Book Review- The Road to Reality

The Road to Reality

Rating: 4 out of 5

Author: K. P. Yohannan

Year: 1988

Publisher: Creation House

ISBN: 0884192504

Now this was a challenging read! K.P. Yohannan has a message that the Western Church definitely needs to hear and heed. In the book, K.P. addresses the artificial Christianity that many people in western society practice as a result of “real Christianity” being diluted by the materialism, consumerism, and selfish pursuits so evident in our culture. I agree with many of the conclusions he draws but my only complaint is that he paints such a broad brush. I do believe that as a whole the Western Church is a poor image of the Church we read about in Acts but it is my observation that there are many “movements” or churches that are “bucking” the trend and trodding the “road to reality” in our midst. A good addendum to this book would be to highlight some of those churches that are living beacons for Christ in their communities.

On the whole though, this is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend anyone to read – be warned though – you might just feel a little bit [em]dirty[/em] after reading it…

Tags: book review, K.P. Yohannan, missions, christian living, consumerism, materialism, transformation, reality

On the whole though, this is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend anyone to read – be warned though – you might just feel a little bit [em]dirty[/em] after reading it…book review, K.P. Yohannan, missions, christian living, consumerism, materialism, transformation, reality // –>

Book Review- Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale

Rating: 3 out of 5

Author: Ian Morgan Cron

Year: 2006

Publisher: Navpress

ISBN: 1576838129

“Chasing Francis” is the story of a pastor in a large church struggling with his faith in the light of different personal tragedies encountered in the first few pages of the book. After being forced to take time away from being a pastor Chase Falson embarks on a pilgrimage led by his Uncle (a friar in the Franciscan order) in which he learns about Saint Francis. In the course of this pilgrimage, Chase is forced to rethink some of his faith-positions in the past and his relationship with God. If you think I’m going to tell you everything that happens think again :lol:!

Ian Morgan Cron introduces in the preface of this book that the reasons for writing this book arose out of a discussion he was having with NavPress about how Francis’s,

…unique spin on ministry and the spiritual life might add something to the conversation about church in these postmodern days.

In the course of their discussion they came to the conclusion that such a analysis would best be told in story form rather than adding to the already prolific amount of biographical work on Saint Francis.

The result is what Cron terms, “wisdom literature” – a balance of fiction and nonfiction as he wrote a fictional story (Chase Falson and Putnam Hill Community church) pulling from the non-fictional history (Saint Francis). In the synthesis of the two Cron is adding his understanding of how looking at the life of Saint Francis has much to reveal about the way church is done as it transitions from a modern world to a post-modern world (catching up so to speak).

I thought the story was a good read, not spectacular but good nevertheless. It would definitely have more relevance to those involved in any form of ministry in the church but certainly others will appreciate the freshness in learning about Saint Francis. I must admit I didn’t know too much about Saint Francis prior to reading this book and his life is intriguing. However, in light of the fact that this is not a full biography of his life but rather a synopsis (which Cron readily admits) I’d be best to read more about him before drawing any firm conclusions.

With that said, however, through this book there are some interesting parallels made between the way the world and the church was in the time of Francis (transitioning from medieval to industrial) and what the church (western church specifically) and the world are going through right now as we transition from modern to post-modern. I especially identified with the exposing of the rampant consumerism the church has bought into that results in the church losing the ability to make an impact in culture.

Even though I enjoyed reading this book there were a couple things that bothered me.

1. Much emphasis was spent on the character and life of Francis to the detriment of emphasis on the life of Christ.
Of course Cron is quite clear that this book is an attempt at sharing about Saint Francis in story form but I find it ironic that Chase Falson finds his way back to God primarily through the influence of studying the life of Saint Francis without any supplementation through scripture and study of the life of Christ. I couldn’t help shaking the feeling as I was reading that in the course of his pilgrimage Chase Falson is being “converted” to the ways of Saint Francis rather than the ways of Christ.

Now, I’m not saying that Francis has nothing to teach us – far from it. But I do believe that somehow Cron could have weaven into his story a bit more by way of example in what Christ did that inspired Francis so much (or even shared specific scriptures or two). Even in Falson’s impassioned plea to his congregation at the end of the story, very little (too little IMHO) is mentioned about Jesus Christ.

Note that the accompanying study that the author included in the end of the book also carries little reference to scripture or the life of Christ. It would have been of more benefit to me if some time had been taken to highlight the influence the life of Christ had on Francis (paying attention to any particular scripture texts etc.)

2. The conclusion felt rushed.
I’m sure this had more to do with limits imposed by publishers rather than the will of the author but it seemed that the conclusion of the book was put together rather quickly.

