Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Is Christianity equally guilty because the crusades are the moral equivalent of jihad?

The following was written by Philip Rosenthal of ChristianView Network.

IS CHRISTIANITY EQUALLY GUILTY BECAUSE THE CRUSADES ARE THE MORAL EQUIVALENT OF JIHAD?

Have you heard the argument that Christians can't critise (sic) Jihad because they are equally guilty for the crusades?  Mathematician Bill Warner created a dynamic time linked map comparing Jihad vs the Crusades: Watch it to decide who was the aggressor.




Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top 10 Books I read in 2016


When I look back over a year that had run its course, especially what I read for that year, I sometimes experience disappointment because I didn't read as much as I had wanted to. This year is one of those.

One thing about top 10 lists of books is that readers will come up with vastly different lists, based on their likes and needs.

However, here is a list of the top 10 books I read this year. I included the book blurbs for each of the books below.

10. Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray
"Originally published in 1955 and reprinted dozens of times over the years, John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied systematically explains the two sides of redemption -- its accomplishment through Christ’s atonement and its application to the lives of believers.
Murray explores the biblical passages dealing with the necessity, nature, perfection, and extent of the atonement in order to establish its relationship to our justification, sanctification, and glorification. He goes on to identify the distinct steps in the Bible’s presentation of how the redemption accomplished by Christ is applied progressively to the life of the redeemed, including the role of faith and repentance."

9. Whatever Happened to The Gospel of Grace?: Rediscovering the Doctrines That Shook the World by James Montgomery Boice
"Combines a serious examination of the state of today's church and a powerful solution: reclaiming the gospel of grace found in the confessional truths of the Reformation.
Though the Christian church has achieved a worldly sort of success-big numbers, big budgets, big outreaches-these are not good days for evangelicalism. Attendance is down, and it is increasingly difficult to distinguish so-called 'believers' from their non-Christian neighbors-all because the gospel of grace has been neglected.
In this work, now in paperback, the late James Montgomery Boice identifies what's happened within evangelicalism and suggests how the confessional statements of the Reformation-Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, and glory to God alone-can ignite full-scale revival. 'A church without these convictions has ceased to be a true church, whatever else it may be,' he wrote, but 'if we hold to these doctrines, our churches and those we influence will grow strong.'"

8. The Incomparable Christ by John R. W. Stott
"Who is Jesus Christ? No human question is more pivotal. No thoughtful answer fails to stretch our language, our categories or our aspirations.
In recent years numerous books have been written on Jesus, books that are shaped by faith or skepticism or follow the Western academic quest for the historical Jesus. The result has been a kaleidoscope of Jesuses, a thicket of viewpoints, some troubling to faith, some puzzling to the intellect, and a few that enrich our vision as they explore familiar terrain from new and promising angles.
Here is a book written by one who for a lifetime has followed Christ with heart, mind, soul and strength. John Stott offers us a vision of Christ whose portrait is discerned in the mosaic pattern of Scripture, whose influence is traced in the great currents of history, and whose compelling call has shaped the story line of ordinary humans who have been charged with extraordinary faith and courage."
7. Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism by Douglas R. Groothuis
"A 2001 Christianity Today Award of Merit winner! The concept of truth as absolute, objective and universal has undergone serious deterioration in recent years. No longer is it a goal for all to pursue. Rather postmodernism sees truth as inseparable from culture, psychology, race and gender. Ultimately, truth is what we make it to be. What factors have accelarated (sic) this decay of truth? Why are people willing to embrace such a devalued concept? How does this new view compare and contrast with a Christian understanding? While postmodernism contains some truthful insights (despite its attempt to dethrone truth), Douglas Groothuis sees its basic tenets as intellectually flawed and hostile to Christian views. In this spirited presentation of a solid, biblical and logical perspective, Groothuis unveils how truth has come under attack and how it can be defended in the vital areas of theology, apologetics, ethics and the arts."
6. A Visual History of the English Bible: The Tumultuous Tale of the World's Bestselling Book by Donald L. Brake
"With a full color layout and over one hundred illustrations, A Visual History of the English Bible covers the fascinating journey of the Bible from the pulpit to the people. Renowned biblical scholar Donald L. Brake invites readers to explore the process of transformation from medieval manuscripts to the contemporary translations of our day. Along the way, readers will meet many heroes of the faith--men and women who preserved and published the Scriptures, often at risk of their own lives.
From Wycliffe and Tyndale to King Henry VIII and the Geneva Bible, from the Bishop's Bible and the King James Version to the American Revolution and the Civil War, this tumultuous tale is history come alive. This book is perfect for history buffs, bibliophiles, and anyone interested in the colorful account of the world's most popular book."
5. Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People by Constantine R. Campbell
"Seminarians spend countless hours mastering biblical languages and learning how the knowledge of them illuminates the reading, understanding, and application of Scripture. But while excellent language acquisition resources abound, few really teach students how to maintain their use of Greek for the long term. Consequently, pastors and other former Greek students find that under the pressures of work, ministry, preaching, and life, their hard-earned Greek skills begins to disappear."
This is a real concern for many who learnt Greek at Bible School, and this book is a true encouragement to those who have "lost" their Greek!

