comforts? such comforts as thou murmurest for want of; hath not God given thee his Son? and will he not with him give thee all things? hath the love of God been to thee to give thee his Son in way of MARRIAGE? ..."

Quote 2 (p. 128):

"Do but consider the high dignitie that God hath put upon thee; the meanest Christian in the World is a LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH; he hath made us KINGS unto himself, KINGS unto God, not Kings unto men to rule over them, and yet, I say, every Christian is LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, yea, of LIFE AND DEATH. That is, as Christ he is Lord of all, so he hath made those that are his Members to be LORDS OF ALL: All are yours saith the Apostle, even LIFE AND DEATH, every thing is yours. It is a very strange expression that death should be theirs, Death is yours, that is, you are as it were LORDS OVER IT, you have that that shall make death to be your servant, your slave, even death its self, your greatest enemies are turned to be your slaves. Faith makes a Christian to be as LORD OVER ALL, to be lifted up in excellencie above all creatures that ever God made, except the Angels, yea, and in some respect above them, I say, the poorest Christian that lives, is raised to an estate above all the Creatures in the World, except Angels, yea, and ...

ABOVE THEM in divers respects too, and yet discontented, that thou, who wert as a fire-brand of Hell, and might have been scorching and yelling and roaring there to all eternity, yet that God should raise thee to have a higher excellency in thee than there is in all the works of Creation that ever he made, except Angels, and other Christians that are in thy condition, yea, and THOU ART NEERER THE DIVINE NATURE THAN THE ANGELS, because thy nature is joyned in an hypostatical Union to the Divine nature, and in that respect thy nature is more honoured than the nature of the Angels. And the death of Christ is thine, he died for thee, and not for the Angels, and therefore THOU ART LIKE TO BE RAISED ABOVE THE ANGELS in divers respects: yea, thou that art in such an estate as this is, thou that art set apart to the end, that God ..."

- Although the book contains some very valuable and partly very good teachings (especially sermon 5 and 6), it is marked by intellectual babbling which might sounds impressive, but which does often make not any sense, even after re-reading it. At times it is just ridiculous. He also repeats a lot, a fact which becomes already obvious when we look at the number of 11 sermons he requires to explain Christian contentment to his church.

- The book follows a similar deceptive / trojan principle like many other heretical books. The authors gains the trust of the reader in the first half of the book, and then reveals his evil agenda in this case in sermon 7 out of 11. Satan is very crafty, to wrap such heresies as seen above into a desirable teaching about Christian contentment. This is precisely what the Bible speaks about when it says that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

- He mentions several times the Catholic term 'Paternosta'.

- He endorses Jerome and Ambrose, both Catholic doctors.

- He endorses 11 times Luther (Augustinian; removed Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from his biblical canon; had Anabaptists executed because they rejected infant baptism; rejected inerrancy; blatant antisemitism which enabled the N**is; extraordinarily devoted to the 'Blessed Virgin Mary').


Reclaimed: How Jesus Restores Our Humanity in a Dehumanized World, Andy Steiger, Sheri Hiebert (5*)

Very good book. How to restore our view on humanity through our faith in Christ and how to restore true fellowship and healthy relationships while being perfected in our purpose, before perfect relationships will frame our life on the new earth.


The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant (1*)

1. We might apply an 'artistic license', when we read the author's claim that Laban's wife had died before Jacob arrived. Movies do add certain decorative details, so she might.

--------------------------

2. But we already have a serious transgression when the author claims that Laban was upset to meet Jacob, while the Bible tells us the exact opposite.

Genesis 29:13 "And it happened that when Laban heard the message about Jacob, the son of his sister, he ran to meet him. And he embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house."

Book: "Laban was anything but pleased by the appearance of his Nephew. Not much caused the old man pleasure, and hungry strangers were unwanted surprises. Still, there was nothing to be done, he had to honor the claim of a kinsman, and there was no denying the connection between them. [...] "You are welcome," Laban said, without smiling or returning his nephew's salute."

--------------------------

3. And then, only half an hour into the book, and after the author had already assigned a whole array of specific gods to each of the daughters of Laban, Diamant utters heresy of the worst kind.

"Jacob grew ill, that's what happened. He vomited every morsel. He threw up until he was weak and whimpering. He cried out to E* and to Is**ar and Ma**uk and his blessed mo**er, to save him from his agonies and let him die."

It could be true that not only Laban worshiped gods, but also Rachel. But Jacob? He had just received a significant promise from THEOS on his way, and he swore his loyalty to Him. There is not the least of a hint that Jacob could have worshiped four (!) other gods.

Heresy is insufficient to describe this passage, it is blasphemy. Why? Because we speak of Jacob and we know THEOS as the THEOS OF ISRAEL. Jacob is Israel. The author essentially calls God 'the god of an idol-worshiper'.

Avoid and mark this author. Anita Diamant is clearly disqualified to be a Christian or a Jewish author.


The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, by Mark Buchanan (2*)

If you listen to the 2021 interview with Canadian Leaders Network, where Jason Ballard (Alpha Canada) wanted to declare Mark to be a guide in Christian mysticism, and to be in one catalog with Ruth Haley Barton and Richard Foster, you could have been affirmed that Jason Ballard made the correct conclusion of those books written 14 years earlier. But Mark clearly distanced himself in this interview from being put into this box and explained how his mother had initially led him into 'Eastern Religions and Mysticism' and how his wife had been his guru and Spiritual Director before a gradual transformation happened in the last decades.

The book started very well and its writing style and intrinsic motivation of the first chapters to hold the Weekly Sabbath are very convincing. But the quality of the book soon takes a sharp u-turn, almost as if two different authors would have written the book. As soon as The Message Bible (Eugene Peterson, same college where he got his Master from), witchcraft and an obvious tendency to mysticism sneaked in, the book lost its value, from a book to be highly praised for the first chapters, to a book to be warned against.

- He mentions in his book the 'Prayer of Examen', a prayer developed by Jesuits.

- Hints to the book 'The Attentive Life' by Leighton Ford and Richard Foster (Renovare, Catholic Mystic, Contemplative Prayer).

- Positive quotes and stories from books by C.S. Lewis, J.R. Tolkien and Brother Lawrence, all highly problematic teachers.

- Quotes from Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest and big name in Mysticism / Contemplative Prayer.

- The author mentions several times the act of emptying yourself (Kenosis), without explaining what he means by it. Kenosis is a misapplication of JESUS having temporarily emptied Himself from His divine power. We do not have divine power to be emptied from. To the contrary, we want the Spirit to fill us to prevent demons from filling an unoccupied house (Mat 12:44).

- He also mentions over and over 'silence and solitude', terms commonly used by Avila, Comer, Eldredge, Nouwen, Foster, Peterson, Rohr, Yancey and Willard, all supporters of Catholic Mysticism and Contemplative Prayer.

- The author first discourages people from making others work on the Sabbath, only to later list several examples how he did and would again violate the law by purchasing e.g. after an excursion. Double moral which clearly violates THEOS' command. He would have done well to show only a little of the courage he showed when going into the waters with his son and to better define the Sabbath without drifting into legalism. He also wrongly stated that the Bible does not provide any specification and e.g. totally missed the New Covenant indication in Acts to not travel extensively on the Sabbath. The book generally misses exegesis, what would be fine if other authors would plow that field. If only. The book does great in encouraging, but this does not last for long if the parameters and reasoning for the obedience are not provided.

- The book suffers a lot of misinterpretations of Bible verses, exaggerations, invented conversations and acts. After 3/4 of the book, it became painful to see the Word of THEOS being twisted over and over again. At this point in life the author was immature in his faith (at least what is visible through his writings) and would have been disqualified for writing Christian books, while being a writer with great skills for secular books. But listening to the initially mentioned interview, I suspect that this definitely changed for good.

- The author encourages other Christians to trespass warning signs and to risk their lives in dangerous waters.

+ The speaker of the audiobook is simply excellent.

More regarding the Weekly Sabbath:

- He totally misses explaining the Extraordinary / Ceremonial Sabbaths. Without this differentiation we cannot grasp the differences between Old Covenant and Moral Law, between what is gone and what is still valid. A missed opportunity to motivate people by showing the much more burdensome parts of obedience that are gone, and making the Weekly Sabbath appear easy in light of what is gone.

- Romans 14 is misinterpreted. In order to believe that this verse is talking about the Weekly Sabbath, we would have to inject it into the text, based on a preconceived belief, rather than getting it from the text itself. The entire chapter 14 of Romans is exclusively related to food and the verse most probably relates to either pagan festivals (the Romans observed 40 days per year !) and/or the Extraordinary Sabbaths (Feasts) that were usually related to the consumption of specific food (lamb, unleavened bread, no yeast, et al.). A Weekly Sabbath has no indications at all on personal food, therefore it is grossly negligent to insert this Sabbath into this verse.

- He leaves the timing of the Weekly Sabbath open to personal interpretation, but does not state why he thinks that THEOS leaves this choice to us. It would have been beautiful to see some boldness here and to show why a Sabbath can only mean from Sunrise Saturday to Sunrise Sunday, and not any man-made tradition.

- The interpretation of 'Lord's Day' in Rev 1:10 is wrong. It simply means in a better translation a 'day pertaining to the LORD', ultimately describing the Sabbath in other words, while John used constantly a different term for 'the first day of the week'.

+ The interpretation of Hebrews is countercultural and indeed great. One of the few people who understand the 3 dimensions (past-, present-, and future) of those verses.


Return from Tomorrow, by George G. Ritchie, Elizabeth Sherrill (1*)

Though being very cautious about heavenly tourism books, I thought to give this book a chance. But I only made it to page 26, where it became clear that the author is a freemason.

Quote from the time of his early hospital stay: "I looked down at the ring on my left hand: an oval of black onyx was the golden owl of the PHI GAMMA DELTA FRATERNITY, with the words 'University of Richmond 1945" running around the base."

This repeats at page 60: "I thought I had seen heavy drinking at FRATERNITY parties in Richmond, but the way civilians and servicemen at this bar were going at it bea everything ..."

Page 83: "Only in scouting and in the PHI GAMS had I been at ease with other people, and that was because I had been with the same group day after day."

Page 92: "I had known Marguerite Shell for a couple of years, ever since her brother Bob joined the PHI GAMS at the University of Richmond. Bob Shell quickly became my best friend ... She was extremely popular; in fact soon after we met she was pinned to another fraternity brother of mine."

