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Archive for the ‘Book Report’ Category

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The title describes the purpose of this short book: Why Christian Kids Need A Christian Education. Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho and one of the founding fathers of the Classical Christian Education movement, makes his case in 71 pages.

Wilson doesn’t get to his point right away, but spends much of his time (and ink) laying the groundwork. He does this by dealing with issues that need to be understood and embraced before the question can be answered. A few of these are knowing what a Christian worldview is and what it isn’t, the nature of education, and what everyone knows – Christian or not.

Wilson pleads for Christian parents to consider the disastrous results of government education and do something about it. Hopefully this book will help you do that.

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K. Scott Oliphant, in his book Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith, has given us both an introduction to and a fresh understanding of Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics.

The most popular form of apologetics (defending the faith) today is what is known as Evidentialism. In other words, we defend the truthfulness of Christianity by presenting evidence for God’s existence, His creation of the universe, the historical and literal resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Covenantal apologetics, on the other hand focuses its attention on the underlying assumptions we all have as fallen human beings, and then proceed from that point (while not denying the importance of evidences).

God relates to human beings on the basis of covenants. The Westminster Confession of Faith 7.1, says “The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension of God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant.” God condescends to deal with us despite our sin, and He does it by means of covenants which are solely based on His grace and mercy.

Covenantal apologetics is based on several foundational truths. The faith we’re defending  must begin with, and necessarily include, the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), who condescends to create and to redeem. Human beings (made in the image and likeness of God) are all in a covenant relationship with God. All people know the true God (see Rom. 1). Those who are and remain in Adam suppress the truth that they know, while those who are in Christ see the truth for what it is. The suppression of truth, however like depravity, is total but not absolute. Three basic concepts should be understood and presupposed as being true: the authority of Scripture (there has to be a final word), a sense of the divine (and a knowledge of Him) in every human being, and God’s common grace in every human being.

There is some deep water in spots, but Oliphant makes his case in a way that’s understandable. Covenantal Apologetics has changed the way I think about apologetics, including wanting to read more of Van Til.

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The God Who Is There, by Francis Scaheffer, is a classic. Written in the late 1960’s, its relevancy today cannot be denied. Schaeffer had the uncanny ability to see and understand the spiritual and intellectual climate of the last half of the twentieth century. Schaeffer’s ministry, and this book, ignited a generation of Christian thinkers and apologists.

Yes, the book is that good, and yes, it’s that foundational. Historic orthodox Christianity has something to say to this culture, just like it had something to say when this book was written. In fact, it is the only solution to the problems we face. Schaeffer was interested in the logical conclusions of a person’s worldview, a presentation of truth that always takes into account the dignity and depravity of man, a commitment to remain faithful to biblical orthodoxy, and the necessity of both truth and love as we speak and as we live. All of that, and more can be found in this book.

I highly recommend The God Who Is There. It will help you understand our time (both then and now). It even has a glossary, which is helpful.

Tolle lege!

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R.C. Sproul’s latest book written for children – The Knight’s Map – explains the importance of the Bible to Christians today. It’s not just a book of fables and contradictions as some claim; it’s God’s gift to us. The Bible gives us a map for life – what to believe and how to behave. It’s instructions can only be understood, though, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The Knight’s Map will remind some readers of another allegory – Pilgrim’s Progress.

This may be the best of Sprout’s children’s books. It’s a good story without an abundance of moving parts which is well told. The study guide is excellent, as well. Tolle lege!

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A young boy went to the king and asked him why we have shadows and where they come from. This is the plot for the first children’s book R.C. Sproul wrote – The King Without A Shadow. The king doesn’t know the answer to the boy’s question and neither do his wise men or advisers. When the king visits a prophet, the answers are given. The king calls the boy and answers his questions.

What follows is an explanation of the holiness of God (the King without a shadow). It’s a good introduction to the subject, written in such a way to be understandable to children (maybe not the youngest children, though). The holiness of God is a massive subject which we can only understand partially in this life, but Sproul has given parents a good way to introduce the subject to their children.

This is the only children’s book written by Sproul that does not contain a study guide and questions (which is too bad). I hope a future edition will include it.

I recommend it. Tolle lege!

 

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“God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

R.C. Sproul’s children’s book The Lightlings begins with little Charlie’s question, “Why am I afraid of the dark?” What follows is a story that illustrates the Bible-wide theme of light and darkness.  Sproul follows this theme from creation to the fall to redemption through Christ to the consummation of all things. At one point in the story, Grandpa (the storyteller in all of Sproul’s books) says, “You see, Charlie, we’re afraid of the dark because we were made to live in the light.” How true!

As with all of his children’s books, there is a useful question and answer study guide included. I heartily recommend it for both kids and adults.

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Little Ella wonders why medicine that’s supposed to help you get better tastes so bad. Her grandpa tells her the story of a wise King who put a beautiful fountain at the center of a park in the city. He told the people not to drink from it, but they believed his archenemy and drank. The results were disastrous. The King then sent his son, the Prince, to drink a cup of poison which would heal his subjects. That’s the premise of The Prince’s Poison Cup, a book by R.C. Sproul designed for children (but appropriate for adults, too).

The story illustrates the amazing truth that Jesus drank the cup of His Father’s wrath against sinners. It tasted terrible, but great good came from it! Jesus willing obedience to His Father – experiencing the Father’s wrath against sin being poured out upon Him – is beautifully told and illustrated (by Justin Gerrard).

The Prince’s Poison Cup includes questions and a study guide with all of the pertinent Scripture references. I heartily recommend it!

 

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