4. American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle
"The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir of U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle, and the source for Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster movie which was nominated for six academy awards, including best picture.
"From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time"
The book says much more than the movie, and in his account of his life as a SEAL, the emotional grip of war on him can almost be felt.

3. Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study by Gordon D. Fee
"This work offers an exhaustive study of Pauline Christology by noted Pauline scholar Gordon Fee. The author provides a detailed analysis of the letters of Paul (including those whose authorship is questioned) individually, exploring the Christology of each one, and then attempts a synthesis of the exegetical work into a biblical Christology of Paul."
Even though this book has 744 pages, I never felt that it was too much. Fee is very thorough on the apostle Paul's Christology!

2. How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis A. Schaeffer
"As one of the foremost evangelical thinkers of the twentieth century, Francis Schaeffer long pondered the fate of declining Western culture. In this brilliant book he analyzed the reasons for modern society's state of affairs and presented the only viable alternative: living by the Christian ethic, acceptance of God's revelation, and total affirmation of the Bible's morals, values, and meaning."
Schaeffer had a very unique way of looking at the world, and this book is like almost all his books; worth the time to read!

1. Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament by Constantine R. Campbell
"Advances in the Study of Greek offers an introduction to issues of interest in the current world of Greek scholarship. Those within Greek scholarship will welcome this book as a tool that puts students, pastors, professors, and commentators firmly in touch with what is going on in Greek studies. Those outside Greek scholarship will warmly receive Advances in the Study of Greek as a resource to get themselves up to speed in Greek studies. Free of technical linguistic jargon, the scholarship contained within is highly accessible to outsiders."
This book opened my mind to many things that I was unaware of in modern Greek scholarship.

A. Blake White also created a top 10 list and Tim Challies created a list of the top books he had read this year.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Students of New Testament Greek and pastors should keep up to date with latest Greek scholarship

Back in April 2016, I read the little book, "Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People" (Kindle Edition), written by Constantine R. Campbell (also see this).

I immensely enjoyed this book and it is this book that led me to Con Campbell's book, "Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament" (Kindle Edition).

Even though some of the discussions were slightly over my head, I pressed on, and as I did, I gained some perspective of several of the latest Greek scholarly studies and debates. It gave me a fresh view of how limiting my own Greek studies were back in 1986. So many things I learnt back then have now been skewered by updated Greek studies. Yet, it also encouraged me to start "updating" my Greek, so to speak (write?). One area where I lack due to my studies in the 80's is in the area of verbal aspect, and as a result, I have ordered Con's book, "Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek" (paperback).

For those that are studying, or have already studied Greek, and also those that should be studying New Testament Greek (e.g pastors), "Advances" is an invaluable book that will help you in choosing what and how to study.

I'm not doing a whole review of the book at all. It simply would be too involved. I would like to give you a quote or two, though!

"[...] there is no such thing as Greek exegesis that does not involve Greek. And whenever Greek is involved, our understanding of the language determines how well we will handle Greek text. Thus, Greek cannot be regarded a peripheral issue for New Testament studies, since the entire New Testament is written in Greek. This means that New Testament studies can no longer afford to hold Greek scholarship at arm’s length, for there is no area of New Testament interest that does not involve Greek in some capacity. It affects the entire guild. This is fact; the only question is whether or not we will be responsible with that fact. For bad Greek is like a poisoned water stream in a village; its ill effects touch everyone." (Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, ePub Edition, 2015, p225)

As part of his conclusion to his book, the author hopes that he had accomplished 8 things, which I believe he achieved admirably! Those 8 things are in the quote below.