I guess the major concern for me in reading this book is simply the fact that taken alone it seems to suggest that if we live as Saint Francis did we’ll be better (or at least more authentic) followers of Christ. But therein is the oxymoron. Would we really be followers of Christ – or followers of Francis?

Help Wanted: Apostles

Apostles and The Emerging Apostolic Movement

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

Author: David Cannistraci

Year: 1998

Category: Apostles, Leadership

Publisher: Regal Books

ISBN: 0830723382

David has written a book that is an attempt to elucidate and give shape to an understanding of the biblical office of apostle and make an argument for the validity of restoring this office today. I think he has done a good job pointing out the important need for apostles and their ministry as well as clearly outlining the characteristics, work, and authority of the apostles as written about in the New Testament. There wasn’t too much in this book I disagreed with and I would recommend it as a read for any leader in the church.

As I was reading it however I began thinking of my own fellowship (PAOC) and how to some degree while it may not be directly recognized as such (with the term “apostles”) there are men functioning in that role already. We have sectional presbyters (who “oversee” groupings of churches in a district) and regional directors (who oversee groupings of sections in a district) and district superintendents (who oversee a district) and then the General Superintendent (who oversees the districts). I think it might benefit our fellowship more to understand (and perhaps recognize) the role these leaders have as “apostles”.

I also realized as I read this book how little is actually taught in our churches about the office of apostle and yet how important it is to teach. One of the reasons why I picked up this book in the first place was because an experience I had within my own church with a person who was convinced God was calling them to be an apostle. I wasn’t convinced however that this individual correctly understood the purpose of that office. Another thing that stood out was the fact that the individual had never really been in any place of leadership in the church and as such had never been proven. I doubted this person’s motive for seeking that mantle even though he claimed it was to restore the church to it’s “God-given calling”. The thing is, I had no doubt this person really did love God – but unfortunately, their pursuit of this office was misguided. How I wish I had the resource of this book as a companion to my understanding of what the Bible said when counseling this individual – it would have been a good resource to pass on to him as well.

Anyway, in this book, David does a good job of providing some sound counsel for understanding the ministry of apostles and it will be a welcome reference on my bookshelf!

Tags: apostolic movement, apostle, leader, church, ministry, five-fold ministry, David Cannistraci,

Words of Christ?

The Day I Was Crucified

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Gene Edwards

Year: 2005

Publisher: Destiny Image Publishers

ISBN: 0768422248

I was given this book to read by a lady in my church. At first from the title I thought it would be a testimonial about someone giving their life to Christ and implementing Jesus’ instructions to His disciples to ‘Take up their cross’. However when I actually picked up the book to read I noticed the subtitle, “as Told by Jesus the Christ” which clued me into the fictional nature of this book. I’d never heard of the author before so I had a little chuckle when I read this promo piece on the back cover,

…There is good reason for his being called “The Most Loved Christian Storyteller.”…

From the high recommendations and reviews given this book in it’s cover pieces I was looking forward to an interesting read and in that regard I wasn’t disappointed. I agree with Bill McCartney’s comparison with this book as a written “drama” on par with the visible drama developed by Mel Gibson in “The Passion of Christ”.

With that being said this was a good story and I emphasize that because while it is clear that the author is drawing from direct biblical sources in crafting this work there are many assumptions and conjectures being made on the thought processes and some of the “behind the scenes” stuff happening in the circumstances surrounding Christ’s crucifixion. It certainly could have happened that way but that is by no means a declaration that it did happen that way. There are some artistic liberties taken in this story that don’t seem to directly contradict the witness of scripture but nevertheless are developed by “filling in the blanks” with the author’s interpretation of events.

Whether or not this book was a “rhema revelation that was put deep within Gene Edwards by the Spirit of the Lord” it does rightly communicate the incredible agony and suffering Jesus willingly endured for the sake of grace and love for His creation (us). I was moved by the thoughts written on paper of what it must have been like for Christ and the level of sacrifice he endured on the cross and the intensity of what occurred there for those who would be redeemed. I can’t say that I was moved to the same degree as what was quoted by one reviewer but it did affect me on an emotional level.

My only concern (and it’s not a really big one at that) with these kinds of books (and movies too) that develop a picture of biblical events is that the power of a story holds incredible sway and it’s easy to supplement the truth of scripture with the subtle nudges in the wrong direction via the emotions/thought processess invicted by the story. In some ways its best to leave some of the “mystery” in the missing blanks to prevent projecting wrong ideas over the truth of scripture. For those not grounded in the Word of God such stories have the potential of becoming a “word from God” rather than being taken for the fiction (based on fact nevertheless) that they are.

Also, even though these creative pieces can provide an entry point for people to be introduced to gospel truths there is danger that the seeker would gain an incorrect bias before even being introduced to scriptural witness!

