Book Review: The Rule of Love

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In The Rule of Love, Jonathan Leeman argues that love and authority are two terms that belong together which is a decidedly different viewpoint than what society upholds today. The author first describes how love is being redefined in our culture as being unrestrained acceptance towards everyone and everything so long as no one is offended and the individuals involved are happy. Leeman then moves on to discuss how love has been defined historically by theologians and how some distorted views have shaped liberal Christianity’s adherence to unconditional agape love as the gold standard of Christian love. The author agrees that unconditional love is an indispensable aspect of Christian love but contends that agape love is only one dimension of the love that God displays in Himself and to His creatures. Leeman expands his arguments by first examining the nature of God’s love in the context of the Trinity as being both self-exalting and self-giving at the same time. Next, the author addresses God’s love for sinners and how such love is best described as being contra-conditional rather than unconditional as our forgiveness is through the blood of Jesus in which we acquire His righteousness while He takes on our sins. Thus, our love for others should be God-centered and God-glorifying so that we yearn for what is best for others in considering what God is doing in their lives. As the book’s target audience is the local church, Leeman moves on to outline his vision of what the local church can do to practically show love to both its members and nonbelievers. The final two chapters ties in how law, judgment, and authority are all essential to exhibiting true love within the covenant community of the local church.

I would recommend this book to all Christians as the challenge to love others while upholding truth requires courage and wisdom that comes from God. Believers who desire to uphold the orthodox Christian faith are often viewed as being bigoted, old-fashioned, and intolerant. Even within the local church, there are frequent disagreements over the process of disciplining church members and whether such actions are indeed loving. Leeman argues that to truly love someone is to desire for the other person’s good for the sake of God’s glory. To love others as God loves us is the sincere hope that the individual grows in spiritual maturity and Christlikeness. The path towards spiritual growth is through the Spirit and Word of God which requires obedience, surrender, and submission. In the context of the local church, this will include exhortation, correction, and rebuke that is rooted in God-centered love. By doing so, the body of Christ seeks to reflect God’s holy love in actions of judgement and authority so that its members are growing in holiness which results in God gaining the ultimate glory.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.

 

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Book Review: Lies Men Believe

BLOG Lies Men Believe

In Lies Men Believe, Robert Wolgemuth outlines forty specific falsehoods that challenge Christian men in their journey towards greater holiness. For sure, all forty lies could apply in some form to both genders, but the author aims to speak from his perspective as a male believer to encourage other men to abide by the truth as found in God’s Word. The different lies cover a broad range of common refrains that grow out of our sinful fleshly desires that war against the Spirit. Some of these false claims are common among both believers and non-believers such as “making more money will make me happier” and “the world is too messed up to bring children into” while others such as “my faith and my work are unrelated” is applicable to Christians specifically. The writing style is brisk, and each lie or group of lies can be read separately making the book useful as a personal devotional or group study. Wolgemuth honestly acknowledges his own struggles and provides many personal examples of how he has sought to overcome these challenges in his life and ministry. Furthermore, he creatively ties in relevant illustrations from the Bible and other sources to engage readers in thinking through the topics. In the concluding chapters of the book, the author urges readers to find truth in the person and work of Jesus and to be devoted to the truth found in God’s Word.

I would gladly recommend this book to all Christian men as we easily deceive ourselves without fully realizing at all. Our thoughts are the product of past and present influences that may not be in step with God’s truth. The solution to this is to submit ourselves to the Bible as being the authoritative source of truth and measure all our thoughts and deeds against Scripture as God’s standard for us. Moreover, we need to be constantly in fellowship with wise believers who lovingly rebuke, correct, and encourage us when we are tempted to fall into old and new traps. Wolgemuth urges readers to seek and dwell in the truth that is found in God instead of succumbing to the competing forces that pull us away from serving and honouring God alone. For the Christian, holiness is not an option but a lifelong pursuit in the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us to perceive and obey the truths found in the Bible.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.