"Before concluding, I reiterate my several hopes for this book. First, I hope the reader will be properly introduced to the issues of greatest importance for current Greek studies. Second, I hope the reader will become better equipped to handle Greek text with linguistic sophistication, both on a methodological and practical level. Third, I hope the reader will feel competent to engage further with Greek scholarship. Fourth, I hope the reader will engage further with Greek scholarship. Fifth, I hope that the teaching of Greek will be well informed of current issues. Sixth, I hope that the wider world of New Testament scholarship will become more engaged with Greek scholarship. Seventh, I hope that some readers will be inspired to become Greek scholars themselves. Eighth, I hope that future editions of this book will need to include the contributions of some of those aforementioned readers." (Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, ePub Edition, 2015, p225-226. Bold text bolded by me)

I hope this helps you in terms of at least improving your Greek, or to start it for the first time.





Friday, April 01, 2016

New Biblical manuscript found, believed to be one of Constantine’s fifty!

Cairo, September 18, 2011: A statement was released late last night by the International Cooperation on Biblical Manuscripts, that significant evidence now exists that a manuscript which was discovered near the Egyptian city of Alexandria in 2005 may indeed be one of fifty Biblical manuscripts that Emperor Constantine instructed Eusebius Pamphili to order on his behalf for “the instruction of the church.”


According to Dr. J.A. Weber of the ICBM, the front page of this important codex states in Greek:


One of fifty copies commissioned by
Caesar Victor Constantinus Maximus Augustus
and servant of God
who authorized Eusebius Pamphili to have these
prepared by his scribes in the church at Caesarea
Palaestina and distributed throughout
Constantinople in the year 1088 AUC.”

While the date of the inscription seems problematic, Dr. Weber explained that AUC “is short for Ab urbe condita, from the founding of the city (of Rome). While Rome was founded in 753 BC, adding the 1088 puts the above inscription at AD 335, just two years prior to the death of Constantine the Great!”

According to historical accounts by Eusebius himself, Constantine wrote a letter to him, requesting an order of fifty manuscripts of the sacred Scriptures. This letter can be found in “The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Volume 1” and reads as follows:
“Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to Eusebius.
“It happens, through the favoring providence of God our Saviour, that great numbers have united themselves to the most holy church in the city which is called by my name. It seems, therefore, highly requisite, since that city is rapidly advancing in prosperity in all other respects, that the number of churches should also be increased. Do you, therefore, receive with all readiness my determination on this behalf. I have thought it expedient to instruct your Prudence to order fifty copies of the sacred Scriptures, the provision and use of which you know to be most needful for the instruction of the Church, to be written on prepared parchment in a legible manner, and in a convenient, portable form, by professional transcribers thoroughly practiced in their art. The catholicus of the diocese has also received instructions by letter from our Clemency to be careful to furnish all things necessary for the preparation of such copies; and it will be for you to take special care that they be completed with as little delay as possible.3335 You have authority also, in virtue of this letter, to use two of the public carriages for their conveyance, by which arrangement the copies when fairly written will most easily be forwarded for my personal inspection; and one of the deacons of your church may be intrusted with this service, who, on his arrival here, shall
experience my liberality. God preserve you, beloved brother!”
According to Dr. Weber, preliminary carbon dating of the codex puts it in the early 4th century which would confirm the authenticity of the codex. Dr. Weber also said that there are hardly any variations from Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, and that if the final testing on this codex proves it authentic, that it would be the greatest discovery of Biblical manuscripts since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947!

If final tests confirm the authenticity of this exciting discovery, it will be named as Codex Constantinus, after Constantine the Great.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Leon Morris on Life in the Spirit

Leon Morris
Leon Morris

“It is nonsense to talk about a Christian who does not have the Spirit. That is a contradiction in terms. It is a distinctive of the Christian way that the lowliest believer enjoys the presence of God’s Spirit within him. . . .

