30 November 2010

Review: Jesus and the Land (Gary Burge)

Jesus and the LandJesus and the Land by Gary Burge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, and right after I started reading it I noticed two other authors I respected had also recently made mention of it, so I figured it should be a good read. The issue of Zionism, or those who feel Israel deserves to be back in their land due to some biblical, covenantal, or eschatological reason, really need to examine the issue further; and this book is a great place to start.

I was thinking it was going to just be a book to counter the many modern arguments in support of modern Israel, but instead it is a fairly thorough historical march through the Bible, covering the covenant, the promises, and the importance of the land along the way. Most of the way through, it spoke so much in favor of the importance of the land, that I thought it was going down a path other than what I thought the intent was. Then as he approached the New Testament, and the new covenant, the shift began, and the last couple chapters examine the view of the land in those last days for the Christians.

Kenneth Gentry recently commented, saying this book is one of a few books that has greatly shaped his view of Israel and the land, and that after reading this and the couple others, if someone still could cling to a modern dispensational view of the land, then they are probably beyond hope (that is a paraphrase as I understood it).

Maybe this book had more of an excitement and impact on me due to it's heavy look into Israel's past and understanding of the land, since I had recently finished the Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel which examined a lot of historical understandings in Hebrew thought; but either way, this book was full of great content, history, and biblical conclusions. I have so many highlighted remarks throughout, it would be hard to narrow it down to give a brief synopsis, but I just encourage you to check this book out if you have any interest in the modern crisis in Israel over who has the rights to the land.

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12 November 2010

Review: God Versus Socialism (Joel McDurmon)

God Versus SocialismGod Versus Socialism by Joel Mcdurmon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

McDurmon does an excellent job laying out the basics of socialistic thought, and in names and exposing the major players in the "social gospel" movement over the past hundred years; especially those most active today.
This book has shown that these issues did not die with the previous era of socialism/communism versus the free world. They did not fall silent when they fell. They remain as relevant as ever, especially with the reinvigoration of socialist ideology in government, including radical activists in Congress, the Judiciary, labor unions, teachers' unions, universities, and numerous posts in the White House itself, including the Presidency. The arguments of socialism resound throughout America like never before, and Christians must both discern their persuasive but devious rhetoric and stand firm with a biblical answer. The answers to socialism are, "The king is not God," and "Thou Shalt Not Steal." If Christians refuse to apply these principles to government, law, and economics, then we will move closer to the socialists' vision for society. We will have more of Marx than Moses, more of Trotsky than Christ." (pg 226-227)
Wielding the sharp sword of truth, McDurmon cuts through and destroys the fallacious teachings of modern day social gospel pundits Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis. His excellent dealing with Campolo's "red letter Christian" teachings is a highlight, as he shows that verse after verse they misuse and abuse Scripture in an attempt to force it to fit their agenda.
Campolo, like Wallis and Sider, loves to point out how "there are more than 2,000 verses of Scripture that calls us to express love and justice for those who are poor and oppressed..." But he immediately makes the unwarranted jump from the Bible's mandate for personal compassion to socialist government action: "we promote legislation that turns biblical imperatives into social policy." ... Gary DeMar responds appropriately, "What Campolo needs to find in these 2,000 verse is one verse that gives authority to civil government to redistribute wealth. Campolo takes verses that are directed at individuals and turns them on their head and gives them a political twist." (pg 134-135)
I could go on quoting more quotes (you should see how many highlights I have in this), but instead, let me encourage others to read and take heed. It is not full of high thinking economic garbaly-gook or political speak, but it is written in easy to understand terms. If you are new to political issues, socialism in general, or social justice/social gospel issues, this is a great place to start. highly recommended.