Stay far away from this book. The ghostwriter, Elizabeth Sherrill, has worked for 7 decades directly under one of the most prolific Freemasons, Norman Vincent Peale, at Guideposts.

While she promotes in this book Freemasonry, she promoted in 'The Cross and the Switchblade' the Pentecostal Church, Episcopal Church, Jesuits and Presbyterians and in the book 'God's Smuggler' the Roman Catholic Church and Calvinist Church.


Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent (3*)

If true, then this is a very powerful and very beautiful story. I was about to recommend it after the first reading, but the second reading opened my eyes to a lot of disturbing details that changed my perception of the book dramatically.

I question the full truthfulness of the book based on the following findings:

- The ghostwriter is Lynn Vincent, the same who wrote the fake 'Heaven is for Real'. It is apparent that the author hates most Christians, or at least the church and its traditions. She does literally not miss any opportunity to lash out against Christians and their stupid fish stickers, the 'manipulative teaching' of the pastor at Union Gospel Mission those hungry mouths had to suffer before getting fed, how for years nobody from a church would have cared for a homeless man next to it, and so on ... She has an amazing writing talent, especially the art to capture the attention of the reader through details which provoke imagination, but it is hard to grasp what percentage of the story is really true. 60%, 50% or even less? She describes details and specific sentences of conversations made decades ago and we have to question what limits artistic freedom has in a Christian book.

This becomes especially clear when she is caught in a lie, when stating from Ron's perspective that every time he approached with his car the tunnel where the homeless were sitting, they would hide the liquor bags behind their back. There is no information how Ron could have known this and it is most certainly simply a 'decorative' lie.

- It is clearly stated that both Ron and his wife were (or still are) Masons, specifically of the Sigma Chi and Delta Tau Delta fraternities. The book has in fact been one of the most effective publicities for Freemasonry of the last decades.

p51 "In the meantime, Scoot and I landed our first blind dates with TCU girls, a pair of TRI DELTA pledges."

P53 "Inside the stadium, the whole student body seemed to ogle me as if I were the victim of a fraternity prank."

P71 "The first time I saw Deborah, I began plotting to steal her. Not for myself at first, but for SIGMA CHI, the fraternity I pledged after transferring from EAST TEXAS STATE to TCU as a sophomore. It was the spring of 1965, and I was on academic probation. Deborah, meanwhile, was a sophomore on an academic scholarship, and by the time I met her was also a TRI DELT sorority girl and a "sweetheart" of DELTA TAU DELTA, our rival fraternity. I planned to make her a SIGMA CHI sweetheart, a little inter-frat coup that carried with it the novel perk of adding an intellectual girl to our table at the Student Union. [...] One warm fall night in 1966, SIGMA CHI was gearing up for a "woodsy," an informal event in which the fraternity trooped into the woods, hauled in coolers full of iced-down beer, and made out with their dates. Only I didn't have a date, a fact I had been sharing with my friend Glenn Whittington (TEXAS CHRISTIAN / EPSILON MU, White Cross Trust Associate) when Deborah walked into the Student Union."

p73 "I learned that she had just broken up with her boyfriend, a DELTA TAU DELTA hunk named Frank."

- The very concept of a secret society is extra-biblical at best, and anti-biblical at worst. The Bible sets no precedent that encourages joining an organization marked by secrecy and 'hidden truth'. THEOS never commands it, and there are no examples of godly men in Scripture who joined one.

- There is no indication in the book that Ron and his wife distanced themselves from being Masons. There is a sinner's prayer in a Methodist church, but this does not say much, especially given the fact that both did the prayer with reluctance and that there is no mention of repentance. She later shows real - and indeed extraordinary fruits, but Ron does not come across like born again, although being a better person. He still called sick while travelling on an airplane (no lament for this in the book) and they played a triple-dating-game while being believers. His adultery caused one conversation with a pastor, but not a word of sincere repentance before the Lord.

- It is questionable that Denver's aunt indeed made it rain. Satan can fake a lot of miracles and signs, but to make it rain at the command of an individual? It is also not helpful that essential info regarding her witchcraft was hidden in the appendix of the book and only a second reading of the book enabled to connect the dots and what caused much of what Denver suffered, including the white lady friend of his aunt who indirectly provoked his near death.

- It is strange that some cabins related to Denver burned down (mentioned in the context of searching a movie location) and that the evidence for his history is gone.

- As this wasn't strange enough, the ghostwriter is telling us that Denver went for 20 years to prison without the authorities knowing his name. Could this be a clever strategy to make it impossible to track the truthfulness of the whole story, or could it be true that a man without name goes to prison?

- It is odd that Ron would have driven past the presidential limousine of JFK right before JFK was killed, on his way to a date. It could have happened, but rather seems fabricated, like many other extravagant details.

- Repeated endorsement of the false teacher C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ)

- Endorsement of Billy Graham (great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale (accident in a book inspired by Masons?), strong tendency towards Universalism, Key figure in the ecumenical movement, used Roman Catholic lay people as supervisors and altar workers, Close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope, endorsement of female pastors)

To conclude, we do not know the book's truthfulness. If true, it is a wonderful story. If.


The School of Biblical Evangelism, by Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron (3*)

Some good and much needed teaching on the 10 commandments, but with serious flaws which practically destroy the book and make it useless for recommending it.

PROS

+ Detailed and overall good analysis of the Moral Law.

+ Emphasis on the holiness of the LORD.

+ Condemnation of abortion and homos**uality.

CONS

- It is stunning that in a book dedicated to evangelism, no indication of baptism is being found. The Ethiopian Eunuch is mentioned once, and the sinner's prayer as a means to conversion is discussed, but the most important biblical means to conversion - baptism- is not even touched. What a failure.

- Very ambiguous teaching. They teach in the book repeatedly against idolatry, but commit gross idolatry through Spurgeon, quoted at least 30 times throughout the book (it almost feels as if more often than Christ). They undoubtedly put him on the high pedestal which only belongs to Christ, and bow down to him calling him the 'Prince of Preachers'. There is only one prince of teachers, which is Christ.

- Calvinist gong-show. Nearly all quotes (and the book is over saturated with quotes) are from Augustinians / Calvinists / Reformers / Puritans: Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, R.C. Sproul, Spurgeon, Melanchton, M.L. Jones, Wesley, Westminster Confession ...

- An almost entire chapter is designated to the explanation of 'Total Depravity', a core tenet of Calvinism.

- They suggest that a preacher ought to preach 90% Law and 10% Grace. What a terrible balance. We need to teach more law in North America, but not to such an extreme.

- They plainly equate hate with murder. It is correct that JESUS now looks already at the intent, but it is spurious to claim that He equates the effective acting upon hate with hate itself. To a degree yes, but He definitely does not condemn someone who murders, with the exact same weight as someone who hates. 'Overzealous teachers' would be the designation of JESUS for those authors.

- They repeatedly state that one lie makes you a liar, one adultery an adulterer et al. The Bible surely uses those nouns, but does certainly not mean that those sins are automatically character traits. If we study the Word carefully, we see that Christ would rather use those nouns for habitual, and unrepented sin. Yes, we are all guilty of breaking the law, but their guilt trip seems a bit over the top. This becomes also clear by Comfort's very common misinterpretation, to equate lust -ALWAYS- with adultery, ignoring that the famous verse in reference speaks to a married person and not to a single.

Lust is sinful, but to call out on practically every evangelism someone who has once looked after a woman, an adulterer, is legalism in its worst form. Comfort uses the exactly same approach for consumers of sex videos, he calls them all adulterers. Lust is a severe sin, but the fact that adultery was condemned in the OT by death and fornication not, should have us ponder. It is deeply concerning that 3 well-educated authors do not know those differences, but in the end it is just an instrument they use in order to subdue and prepare the reader to the concept of total depravity introduced at the end of the book, which main purpose is to transform us into extras when it comes to salvation, repeating the false mantra 'you cannot do anything for your salvation, Christ is doing 100%.' The Word says 'work out your salvation with fear and trembling' (Php 2:12).

- Repeated endorsement of the false teacher C.S. Lewis, of Karl Marx and some philosophers.

- Righteous criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, but endorsement of a Franciscan in the book. This is hypocrisy. Once again we see the spirit of Augustine through Calvinists who cry loudest against the Catholic Church (in order to distract from their true spirit), but secretly endorse it wherever they can. No wonder, considering the fact that Augustine was the third doctor of the RCC and the patriarch of Calvinism, and Luther as Augustinian, having continued to practice many of the core tenets of that version of Catholicism after his excommunication and for the rest of his life. The list of Calvinists who are under fire for Catholicism (e.g. Augustine, Tim Keller, Rick Warren et al) is getting longer ...

- Watering down of the Weekly Sabbath through spurious arguments and by interpolating words into Bible verses that are simply not there (they lied by explicitly stating that the word 'Sabbath' is included in both Rom 14:5 and Col 2:16). Very bad theology. One should expect much better from teachers who supposedly have studied theology.

They claim that if you follow the Weekly Sabbath, you are guilty of following the 613 Ceremonial Laws. What a ridiculous claim, one has little to do with the other, apart from the Weekly Sabbath being specified in more detail in the 600+ laws, but essentially being a part of the 10 Moral Laws. No matter if their professors have taught them wrongly in the past, they as teachers have the responsibility to study the Bible continuously. If they teach an entire book on the law, they have to be experts on the law (at least Moral Law) ! But the differentiation between Moral, Ceremonial and Oral Law is not even made in the book, and they have probably never studied it properly.

It is correct that the Bible does not state that we ought to worship on the Sabbath, but I do not know any Sabbath keeper who has a problem with holding the Sabbath on Saturday and going to church on Sunday. There is simply no other option if you do not want to join an SDA. To create now the false dichotomy that Sabbath keepers insist on worshiping on Saturday and that their obedience is based on the opposition to the RCC only, is simply an evil intent of discrediting faithful believers as conspiracy theorists.

It is also a lie that Paul preached on the Sabbath only to Jews. There are several explicit examples where he preaches either only to Gentiles or to both groups on a Sabbath. The Bible even uses the PRESENT PARTICIPLE (continuous / ongoing action) when stating in Act 13:27 and Act 15:21 that the prophets / Moses are -BEING READ- on every Sabbath to both Jews and Gentiles in the synagogues.