Book Review: Cozy, Snowy Cuddles Touch and Feel

BLOG Cozy, Snowy

In Cozy, Snowy Cuddles Touch and Feel, readers follow a young polar bear cub as it romps along to visit different animals sharing warm cuddles as the winter weather approaches. Each page flip introduces another animal family along with a short two-line rhyming passage. Furthermore, there is an area on the animal’s outer coat that has been designed for touch-and-feel of which each animal is unique such as the leathery texture of the seal’s fur and the smooth consistency of the moose’s hide. The animal characters are drawn with a more cartoonish style to attract younger audiences likely around ages two to five. Even the surroundings such as the snowy terrain and wintery sky are vibrantly illustrated which will most certainly captivate both children and parents.

I would recommend this book as a fun, interactive book to introduce preschoolers to the change between the seasons of fall and winter. The words are relatively simple so those who are just beginning to learn words will understand most of the text without much difficulty. Moreover, children of all ages will enjoy rubbing their fingers on the various coats of each animal. Thus, this book would be an excellent choice as a bedtime story for those wintery nights where warm cuddles and kisses are most cherished.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I was provided a review copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers.

Book Review: Suffering

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In Suffering, Paul Tripp explores the topic of suffering and its role in the Christian life by using his own personal experience of being diagnosed with a debilitating illness several years ago. In the first chapter, Tripp recalls how he inadvertently found out about his medical condition resulting in many nights at the hospital and several surgeries which took a severe toll on his body. As he deals with irreversible repercussions that will plague him for life, the author provides a first-hand, intimate perspective on the devastation that suffering can bring to the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Besides using his own circumstances, Tripp also incorporates various real-life examples from his counselling experience to show how suffering is common to all yet each individual suffers differently with pervasive effects that could either bring one closer to God or further away from Him. In the rest of the book, Tripp spends six chapters to discuss several traps that distressed people typically encounter when suffering strikes including awareness, fear, envy, doubt, denial, and discouragement. More importantly, the author counters these traps with six chapters of comforts that we can lean upon which consists of God Himself, His Word, and His people. There are several important points that Tripp makes of which I will highlight. Firstly, Tripp states that suffering often exposes us to the weaknesses we have in terms of our theology. Thus, although suffering is undoubtedly damaging to the physical and emotional aspects, the greatest harm is to the spiritual. The author suggests that suffering provides a unique opportunity for us to evaluate our hearts and find out what matters most to us. Secondly, the author reminds us that suffering may be painful but God uses it for redemptive purposes to mold and transform us as no suffering ever reaches us without God allowing it. Moreover, Christ in His incarnation has experienced the challenges that we face of which He has emerged victorious through His resurrection. Jesus now intercedes on our behalf to the Father and the Spirit prays for us when we are too weak to do so. Thirdly, Tripp urges us to trust God because of whom He is as revealed in Scripture. When we face difficulties, we often forget all the unchanging attributes of our great God and interpret suffering as being evidence of God’s incompetence. However, Tripp argues that our perspective is warped when we are in the thick of suffering and we need the Spirit, the Bible, and our church family to reorient our thoughts about God. Although I have only listed three, there are numerous other helpful observations and wisdom that Tripp shares in the book that many readers would find thought-provoking and uplifting.

I would happily recommend this book to every Christian as suffering is a guarantee for every believer before Christ comes back. For Christians, death is not an issue as we are certain of our final destination. Instead, the much greater challenge for the believer is how to face trials but still trust that God is good and will bring one through each disappointing downturn. Tripp reminds us that each individual’s experiences of suffering are unique so well-meant advice or platitudes are never sufficient to heal the wounds of suffering. Rather, it is only when our hope is anchored in Christ that we can find true comfort, healing, and strength. Furthermore, suffering often turns us inward as we try to use our own methods to solve, avoid, or cope with troubling times. However, the purpose of suffering is to turn us upward to realize that we depend solely on God to get through each day. Suffering is a given for each person on this earth and Christians are even more prone to suffering as we battle in both the physical and spiritual realms. However, we know that God has given us His Son to show that His love for us is unlimited and when suffering strikes, we can find our rest in Him.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.