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18 October 2010

Review: A Praying Life

A Praying LifeA Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book changed my prayer life, by coming at a time in my life when I was in need, when I was down, and when even prayer seemed "distant" to me. Being raised most of my adult life within the framework of a pretty hard-core Reformed faith that put such a high value on reverence and fear before God, it must have worked in a way that made me forget the Father/son relationship that our heavenly father has with us. This book, in a nutshell, helped me change my thoughts from a awe-inspiring, big fearful fiery God to whom we approach (yes, he is those things), into a needy son who can't make it on his own and who has to come to his Father for everything little thing just to make it through each day.

10 October 2010

Review: Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life

Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of LifeResurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life by Jon D. Levenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been reading various books in trying to comprehend original Jewish thoughts and ideas that are embedded in the entirety of scripture, and that is what original drew me to this title. The author is a professor of Jewish studies at Harvard (not sure if that is good or bad...lol) so he seems to be in the know for these things.

06 October 2010

Losing the Genie Mentality

Ok, so I have been reading this book on prayer the last few weeks, as our Sunday School class has been going through it (A Praying Life by Paul Miller). The book has been very interesting and helpful, but this posting is not a book review (sorry - suffice it to say for now that I do like it so far). As I have been re-learning to pray, I have noticed a deep down thought pattern emerging in my prayers. At first, it wasn't something that even phased me or was really noticed, but the more I started thinking about it, the more I realized not only that is was a totally wrong way to think, but that it was a pattern that came directly from my exposure to various modern "Genie" type stories. Let me see if I can properly explain this.

26 September 2010

Book Review: The Fire That Consumes (Edward W. Fudge)

The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final PunishmentThe Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment by Edward W. Fudge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have discussed, read and heard from people on this topic at time in the past ten years, but finally decided to jump into a very detailed study of the issue of final punishment from a more annihilationist position. Having been raised in a typical traditional view of hell as conscious torment, I was intrigued to see what the "other side" had to say. I found this book to be very, VERY thorough, and very enlightening. I am not sure how much more could be say, but in nearly 500 pages, Fudge covers an incredible amount of ground.

04 September 2010

Memories: Pleasure and Pain

Every year, my church has a retreat on this weekend where we go to a 4H camp and stay in cabins, and have teaching sessions, games, family fun, dancing, sports, swimming, and great fellowship. We have been going yearly I guess for the past six years, and the kids look forward to it each year. It is a great time with many great memories.

Last year, I didn't get to go with the family, since my band had multiple gigs that weekend. I have still not lived that down. My family was again excited this time, but the kids were even more excited since I would be going with them for the majority of the weekend. While my band has a large exposure show on the Sunday of this weekend, I am still able to attend for Friday night, all day Saturday, and after my early morning gig, will return to finish out the entire Sunday afternoon with the family before coming home tomorrow night. 

21 June 2010

Oil Spill Solutions?

Last week on the Mike Huckabee show, he had numerous guests on from various companies with numerous ways to safely and quickly clean up the continuing oil spill in the gulf. Most of the solutions were natural, non-toxic, and completely safe for the environment. It really makes you wonder why the government has not tried them, or why the EPA would makes stupid comments about them not being approved. Safe, non-toxic, natural solutions - not approved? Shoot, if I were these companies, I would go get the approval by running out and using the product today on the spill and stop it. Then let the citizens approve it when it works...HA! Maybe it is time for the environmental militia to take action.

In case you missed the show (shame on you), here is the full eleven segments from YouTube.

09 June 2010

Police State and FEMA Camps

OK, so I have been promoting some Alex Jones films recently, and here is another one. I'm not going to add may of my own words to this, it is thorough enough with the evidence it presents. I was greatly saddened at the sections dealing with Glenn Beck and his glossing over some of the issues in FEMA camps. I am hoping maybe he has since then seen better evidence, and just has not had the time to go back and do a show on it.

I was most shocked when it got to the part with the footage of the event in Pittsburgh....about fifty-seven minutes into the film. I was shocked and enraged and felt like fighting back through the video. To think that citizens have been so brain washed that they can be duped into following such unconstitutional and horrible acts against other Americans. Why are the majority of these police forces not raising a voice of opposition against such ridiculous actions against a peaceful demonstration?