“It is ethical conduct, not ecstatic behavior, that demonstrates the presence of the Spirit.”



Saturday, April 18, 2015

7 Books I would Definitely Read

20150418-last36booksread

Last 36 books I read sorted in
descending order by date

Tim Challies just published a blog post that intrigued me. The title of his blog post (“blost”) is the same as mine, or should I say, my title is the same as his, since he had it first.

It made me think. Which 7 books that have not been written yet would I definitely read?  This, especially since I saw a link on Facebook yesterday in which the BBC (or an unknown individual) thinks that the average person has only read 6 of a list of 100 books “they” think should be read. The questions arises, “Who decides what the top 100 books that everybody should read are?” Hold a survey? Is it a democratic decision? What people find important to read right now, in ten years could be considered just so-so!

I have only read 7 of that list of 100. However, I have read 100s of others. The list of books on the right is made up of the last 36 books I have read. The list is sorted in descending order by date, meaning, that the last book I read is the one in the top left corner, and the first of these 36 is in the right bottom corner. 6 of these are novels, of which I disliked 2, found 2 to be average and 2 that I enjoyed. I am in the process of reading 3 others, “American Sniper,” “NCT: Time For A Most Accurate Way,” and “New Testament Theology” by Morris.

So, what are the books that I would definitely read?

[An In-Depth Biography of John Piper]: I first met John Piper (not personally) via listening through his sermon series on the New Testament book of Romans. I have read commentaries on Romans and have heard pastors preach on parts of Romans, but I have never heard anybody expound the text of Romans with the theological clarity and passion like John Piper did. He started this series on 26 April 1998 and finished it on 24 December 2006. I know we all have our favourite preachers, and some of you may disagree. If you haven’t listened to his series on Romans, listen to it before you disagree. John Piper has had an amazing ministry and you can see much of it at Desiring God.

[Al Mohler’s Memoirs]: Here I agree with Tim.

[Paul, the apostle, in the 21st century]: Many books have been written on Paul, but that is not what I want here. What I would like to see is a book, fully based on Paul’s theology, on how he would have dealt with the issues of our day. Books on Paul have been written by men like Ridderbos (Paul: An Outline of His Theology), Reymond (Paul, Missionary Theologian: A Survey of His Missionary Labours and Theology), Bruce (Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free), and Fee (Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study).

[New Covenant Theology: A Systematic Theology]: The theological system known as New Covenant Theology (NCT) has been around for some time now, and although there are some differences of thought on its core, I believe that the time is ready for its belief system to be explained via the tried-and-tested format of a systematic theology. Who would write such a book? I have a list of names that could perhaps work together on such a project: John Reisinger, Moe Bergeron, Blake White, and Gary D. Long.

[D.A. Carson on Revelation]: I once again agree with Tim on this one. If you do not know who D.A. Carson is, shame on you! I believe Carson is one of today’s treasures in the church.

[Commentary on Romans by John Piper]: As I’ve written in my first point, Piper has done an amazing sermon series on Romans, and I believe that he could perhaps, based on his knowledge of Romans, set forth the definitive commentary on the apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman church.

And, that wasn’t the last time I am mentioning John Piper…

[Interpreting the Bible: A God-glorifying Pursuit by John Piper and D.A. Carson]: With their combined knowledge of the Scriptures and their expertise in the area of Biblical interpretation, I think that such a book could perhaps be one of the best books on Biblical interpretation for theological students and bench warmers alike.

So, there are my 7! They are perhaps not earth shattering, but that is what I thought of now!

What would be your 7. Remember, these are books that have NOT been written yet!



Monday, December 29, 2014

My Top 10 Books of 2014

It is nearly the end of the year. For some it was a year of successes and triumphs and for others it was a year of failures or disappointments!  The same goes for reading. Some books are triumphant books (the ones we finish) and others we fail at (the ones we do not finish)!

 

topbooks2014

 

Ranking Title Author
10 Day of the Vipers (Star Trek Terok Nor Book 1)  James Swallow
 

True to Star Trek nature, this book has a lot of names and places to keep track of. Yet, it is not difficult to keep up. For those who are Star Trek fans, this will be an enjoyable book with action, intrigue and sadly, loss. It highlights the very thing happening in the world today, in which governments are more and more turning their backs on religion. In the book, freedom of religion is important, showing one government in the process of ridding its planet of religion, while another welcomes religion. Indeed an interesting story!