Act 20:7 involved an extraordinary teaching in a addition to preceding Sabbath teaching, because Paul was leaving the next day, and 1Cor 16:2 involved an extraordinary collection for the poor in Jerusalem, but both verses are being sold as icebreakers for the 'Lord's Day', properly translated in Rev 1:10 with a 'day pertaining to the LORD' and most probably meaning the Weekly Sabbath, while John constantly used 'First Day' for Sundays.

Col 2:13-17 is of course also abused as justification, while it reads: "Therefore do not let anyone judge you [judging does not even equal an abolition!] with reference to eating or drinking or participation in a feast ['feast' = clearly Ceremonial Law; no feast included in the 10 commandments of which the Weekly Sabbath is essentially part of] or a New Moon or a [Ceremonial] Sabbath, which are a shadow of what is to come, but the reality is CHRIST."

The same abuse occurs in the book with Rom 14:5, which reads: "One person prefers one day over another day, and another person regards every day alike. [...] The one who is intent on the day ['the' = very specific days, no regular Sabbath] is intent on it for the LORD, and the one who eats, eats for the LORD, because he is thankful to THEOS."

The entire chapter of Romans 14 speaks of food (14x 'eat' or 'abstain'), while the Weekly Sabbath has very little-, but the Ceremonial Sabbaths have a lot- to do with food. Another hint is the term 'unclean' (mentioned 3x), constantly relating to Ceremonial Laws in the Old Testament.

We should not only read in context if we are positively biased on a topic, but especially when we are negatively biased, or when we are simply not certain. And we should urgently abstain from cherry-picking individual verses, and from injecting a reading into the text, which is exclusively based on a preconceived belief, rather than getting it from the text itself.


The Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes, by Robert S. McGee (3*)

He teaches much valuable wisdom and I am grateful for him sharing his professional experiences with the world.

Especially the chapter 'guilt vs conviction' is great.

He also teaches many important elements of the Gospel, but not the Gospel. It is rather a feel-good gospel which tickles our ears.

Could you ever imagine that Paul would utter sentences such as: "Nothing can come between what you do and God's love for you as one of His children"? Certainly not. Paul or James would rather warn us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Yes, there is an essential aspect of THEOS' love that does never stop. But there is no such thing as 'unconditional' love, only 'benevolent' love which is a huge difference. God clearly expresses His appreciation in nuances, and unrepented sin does certainly not imply the exact same degree of His love as the authors implies.

Or could you ever imagine Paul saying "God wants us to live our life to the fullest"? Certainly not. Paul would rather tell us of his hardships.

It is also not correct, to claim that we can add nothing to our salvation. How about repentance, belief, faith, self-denial, communion, following JESUS et al.? That's quite a lot we ought to contribute, especially in the time of Present Salvation (sanctification).

The mention of CS Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ) in a Christian book is shocking (no matter who many others do the same), but at least only once. I would also not quote Freud (considered God as a phantasy) in a Christian book. He teaches much valuable wisdom and I am grateful for him sharing his professional experiences with the world.


The Secret Battle of Ideas about God: Overcoming the Outbreak of Five Fatal Worldviews, by Jeff Myers (3*)

Good apologetics, but with a serious lack of discernment, rarely seen of such a dimension in a Christian book.

PROS

+ Some good discernment on problematic -isms, movements and religions. But very shallow. He speaks e.g. a lot about Islam, but does not even give some key facts specifying the problems in comparison with Christianity. When did it start, what writings do they base their belief on, why is there a moon in their flags, how to deal with a Muslim ...?

+ Good defense of Christianity.

+ Great choice to read his book.

CONS

- He speaks at least 3 times of his membership in an undefined fraternity, without warning the reader in any way about the enormous danger and evil of Freemasonry. This is unacceptable in an apologetic book, and especially problematic seeing later in the book his specific endorsement of the freemason Ronald Reagan.

- He speaks of Paul through the term 'Saint Paul', of people like 'Father Smith', highly endorses the Catholic church (the hospitals they built et al.) and specific Catholics such as Bruce D. Marshall, G.K Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien in this book.

- He furthermore endorses Anglicans such as John Stott and multiple times C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ).

- He endorses William Lane Craig (Proponent of Theistic Evolution Adam & Eve = Homo heidelbergensis; one million years ago ... contradicting the 77 generations in Luke 3:23-28; he claims that the genre of Genesis 1-11 is pure myth; rejects the Flood and the Tower of Babel; serious errors related to the Trinity and Incarnation; he does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture).

- He twice recommends a book from J.R.R. Tolkien (One of The Jerusalem Bible translators, a Catholic Bible with 73 books, with the translators claiming that Moses did not write the Pentateuch; Tolkien resisted the liturgical changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council, especially the use of English for the liturgy, he continued to make the responses in Latin, loudly, ignoring the rest of the congregation; he invented new languages, clearly showing his unbiblical intentions by propelling the consequences of the Tower of Babel even further; his books are consistent with Roman doctrine and ideology, and none of the characters are redeemed or changed - NONE - good characters remain good; evil characters remain evil).

- Endorsement of Timothy Keller in a book opposing Marxism ... (Ecumenism and explicit promotion of the Catholic Church, Gospel Coalition, Theistic evolutionist, Contemplative Prayer / Catholic Mysticism, Lectio Divina, Emerging Church, Calvinist, Marxism ...).

- Endorsement of the problematic teacher A.W. Tozer.

- While the reader can usually discern if he refers to a certain person in a positive or negative way, we do not always find this to be the case. In the case of Eckhart Tolle, we see on the one hand his discernment, but also clearly sense a certain admiration of the author towards him.

-He quotes several times from the myth of pandora from the z**s god, without discerning the writing. He definitely generates a sublime motivation to read that writing, which is to eventually mislead people.

Sadly not a recommendation. We do not need more books on the -isms he and dozens of other authors have discerned before him - all concepts easy to grasp. We need discernment in the areas he (and many other authors and teachers out there) are struggling with.


Secrets of a Prayer Warrior, by Derek Prince (5*)

Very good and helpful book. It reflects on the importance of aligning ourselves with THEOS in such a way as to have fruitful prayers, and includes practical strategies such as fasting, biblical study, discipline, and consistency.


Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, by Nabeel Qureshi (4*)

Very recommendable book with good theology, especially regarding the Trinity. A true eye-opener when it comes to how best understand and approach Muslims.

He only missed the chance to admit that the Masoretic Bible was indeed manipulated. He later quotes the Septuagint, but never admits that our very own Bible was also manipulated, although in a very small dimension when compared to the Quran. He also made some arguments which could be held against the Bible and misses the opportunity to explain that to a Muslim instead of giving him a point of attack.

I warmly recommend the book, especially the audio version which is spoken in a very refreshing way by the author himself.


A Severe Mercy: A Story of Faith, Tragedy, and Triumph, by Sheldon Vanauken, C.S. Lewis (2*)

Definitely not a book for Christians:

- He was a Roman Catholic, his wife an Anglican.

Quote "An important insight struck us—Davy and me—one day when we realized that our friends, though Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran, were united by far more—mere Christianity, as Lewis would put it —than divided them. 'And they're all so—so happy in their Christianity,' said Davy."

Quote: "What moved her was Anglo-Catholic worship with its emphasis on the altar and the sacraments, as well as its deep aesthetic appeal. "

Quote: "Davy and I had been moving about a bit among the Oxford churches, and we came to accept, essentially, the high-church position that the Anglican church was part of the Church Catholic. And we found the Anglo-Catholic mass very beautiful. As a result of the high-church veneration of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, I wrote a sonnet on her:" ...

Quote: "One night Julian and Davy-and I had a deep and gentle talk about poetry and Mary Virgin - what she means to man and her role in the Kingdom. Out of that long night's talk there came another of my Oxford sonnets, dedicated lovingly to Julian: [...] Looks down to earth where, reassured, we bless the sun in her, our lady of the night. O lady, eyes can neither bear the pain. Of utter light, nor see without it how. To walk, so blindly stumbling we are drawn. To seek that light in you who see it plain. Be with us, lady, through the darkness, now. And at the awful hour of the dawn."

- Strong endorsement and several letters printed from C.S. Lewis, who was strongly influenced by George MacDonald (a universalist): "Adam was married to a demon named Lilith before he married Eve ... the devil will eventually be redeemed." The character of Lilith shows up in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', as the mother of the white witch. Lewis 'Christianized' white witchcraft. He wrote the heretical book series (Chronicles; Narnian; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) long after his 'conversion' in 1931 and 8 years -after- 'Mere Christianity'. Lewis dedicated his autobiography to Bede Griffiths, who founded a 'Christian ashram' in India. Lewis: "Hindu temples are a sacrament." ... "No one can say in the proper sense that the Hindu, the Buddhist or the Muslim is an unbeliever. I would say rather that we have to recognize him as our brother in Christ." Quote Lewis: "Pagan religions have truths." ... "Christianity fulfilled paganism". Lewis presented 2 Roman gods as visible angelic deities on Planet Venus in his book, Perelandra. Lewis denied the literal Adam and Eve; theistic evolutionist. "Events found in the first three chapters of Genesis are true myths". "Man is physically descended from animals". "God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself." Quote Lewis: "Tao contains the highest morality of all religions". Lewis rejected biblical inerrancy and believed in neither sola fide nor sola scriptura. Quote Lewis: "Purgatory (Catholic doctrine) is a real place." "Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me ..." Very close friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. J.K. Rowling (author of demonic Harry Potter series): "C.S. Lewis is one of my two favorite authors"!


Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms, by Tim Tebow (3*)

A good book, if read with a good portion of discernment.

PROS

+ Beautiful testimony to the world.

+ Great example regarding the prison ministry.

CONS

- He did not say anything regarding his motivation to write the book.

- He states that he has consultants for his football career, but it would have been infinitely more important to consult a seasoned Christian to have a look at the book before having published it. The book could be easily an excellent book if someone had looked over it. The lack of mentorship becomes apparent when it comes to his fundamental lack of discernment. Approx. 70-80% of the quotations are from problematic teachers (Martin Luther King was clearly a false believer, Ravi Zacharias, Taylor Swift is closer to the dark world than to the light, Mother Teresa was very dark although highly esteemed, Rick Warren does not require explanation, Charles R. Swindoll ...).

- His theology comes very close to Joel Osteen. Although we can appreciate his positive attitude of encouragement, his attitude is also of tickling, of saying what others want to hear. You can read all over the book phrases such as 'God has a wonderful plan for your life', 'God has a purpose for your life', 'God is all about love', et al. He preaches the Good Message, but it is a Gospel light and definitely far away from the real deal.