In conclusion, for entertainment value and emotional impact Gene Edwards did provide a good read. I definitely wouldn’t consider it a doctrinal thesis…but then he probably didn’t intend it for that anyway!

Power-filled living…

One Holy Fire: Let the Spirit Ignite Your Soul

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Nicky Cruz

Year: 2003

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

ISBN: 1578566525

What an inspiring read! In this book Nicky Cruz gives a glimpse into the ups and downs of his experiences as an evangelist in the course of sharing his message about the vital importance of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He reaffirms the necessity of believing that God is able to work in ways we think impossible to accomplish His work through the calling He places in our lives. Our job is to recieve, believe, and obey! This book is not a “how to” or theological excise of the person and work of the Holy Spirit but rather is strewn with personal stories and experiences that draw attention to the power of a right relationship between one man and His God. The kind of relationship that is emphasized we can all enjoy if we desire so.
I thank Nicky for being forthright about the challenges that come with serving God in full-time ministry and his faithfulness and surrender to the Lordship of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit are an inspiration to me in the ministry God has called me to!

Aliens, UFO’s and the Extraterrestrial “conspiracy”…

Alien Intrusion by Gary BatesI just finished reading the book, “Alien Intrusion” by Gary Bates last night. The summary and title of the book intrigued me because from childhood I have always been interested in stories involving “ET’s” (extraterrestrials) and UFO’s. I remember doing a presentation on UFO’s as a project for one of my classes in high school. The reason why this book interested me is because I discovered a website for it advertised in the Creation Ministries International flyer that I recieve in the mail and after checking it out I thought the book would be worth a read (because of my already piqued interest in ET’s). Here’s the description found on the back of the book:

UFOs have been seen throughout the centuries. But in our enlightened technological age, are we any closer to solving the mystery? This book revisits the most famous events that have defined UFO culture, such as Roswell and alien autopsies; astronaut Gordon Cooper’s sightings; Major Donald Keyhoe’s allegations of official silence; and the claims of famous contactees Billy Meier and George Adamski.

Also discover evidence about alien abductions and other UFO phenomena that is widely ignored by the UFO community. The author’s research and conclusions will surprise you and challenge your thinking — not just about UFOs, but about the nature of life itself.

This landmark volume that brings together the most important evidences, and comes to conclusions far more sinister — yet profound — than most could imagine.

I don’t want to write too much about Gary Bates conclusions about UFOs here because of the profound amount of evidence he amasses and the well-thought out progression he takes through the book to reach them. For me to just list the conclusion might prevent some from reading the book because of bias’ they may already have. However, I will say this – my eyes were opened – WIDE OPENED – to the reality of the UFO phenomenom and how far off from the truth most people are when reading about it and explaining it.

Bates does an excellent job of presenting a logical and reasonable explanation for the numerous reports and evidences that have been collected in the past century (and referencing supposed ancient sightings as well). I can’t help but wonder if any honest, sincere, and open-minded investigator would not reach the same conclusions he did. Certainly when I finished the book I agreed with his conclusions.

For the Christian – this book helps us to understand the UFO phenomenom and grasp the significance of its influence in our culture. It also gives good reason for our faith to be strengthened and encouraged about what the Bible has to say about the “conspiracy” behind UFO’s and Aliens. I believe Bates correctly identifies the religious (or spiritual) nature of the UFO phenomenom and how it requires a belief system that is inherently antagonistic to the Christian faith. In his conclusions, he expertly gives opinions why this is so (the conclusions are shocking to say the least!). After reading his book I definitely feel it’s a worthwhile read for Christians – let me put it this way…like I said earlier, I have always been fascinated by stories of UFO’s and aliens (and a bit of a sci-fi buff to boot) and the idea that there may be life on other planets in our universe. Yet, after reading this book I’ve realized that such interests cannot be taken lightly or even seen as a harmless indulgence…

For the non-Christian I would invite you to read this book and not be put off by what I stated in the paragraph above. For certainly, in my opinion, Bates is not writing this book as an apologetic of the Christian faith and doesn’t even mention the Christian connection until the last chapters. Instead, it very much read as an honest attempt to have an objective look at the UFO phenomena, it’s origins, it’s ideals, it’s evidences, and it’s stories. Bates draws from an incredible amount of resources (from a multitude of differing viewpoints) that demonstrate the diligence in his research and investigation into the subject. The way he presents this information is in the method of an open-minded researcher. It is clear that Bates was honestly trying to get to the bottom of this mystery from a scholarly perspective. By the end of the book I think you’ll appreciate the high plausibility that his conclusions are true – and at the very least give you something to really think about.

Bates presents numerous stories, evidences, and research that no doubt many people have seen presented in documentaries, or read before (a testimony to how widespread talk of UFO’s has become…almost an accepted expectation in our society). Overall this book was a very interesting read and one I will be recommending to many people!