Sunday, February 17, 2013

ORDAINED IRREVERENCE reviewed by Steve Hilton


If you've ever been curious as to what goes on behind the scenes at larger churches across the United States, here's your invitation.  Follow Elmo Jenkins as he interns at the First Baptist Church, completing his final assignment before graduating seminary.  You'll laugh . . . no, you'll roar, as Elmo learns the finer points of visitation, counseling, and baptisms.  McMillan Moody pulls back the curtain and reveals "the code" of church-ese, communication, and church protocol.  Mr. Moody invites you to become a staff member, along with Elmo, and learn first-hand how to organize your day and a youth-group all-nighter in 15 minutes or less. And witness the most romantic marriage proposal you've ever seen.  Yes . . . I'm a man.  Yes . . . I cried.  I'm a seminary graduate and minister myself, and was once on staff ( I was Dunston ) at a larger church, and can vouch for the veracity of Mr. Moody's research.  As the British are fond of saying, Mr. Moody is "spot-on."  And since Mr. Moody is constantly stealing lines from the rich and famous, I'm going to take the same liberties:  Mr. Moody, "thanks for the memories."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review of THE HEART OF RELIGION by Lee, Poloma, and Post

Loosely based on the experiences of 5 people, and supported by sociological research from three experienced professionals, The Heart Of Religion lives up to its name.  It provides an excellent history and foundation for the transforming power of religion in our society.  Drawing on an extensive random survey of 1,200 men and women across the United States, Matthew Lee, Margaret Poloma, and Stephen Post here shed new light on how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love and how that transformative experience expresses itself in concrete acts of benevolence.

However, God is not interested in religion – he’s interested in a relationship.  Throughout the book the prevailing interest is in God’s love; not in God himself.  There is a sense that ANYONE can practice and dispense the love of God, regardless of their relationship with him.  God, and any relationship one has with him, plays second fiddle.  In its widest expression, the principles of this book could lead someone to the idea that God is irrelevant – all you need is love.

The dangers of such a message cannot be over-emphasized.  There are millions of souls languishing in hell for all eternity because of such a message.  Religion without a right relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of all that was, is, and ever shall be, can be summed up in one word – idolatry.  And Scripture is clear; “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”  Isaiah 42:8

The Heart Of Religion
Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen G. Post
ISBN 978-0-19-993188-0
Love – Religious Aspects – Christianity \ Religion
Oxford University Press
301 pages
$29.95 U.S.

1 star

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review of THE RUNNER by A. Wayne Gill

Michael Knight, the son of a preacher man who was the son of a preacher man, received a vision for his life in a Manhattan hotel room.  And it had nothing to do with preaching.  Michael was called to be a warrior in an entirely different arena.  And God would not let him off the hook.

Weathering the storms of familial shock and disappointment, Michael makes the necessary steps to prepare himself for a lifelong war with evil in the courtrooms of the United States.  Along the way, he must count the cost of his decisions, which mount ever higher as his goal comes in sight.  And then there were deeper, darker issues which must be confronted as well.  Issues that require the services of a warrior.

This is the first in a 7-part series in the life of Michael Knight.  A deeply caring heart for God rests securely in the body of a young man who has feasted on competition his whole life.  And the reader of this series will be able to watch the transformation of God’s grace and the administration of God’s justice as the series progresses.  What a great combination! 

I highly recommend The Runner to readers who have a desire to truly see God at work in the life of a man wholly committed to Him.

5 stars

The Runner
A. Wayne Gill
ISBN 978-0- 9797856-1-0
Fiction \ Christian Suspense \ Legal Thriller
Iron Pillar Media Group
$8.45 U.S.


Is God still in the healing business?  That’s a question many people, maybe most people if we are honest with ourselves, find ourselves asking at various times throughout our brief span which we call “our life.”  That is also one of the questions that Harold J. Sala addresses in his book, What You Need To Know About Healing.  And thankfully, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” 

The author first addresses the issue of the extremes; some refuse to believe that God is still in the healing business because “God just doesn’t work that way in this dispensation.”  Others firmly believe that God’s will is that everyone be made whole.  If you are still broken, then obviously there is something wrong with your relationship with God.  In an effort to stop the wildly swinging pendulum, Mr. Sala investigates the theology of healing from a Scriptural point of view.  He looks at healing in the Old Testament, in the ministry of Jesus Christ, in the ministry of the apostles, and on into the current time frame.  Throughout the book, one note keeps tolling it’s message over and over:  God is sovereign!  God can and will do whatever he desires to do, and his character and attributes remain fully intact regardless of how we, in our finite understanding, see the outcomes.

Of course, healing is in the eyes of the beholder.  Our notions of healing, and how it is supposed to work, may differ widely from the way in which The Great Physician practices.  But you cannot deny His love, you cannot deny His compassion, you cannot deny His heart that breaks for each and every one of us.

Peppered throughout the book are real life accounts of miraculous healings that have taken place instantaneously; healings that have taken place over periods of time, and instances where healing, as we consider it, did not take place at all.  And yet through it all (to paraphrase theologian Francis Schaeffer) “God was there, and he was not silent.”

What You Need To Know About Healing is an informative, engrossing, transforming read, for those who have an ear to hear.  I highly recommend it.

5 stars

What You Need To Know About Healing
Harold J. Sala
ISBN 978-1-4336-7889-9
Spiritual Healing \ Healing \ Christian Life
B&H Publishing Group
230 pages
$14.99 U.S.