Completed: 16 January 2014

9 Francis Schaeffer  Mostyn Roberts
 

Francis Schaeffer is one of the 20th century’s greatest influencers towards thinking Christianity. To him, Christianity was not simply a form of mysticism, and neither was it a leap of faith into the unknown. To Francis Schaeffer, Christianity was rational—not rationalistic. Christianity had all the answers to life’s big questions, and Schaeffer did not shy away from answering those questions. (Short review)

Completed: 26 March 2014

8 Anne Boleyn: One Short Life That Changed the English-Speaking World  Colin Hamer
 

This book was well written and is easy to follow. The history of Anne Boleyn is well portrayed and myths and fiction surrounding her are cleared up. It is not a thick book and as such is a good introduction into the life of Anne Boleyn.
It is certainly a good read for those who are interested in history, especially surrounding the entry of the Reformation in England and the huge role Anne Boleyn played in securing a strong foothold for the Reformation in England.

Completed: 11 June 2014

7 What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur'an  James R. White
 

In a time such as the one we find ourselves in, where liberals make all kinds of false claims concerning how Islam is a religion of peace and many more claims, James R. White lays bare the Qur’an and shows how weak the book really is.

Completed: 10 July 2014

6 The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance  Leon Morris
 

Morris shows us that the atonement is not just single faceted, but multifaceted. When we speak of justification, we are touching on one of the facets of the atonement. When we speak of propitiation, we touch on another facet. It is an easy book to read, and is suitable for many different audiences.

Completed: 23 February 2014

5 Our Sovereign Saviour: The Essence of the Reformed Faith  Roger Nicole
 

A very concise handling of the sovereignty of God in salvation.

Completed: 30 November 2014

4 Abraham's Four Seeds   John G. Reisinger 
 

This is an excellent book on New Covenant Theology. It breaks down the wrong ideas held by Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology and provides a simple yet profound, direct interpretation of the Scriptures. It does become a little repetitive at times, but is well worth the effort to read it.

Completed: 5 September 2014

3 The Canon of Scripture   F.F. Bruce
 

F.F. Bruce gives a very good analysis of the canon of Scripture and how it came together. Well worth the time spent reading it. Bruce deals with both Old and New Testaments. I enjoyed every facet of the book and especially how he dealt with weird compilers of what should be in the NT such as Marcion's NT and others like him. For those that enjoy history, this will give a good idea of how our canon of Scripture came about.

Completed: 29 June 2014

2 According to Plan  Graeme Goldsworthy
 

Very few writers can make Biblical Theology come alive like Goldsworthy. That is why an introduction to the subject—such as this is—for the every day Christian is so important. It can be a daunting task, but Graeme Goldsworthy opens it up for ordinary minds to enjoy!

Completed: 21 July 2014

topbook2014

1 A Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume Francis A. Schaeffer
 

The three books in this trilogy are the foundation to Francis Schaeffer's thinking. If all you read of Francis Schaeffer, then it should be this trilogy. I have now read this trilogy twice, and it is just as captivating as it was the first time! A must read!

Completed: 31 August 2014 (Also read it in 1998)

 

So, there is my list of the best books I read in 2014! I hope that if you haven’t yet read any of these books, that you would get one or two (or more) of these to read. If you only want to buy one of these books, I would recommend my number one without reservation!

Here are a few others that did not make it onto my list, but that at least deserve a mention, in no particular order:

Enjoy preparing for your reading schedule of 2015!



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Israel's place in God's economy

"I personally believe that Israel, as a people, is still a unique people in God’s purposes. However, as a nation, they do not have any spiritual or eternal purposes independent of the church. God does not have two peoples, two programs, two eternal purposes, two gospels, and he most certainly does not have two separate brides for his Son (Eph. 2: 11– 22). This does not mean that Israel, as a people, is not still “beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” It is one thing to think of Israel as a physical nation with national and earthly distinctions and another to think of Israel as a people with God’s peculiar mark upon them. Romans 11 convinces me there will be many Jews saved in the future, but they will be part of the church." (John Reisinger, Abraham's Four Seeds, New Covenant Media, Frederick, MD, 1998, Kindle Edition: Location 917)



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Is the WOF movement from God?

