Monday, December 29, 2014

Discipleship – J. Heinrich Arnold

© 2011 The Plough Publishing House, Walden, New York

Living through the middle of the 20th century (1913-1982) J. Heinrich Arnold discovered a deep and lasting faith that guided his every step. In this volume we have a collection of his writings (drawn together by his children and friends) that bears reading by every follower of Christ.

This leader of a Christian community (without formal theological education) walked deeper in the word than most of the men and women considered great heroes of t
he faith today.

First of all, I must admit that the book is not an easy read for several reasons. Arnold‘s writings are collected piece by piece making the book more a collection of sayings that a “read-through-me” volume. In this respect the book does not have flow. On the other hand this makes Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind a perfect reference volume. The writings are collected under general to specific headings. Want to read about “Faith”? Look under the heading. “Communion”? It’s there too.
The other main reason for the difficulty in navigating this book is the depth at which Arnold hits the reader’s spirit. This is not a book to pick up if you want no-challenge, feel-good fluff. It is however, the perfect read for the Christian wanting to be more like Christ (which is after all, the ultimate goal of becoming a Christian in the first place).

Arnold tackles man in his sin nature and his salvation. He writes readily about the nature and community of the church. I would give this book 4 out of 5 reading glasses and join greats like Mother Teresa and Elisabeth Elliot in recommending the book to any Christian.
—Benjamin Potter, December 29, 2014

[Disclaimer: I received this book for free for the purposes of this review.]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

30 A.D. – Ted Dekker

A.D. 30: A Novel©2014 Center Street, New York

Ted Dekker is one of the more popular writers in a new generation. I personally have jumped on his bandwagon for several of his thrillers (such as Thr3e, and Showdown), was impressed with a couple of hisChristmas tales, but haven’t enjoyed some of his writing nearly as much. That’s okay, because sometimes we get so caught up in an author that we are blind to the things that they write that aren’t so good (I have blind spots for JohnGrisham and Bill Crider). In this new book, Dekker stretches his Christian beliefs to the highest of heights and attempts a story set in the days of the New Testament and resting heavily on the shoulders of the saints who penned the sacred books.

Dekker weaves for us the tale of an outcast Bedouin princess (Maviah) who finds herself on a task to earn back her father’s honor and avenge her son’s murder. Aided by two of her father’s trusted servants—a large black mercenary (Saba) and a Jew descended from the wise men who followed a star, she sets out on her quest. The mission leads her from the oasis stronghold, now overrun by her father’s enemies, into the land of Palestine. Here she meets with King Herod, as well as with Miriam (Mary), Peter, and even Yeshua (Jesus). In the midst of her travels and struggles she finds her heart changed and her view of her mission re-structured.

The historical setting and Biblical background of the story give the reader pause because of the attention to detail and the desire for accuracy. Dekker did such a superb job of weaving this story that I can hardly wait for 33 A.D. (the promised follow-up story). I give this book an easy five reading glasses. Even those who are skeptical of the truth of the Scriptural record will find this story intriguing, inviting, and interesting.

—Benjamin Potter, December 16, 2014

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