Some Thoughts on Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible

I’ve been looking a bit at Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture (BrazosPress, 2011). I agree with many aspects of Smith’s critique. While I consider myself to have a high view of Scripture, I have broadened a bit in my understanding of all that this entails. I’m generally very conservative on issues of authorship, canon, date, etc. But I share some of Smith’s concerns about the way the Bible is treated by fundamentalists and some evangelicals. I’ve often felt curious about the way the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, for example,…

Paul Johnson’s Churchill

During some time off this week I read Paul Johnson’s Churchill (Viking, 2009).  Its a brief and enjoyable biography, covering in less than 200 pages a very full life of 90 years, from early military travels and literary fame, through the ups and downs of a stormy political career, to the inspiring leadership during World War II for which Churchill is now famous.  The epilogue provides a helpful summary of what we can learn from Churchill, and chapter 6 – my favorite part of the book – offers 10 reasons why Churchill saved Britain.  Overall, the story of Churchill’s life…

Two Sentence Review of Surprised By Hope

I just finished N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperOne 2008). Here is my review in two (very long) sentences: I found the book helpful in that: (1) it highlights the uniqueness of early Christian belief in the resurrection over and against more general understandings of the afterlife among first century Jews and Pagans (chapter 3) and contemporary Christians and skeptics (chapter 5); (2) it captures a holistic understanding of salvation, God’s concern for the material world He has made, and the unity of creation-fall-redemption in Scripture (e.g., p. 96: “redemption doesn’t…

CJ Mahaney’s Humility: True Greatness

This past summer I read CJ Mahaney’s book, Humility: True Greatness (Multnomah, 2005), which is a wonderful and edifying book which I heartily recommend to anyone who struggles alongside me with pride – and if you don’t struggle with pride at all, then I especially recommend this book! 8 things I learned: 1) The personal application of great truths was very profound in this book. I noticed this from the way CJ would take a basic point – say, an attribute of God – and apply it to himself over and over, showing how much could be gleaned from it….

Thoughts on Jim Belcher’s Deep Church

On our way back from Chicago this Christmas Esther and I stopped in Grand Rapids, where I picked up Jim Belcher’s Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional (IVP 09), which we read aloud to each other on the ride home (to keep the driver from getting too bored!). Its a fascinating read – highly narrative, interactive with all sorts of leading emergent and evangelical thinkers, thoughtful, generous, humorous. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot, and I think we need more books which both try to learn from and critically analyze the emerging church.  Here I’m…

Einstein

I have been reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Einstein (Simon and Schuster, 2007). I picked the book up because I wanted to learn more about Einstein’s contribution to physics and what is really at stake with the special and general theories of relativity. I also wanted to learn about his life – what it was like to live in as a Jew in many antisemitic pockets of Europe in his earlier years, how he balanced his brilliance and his later academic fame with his personal life, what set him apart as a truly great thinker, and so on. Its a…

Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday for my day off, I went to Borders, ordered a large coffee, and, in connection with my recent interest in biographies, read James M. McPherson’s Abraham Lincoln. There are a host of books on Lincoln being published this year (because it is the 200th anniversary of his birth), but McPherson’s stood out to me because it is concise – at 65 pages, it can be read in one sitting. But despite its brevity I found it very informative, and I found more joy and fascination in reading it than I can express. At the risk of sounding overly praising…