According to this guy in Charisma News, you would think that the Word of Faith movement was the next step in God’s restoration of His church, something akin to the Reformation!

The problem that I have with Tom Brown’s defence of the WOF heresy, is that he deals with a very small part of the heresy: the name-it-and-claim-it part. And then he softens that part to look like the everyday variety of faith that WOF is supposed to be restoring to the church.

I wrote a series of blog posts on this heresy back in 2005. I simply called it “Heresies in the church.” In this series you will discover the complete destructiveness of the many heresies that the WOF guys preach. They mess the atonement of Christ up completely, claim that He took on the nature of Satan on the cross, also that Jesus had to be saved in hell, Jesus had to be born again just like you and I had to, that Christians are Gods just like Jesus.

It is clear that these preachers, of which there are many, are preaching a false gospel, and according to Paul, they are cursed and hence not from God!



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Henry on the coming barbarians

carlfhhenry_twilight

“We are so steeped in the antichrist philosophy—namely, that success consists in embracing not the values of the Sermon on the Mount but an infinity of material things, of sex and status—that we little sense how much of what passes for practical Christianity is really an apostate compromise with the spirit of the age.

“Our generation is lost to the truth of God, to the reality of divine revelation, to the content of God’s will, to the power of His redemption, and to the authority of His Word. For this loss it is paying dearly in a swift relapse to paganism. The savages are stirring again; you can hear them rumbling and rustling in the tempo of our times.” (Carl F. H. Henry, TWILIGHT OF A GREAT CIVILIZATION: The Drift Toward Neo-Paganism, Crossway Books, Westchester, IL, 1988, p15)

Henry wrote this back in 1988. Looking at the world around us, I believe Henry’s savages are upon us! When we look at how people are fighting for their rights to murder, be depraved and to lead others—even children—into complete hedonistic immorality, I believe the savages are among us!

 quote-Ariel-Durant-a-great-civilization-is-not-conquered-from-within

Hold fast to the Bible.
To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress
made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.
Ulysses S. Grant



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Porndemic: a quick book review

porndemic-9780987016553

Title: PORNDEMIC: How the Pornography Plague Affects You and What You Can Do About It.
Author: Taryn Hodgson (with Dr. Peter Hammond and Christine McCafferty)
Publisher: Christian Liberty Books
Year Published: 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9780165-5-3
Pages: 255
Format: Paperback

Without a doubt, whenever I pick up one of the books written by staff from Africa Christian Action (ACA), I am challenged and given hope that issues are being dealt with in South Africa. And this book by Taryn Hodgson is no different. I have met Taryn and appreciate her ministry at ACA very much. In South Africa, ACA is at the forefront of battling the death-at-all-costs abortion machine, and also the very fast declining morality of the South African mindset. ACA has covered many different topics in their books over the years, such as abortion, Biblical government, the genocide in Rwanda, the situation in Sudan, homosexuality, and many more.

In this book, the topic of pornography is tackled head-on, pulling no punches. While the arguments are based squarely on the Bible, research on the topic is also dealt with. Even though it was written for the South African situation, it certainly will benefit readers from other countries too. Some facts from other countries are also presented in the book.

PORNDEMIC is an update on a book that Dr. Peter Hammond published back in 1991. Christine McCafferty started an update more than 11 years ago. Taryn took over the reigns and finally expanded, updated and completed the project.

The book covers the historical data on how pornography was legalized in South Africa, even though the majority by far, were against it. But, then, that is what the ANC does. They claim to listen to public input, just to do whatever they want when the public disagrees with them. The same happened in the case of abortion and homosexual ‘marriage.’ PORNDEMIC deals with the harm of pornography, the Biblical data, hope for those who are addicted, deals with objections to the anti-porn stance, how to deal with the porn law, and more.

It is definitely worthwhile reading, especially for its insights and practical value.