08 June 2010

The Obama Deception

It is way beyond time for this generation to wake up and start paying attention to what is going on around them in the realm of politics. For far too long, people have walked around with their head in the sand, relying on government to do what is right, and ignoring what was going on behind the scenes. In doing so, the government has waged a war against the checks and balances that our country's forefather's put in place to protect us from overwhelming political power, and they have trampled on liberty and justice and are converting this nation into something totally foreign to what it was meant to be.

Many things have been radically changed by a progressive, power hungry regime, and the changes have been gradual for many decades. What kind of changes? What can be done to rectify them now? Who is behind all of this?

If Obama Had Told Us Before His Election

If Barack Obama had campaigned on what he has actually done in his first 300 days in office, would he have been elected? That's the question so many are asking today.

If Obama had told us he would appoint 34 czars, reporting only to himself and not vetted or confirmed in the constitutional way, building a powerful unitary executive branch of government, would he have been elected? What if he had told us that his green jobs czar had been a Communist, that the science czar wrote in a college textbook that compulsory "green abortions" are an acceptable way to control population growth and that the diversity czar has spoken publicly of getting white media executives to "step down" in favor of minorities?

29 April 2010

Democratic Socialists of America?

Many people think I am crazy when I tell you that our president is a socialist. I think that it is because it is too unimaginable to believe that a United States president could ever stand for something that would ultimately ruin our country. We have a unique beginning, based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We understand that individual freedom is what made our country great. People have flocked to this country with the hope of doing something with their lives that they could not do anywhere else. The reason we are different was based on our Christian beliefs, which were greater here than anywhere else in the world. Back then we had Faith, Hope, and Charity.

10 March 2010

Call to Action: Learning from the War of the Jews

I have been reading through the amazing War of the Jews by Josephus, and ran across this exhortation by the high priest Ananus, and couldn't help but think the same type of speech could be equally applied to the majority of American's today who sit idly by and watch out freedoms dwindle as the government usurps more and more authority than they are Constitutionally allowed.

Of course I totally realize they were in a very different situation, being right in the middle of an all out bloody war. Their family and friends were dying around them, and their sacred things were being desecrated, and their foes were seemingly unstoppable. I just see a lot of what is being said about the non action of people during hard times, leads to loss of freedom and harder times. I see how that has been the case with our country over the past 150 years or so.

The lawful, Constitutional restraints of government have all but been forgotten by the government educated masses, and people today just go with the flow, and take little to no concern, and therefore the government encroaches on more and more freedoms. People need to pay attention, vote, and become real citizens of this country, and not just sit by and get steamrolled over. Hopefully, you too can read this, and keeping America in mind, be stirred, if even a little, to be more involved.

08 March 2010

Hoping it Sinks In: Dealing with Grief and God's Sovereignty

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die...I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him...There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous...then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out...But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, 14; 8:14, 17; 9:1)

22 February 2010

Movie Review: The Invention of Lying: A Pathetic Attack on Christianity

I admit, a lot of time I will watch a movie based solely on who is in it. I rarely if ever read a movie review to get any details or anyone's opinion. Such was the case with the recent DVD release of "The Invention of Lying." Not really a fan of the main character Ricky Gervais, it was the fact that Jennifer Garner was in it that drew me to it. She often plays fun and cute roles, so we expected the same here; and in fact she did that here too.

The preview of the movie gave little detail to the movie story line aside from making it simply look like humorous fun. The premise is basically that in an alternate reality, in a world where everyone tells the truth, one man learns to lie. As the previews showed, I expected it to be a simple movie of a man indulging in silliness and taking advantage of it. Instead, we are served up 99 minutes of slightly humorous dialog with a heavy underlying atheist message.

20 February 2010

Not as Bad Off as I Thought: Dealing With My Grief

Christians are those who have faith in Christ. We all aspire to possess a faith that is strong and enduring. The reality, however, is that faith is not a constant thing. Our faith wavers between moments of supreme exultation and trying times that push us to the rim of despair. Doubt flashes danger lights at us and threatens our peace. Rare is the saint who has a tranquil spirit in all seasons.

