Book Review: Dispensationalism & the History of Redemption

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I’m of the opinion that everyone can be a theologian.

If you think about theology and form opinions about theology, then you are doing theology. Theologians do theology.¬†A theologian is not just the person in the pulpit preaching on a Sunday morning or the person in the university lecturing on the history of the Middle East. If you’re doing theology, you are a theologian.

I love to read books about theology, especially those that are accessible to everyone (not just the clergy). Not the ones with just a fluffy message but the ones that tackle a subject while providing Scripture to back up the author’s opinions. (One book that I’ve enjoyed that fits both of those bills – but that I still haven’t finished yet due to its complexity – is Randy Alcorn’s If God is Good.)

So it was with that in mind that I was quite excited to be offered a free copy of Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption. It sounded really interesting. Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption contains several different essays from 10 different men.

Not much into my reading, it was clear that I was over my head. While I was able to understand some of what I was reading, much of it left me feeling like I had just walked into a classroom having missed part of the lecture already. I was lost and needed a guide. This is not the kind of book you can read if you’ve never heard of dispensationalism before. You need to have some prior knowledge, or you’re going to be confused. I have no doubt that seminary students or those in the clergy will probably enjoy this book – there’s a lot packed into it – but for the person who has never even heard the term before, this is probably not the right book.

FTC Disclosure: This book was provided to me for free as part of the Moody Publishers Blogger Review Program. I was not required to provide a positive review.

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Book Review: Faith (a novel by Lyn Cote)

Cover: Faith

Faith Cathwell, a Quaker nurse working on the Civil War battlefield, is the title character and narrator of Lyn Cote’s latest novel, Faith. Faith is a historical read, so it takes the reader back to a much different time. As a nurse, Faith is disparaged for being female, and as a Quaker, her religion goes against the practice of slavery.

There’s an element of romance to this novel as well, and it doesn’t take long to see it. Shortly after Colonel Devlin Knight shows up, it doesn’t take long to recognize the chemistry between Faith and Devlin. In a very predictable fashion, she fights her feelings, he fights his, and they are both at an impasse when you just want to say “Get together already!”

Faith is 364 pages and it could have been pruned down… some of the writing didn’t add much in terms of scenery, detail, or plot. However, Faith may be an enjoyable read for female readers who want a romantic novel that doesn’t bear all, and especially for those who enjoy reading books written set in a different era.

FTC Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a free copy of this book.

Book Review- Surprise the World!

https://i2.wp.com/files.tyndale.com/thpdata/images--covers/HiResJPG/978-1-63146-516-1.jpgIs there a model for living life as a Christian, but not living in a bubble, insulated away from the rest of the world?

Michael Frost has an idea, and reading from his book’s subtitle, rather than writing Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as Steven Covey did for the business world, he’s gone with Five Habits of Highly Missional People for the Christian world. The result is Surprise the World! which is a model he calls BELLS – a five-part model of how Christians can share their faith in simple, every day ways.

Frost believes that not everyone is an evangelist, but that everyone can be evangelistic. BELLS is an acronym for Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, and Sent. These are the ways that Frost believes Christians can effectively spread their faith while being a real member of communities that don’t have just Christians in them. He gives a particularly interesting example in the “Eat” chapter :

“… a Southern Baptist minister in Portland who told me his neighbor both claimed to make the best margaritas in all of Oregon and regularly hosted margarita-and-poker nights in his garage…the Baptist pastor never accepted an invitation to join them, believing this to be a strong witness to his faith…I challenged the pastor to accept the next invitation…he ended up having more conversations about faith than he’d had in ages… It invoked questions.” (p. 54 – 55)

FTC Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review.

Homeschool Theatre: Why It Matters

Are you interested in homeschooling or incorporating theatre into what you already have going on with your homeschooling family?

If so, check out Living Education, a magazine published by the folks at Oak Meadow. Based in Vermont, Oak Meadow provides independent learning and homeschool options for families interested in something besides traditional public school education. Living Education is a free publication that you can sign up for, and the current issue can be found here. You can check out my article, “Homeschool Theatre: Why It Matters” on pages 24 and 25.

Favorite Flavors of Ireland: Book Review

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Ever longed to taste an Irish meal, but wondered where to start? Margaret Johnson offers a taste of Ireland with her newest cookbook, Favorite Favors of Ireland. Johnson, who traces her heritage to the country and has made many trips there to absorb Ireland’s culture and food, offers options for sweet and savory options. Several of the recipes have been borrowed from her previous books (as she’s produced 10 previous recipe books).

Some of the healthier recipes I’m most excited to try are the Walnut Vinaigrette and Sherry Vinaigrette dressings, Summer Pudding, Autumn Salad with Apples and Walnuts, and the Mixed Greens Salad Bread. The sweeter recipes I look forward to are the Butter Pudding with Custard Sauce and the Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins. For those looking for a very filling meal, the Chicken, Ham, and Leek Pie or the Peppered Pork Loin Roast look delightful.

Here’s an easy recipe you can try: the Autumn Salad with Apples and Walnuts (page 105) to serve eight:

Ingredients:

2 bags (10 oz./300 g) mixed greens

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

3/4 cup/90g chopped walnuts

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the greens and celery with half the dressing. Divide among 8 salad plates, top with the apples and walnuts, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Top with a few grinds of pepper and serve immediately.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Ambassador International. I was not required to leave a positive review.