- Although I agree that a prayer similar to the sinner's prayer can be useful, he commits the serious mistake to lead an unbeliever to believe that this prayer equates to a conversion. It is especially problematic given the fact that he does neither in the book nor in this prayer include anything proactive regarding repentance, which is absolutely essential for a conversion. His prayer includes a 'thank you for your forgiveness', but it should be apparent that this is far from an active act of repentance.

- The book feels a lot like a self-promotion of him and his ministries.

- He employs a significant creative license when retelling the stories of the Bible. The stories of David and Job are decorated with details nowhere found in the Bible. He goes as far as to say that Paul was probably in a prison, where he had to stand in hip-high sewage. This is highly problematic and sheds a negative light on the Bible and on the LORD. It is also apparent from his repeated mentions of Paul (lacking respect in his language, making him appear just as a random guy) and by the exclusive use of the NLT and NIV, that he has not a high view of Paul and probably of Scripture as a whole. He has his heart on the right spot, but there is little holiness.

- He endorses Hellen Keller who advocates the teaching that the Second Coming of JESUS CHRIST had already taken place. Quote of her: "His Providence needs to be universal ... He has provided religion of some kind everywhere, and it does not matter to what race or creed anyone belongs if he is faithful to his ideals of right living."


Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, by Kevin Leman (2*)

It is a rare occurrence when the Holy Spirit gives me suddenly a heavy and troubled heart. Such a thing happened while listening less than 2 hours into the book. I could not continue it and had to lay it aside. Oh what a grace to be prevented from harm. There is close to zero holiness in the book, and it contains not only dangerous, but actually harmful teachings.

PROS

+ Direct language.

+ Some good and much needed teachings (e.g. the importance of variation).

+ Rejection of a**l s*x and p***graphy, even when consumed as a couple.

CONS

- It would perfectly go as a secular book, if it would not be decorated with some Bible verses here and there and e.g. the warning to not have sex before marriage. The lust reflected and projected by the author is not a biblical, but a rather worldly lust.

- He propagates to masturbate in the shower, as long as you do not think of someone else. He teaches what is not stipulated in the Bible, but does it in its name, which is heretical.

- He propagates self-stimulation for the coming husband, with the primitive reason to later be trained to delay the O. This is also heretical and a very dangerous teaching. Self-masturbation has no place in the life of a believer. Only a helping hand from the actual spouse is perfectly acceptable.

- He propagates for the coming wife a full medical examination 3 months before the wedding, and "preparatory exercises to help prepare your body". Imagine reading that in the Bible. ~Wives, go to a doctor who uncovers your intimate parts and verifies that you are ready to have intercourse with your husband~ Obviously, we would not imagine anything alike in the Word (although not everything is stipulated, but in everything we ought to ask if it would fit) ...

The medical profession is a great help in need, but we should not become perfectionists ... Our LORD designed us in such a way that we will have surprises in life, and our dealing with those surprises is part of our sanctification.

- He mentions casually the use of contraception, without providing any framework for it. As soon as a Christian author touches this subject (which is not necessarily bad), he has to speak out a warning about the birth control pills which could kill in the womb without knowing it. And a book dedicated to marital sex has to have at least one chapter on contraception and not just a few lines spread over the book.

- There is no introduction about biblical sex. No definition, no short word study about how this important topic is reflected in the Bible. What is the purpose of sex? What is the definition of unhealthy and unhealthy lust? What does the Bible say about conception, contraception, the time of pregnancy, child-birth, miscarriage, barrenness and its influence on sex, and sex during menstruation?

Nothing. Nada. Instead, we encounter his obsession with the O, how to get the most out of sex (under the very shallow pretense of doing it for the partner), language such as 'd-st**e and swallowing' spoken about as almost normal things for a Christian. This is scandalous and a teaching of self-gratification.

We are not strictly confined by what is written in the Bible. We might indeed be allowed to do more than many Christians think. But he clearly wanders in the area of serious transgression.

Mast***tion. Swallowing. D-st**e. Quickies. Gourmet s*x. When we reflect on his teachings, and meditate on what could actually come straight out of the mouth of JESUS, we notice that Kevin is a dangerous false teacher.

- When asked how to react to the usage of pornography of the partner, he advises -against-counselling, for technically restricting the computer, but offers neither spiritual guidance nor any word about repentance (!!!) ... Leman should not be a Christian minister. A true teacher cannot give such an advise.

-Scripture quotations are taken from the NLT, a rather problematic translation.


Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, by N.T. Wright (2*)

I never used the word 'boring' in a critique of a book. But it is the best adjective to describe the first chapters of the book. A rambling of eloquent words. It gets more interesting when it comes to the chapter discussing the name of God, but he only looks at the topic from some different angels, with zero results. Should I now avoid His name as the Jews did? We are left in the dark, with the only hint that Jehova is a hybrid better not to use. Zero reflection on when and how the name 'God' was created by humans and has no biblical inspiration. He mentions the Septuagint, but does not even mention the name 'THEOS'. The most important name, used by the overwhelming majority of Early Christians, not even included in the discussion. This is deeply troubling, especially given the fact that he looks at all other topics from the most bizarre angles, being as diplomatically and academically open as his trade demands.

PROS

- He knows how to write with eloquence and how to impress people through it.

- Some interesting and true reflections.

- Good reflections, specifically on prayer and worship.

CONS

- He stated that the Quran is a 'majestic document'. No context, no clarification. Let that sink.

- He stated that the Bible is not inspired, specifically not infallible nor inerrant. This is heretical. He goes as far as to make fun of those Protestants who think otherwise, declaring them as people who believe in 'long-range linguistic thunderbolds' having come down to the authors of the Bible. His conclusion is that THEOS provided the 'energy' for the writing, but that every writer wrote essentially what was on his heart. The Bible was assembled through a process of editing back and forth ...

- He rejected the 7-day-creation account in Genesis, with the primitive argument that one should not consider it to be literal. He employed his whole array of eloquence in order to manipulate the reader with many words and by making ridiculous comparisons to other obviously not literal accounts, but below the line this primitive argument remains all what he says. He does not provide any alternative, nor explains why he now picks precisely this account as not being literal. Very poor scholarship at this point, with the consequence of sowing more division than taking away from it.

- Lack of holiness throughout the book. It could have been written by an atheist being paid for making a case for Christianity, and you would not note the difference in the least. What does he mean with statements such as 'Israel's God blessed people'? Is this not his God? Why does he state that Christ called Peter 'Rocky'? What does he mean with statements such as 'The Gospel need not be rejected'?

- Lots of bad exegesis. He stated that Abraham went down to Canaan as part of his nomadic life, as if it was simply an extended journey with his flock. He stated that the Pentecost happened on the same day Moses received the 10 commandments. He mentions this, as if it would be a commonly accepted truth, without stating how he came to that very particular conclusion, nor stating if he meant the first or second set of tablets.

- He stated that the 10 commandments are binding, except the Weekly Sabbath ... His whole reasoning is that the Early Christians "were clear on this". This is misinformed and a twisting of truth. It is well known that Antisemitism was the key factor in adding the Sunday worship to the Sabbath worship. Ignatius of Antioch admitted in 110 AD that they added the Sunday worship based on their unbiblical hate of the Jews, which was only partly comprehensible because the Jews had added a lot of extra-biblical rules to the Sabbath: "Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness ... But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law, not in relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them. And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord's Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days."

- He promoted the highly problematic practice of 'Lectio Divina'. A key contribution to this monastic practice came from Origen in the 3rd c., after whom Ambrose taught them to Augustine. Lectio Divina was first established in the 6th c. by Benedict of Nursia and was then formalized as a four-step process by the Carthusian monk Guigo II during the 12th c.. In the 20th c., the constitution Dei verbum of the Second Vatican Council recommended Lectio Divina to the general public and its importance was affirmed by Pope Benedict XVI at the start of the 21st century ...

- He repeatedly emphasized that the church was responsible for bringing an end to Apartheid, with no real reason why he picked that topic. It becomes more weird knowing that he is not only an Anglican, but also a Calvinist, and that Apartheid was founded on, empowered and blessed by Calvinism. It would have been a great chance to apologize in the name of his religion, but no single word of lament.

- He wrongly associated the Septuagint with the OT Apocrypha. For a person who has studied religion, this is embarrassing. The Greek OT had been translated (Pentateuch in 282-250 BC), when only 1 apocryphal book was written. After the remaining Greek OT had been translated by 140 BC by other translators, only 5 apocryphal books were written. 11 apocryphal books were completed until the time of Christ, while it took at least until 100 AD (2 Esdras possibly until 300 AD) until the Apocrypha / Ecclesiastical Books were completed. This is all information readily available for the average reader on Wikipedia.

- He stated that it does not matter if you call the Communion now 'Mass' or with any other name. Would he have only read once 'Foxe's Books of Martyrs'. What an ignorance.

- He endorsed Calvin through the questionable quote '~if God is the Father, then the church is the mother'. Nowhere in the Bible is such an equation made, to the contrary, it is described as the bride of Christ and certainly not as his mother.

- He further endorsed the highly problematic teacher C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ) and it is obvious that he seeks his fame and eloquence.


Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, by Ann Spangler, Lois Tverberg, by Lynn Austin (1*)

The book gives us some good insights, e.g. on the relationship of a disciple and his rabbi. It is also edifying in many aspects of the faith.

But it is a very mixed bag. It is outmost heretical in numerous aspects, and should be strictly avoided by professing Christians.

- JESUS is declared to have been closest to being a Pharisee, compared to other groups. Quote: "his teaching comes closest to that of the Pharisees ... Sometimes the Gospels seem to imply that everything Jesus said directly contradicted the teaching of the Pharisees. But it's important to realize that debate was a central aspect of study" (> this is strictly heretical; the Bible makes it very clear that Christ's words to the Pharisees were mostly not part of a debate)

- JESUS is declared to have learned the Oral Laws. Quote: "After age ten, he would have begun to learn the Oral Torah". He is also several times explicitly associated with the Fence Laws, referring to the same ~1500 man-made laws He decidedly despised, years before he abolished the 613 Ceremonial Laws.

- JESUS is declared to have probably worn a Tefillin, although 'only' a small one. The author tries to manipulate us by saying that he only complained in the Bible about the big Tefillin, but himself wore a small one ...

