Book Review: The Power of His Reign: An Easy Introduction to Amillennialism

The Power of His Reign: An Easy Introduction to AmillennialismThe Power of His Reign: An Easy Introduction to Amillennialism by Jonathan Ammon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I read this book and discussed it on the Just Jerry Live podcast. We went through the book chapter by chapter over 8 episodes. Here is a link to the first episode. You can listen to those episodes if you want a fuller discussion on this book.

Ammon is open from the start about his amill position and how he got there. The book seemed to follow a natural progression from premill to amill, that was probably not unlike what the author experienced. I appreciated that openness and I think he was genuinely wanting to write something helpful.

I wouldn’t call this the best presentation of amill I have read. The book has some weaknesses that prevent it from being a serious or compelling presentation of amillennialism. For instance, he does not touch the Old Testament. If it hadn’t been for a bare mention of the book of Daniel in a light appendix, there would have been zero Old Testament references in the book. Of the New Testament passages he deals with, he didn’t really address other passages that bear on the same topic, and he didn’t address other passages that would seem to counter his views. He did a little bit of namedropping, but he did not really deal with any differing views. He spent a good bit of time on the two-age schema of all time, but he didn’t offer a scriptural definition of what an age is.

Ultimately, my differences with this book come down to the hermeneutical approach to Scripture. Amillennialism holds to a discontinuity view and a dispensational framework that defies any natural, consistent, grammatical-historical reading of all Scripture.

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Book Review: Baptist History

Baptist HistoryBaptist History by John Mockett Cramp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall a good history. The last few chapters were a little more encyclopedic, with numerous short biographical sketches. Otherwise, it is an easily readable book. I appreciated the fact that Cramp was open about the scarcity of historical records and he wasn’t quick to just assume what filled the gaps. Many today could learn a valuable lesson from his example here.

This isn’t exactly a history of churches as much as it is a history of preachers and leaders. It was interesting to read about about a number of oddities and variances between churches. Among churches in the past can be found such things as naked baptisms, trine baptisms, temporarily abandoning baptizing at all, the laying on of hands after baptism, and times of women preachers and elders. There were quite a bit of differences between churches, but some things were more consistent.

They were unified around Gospel issues such as rejecting baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. They held the Scripture as the all-sufficient and final rule of authority for all matters of faith and practice. These churches were promoters of Bible translations, so the Bible was in the common language of the people and in their hands. They were proponents of educated and trained preachers for the ministry. They held to liberty of conscience in religion and opposed state churches.

If we’re being honest, history isn’t quite as pretty as we might like it to be, or as many men would lead us to believe it is. I guess when you’re facing constant persecution and harassment, you just don’t have as much time to criticize and harangue your brothers, and split and fracture over little narrow point until you’ll hardly fellowship with yourself. I’m thankful for our goodly heritage and do think we should learn from history.

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Book Review: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted WorldDeep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was insightful and practical. Shallow work has the more immediate appeal in today’s economy and even the appearance of productivity. Deep work is undervalued and underpracticed. Of course, we have constant distraction today, which is the enemy of deep work. Anyone who wants to best their time to do meaningful work needs to wrestle with ever-present distraction.

Newport gives many practical steps to think through and adapt to your own needs. He seemed to strive for a balanced approach between connectivity and deep work, which requires less connectivity and more isolation. The implications for deep work are ubiquitous across all industries and disciplines, so everyone could benefit from it. I appreciated the brief section he had thinking about the relationship we have with our tools. It something that needs more thought.

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Book Review: Sons

Sons (House of Earth, #2)Sons by Pearl S. Buck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the “House of Earth” trilogy. I enjoyed reading it, though it wasn’t as compelling as the first book. Buck continues to play with the themes of tradition and revolution as particularly played in the relationships between fathers and sons. I like her writing. It was a thoughtful read, but the story overall wasn’t as good as the first one.

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Book Review: A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God

A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of GodA Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book goes through the book of Ruth chapter by chapter with a summary of practical application at the end. Piper blends theological and practical commentary while walking through the book. As you would expect, the book is very God-centered in interpretation and insightful in application.

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