Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

West Oversea: A Norse Saga of Mystery, Adventure and Faith: A Great Summer Read!

July 13th, 2011 5 comments

I like all the books Lars Walker has written….here’s his latest, and a cool trailer to go along with it now.

Categories: Book Reviews, Books

ESV Bible Atlas: This Thing is Wonderful!

June 28th, 2010 3 comments

I received a copy of the new ESV Bible Atlas, and my reaction is, in one word, “Wow!”  You owe it to yourself to check it out. I am particularly impressed by the huge beautiful pictures of the Temple grounds in Jerusalem at the time of Christ and the cut-away images of the Temple itself. Full disclosure: I was given a copy of the ESV Atlas as a gift by Dr. Lane Dennis of Crossway, and what a wonderful gift it is. You can order it now for only $35. An amazingly good value for such a rich book, which comes with a CD and a poster, as well.

Here is Justin Taylor’s description of the Atlas.

The new Crossway ESV Bible Atlas (352 pages) will be shipping soon from Amazon.

The text of the Atlas was written by Professor John Currid (RTS-Charlotte, NC). The maps were done by David Barrett, who also served as the cartographer for the ESV Study Bible. Here’s what it contains:

175 full-color maps
70 full-color photographs
3-D re-creations of biblical objects and sites
65,000 words of narrative description.
“The atlas uniquely features regional maps detailing biblically significant areas such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy, and Greece. It also includes a CD with searchable indexes and digital maps, and a removable, 16.5 x 22-inch map of Palestine.”

One of the neat things for me is being able to see the ESVSB illustrations—of the tabernacle, the temples, Jerusalem at various times, etc—in great detail over a two-page spread on glossy paper.

If you want to flip through 40+ pages of the Atlas virtually, click here. Just put your mouse on the right-hand side of the atlas to flip to the next page.

Categories: Book Reviews, Books

Sitting Down to a Tolkien Feast Again

June 8th, 2009 5 comments

alan-lee-rivendellI’m doing some travelling and, naturally, have the opportunity to spend some quality time with the Kindle while waiting and flying. Recently Tolkien’s works have become available, and I picked up Lord of the Rings, in Kindle format, all three books, for $14.00. As I begin to read these books again, I’m reminded of what a reading treat they are. Tolkien did not write these books to impress anyone, or hope they would be made into a movie, from which he would garner residuals. He wrote for the sheer pleasure of writing them. He could not even afford to have his manuscripts typed, by a “ten fingered typist” as he once put it. The story of the horrible problems these books went through via various editions and printings at multiple publishing houses was interesting to read.

The edition I picked up has a nice summary of the history of the texts, but the text itself is the thing. This is a piece of literature that one must savor. There is nothing “quick” about Lord of the Rings. You are along for a long ride, and you just need to sit back and enjoy it, as I’m doing, mightily. It has been a few years since I read LOR, in fact, I think the last time I read LOR was a year before the first of the Jackson movies came out. It is fun comparing and contrasting what is in the books to what Jackson put in his movies. I’m very impressed by how Jackson handled things down to a very fine level of detail, capturing verbatim parts of the dialogue, and on the other hand, how artfully and skillfully he turned the printed page into a movie.

I’m looking forward to several weeks of a reading banquet, courtesy of JRR Tolkien and the wonderful world he created, inhabited by some of the truly most unforgettable characters in all of literature.

Categories: Book Reviews, Books

“My Light and My Salvation” by Kurt Reinhardt: A Review and Recommendation

January 30th, 2009 Comments off

My friend Pastor David Petersen kindly sent me a copy of Pastor Reinhardt's new collection of poetry. I'm embarassed to admit that I have only now found the time to look at it closely. Simply put, I really enjoyed Pastor Reinhardt's poems. They speak clearly and profoundly of the Gospel in a way that will surely offer the reader new insight on the brilliant diamond that is the good news of Christ. Every person looks at this diamond differently, and the light shining through it casts its beams on all of us in ways that move us uniquely. The poetry in this book is, primarily, doxological, that is, words of praise to the good and gracious God who has called us out of darkness into his marevlous light. The quality of the poems in this book might be a tad uneven at times, but anyone who has ever attempted to put pen to paper with a project like this, realizes how much love and attention went into this book and the skill it took to produce these poems. I wonder if perhaps there was not a qualified musician out there who could find a way to work with Pr. Reinhardt to put his words to musical texts. You can order the book from Pr. Petersen's web site.

Categories: Book Reviews

“Sweeping out the Papal Dung” — The Second Reformation in Brandenburg

July 12th, 2008 2 comments

Bodo Nischan. Prince, People and Confession: The Second Reformation in Brandenburg. Philadelphia: University of Pennysylvania Press, 1994. Hardback. 6×9. 366 pages.

Bodo Nischan provides a fascinating study of the attempts made by the rulers of the territories of Brandenburg, Germany to move from Lutheranism to Calvinist theology and practice, and the resistance with which these efforts were met by the clergy, lay leaders and citizens. The effort to introduce Reformed worship and beliefs into the territories was termed the “Second Reformation” and was said to be the “completion” of what Martin Luther had started, but had not been able to complete. Brandenburg’s form of Lutheranism was notably much more conservative in its retention of various rites and ceremonies from Roman Catholicism, and as the threats from Reformed theology increased, these practices and customs were seen as essential in warding off Calvinistic influences.

From 1535-1598, Joachim II and Johann Georg were ardent defenders of Lutheranism in Brandenburg, but this all changed with Joachim Friedrich’s reign who leaned more toward Calvinism. The great crisis however occurred after his death, when his son, and heir, Johann Sigismund converted to Calvinism in 1606. This set in motion the “Second Reformation” in which there were repeated attempts to move Brandenburg away from Lutheranism to Calvinism. Art was removed from the great Dom in Berlin and a Calvinist Eucharist was celebrated there. The people of Brandenburg protested vigorously the introduction of Calvinist doctrine and worship practices, with protests leading even to riots and physical confrontations with the Calvinist advisers and clergy brought into Brandenburg.

The Calvinists claimed that they were sweeping the “papal dung” out of the Christ’s stable. The Lutherans resisted these efforts. The controversies raged over the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, most chiefly, but other Calvinist doctrines as well. Efforts to move Brandenburg to Reformed theology ultimately were not successful. The Thirty Years War however finally resulted in a movement away from confessional conviction being the basis for political alliances, and it was only after that separation was made the unionizing efforts of Calvinists were successful under the influence of the Lutheran Pietism in the mid-18th century.

This book is well written, painstakingly documented, and comes with detailed notes, indices and bibliographical materials.  The connection between style and substance is dramatically documented by this book. Bodo Nischan appears to have a bias against what he frequently terms: “fanatical” or “rigid” or “zealous” Lutheranism, and so his descriptions of the doctrinal controversies and positions of both parties can not be said to be biased toward Lutheranism, thus making his descriptions of orthodox, “Concordian” Lutheranism, as he calls it, all the more authentic and interesting. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, the book is no longer in print, but can be purchased as a used book. It is essential reading for a deep look into the interplay between doctrine and practice and how closely linked the elements of “style” in Lutheran worship are to the substance of Lutheran doctrine and confession, and thus provides much food for thought in our present ongoing debates and discussions about worship forms and practices today.

Categories: Book Reviews