- Plain invitation to repeat prayers from the anti-biblical Mishnah and several other non-biblical practices. Quote: "Try to pray these words of the Kaddish every day this week". We must not, but are invited to put a Mezuzah to the doorframe of our homes (box with the shema on a tiny scroll). We are invited to pitch a tent in our garden in order to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And the list goes on. She does not want to speak us Jewish-lingo and the probably retroactively added addendum includes some warnings on what she previously encouraged, but she is manipulating us to practically become a Jew.

Quote: "To the extent that Jewish customs and traditions draw us closer to our Rabbi, changing us into more faithful and wiser Talmidim, we should do them".

- On the one hand she correctly endorses the keeping of the Weekly Sabbath (although through the erroneous sunset -sunset rhythm), she later plainly contradicts herself when she encourages us to hold the Sabbath on a Sunday. What is worse is that she endorses and even justifies the 60 heretical additions the Jews added to a Sabbath (not explicitly mentioned in detail, but practically including how far exactly a person could walk, which kind of knots could be tied, how much weight could be carried, even disallowing healing and sex on a Sabbath, et al).

Throughout the book she endorses what Christ clearly boycotted. What grieves me most are the overwhelmingly positive comments on this book - seeing so many people not knowing the basics of the Word of THEOS and being manipulated by eloquence and admittedly a very good writing style of the author.

- Although Greek was the predominantly spoken language and most Bibles were Greek in Christ's time, there is close to zero reflection on this in the book. The Septuagint was predominant for around 600 years and is not even mentioned once in the entire book. Christ very often quoted from the Greek OT and it is not mentioned once. We cannot fully understand the Rabbi JESUS, if this important backdrop is simply ignored and everything viewed through strongly biased, namely Hebrew glasses.

- Uncritical and repeated endorsement of the Antichrist ~Rabbi~ Akiva, who is responsible for the manipulation of the Hebrew Old Testament in the 2c. AD, who was well known for hating Christ and who endorsed another messiah by name. Akiba and his disciples were the brains behind the Talmud including the Mishna, both frequently endorsed throughout the book.

- Endorsement of the heretic Eugene Peterson (Message Bible, ecumenical Regent College) as 'noted Christian author'.

- Endorsement of JRR Tolkien in a Christian book!

- Repeated endorsement of the problematic teacher Philip Yancey, calling his books 'excellent'.

- Endorsement of further false teachers: "Perhaps it is time to reacquaint ourselves with the great stories of men and women of faith throughout the ages, people like Perpetua, one of the early Christian martyrs, or Monica and her famous son, Augustine [the great Antichrist, patriarch of Calvinism, third doctor of RCC], or Francis of Assisi [Catholic friar who founded the Franciscans], or William and Catherine Booth [feminist leader, Aggressive Christianity], or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The stories of God's faithfulness are as varied as the lives of those in our Christian family who have lived them."

The book has some very good passages, but the overall damage it has done, and is still doing to Christianity, is huge. If we would read our Bible well, we would recognize such heresies.


Song of Redemption (Chronicles of the Kings, #2), by Lynn Austin (Not Rated)

I made it not more than 90 minutes into the book, when I was troubled in the Spirit.

Not that I noticed any errors found e.g. from writers such as Anita Diamant (Red Tent).

But I struggle with her concept of retelling and fleshing out Bible narratives. Would this have been written 2000 years earlier, we would call it at least Apocrypha or maybe even Pseudepigrapha, although she obviously does not claim inspiration, but neither did most of the writers of the Apocrypha.

It would be unavoidable when reading this book, to later struggle to differentiate that which is written in the Bible from that which is written in the book. Although this book (and probably her other books) might draw us closer to the Bible by knowing those histories by heart, it will blur THEOS' truth with human wisdom. We should not allow this.


Stay Salt, by Rebecca Manley Pippert (4*)

Very good book, very valuable for learning in a rather non-systematic, but personal way how to do evangelism.

The only downside is that Ravi Zacharias und his ministry is still recommended over and over in the book - surprising that there is no update of the book. Also one mention of Eugene Peterson. But apart from those faux pas, it is a very good book.

I will include the book in my recommendations once those references should be deleted.


The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home, by Russell D. Moorel (3*)

It is hard to grasp how such a well written book with lots of wisdom and good teachings can be destroyed by its very own author.

It starts with a big promotion of Halloween and the determination that he loves it because families won't argue and fight on Halloween, but on important Christian holidays. Correct, but why do we not ponder on why the enemy is not attacking Halloween, but constantly Christian holidays by bringing disharmony and conflict?

He states on page 19 that JESUS was ripped apart by nails "As she watched her son ripped apart by nails". This is contrary to Scripture which clearly states that not one bone was broken. I have nothing against dramatizations in books, but JESUS' death should not be touched.

Head covering debate: It is wrong to apply a cultural application because Paul gave 3 specific reasons for wearing head covering during times of prayer. His interpretation is quite unique and obviously wrong "As scholars of this era have argued, these coverings at that time culturally signified marriage, that a woman was not available for pursuit by some other man. The neglect of this symbol was forbidden by the apostle.".

The most dramatic misstep of this book are the countless quotes of highly problematic teachers such as Thomas Merton (Buddhist- Catholic Monk), C.S. Lewis (Witchcraft, purgatory, theistic evolutionist), Eugene Peterson (The Message, Mysticism) and Fleming Rutledge (Tolkien scholar who tries to find Christian perspectives in the lord of the Rings). I did not count, but certainly more than half of textual quotes were dedicated to problematic teachers.

Divorce: His interpretation of the exceptional clause in Mat 5:32 and 19:9 is wrong, as it correctly refers to unchastity before marriage, a topic which he mentioned as fornication in other parts of the book, but he did not make the effort to mention unchastity anywhere in the book, although this had been one of the biggest topics in Jewish culture and is plainly described in numerous Bible passages. The result is exactly what he warns of in other passages of the book, to water down sexual sin and to allow divorce and remarriage solely based on the reason of an (unrepented) sexual misstep. We should never be driven by how our current generation interprets the Bible.

The book starts with Halloween and ends with a witchcraft story:

"In the first of the Narnia stories, the brother Edmund commits mutiny against Aslan the King and against his siblings, allying himself with the evil White Witch, drawn along by her hypnotizing Turkish Delight. [...] That is all of our story. We are all Edmund. We should then show the same grace to those who have disappointed or sinned against us, maybe especially - if they are our own children."

Without those issues, the book would be great. But instead, it is a book that requires an extraordinary portion of discernment and which therefore cannot be recommended.


The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between, by Gregory Koukl (2*)

This book left me grieved. I have no problem with authors quoting once or twice C.S. Lewis, because little discernment is done and authors simply want to gain authority by mentioning his name. But if an author leans in virtually every reference on his name, directly promotes 2 of his witchcraft books and apparently aims to imitate his overly eloquent writing style, then it becomes obvious that this author is not spiritually balanced. Do not get me wrong, it is per se a good book. But it is hypocritical to teach salvation in one breath and in the next breath to promote two books which each in itself have the potential to lead the reader straight to hell.

Furthermore, to teach Big Bang Theory to unbelievers, shows a deep unbelief in THEOS' abilities.


Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by Charles Marsh (1*)

A highly problematic book which should be avoided at all cost.

- It was a shock to read that his visit at the Colosseum "conveyed incredible power and beauty to him". We have to utterly condemn such a horrible statement. It is like saying to find beauty in a concentration camp.

Considering now that he claims to have visited this horrible place as a Christian, it is even a more problematic statement, knowing that a high percentage of the people killed there were specifically targeted Christians. To those not knowing or grasping this horrible part of history, read 'A Voice in the Wind' by Francine Rivers.

- He, his father and his uncle were all freemasons, specifically members of the black fraternity 'Der Igel' in Tuebingen. There is no indication in the book that he left this evil cult for good.

- He believed through his Lutheran viewpoint that "the Catholic church is greater than their popes and minions". The RCC is the spirit of Antichrist.

- He specifically criticized evangelicals for not pursuing the same liturgies on Palm Sunday.

- He visited in Rome the Chiesa del Gesù with the crypt of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. He "marvelled (when partaking at the mass) at the multitude of white-robed Jesuits, swaying like a sea of flowers, who read passages from Lamentations, while large families waited their turn at the confessionals, illuminated by slowly darkening altar candles."

Later in the book it is admitted that he was even led to study 'The Spiritual Exercises' of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuits are of the clearest expressions of Antichrist.

- Endorsement of Karl Barth (Calvinist; mark of Universalism), of Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Melanchton ...


Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution, by Carl R. Trueman (4*)

A very good and timely book which can be recommended (no endorsement of the author who is a Calvinist). The author makes a very good job in intertwining / analyzing the overlaps of the historical figures who way back in time influenced what we see today.

Constructive feedback:

  • The book could include a more biblical approach (only towards the very end it becomes less secular; 'Christ' is only mentioned 5 times in the book, although the Godhead more often)
  • It could include a more practical approach (common confrontations and how to deal with the topic in the day-to-day),
  • Less preach-it-safe (understandable to a certain degree)
  • Definitely less intellectualism. It is a brief version of the longer book and is still way too intellectual. We will not solve today's problems by 'chewing' over and over on historic figures and how they related to each other / to the cause.
  • It also lacked a brief overview of the 4 waves of feminism, which surely contributed significantly to the world we live in today (I am not aware if this is included in the longer version of this book, but no respective remark is included when it speaks about the reaction of feminism).

Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber (1*)

She worships Mary, not JESUS. A masterpiece of literature. A Masterpiece of Heresy.

"This virgin who gave me my "mojo", who gave me my God grove for which I had been built".

" I looked at the statue of Mary, and she looked back. As I sat there, just the two of us, it occurred to me: all for which she had labored ...".

"For some reason, I felt more comfortable talking to Mary about this".

"... until I bared all that had happened to my soul with Mary that night".

"... Mary's chimed midnight [...] I stayed up all night in prayer, in awe, and in reverence."

There is one guarantee for those who finish this book, you will never forget it. It is certainly not as captivating as Francine River's Voice in the Wind, but it stands out for its high art of writing. She is definitely a master in this area and her writing style is superb. It is more, in combination with an excellent reader of the audiobook, the first third of the book is excellent in many areas.

But here it ends.

I do not know why most problematic books which I have read, follow a similar pattern, initially tame and outmost diplomatic, rarely any questionable quotations or theology. Is it the publishers who assume that many people read only half of a book and therefore push the authors to tidy up the front end? Or is it Satan disguised as the Angel of Light, intriguing us and once we are on the hook, to drop all the unholy bombs? In this case the latter is probably true. The author is a false teacher and many elements of the book indicate that she is fully aware of her misleading.