As with my review of James White’s book “Pulpit Crimes,” I do have some negative comments. However, these comments should not stop you from getting your hands on a copy of the book. When I read a newspaper, magazine or book, I expect the spelling and grammar mistakes to be sorted out, since (like most of us would suppose), these published reading materials were supposed to be edited for mistakes like these. There aren’t many, but they are there. Simple things such as incorrect copying of a verse from the Bible, wrong verb forms when the plural is used and not making good use of commas. The comma is our friend, especially in long sentences, and where parentheses are used.

“In South Africa, we need to lobby the Minister of Trade and Industry to have the Business Act (71 of 1991) amended to allow consideration of location (proximity to schools, churches etc.), proximity to other ‘adult’ businesses e.g. night clubs, liquor shops (so that the area does not become a magnet for crime) public participation and discretionary powers for local municipalities.” (pp170-171) I would have made at least one change to this long sentence, and that is using a comma between “crime)” and “public” close to the end of the sentence.

“Phoenix and Indianapolis land use studies indicate that the ‘negative land use impact of a single adult use extends for up to three blocks.’” (p169) I suspect that “adult use” should be “adult shop.”

[] An Arizona land use study (1990) police found puddles of semen on the floor and walls in the peep booths of ‘adult shops.’” (p169) Here the sentence would make sense by starting it off with “In.”

“. . . web filtering software designed to process thousands of web requests and check them against a global database of millions of known websites that resides in the Internet cloud . . .” (p164) Grammar: “reside.”

“The Internet filtering specialist, Watchdog International, is a tech organisation has blocked child porn from the Internet in many different countries.” (p164) Missing word: “organisation that has.”

“’But if anyone causes one of these little one who believe in Me to sin, . . .” (p xii – Foreword by Dr. Peter Hammond) Misquotation: “ones.”

“Our values and beliefs affects our actions.” (pxiii – Foreword) Grammar: “affect.”

Only a few of these types of mistakes are left in the text that I have not given here. So, there aren’t many, but they are there. But, as I said, don’t let these types of mistakes stop you from missing the content of this book.

“Pornography destroys minds, morals and marriages. Surprisingly in this day and age there are still many people who are not aware that pornography is addictive and just how addictive it is! Research shows that a porn addition is often more difficult to break than an addiction to cocaine!” (p91)

For those that think porn is not such a big problem, this book must be read by them.



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review: Francis Schaeffer by Mostyn Roberts

FrancisSchaeffer-MostynRoberts

Title: Francis Schaeffer
Author: Mostyn Roberts
Series: Bitesize Biographies
Publisher: EP Books
Year: 2012
ISBN: 0-85234-792-8
ISBN-13: 978-085234-792-8
Pages: 146
Format: Paperback

Francis Schaeffer is one of the 20th century’s greatest influencers towards thinking Christianity. To him, Christianity was not simply a form of mysticism, and neither was it a leap of faith into the unknown. To Francis Schaeffer, Christianity was rational—not rationalistic. Christianity had all the answers to life’s big questions, and Schaeffer did not shy away from answering those questions.

From academics, to blue collar workers, all were important to Schaeffer, and he believed that each one had to be answered on his own level.

Mostyn Roberts wrote a very easy to read introduction to the life and ideas of Francis Schaeffer. Roberts writes about Schaeffer’s early years all the way to the end of his life in 1984, laying out a history of Schaeffer’s life, but also includes his teachings, apologetics, films, politics and his final battle with cancer.

Schaeffer left a legacy that every Christian would do well to learn from and emulate. Schaeffer taught us that it is important for Christians to think.

If you want to learn about Schaeffer, this is the book to start on. It is easy to read, doesn’t drag things out and it really accomplishes its purpose, which is to introduce the reader to Francis Schaeffer.

Once you are done reading this book, and you would like to know more about Schaeffer, then you can move onto FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: an Authentic Life by Colin Duriez (hardcover, kindle).



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Five More Myths about Bible Translations

About 3 months ago I wrote about Daniel Wallace’s 15 Myths about Bible Translation.

He has also written a blog post called Five More Myths about Bible Translations and the Transmission of the Text.

5moremyths

It is definitely worth reading!



Saturday, March 01, 2014

60 Days–600 Chapters-1900 to go to finish the Bible

williamdicksbiblestudy
Two pages from my Bible in Ephesians.
From reading the title of this blog post, you are probably thinking that my math is all screwy, because how can 600 + 1900 (2500) be the completion of the Bible in chapters? Especially since there are only 1189 chapters in the Bible!

