Review: Behold Our Sovereign God

Behold Our Sovereign God
Behold Our Sovereign God by Mitchell L Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book. This book is the culmination of the study of God’s sovereignty over the previous ten years of the author’s life. It is brief, particularly considering the topic, and very readable. The subject is vast and Chase doesn’t offer extensive, in-depth argumentation. I think that is a good thing in this case. He does touch on all the major categories of questions and difficulties and provides good, biblical answers. The strength of this book is that it will serve well to introduce someone to the sovereignty of God or to help someone who has recently begun wrestling with this hard-to-comprehend truth.

Every Christian needs to take this topic seriously and to humbly search the Scriptures for God’s revealed truth. This truth is at the center of what it means for God to be God. Without some understanding of His sovereignty, your view of God is distorted. Is He a kindly, gentle grandfather type over in the corner wringing his hands wanting to do good if people will only let him? Most Christians will grant that God has the power and does heal and they pray to that end. If God has the power to stop cancer, does He not also have the power to prevent it to start with? If He doesn’t, there must be some reason. Where does that reason lie? If God is a God of love, how does that relate to His wrath and judgment of wickedness?

There are many questions that swirl around about the reality of the universe and the God who made it all. I am not saying this book will answer all those questions beyond any doubt, but it will help give you the framework to start thinking about these things and understanding the answers the Bible does give.

If you have been fully persuaded of this truth for years and consider Jonathan Edwards to be a little light reading, this book is going to add much for you on this topic. However, if someone has never really studied this topic or they only have a cursory understanding, this book will be a big help. Even if you’ve believed in God’s sovereignty for a while, you will be blessed and might find a few new nuggets of truth.

Chase’s tone is gracious and helpful here. He didn’t come off condescending anywhere but rather related some of his own experience and struggle with this truth. He also managed to treat a difficult doctrine with practical accessibility that brings it down to earth. I highly recommend it.

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Review: An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity

An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity
An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity by Jonathan Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brief work that is more a collection of thoughts. Edwards seemed to be writing as a means of thinking. It is a very thought provoking read and I recommend it to stir your thoughts about the Trinity.

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Review: Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe

Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe
Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe by Louie Giglio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do we know what it means that the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1)? If we know anything, we only know a very small part of it. It is good for us to search the heavens and see and hear God’s glory displayed there. This book is full of pictures of wonders in the universe that quiet us to behold them. A lot of effort is spent in trying to give scale and perspective to a few wonders beyond us that are ultimately indescribable.

Redman and Giglio are guides for us in this book. This is not their story. It is the story of our great Creator and they stay out of the way for the most part so we can see what they are pointing to and talking about. They do a good job describing the indescribable and making far-away things accessible to us. The book could benefit from a little theological editing but I wouldn’t want that to keep anyone away from what is so good about it.

Ultimately, this book will help to expand your view and vision of God. I often found myself wondering with David why in light of the glory of the heavens God would be mindful of man (Psalm 8). If we struggle to comprehend and explain the things God has made, how much more beyond us is God Himself? Yet, He condescended to take up human flesh, work out a righteousness for us in the flesh, and offer Himself as a blood sacrifice to atone for our sins. That wonder is made greater by beholding the heavens. I highly recommend this book for your reading and considering.

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Review: 12 Challenges Churches Face

12 Challenges Churches Face
12 Challenges Churches Face by Mark Dever
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because the title was intriguing and I have read other works by the author. What I didn’t realize until I started reading it is that this is a study of 1 Corinthians. Dever goes through chapter-by-chapter touching on the major themes and ideas of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. Throughout he makes modern practical applications from this first century letter.

This book is readable. It is not written like a commentary, which it is not. Though I am sure the book was developed from sermonic material, it doesn’t read like a collection of sermons. Dever keeps it all together by keeping in sight the big picture context of the book as a whole.

As always, there are things here and there we could pick at. There is an appendix in the back that gives brief answers to some of the tough questions in 1 Corinthians 7. I appreciate the answers given to what are some tough questions from that chapter, but couldn’t agree fully with many of them. 1 Corinthians as a whole presents many difficulties and this book isn’t going to give you a lot of help on those. The real strength of this book is staying with the big picture and main themes and ideas. Some of the difficulties of 1 Corinthians can actually get you off track if you lose sight of the overall context. In that regard, Dever does a great job here.

If it has been a while, read the whole book of 1 Corinthians through and then read “12 Challenges Churches Face.” It will be well worth your time.

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Review: Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff

Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff
Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff by Stephen Altrogge
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes you need a good swift kick to get moving. That is what Altrogge gives us in this brief book. His argument is not complex, but it is effective. He doesn’t develop a biblical theology of work, but he does bring a biblical perspective to creativity and productivity. That makes this book stand out in the genre of motivational books.

Altrogge takes a broad swipe at creativity. He doesn’t dwell on any one aspect, whether writing, painting, or gardening. I appreciate the way he acknowledges we are all creative. You don’t have to be an artiste to create. No cape or beret required. Just get up and get to work.

This book is fun. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and gives good plain advice. Despite the lightheartedness, it did provoke me to more serious thought. There are pockets of Christianity that are creative and productive and there are other pockets that are not. What about the not-pockets? Why are they not more productive and creative? What is a pastor’s role in encouraging and facilitating God-glorifying creativity in his people?

All good questions and many others beside. I have thought of some answers, but that is beyond the scope of this brief review. I recommend reading Altrogge’s offering and asking and answering your own questions. Get to work.

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