She felt at one point in the book the need to state that her searching is for a non-denominational church, but this is certainly a distraction, as the book is deeply saturated with Anglican and Catholic doctrine, authors and rituals. The claim that she converted at Oxford to Christianity, is spurious at best, probably false to be frank. She is much rather a JESUIT, based on her specific endorsement of Jesuit personalities and books (see below).

"... my friend Angie, a fellow scholarship student and a devout Catholic with Puerto Rican roots, likes to remind me ... we live in intimate relationship with each other and with the saints, we understand the community of intercession".

"Grace means you get to light your candle on the top rung. So that is what I did for the first time ever, this night. And that is where I have lit it ever since ..."

- Several interviews with Catholic outlets after the book was written.

- Previous teaching function at St Peter's College (Anglican).

- Twitter comment Aug 10, 2022: "Thank you Jessica! Sorry for delay - I've been away! But I do find Pope always a good place to return to ;)"

- Her '10 Of My All Time Favorites' on Goodreads includes: 'Hearts on Fire: Praying with JESUITS'.

- Her conversion story on St. Valentines day seems too mechanical, and many details of this and countless other passages are obviously made up, as she at least indicates at the beginning of the book.

- Very strange comments after having visited the memorial of the Christian martyrs Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer: "What a strange place for a memorial. [...] I turned to Dr. Restell and asked, "Why does religion have to get so ugly, even among sects of practically the same creed?"

- She described Catholicism and Protestantism as 'sects of the same kind'.

- She says that the latin mass is simply beautiful and that it is just 'a different service style': "... the Mass in Latin. It's so beautiful, I agree, but no one can understand it. Different generations flock to different service styles."

- She prefers to talk to Mary, which appears to imply that she prefers Mary to JESUS, especially given the fact that she had problems praying to THEOS, even after her conversion.

- Her feminism is obviously not cured through her 'conversion', as her teaching as a female pastor and several other passages of the book show. She also endorses Kathleen Norris, who is also a strong feminist and of a similar spiritual walk.

- She claimed out of the blue and without necessity, that JESUS went down to hell while He was in the grave.

- Several profanities ('bs' in long form appears at least 3 times in the book), even after her conversion.

- One of her best friends was attracted to the same s*x, she hung out with him after her conversion and did nothing to convert him. She makes it appear that it is just the most normal thing in the world to hang out and to make primitive jokes about how she was out of his reach while being a woman.

- Between her conversion and her baptism, she had her fortune told and did not warn of this practise at all: "Later, somewhere between watching a snake charmer and getting my fortune told, I began to succumb to the sensory overload. I'm ready to call it a night ..."

ENDORSEMENTS

- She builds her entire book and inspiration upon, and heavily endorses the highly problematic teachers John Milton (Paradise Lost) and C.S. Lewis (believed in purgatory; Tao is the highest morality; rejected biblical inerrancy; theistic evolutionist; considered Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims as brothers in Christ). She even attended CS Lewis Society meetings, endorsed several of his books by name and uses terms such as 'Wordsworth' and his 'Law of Undulation', as if everyone would know what she is talking about ...

- She endorsed St. Ignatius and specifically the fact that he does belong to the JESUITS.

- She endorsed Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (French JESUIT priest, Darwinian, father of transhumanism) and Anthony de Mello (JESUIT priest)

- She quotes Brennan Manning (Catholic priest), Francis Thompson (English poet and Catholic mystic), Teresa de Avila (Key figure of Catholic and Christian Mysticism, First female Doctor of the Catholic church, levitated), John of the Cross (JESUIT, mentored by Teresa de Avila), Thomas Merton (Universalism, 'spark of the divine', student of Zen master and Buddhist, used the terms God/Krishna/Tao interchangeably), Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Anglican), Sheldon Vanauken (Anglican, co-author CS Lewis), Mother Teresa (a fraud, direct enabler of sexual abuser and JESUIT priest Donald McGuire) and endorses even Jerome with the title 'saint', although it is well known that he is responsible as Catholic doctor and secretary to the Pope for the perversion of our Old Testament (+ Mary's perpetual virginity, invoking the saints, befriended with the great antichrist Augustine, who is of course also mentioned in the book).

- She repeatedly endorses Tolkien (very strict RC) and treats his teachings just as an ordinary part of Christianity.


The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, by Andy Crouch (2*)

A good book, but with some significant flaws.

+ No quotations of problematic teachers, which is rare in those days (with the exception of J. R. R. Tolkien, The lord of the Rings, which still surprises me to find in a Christian book, even though dozens of Christians books insert this heretical reference).

+ Concise, not filling additional pages in order to achieve some publisher's guidelines and bore the reader

+ With the correct focus, not to focus on the problem (too much Internet, porn etc.) but to rather build a healthy life in general, and receive results from there.

+ Beautiful focus on singing and worship.

+ Focus on the Sabbath and reminder to hold all the 10 commandments, although he fails to acknowledge the Saturday Sabbath and leaves me with the impression that he thinks of people following it on Saturday morning-Sunday morning, as being legalists (legalism only includes the pursuit of extra-biblical conditions for achieving righteousness and the pursuit of the Sabbath is surely not extra-biblical but at the very heart of the Bible). Good that he sees it as problematic and indeed legalistic that the Jews added dozens of man-made laws to the Sabbath.

- He teaches to follow a certain pattern and then constantly relativizes it through his 'reality checks' on his family. "~I preach that, but we only do it from time to time." I do not know if that is the American way of exhortation plus a cool relativization, in order to not even risk offending someone or to appear legalistic. But it is surely not the biblical way. Let your yes be a yes and your no a no. Preach what you practice. JESUS would have never taught something and then said a few chapters later, but yeah, I only do it so often and quite usually fail.

- A similar double standard is seen throughout the book, when he correctly condemns television, but repeatedly endorses Netflix (as if the medium would be defined through the device). Netflix is the absolutely worst of the options out there with only 2% of a typical list of Christian movies being found there. It is by far the most anti-Christian mainstream media that could be propagated by an author. In comparison and connecting to the research otherwise having been done in a much better way in the book, we see every other media doing much better than Netflix (81% of typical Christian movies found on Amazon Prime, 57% on YouTube Movies, 36% on iTunes, 32% on Christian Cinema, 22% on TubiTV, 19% on Pureflix). Those figures speak for themselves and are based on my personal research of 300 selected Christian movies. Netflix destroys an entire generation of Christians and it grieves me deeply to see it promoted 4 times in a Christian book.

- Although I appreciate his honesty to admit that he was involved in pornography, it shows a very bad example of how to resolve such an adultery. He stated that he confessed it to his wife after a dinner party 'I had to tell Catherine the truth about my enmeshment in pornography.' 9 lines for this, without a single word of repentance in front of his Creator, him showing true repentance. He would have better left that confession out of the book. In this form, it will rather motivate people to see it as a slip that happens to the best and at least once in a lifetime. I am sure that he repented before THEOS, but the communication of that episode of his life through the book is poor at best, but most probably misleading others.

- A quote I probably do not have to comment on: "Is there any half hour more stressful in more homes than the one right before dinner? Friends of mine with three young children used to call it "the witching hour," which is probably unfair to actual witches."

- The Bible is very clear that gluttony and obesity are one of the worst sins. Even though, the book repeatedly endorses sugar, muffins, donuts etc. A true shepherd of THEOS is wise enough to warn of those things. We cannot preach abstinence from the Internet and rather legalistic rules of 1 hour per day without the Internet, but at the same time (in)directly teach the same people to consume sugar at that time.


This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years, by Jaquelle Crowe Ferris (3*)

Do not get me wrong. It is a book with mostly very good content, from a talented writer, with a surprisingly good theology. It is a refreshing book and gives us a very important perspective from those we often belittle as not mature enough to be fed with spiritual meat.

The reason for removing the book from my recommendations is not only the author's public embracement of the Enneagram which she actually "loves".

It is also not only the fact that the author works for The Gospel Coalition, the figurehead of the New Calvinist movement that has fallen very deep and should be avoided at all cost.

The main reason is that the book is heavily promoting Calvinism, a religion which is not a cult, but cult-like and excludes many people from possibly being saved. It is definitely not the Good Message of Jesus Christ, what should say enough. The overwhelming majority of books and sources she quotes come from Calvinist organizations and authors. The quoting of the problematic teacher Eric Metaxas shows also a fundamental lack of discernment.

The book teaches about discernment, but tragically the author herself fails in her discernment and potentially misleads many of her readers. We see this so often in Calvinism, much discernment is being done (which is often on point and needed), but little reflection is done on their own heresy to exclude many people from the Gospel and to make it their own elite-club.

The discernment section is also very superficial. The only real practical advise is to clean up your media library and to watch out. But no substance. She as a young adult could have given us a unique perspective on how to spot people such as Brandan Robertson and how to keep her age group safe from many evil distractions. What a huge chance missed. A lot of words, some of those being wise, but no specific guidance.

And last but not least (like so many other books) it embraces the non-evangelical and witchcraft-promoting C.S. Lewis (found in the audiobook but removed from the ebook).

P.s. The reader of the book is terrible (a term I do not remember to have used once in a review). I have now listened to dozens of audiobooks, but this voice is highly annoying. When the reader quotes Bible verses, it is with such contempt that it becomes obvious that she has little appreciation for the Word of THEOS and simply reads a book. I never ever heard a person quoting Bible verses with such a condescending tone. I literally prayed while reading, that this voice may not distract me from the positive aspects of the book.


Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand (4*)

A book difficult to read or listen to. Difficult in the sense of hard to swallow amid the cruelties. But truly inspirational, not in the sense to repeat such a tragic story, but to be steadfast in the ordinary life of a Christian and the small things of life.

It is also refreshing to read a story which is not saturated with half-lies or made-up anecdotes.

It would be an excellent book if the publisher would not have partly ruined it, by inserting out of the blue and totally out of context C.H. Spurgeon, an arrogant teacher who was the opposite of Wurmbrand ("I believe there will be more in heaven than in hell", strong embrace of ecumenism, endorsed Catholic mystics/Knights Templar, Augustinian/Calvinist, called free will ridiculous, Once-Saved-Always-Saved). Both are so contrary that it becomes obvious that the British publisher felt the need to pep at least the quotations up, and to insert their great idol of Celebrity Christianity. There are few endorsements in the book, but those are almost all very problematic, such as the endorsement of Anthony de Mello, who was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist ... There is no way that a Christian like Wurmbrand would have endorsed a Jesuit and a Calvinist. It does not fit.