Suffering is one of the most significant challenges to any believer's faith. When pain, grief, persecution, or other forms of suffering strike, we find ourselves caught off guard, confused, and full of questions. Suffering can strain faith to the limits.

15 February 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Hero or Hellion?

It is President's Day, so here is an article about one. I didn't write it, but wanted to share it here. This is actually an excerpt from the book The Confederate Catechism by Lyon Gardiner Tyler which was originally published in 1935, but an affordable reprint can be acquired HERE along with many other related titles. Here is a description of this little writing:
This informative little booklet, originally published in 1935, set out in a helpful question and answer format, offers concise, yet insightful, answers to such questions as: "What Was the Cause of Secession in 1861?" "Was Slavery the Cause of Secession or the War?" "Did Lincoln by His Conquest of the South Save the Union?" etc. Every lover of Liberty should read this booklet and use it to "catechize" his children in the knowledge of the Southern Cause, which Robert Lewis Dabney once predicted "will one day be the cause of us all." 60 pages.

14 January 2010

Reinventing Jesus (Pt. 5)

Section five is the final section of the book I've been discussing, Reinventing Jesus, and it takes a look at the accusations that Christianity and its elements are simply a relabeling of pagan religions. This is a very fascinating section, since it is one of the root issues even today among Christians who oppose a celebration of Christmas for similar reasons; a group of which I was formerly a member of.

Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, Mithras, and other Pagan Mystery saviors as fables, yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context and believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem? ... Jesus was a Pagan god...and Christianity was a heretical product of Paganism!
- Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy,
The Jesus Mysteries, 9

Nothing in Christianity is original.
- Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, 232

The traditional history of Christianity cannot convincingly explain why the Jesus story is so similar to ancient Pagan myths.
- Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
The Laughing Jesus, 61

11 January 2010

Reinventing Jesus (Pt. 4)

If we take away all the miraculous events surrounding the story of Jesus to reveal a human, we would certainly find no one who could have garnered huge crowds around him because of his preaching. And the fact is that this crowd-drawing preacher finds his place in "history" only in the New Testament, completely overlooked by the dozens of historians of his day, an era considered one of the best documented in history.
- Acharya S,
The Christ Conspiracy, 100
Continuing on in section four of the book Reinventing Jesus that we have been discussing, they look at the evidence for Jesus in history, from sources outside of the New Testament writings.

Comments like those of Archarya S that imply that Jesus never existed because he is not mentioned outside the New Testament are remarkable for their bluster. This would be an interesting topic to pursue fully, but our goals are more focused. (pg 195-196)

It is a remarkable thing that we have any statements about Jesus by non-Christian writers. After all, he was a Jewish carpenter who spent most of his time on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, occasionally journeying to Jerusalem with his disciples. What's more, writers in the Roman Empire were typically upper-class men who looked down on Eastern religions and gazed back on Rome's celebrated past. So why would they ever pay attention to a Nazarene who founded a religion embraced by the lowest rungs of society? Simply put, be couldn't be ignored. (pg. 196)

04 January 2010

Reinventing Jesus (Pt. 3)

The holiday weekend allowed me to catch up on a bit more reading than usual, so I was able to finish this book I have been discussing, Reinventing Jesus. Picking up with part four of the book, this section deals with the divinity of Jesus. Some of these modern writers like to claim that Jesus was only "declared" diving centuries after his death at the council of Nicaea. I found this, as well as section five to be probably the highlight of this whole book, as far as things I really wanted to know more about. OK, so I think I could probably say the same thing about part three. Actually, this whole book has been a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it.

Jesus' establishment as "the Son of God" was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.
- Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code, 233
There is nothing recorded in the Gospels showing that Jesus clearly affirmed his own divinity.
-Shabir Ally
Muslim apologist on PAX's Faith Under Fire program
November 27, 2004