Books

Review: Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ (Part 2)

Image of Conscience
by Andrew Naselli
Crossway 2016
Paperback 160

Handling Disagreements

In chapter 5, Naselli and Crowley discuss “Twelve Principles about How to Disagree with Other Christians on Disputable Matters.” #1 is “Welcome those who disagree with you (Rom. 14:1-2).” Here they re-define the weak conscience:

The weak person’s conscience lacks sufficient confidence (i.e., faith) to do a particular act without self-judgment, even if that act is actually not a sin. To him it would be sin … His conscience lacked the confidence (faith) to do those things without self-condemnation.1

This definition is excellent, as is the remaining discussion, which is based on it. They go on to describe weakness and strength as a spectrum2 extending from permissive (strong) to strict (weak). This is the pattern for the rest of the book, where “weakness” is treated as strictness, not theological immaturity.

3362 reads

Review - Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ (Part 1)

Image of Conscience
by Andrew Naselli
Crossway 2016
Paperback 160

The goal of this book is “to put conscience back on your daily radar, to show from Scripture what God intended and did not intend [the] conscience to do, and to explain how your conscience works, how to care for it, and how not to damage it.”1

Definition & Understanding

As their titles suggest, the first two chapters deal with defining the conscience. Chapter 1 defines the conscience as “your consciousness of what you believe is right and wrong.” Chapter 2 examines how the New Testament writers taught about conscience and develops a biblical understanding of the conscience from these data. Included in this is a definition of the “weak conscience”: an “uninformed moral consciousness.”2 As we’ll see later, this is the first of two definitions given in this book, and this presents a dilemma.

Chapter 3 answers, “What Should You Do When Your Conscience Condemns You?” The answer is the gospel, for nothing but the grace of God in the atoning work of Jesus can free us from guilt. This applies to the lost man approaching the cross with his guilt and the long-time believer who must again and again return to God in confession and seek forgiveness. We must never allow our guilt to become a tool for the accuser to bring us to despair.

5535 reads

Romanticism vs. church membership in "Is Church Membership Biblical?"

"Do formal commitments enhance or stifle the heart’s longings? Romanticism, as the 19th-century literary and philosophical movement was called, insists that formality represses truth and that the only honest lifestyle is to follow one’s heart."

4587 reads

Review - Temple: Amazing New Discoveries That Change Everything About the Location of Solomon's Temple

Many of us recognize Robert Cornuke as the man whom many believe discovered the real Mt. Sinai. He is also president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute, and has been featured on major television networks including ABC, FOX, CNN, National Geographic, and the History Channel; he received his PhD from Louisiana Baptist University.

What I especially appreciate about the author is that he begins with complete confidence in the Scripture. If accepted tradition contradicts Scripture, Cornuke’s game is afoot.

Dr. Cornuke, in a few pages, argues convincingly that the Temple was built in the old City of David—as he documents the Bible avows—rather than atop what has been wrongly dubbed the “Temple Mount.”

Cornuke quotes a number of passages that equate Zion with both the Temple and the City of David. Since the “Temple Mount” sits outside the old City of David, Zion and the Temple Mount cannot be one and the same.

8036 reads

Review - Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

Image of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
by Kate Bowler
Oxford University Press 2013
Hardcover 352

I’d had this book on my wishlist for a while; it seemed like the prosperity gospel was as popular as it was egregiously wrong—and it was increasing in both respects. It seemed so impossible to take it all seriously; I was hoping someone could help me understand its origins and teachings.

Then the author of this book, Kate Bowler, who is my age, wrote a beautifully profound article on her own terminal cancer in the New York Times, and before I finished reading the piece I bought her book.

I listened to an audio version, read well by Bowler herself. I apparently missed out on the appendices (though I skimmed what I could on Amazon), so my review may be slightly skewed.

I’ll start with the (apparent) criticism and end with the praise: Bowler doesn’t manage to create much of a narrative. Her chapter titles—Faith, Wealth, Health, and Victory—do develop themes within prosperity teaching, but throughout much of the book, the word “concatenation” kept coming to my mind. I felt like I was being introduced to preacher after preacher, ministry after ministry, with very little coherence to hang all the details on.

2703 reads

J. I. Packer’s Rare Puritan Library Now Digitized To Be Read Online For Free

"The John Richard Allison Library in Vancouver . . . has now made available their entire rare Puritan collection to be read online for free. What a gift of modern technology to help us recover these gifts from the church of the past. There are currently 80 Puritan authors in their collection, many of whose works were digitized from J. I. Packer’s private library."

515 reads

Review - Be Myself

Image of Be Myself: The Autobiography of a Bridge Builder
by Warren W. Wiersbe
Baker Pub Group 1997
Paperback 347

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

Warren Wiersbe, born in 1929 and still with us here in the land of the living, is quite likely the most prolific living Christian author, with more than 150 titles to his credit. From his famous “Be” series of commentaries on the entire NT and most of the OT, to various practical and expositional books, he has shared the wisdom and knowledge he has accumulated in many decades of ministry. I consider some of his works—Walking with the Giants, Listening to the Giants, Why Us? When Bad Things Happen to God’s People, and Confident Pastoral Leadership, to name those than come immediately to mind—among the most valued books in my library.

Wiersbe was born and grew up in East Chicago, Indiana, and received all of his formal education there and in nearby Chicago, where a significant portion of his ministry was also conducted.

4091 reads

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