Recommended, but to be read with discernment regarding the names quoted and endorsed.


Unashamed, by Lecrae Moore (5*)

A superb book. A truly remarkable testimony of the grace and power of THEOS. May this story be with a happy end.

Recommendation: Listen to this book - read by the author himself and enriched with some of his music. A wonderful decision of the author to also give his voice to the book.


Unquestioned Answers: Rethinking Ten Christian Clichés to Rediscover Biblical Truths, by Jeff Myers (4*)

Overall a great book.

But (as so often) with a lack of discernment. Names such as Evans, Keller (Calvinist, Marxist), Lewis (Witchcraft) or Metazas (Fascist) should never be recommended by any believer who is in the Spirit.

It also lacks much more Bible references, especially in the chapter related to judging others. Not even the differentiation between outsiders and insiders (1Cor 5:12-13 is made, which is one of the key verses of biblical judgment of others. Do not judge outsiders.

The comment 'Jesus is our Sabbath' probably points to an abolishment of the Weekly Sabbath in the eyes of the author, which is clearly wrong, the Weekly Sabbath being part of the Moral Law which preceded Sinai by thousands of years.


Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way out of the Mormon Church, by Lynn K. Wilder (5*)

Tremendous book, tremendous story.

It is hardly possible to write any better story (the honour for this goes to THEOS) or to write a better book. It is very objective, not with slander nor with a bad mouth. A huge compliment to its author(s).

One small issue: the author does not know the difference between Past-, Present- and Future Salvation, and some of the generally very good theology suffers with that.


Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem, by Robert D. Jones (3*)

PROS

+ Overall good teaching on a topic much needed to be covered. But he minimizes sometimes the pain and suffering that the characters in his book have experienced.

+ Theologically sound, one of the few followers of Luther/Calvin who does not silently boycott the book of James.

+ Good description of righteous anger (against sin, under self-control, kingdom issues).

CONS

- It is a scandal to endorse repeatedly Augustine as a saint and to read extensive passages from his writings which are explicitly promoted in the book (former Manichaean who 'converted' only under enormous pressure and fear of death; responsible for -most- of Catholicism's doctrines and practices; patriarch of Calvinism; father of amillennialism; key figure in bringing the OT Apocrypha into our Bibles; baptized through Ambrose - 2nd doctor of the RCC; preeminent doctor of the Catholic church and the patron of the Augustinians; father of the doctrine of persecution; heretical teaching that even marital sex involving lust is sinful, Ransom-Theorist ... in short spirit of Antichrist).

The passage where Augustine supposingly quotes what he thought in certain situations as an infant, is horrible. It is obvious to the listener that Augustine is plainly inventing and lying about something he impossibly can remember of his infancy, and it is sad that the author of this book (who is a professional in psychology!!) blindly believed those lies and spreads those even further. No human being in their 40s can remember what he thought as an infant ... Augustine then goes on to say that infants are evil from birth.

- The book is repetitive, e.g. the story of the prodigal son is repeated over and over.

- The book mentions a lot of material which is not being offered or linked to those who listen to the audiobook.

- Bible verses are usually not read, but only referenced, which is a very low standard for publishing an audiobook. It cannot be expected that someone who does listen at work to the book, drops dozens of times everything.

- The speaker is not adequate for such a book, his arrogant voice does hinder the message to penetrate. ChristianAudio has much better speakers.

- Endorsement of the great heretic Calvin (known as 'The Protestant Pope' and as brutal tyrant; "Augustine is so wholly within me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings"; claimed that Genesis and Matthew contain errors of its authors; promotion of Apocrypha; Christ died only for the elect; burning of his theological opponent Servetus directly instigated by him).

- He divides actively the body of Christ by (almost) exclusively quoting Calvinist / Presbyterian / Puritan figures such as John Owen (Calvinist theologian), Frederick Buechner (Presbyterian minister, preacher, and theologian), Jay Adams (Calvinist / Presbyterian), Jerry Bridges (Calvinist), Paul David Tripp (Calvinist), Richard Baxter (Puritan).

- The author advertises himself as 'Master of Divinity', which is probably plain blasphemy, no matter how often this title is assigned today in America. There is only one Master of Divinity! Where have we gone ...


A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers (4*)

Excellent book.

The only downside is not the not-happy-end which is rather realistic, but the unrealistic fact that the main actor did not lead any of the other characters to Christ. THEOS still might use such a story to lead one person to Christ as she experienced it, but He would rather use all those circumstances to lead at least one person to Christ and to advance the Kingdom in the midst of this pure evil.


When Crickets Cry, by Charles Martin (2*)

A book that in parts delights, but also a book that overall greatly disappoints.

PROS

+ Incredible writing skills of the author.

+ Perfect narrative.

+ Captivating story.

+ Superb narrator (Adam Verner).

CONS

- Quote 1: "... with every wail I paid penance for the guilt of my soul" (Catholic doctrine, he is speaking of guilt from 5+ years ago).

- Quote 2: "It was there that I realized there were some sins I would never quit paying" (a Christian would never say this).

- The story is declared as Christian, but there is no general theme which THEOS could have made. This story can only serve to create doubts in a Christian, as it paints THEOS as utterly capricious and unjust, stringing together an endless line of suffering:

- His wife died.

- He went into a medical profession and quit it, while not being able to save both lives of the women in this story.

- Years of depression and suppression without any sign of healing from THEOS, or him asking THEOS for help.

- His brother in-law became blind.

- A girl who lost both parents (missionaries), had a heart disease and endured poverty, prayed for years for her healer, only to die in his arms after a hurricane struck his house. A few months earlier, her aunt lost her house, she who had sacrificed herself during 8 years for Amy.

Can anyone paint a worse picture of THEOS than this? Hardly. I cannot remember having read such a story, loaded with so many negative elements. I do not need any happy end, and understand well the concept of suffering, but this is not a story of the Christian THEOS. It is misrepresenting THEOS (at best), and reflects an author who has probably a highly problematic relationship with Him.

- The end of the book is very confusing. First the dead Emma appears to him in the hospital. It is described as real appearance; without any indication of a vision. Then the dead Amy also appears to him. There is no account in the Bible suggesting that we can speak with our dead relatives, neither face-to-face nor in a vision.

- The author endorses Augustine as 'Saint', him being the creator of most Catholic doctrines and the patriarch of Calvinism. To quote him is to essentially quote the devil.

- He heavily endorses the highly problematic teachers John Milton (Paradise Lost) and Mozart (Freemason).

- He endorses Hellen Keller who advocates the teaching that the Second Coming of JESUS CHRIST had already taken place. Quote of her: "His Providence must be universal ... He has provided religion of some kind everywhere, and it does not matter to what race or creed anyone belongs if he is faithful to his ideals of right living."


When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances, by Carol J. Kent (2*)

A partly encouraging, but still deeply troubling book. It is a book full of self-pity, entitlement, pride covered up with tears, melodrama, striving for prestige, striving for recuperating of her reputation in order to be able to continue her ministry.

Don't get me wrong, I was deeply moved by her grief. She must have gone through a very, very hard time. But the book leads to a spiritual dead end, apart from her being a good example in perseverance. There is hardly any other positive take-away from it.

It is rather a testimony to how we should not handle things.

  • She stayed relatively strong in her faith what is quite impressive, but did not really trust THEOS for the outcome of her situation and instead employed a very controlling attitude, spending apparently tens or rather hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawyers, in order to save her son from a penalty or to have him get away with a little condemnation ("I believe my son was mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime, and that he needs treatment and counseling in a controlled environment").
  • She showed no biblical humility. Even David accepted his penalty after his murder, and it is unthinkable to accommodate a behavior like hers within a biblical story. Just imagine David would have been arrested after his murder and his mother would have called together hundreds of friends for prayer and to do multiple Jericho-style prayer walks around and inside the court while manipulating THEOS in a selfish way to spare her son from the law. What happened instead? He deeply repented and faced the consequences like a man, including the death of his son.
  • She repeatedly showed to have not been in the Spirit, when praying for her own desires.
  • She never in the book elaborated on the feelings of the victim's family, but went as far as to have thought 'why can't she not understand what is at stake for me (when she faced the victim's mother in the court). There is (close to) no mention of asking the family for forgiveness, of her driving to the victim's family, of her followers or rather her sending any of the many gifts & cards she received.

- She repeatedly depicted the victim as a potential abuser of his very own children who now lived with the mother, and not even once reflected on her own responsibility in approving the marriage of her son to a divorced woman, who must have significantly contributed to a deep hate of her second husband towards her first husband.

It is more, the author herself later also divorced and even admitted this in the book. She apparently did not learn anything from this one significant sin and the devastating consequences, namely adultery, which his son did not repent of (at least until his murder) and then even led to a bigger sin, to murder. The Bible is so very clear on the effect and escalation of unrepented sins, but neither the murderer nor his family nor apparently many of their supporters ever realized why THEOS was absent in his favor. Instead, she willingly approves of remarriage and underlined this through the other stories in her book.

Quote: "We each brought our OWN BAGGAGE TO A NEW MARRIAGE and learned to "lay it down," slowly at first, and then more quickly as trust grew. Joy returned to my soul—but it's a different kind of joy than I experienced as a young newlywed. It's a bittersweet joy seasoned with pain, betrayal, grief, and rejection; but it's also a deeper joy, based on faith and trust in a resurrected Jesus, the ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS GOOD FRIDAY EXPERIENCES BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE."

THEOS absolutely hates adultery, He absolutely hates remarriage and He even more hates murder. Everything can be forgiven, but in this case there was not even the awareness of those horrible sins. Probably there is not even today.

  • She constantly praised the achievements of her family and of her son, and even emphasized that he taught Christ to inmates. Now I don't think it is fitting in any way that a Christian teaches within weeks after such a horrible act. Would a pastor who has just murdered someone be allowed to preach in a church? Certainly not. Then why do we think it is ok in a prison? THEOS is certainly very glad to have people coming to Christ and people preaching Christ inside a prison. But I would be very surprised if THEOS would approve a man who recently killed and is most probably possessed by unclean spirits if not demons, to immediately teach. Moses waited for 40 years until THEOS restored him to leadership!
  • It is not fitting that she is teaching in this book repeatedly exercises for the reader. She should show humility and not manipulate people to still picture her in authority.
  • She went as far as to compare the toe-tag sentence of her son to the death penalty of Christ. Absolutely disgusting and totally inadequate.
  • I do not think that she is a born-again believer and many signs are pointing to her being a Roman Catholic or at least being very close to Catholic Mysticism ( /Contemplative Prayer / Spiritual Formation). She uses as standard Bible for the entire book the heretical Message Bible from Eugene Peterson! She repeatedly quotes Henri Nouwen (Universalist, mantra meditation, embraces Buddhism, taught Kenosis, characterized Thomas Merton the Buddhist - Catholic monk as "the greatest spiritual writer of the twentieth century")!