Every year there are hordes of Bible reading plans to follow, and like it or not they are designed to be read from 1 January to 31 December. They are annual Bible reading programs. There are other programs that are designed to be read over 2 or 3 years. I know, many will say that you don’t have to read it starting at 1 January, it could be started at any time. The fact is that these Bible reading plans are promoted on scores of websites and blogs. . ., in the last week or so of December. Which leads the human mind to see these programs, plans or systems as new year’s resolutions. They are designed with the annual mindset.

Well, this year I decided to do it a tad differently! I decided to follow Prof. Grant Horner’s Bible reading system which is kind of designed around a 250 day cycle, or a 28 day cycle, or a 31 day cycle, or an 89 day cycle. . . you get the drift! Horner’s system is designed around ten lists of Bible books of which you are to read one chapter from daily. That makes it 10 chapters each day, each chapter from a different book.

While most reading plans are designed to finish 1189 chapters in a year, Horner’s system is designed to read every chapter in the Bible in 250 days. His longest list of books is 250 chapters long (List 9, OT prophets) and his shortest list is only 28 chapters long (List 10, Acts). It means that by the time List 9 has been completed, Acts would have been read almost a complete 9 times!

The lists are made up as follows:

ghr_system

In 250 days you would have read the gospels just shy of 3 times, the Mosaic books 1.33 times, List 3 just more than 3 times,  List 4 almost 4 times, List 5 a total of 4 times, Psalms 1.66 times, Proverbs 8 times, and Acts almost 9 times. This makes for a lot of reading! By the end of the year, if you have read every day of the year, you would have covered 3650 chapters of the Bible. You would have read Acts 13 times! Do you think you would know Acts just a little by then?

Prof Horner recommends using the same Bible every day, the same one you always use. You will gain an affinity for the Bible you use. And, it helps for recollection. After reading the same passages from the same Bible for several years, you will start recalling entire pages in your mind, says Prof Horner. (Read more here.) You can also find Prof Horner’s system on Facebook. You can find his 10 Lists in a document that explains the whole system here. Simply print out the lists, and then cut them into individual strips and you will have bookmarks for each list.

What I’ve done to help myself keep track of what I have read was to create 2 documents. One is simply a foldable checklist of each chapter from each book in each list. Click here to download this checklist. Then I also created an Excel spread sheet with each list’s books and chapters (some repeated) all the way down to row 250. This way I can keep track with where I am supposed to be at all times while repeating some books several times. Click here to download this spread sheet.

What I have found with this system of reading is that there is no time to get bored or stuck in a rut. With the subject matter changing several times in a sitting, my attention is held fixed to the Scriptures.
tollelege

UPDATE:
2 March 2014 - I have updated the Excel spread sheet. I have added a date column and a day column. The Date column is the first column. The dates start in row 2. If you did not start on 1 January with this program, then in the Date column, row 2, change your starting date and all the succeeding dates will change too. That way you can keep a check on your progress no matter when you start the program. The second column is the Day column. This you must leave as is. It simply gives you an idea of which day you are on in your reading progress. In my progress, yesterday (1 Mar 2014) was day 60. It means that I have read 600 chapters.

I hope this all helps!


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Leon Morris on The Atonement: Freedom

“It is one of the curious things in life that Christians have all too often neglected [freedom]. Purchased at such great cost, they have promptly looked for some new servitude. Even in the early church it was not long before some people began to speak of Christianity as ‘the new law’ and to subject themselves to a legalism every bit as trying as that of which the New Testament writers complained in Judaism. And this has continued in the history of the church. Again and again it is not liberty in Christ which has characterized believers, but strict conformity to some new rule they have made or found. This may involve a rigorous asceticism or the firm conviction that the way forward is by observance of some sacramental discipline or the like.  At the other extreme it may be  by conformity to a new license, so that all who prefer an ordered way are held to be false to true Christianity. Mankind has a fiendish ingenuity in discovering ways of bringing itself into bondage. Paul’s words are far from being out of date.” (Leon Morris, The Atonement: Its Meaning & Significance, IVP Academic, Downer’s Grove, IL, 1983, p126)



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