Book Review: How to be a Christian: Reflections and Essays

How to Be a Christian: Reflections and EssaysHow to Be a Christian: Reflections and Essays by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a collection of Lewis’ essays from various works. The publisher has selected essays around the general theme of practical Christianity. So, this book is not what Lewis would have produced if he had set about the task of writing a book on the practical Christian life. Setting that disappointment aside, we find here a great collection of essays Lewis did write and a transcribed interview of what Lewis did say. So, maybe the next best thing.

Lewis was a great thinker and writer. He had a knack for putting things well. He had a way of taking something very familiar, changing the familiar perspective, and putting it across improvingly. Any mention of Lewis sends certain ones of the population running to fetch their aluminum foil caps to prevent any of Lewis’ alien waves from entering their brains. Lewis had his theological problems. He could write a brilliant and beautiful passage and sometimes follow it with a brilliantly ugly passage. Only advertising his shortcomings is to whip a straw horse.

Spurgeon had many critics in his day. They often complained about his girth, the hair on his face, and at least one old lady nearly fainted when she heard something akin to humor in one of his sermons. Those journalists and church marms could always have exercised their personal rights of locomotion and declined to attend Spurgeon’s preaching.

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Book Review: The Archer and the Arrow: Preaching the Very Words of God

The Archer and the ArrowThe Archer and the Arrow by Phillip D. Jensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a treasure of experiential wisdom. Books on preaching come in a lot of different ways. I would categorize this one as practical, though it does have a helpful touch of theology. Every preacher ought to read it. I would encourage young preachers especially to read it. Young preachers will get immediate help from but won’t have the real-world experience to recognize some of the wisdom it has. That’s okay. This is one of those books that is worth reading once and reading again every few years.

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Book Review: The Art of X-Ray Reading

The Art of X-Ray ReadingThe Art of X-Ray Reading by Roy Peter Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book in a lot of ways. It’s easy for us to tell when we like some piece of writing and when we don’t, but it’s not always easy for us to tell why. Clark helps us look at a piece of writing and dissect it for examination. He calls it “X-ray reading.” Throughout the book he gives examples from mostly well-known literary works. There were a few things I could have done without and it would’ve been a five star book for me.

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Book Review: Zen in the Art of Writing

Zen in The Art of WritingZen in The Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a collection of Bradbury’s essays grouped together around the topic of writing. It was part memoir and part advice. I gleaned a couple of book recommendations and I thought the title essay was the strongest.

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Book Review: Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament BooksCanon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books by Michael J. Kruger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kruger has given us an excellent treatment of the subject of canon. He evaluates various canonical models, and seems to treat each fairly. He ultimately makes the case for the self-authenticating model of canon. He also gives serious considerations to objection to this model, as well. This is not a book trying to prove the existence of a canon to skeptics. Kruger is rather investigating whether there are sufficient reasons to acknowledge a complete canon of Scriptures. Though not a work of apologetics per se, Kruger also makes a case for presuppositionalism more generally. This shouldn’t surprise us because there is always a degree of circularity when dealing with ultimate questions, e.g., authority, reality, epistemology, etc.

While exploring the self-authenticating model, he also gives an introductory primer on the relationships between Scripture, Apostles, Holy Spirit, and churches. I enjoyed this book on various levels. This is a book that pastors and preachers ought to read and keep a copy around for reference.

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