- Endorsement of several leaders very close to Roman Catholicism, such as Eugene Peterson, Henri Nouwen, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, Rick Warren ...

  • Endorsement on her Twitter account of: Andy Stanley (7x), Augustine (2x), Beth Moore (8x), Charles Spurgeon (5x), Christine Caine (18x), C.S. Lewis (30x), Eugene Peterson (3x), Henri Nouwen (10x), John Ortberg (11x), Max Lucado (37x), Mother Teresa (17x), Richard Foster (3x), Richard Rohr (1x, very popular promoter of New Age), Rick Warren (27x) et al.

Why I Trust the Bible: Answers to Real Questions and Doubts People Have about the Bible, by William D. Mounce (3*)

Generally speaking a well written book, with a lot of very useful teachings for believers and unbelievers alike. A good defense of the Bible. But a very mixed bag, with some great and with some rather heretical teachings.

Significant concerns:

- He sees Genesis rather as a myth and says that nowhere in Scripture can we read that humanity is a few thousand years old. Kind of true. But the full truth is that this can be easily calculated based on the 77 generations in Luke. Nobody has the exact number, but +/- 400 years is sufficient. Interestingly, he later in the book criticizes those who see Genesis as a myth.

- He presents only the erroneous 4004 BC reference (he singles it out as an Ussher thing), and entirely neglects the more generous age presented in the Greek Old Testament. It is a scandal that a Greek scholar entirely ignores the Greek Old Testament, while knowing that this text dominated the Christian and Jewish world for ~650 years in Christ's time on earth. The only mention the Greek Old Testament gets in all the book is when it comes to the Apocrypha. He seems to have a serious issue with the Septuagint.

- Although pretending to offer some faithful options for the enormous lifespans of OT figures, he concludes "the numbers are not meant to be understood precisely, but are meant to draw a picture".

- He says that Scripture has generally to be read in the respective cultural context, which has a rather liberal connotation. But he is even contradicting himself, when he interprets the exception clause and precisely denies seeing it in its cultural context, namely the refusal to insert the word 'unchastity' (a concept mentioned all over the OT) for the oxymoron 'except on the basis of adultery causeth her to commit adultery'. (Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:9). It then becomes even heretical and dangerous teaching when he states without any differentiation, that (practically anyone) can divorce, if he or she is abandoned.

- Origen is mentioned several times without any discernment. He can be a secondary reference, but the reader has to be informed that he was a heretic for several reasons. To present him as a credible source, is not worthy of somebody with a theological title. Discernment is also lacking when it comes to the approval of the heretic C.S. Lewis, whom his brother even read on the deathbed of his mother. It is also a bit disturbing that he calls the death of his mother 'a story'. What words.

Secondary concerns:

- He erroneously states that Origen and Athanasius did reject the Apocrypha, which is clearly wrong. While Athanasius considered 2 books of it as canonical, Origen considered at least 7 (!!!) books as canonical (probably all). He used those apocryphal books indiscriminately with those of Scripture as sources for dogmatic proof texts, and cited as inspired / Scripture: Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Judith, Maccabees (plural), Tobith, Wisdom (of Solomon). He also defended Bel and the Dragon, Sirach and Susanna. He only discriminated against the Pseudepigrapha, which he called in fact 'Apocrypha' in the sense of being hidden / secret.

- He states regarding the Apocrypha: "... our 3 most important manuscripts from the Bible, dating from 4th and 5th c., Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus include some of these books, in other words the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT, did contain some of the of apocryphal books ..." This is an outlandish statement. The Septuagint (=5 Pentateuch books) was written in 250 BC, when not even one book of the Apocrypha had been written (his 4c BC statement is clearly wrong, it was written 2-1c. BC and finalized latest in 4c. AD!). Even if we very generously apply the term 'Septuagint' to the remaining 17 OT books written until 130 BC by others than the 70 translators, we still do not have the Apocrypha finished. But he even goes one step further, to say, just because some codices that were compiled 600 years (!) after the writing of the Septuagint included the Apocrypha, now the Septuagint written 600 years earlier consequently included the Apocrypha. This is desperately looking for a scapegoat. Might Bill as a translator never get such an accusation 600 years after his death, after someone thought it good to add some books to the ESV or NIV.

- He also makes the erroneous claim that the reformers agreed that these books should not be part of the canon. "Luther put them in a separate section and eventually they dropped out". Nothing could be further from the truth. Until the reformation never more than 7 apocryphal books had been used in a Bible. -ALL- reformers strongly increased the books printed in the Bibles to 11-15 books and the books remained for more than 400 years in our Bibles! THEOS does most probably not care if disguised as a separate section. He will judge all those who included, promoted and even those who did not speak against the inclusion of those books between the 2 covers of His Word. Woe!

- He claims that the OT was probably closed at the time of the council of Jamnia (end of 1c. BC), but we have numerous proofs that this was definitely not the case until the council of Augustine (393 AD).

- Mar 13:30 'Truly I say to you that this [set of] generation[s] will never pass away until all these things take place'). In his book 'Basics of Biblical Greek' he first intended to resolve this verse by translating it 'until all these things begin to come to pass'. Now in this book he ignores the word 'all' and isolates 'these things' to a partial event among all the events in the context. While the first intent has certainly some value, the second intent is simply bad exegesis. If he would read the Greek OT only once, he would have understood the meaning of this verse through the biblical definition of the concept of 'generations' found in Deu 32:6-9 (ΓΕΝΕAC ΓΕΝΕⲰΝ; generation of generations). Its meaning in this context is similar to that of 'this age' and of 'the last days'. We do not need to become dispensationalists in order to understand this wider concept of 'generation'.

- A death of Christ on Friday is contradicting Scripture on several levels, as we are all aware of. If I am not absolutely certain of an interpretation, I better remain passive and do not write a book about it. Christ died at the end of the Passover week as clearly proven.

- The book is a showcase for Mounce and Christ often takes the backseat. He repeatedly praises his own references and inserts as often as  possible references to people of academic rank, by presenting rather their titles than their spiritual fruits.

Room for improvement:

- When referring to the differing angels after the resurrection, he missed the differentiation between 1 sitting (Mat 28:2-4), 1 sitting (Mar 16:5-7), 2 standing (Luk 24:2-10) and 2 sitting (Joh 20:11-18) angels. And he did not consider the probability that CHRIST had been the very first messenger, the One light lighting and white as snow.

It often feels as if he would have simply summarized what others said about a topic and rather have not read Scripture for himself. We have today more than enough books written in the same manner. What we need is not people repeating over and over again the human wisdom showcased in other books, but authors who dig deep and who are on their knees asking the Spirit for HIS wisdom.


Why Not Women : A Biblical Study of Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership, by Loren Cunningham (2*)

The book does a good job of lifting up women and questioning men, who feel a superiority over women, based only on their different responsibility of being the head of the household, what does NOT generate a different significance or value of women.

But the book does a very bad job - especially in the first 4 chapters written by Cunningham - when it twists THEOS' word many times to such an extent that it lies to the reader, provides misinterpretations, does cherry picking, dramatization, provides several times unreliable sources, etc.. It claims e.g. that 1 in 3 women is abused and women possess only 1% of the world's wealth, dramatized claims that had been refuted hundreds of times in the last decades.

The first 4 chapters are one of the worst professional texts I have ever read. The quality becomes significantly better in the chapters written by Hamilton, but there are still many misinterpretations compared to the (study) bible and to common sense, and they both entirely miss the differentiation of the roles in church and family according to THEOS' purpose.

Both their intentions are to take away from THEOS' word that a man is the principal leader of a church and head of a household (Hamilton spends 11 pages exclusively on trying to give the word 'head' a new meaning; either 'leader' or 'source' =provider; pretty much the same at the end ... and ignoring such clear passages as Mark 6:24 where Herod's family demanded John's -head-). This intent is not only unbiblical, but highly dangerous for our society, to actively work on destroying THEOS' master plan for us. The book repeatedly goes as far as questioning and discrediting Paul, putting him even words of a daily prayer against women in his mouth while being Saul. Your image of Paul will definitely suffer through this book.

There is a lot of wisdom in the book and it is nice to see where some prejudices originated in non-Christian (and not really relevant Roman and Jewish) history, but it is not wise to dilute THEOS' word and to practically suggest that a woman should solely lead a church.

It is countercultural, but so is the true Gospel.


A Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George (3*) 

It is a good book, which sadly discredits itself through the endorsement of Augustine and Ruth Graham.

PROS

+ Good teachings and guidelines for women.

+ Good choice of the author to read the audiobook.

CONS

+ One 'of her heroes is Ruth Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham'. She 'read every book she could find of her'. (Billy Graham: strong tendency towards universalism, key figure in the ecumenical movement; close collaboration with the Vatican and the Pope; unfriendly takeover of Halley's Bible Handbook and deletion of Jesuit references; advised his friend Nixon to end the Vietnam conflict in a blaze of glory; trained women pastors; great admirer of the 33° Mason Norman Vincent Peale; trained Rick Warren; taught theistic evolution; promoted the Alpha Course)

+ Endorsement of one of the most problematic figures in Christian history, Augustine, being the doctor of the RCC and the patriarch of Calvinism, and of countless heresies that came into the church through and shortly after him, only to mention the Apocrypha, infant baptism, financial tithing, sex being evil, perpetual virginity of Mary, prayers to saints, the 7 Catholic sacraments, amillennialism .... he was also the father of the doctrine of persecution.

+ She endorses the Lord's Day (Sunday worship)


You Carried Me, by Melissa Ohden (2*)

Tremendous story.

But the book is not only written by one who converted to Catholicism, but this fact is also promoted throughout the book. It closes with the sentence that Mary is our intermediator.

I can therefore sadly not recommend the book, especially considering the fact that the Catholic church has still not apologized for the fraud of Mother Teresa. I believe this author's story, but am still cautious.