Category Archives: Theology

Implications Abound by Adam4d

2015-03-17-implications-abound2Like The Oatmeal, but for Theology Nerds.

Implications Abound
A collection of curiously Christian comics
by Adam4d
CreateSpace Independent
March 2015

In his first collection of comics from his website, Adam4d chose an eclectic collection of his work. Some of it is clearly earlier – the art is less detailed, and tends to be more issue based – while some looks and works like some of his more recent work – having more detailed characters acting out quotes from historical figures, pastors and authors or providing more in-depth commentary on Christian issues. While the art style varies, the theme is the same: modern Christianity is under the microscope. But it never comes across as intending to harm.

Screenshot_2015-03-19-14-58-01-1 Screenshot_2015-03-19-14-58-10-1

Some use satire simply as an attack, while others make a point. (Think political cartoons). Adam4d’s work is primarily a way of teaching. Even those who may feel attacked have to admit that it wasn’t the artist who did the attacking; it is the Word, quoted faithfully in context, or quotes from theological and intellectual greats from history that convicts.

Screenshot_2015-03-19-14-56-10-1If there was a letdown it was in how short the book was. I understand that with full color it would have to be shorter to be affordable, but, like many fans of his webcomic, I have my favorites that I’d have liked to see included. Some of his newer stuff is really top notch as well. But that’s what the second collection if for, right?

With religious work there can be – rightly so – concerns about orthodox views. Nothing I’ve read so far would not be considered orthodox. While I don’t know the author, his work strikes me as tending to Reformed if any set of doctrinal beliefs without any controversial or secondary issues to cause readers of different backgrounds to stumble. If you are an orthodox Christian you will find a lot to agree with here. Beware, though, should you hold to unorthodox beliefs as they will come under the scrutiny of the Word.

Screenshot_2015-03-19-14-52-26-1I haven’t had as much fun reading about theologians, laughing at (and being rebuked for) so-called Christian behavior, or learning complex theological arguments in clear, deep ways since I read Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like a few years back. Hilarious, poignant, needed. This webcomic and book are part satire, part teaching, and part rebuke and 100% required reading.

I highly recommend it!


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Jesus is the Question by Copenhaver

JesusQuestionTrue to the title, Copenhaver asks questions of the reader to come to a deeper undertaken of who Jesus is to us and who we are to be for him.

Jesus Is the Question
The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered
by Martin B. Copenhaver
Abingdon Press
September 2014

Each of the 8 chapters on the questions of Jesus is filed with anecdote anger story after parable all towards the goal of asking the questions in just the right way to get the response Jesus was going for originally. Starting with “what are you looking for?” and moving through topics dealing with compassion, identity, faith and doubt, worry, love, heading and abundance.

Starting with chapter 9, the author takes us through the very important, eternity impacting questions for us that Jesus answered: who Jesus is, what happened on the cross and what the resurrection. The book ends with nearly 10 full pages of all of Jesus’ questions listed out then some study questions.

A worthy read that should prompt growth and understanding.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

God’s Not Dead by Broocks

With so many loud, seemingly authoritative voices championing atheism and so few Christian voices being allowed the opportunity to broadcast the Gospel it can be hard for a Christian to answer the challenge. Enter Broocks.

God’s Not Dead
Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty
By Rice Broocks
Thomas Nelson
March 2013

Broocks uses philosophy and logic – the same tools being abused to condemn Christianity – to show that the most rational, logical and correct worldview is that of the Christians. The author goes in to great depth to show the meaninglessness of empiricism and how it leads to only one conclusion: that we can prove nothing.

I love how the book was deep enough for those who have some experience and want deeper answers but could also be boiled down to very easy to understand concepts. Consider how the author destroys the argument against God because of evil: how can I believe in a god when there is so much evil in the world? The author answers simply: no God = no evil. Evil and good are concepts that are only explained by a creator God who gave them to us. A natural world built by undirected change and chance cannot create concepts like good and evil. Good stuff.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with the questions raised by non-believers or for those who want to have an answer for the hope that lies within them.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Love the Least of These (A Lot) by Spielman

Nearly 45 million human beings have been brutally killed since January 1973. 45 million. That’s seven and a half times the number of Jews that were killed in the Holocaust. Thank God that the Holocaust of the Jews is over. Unfortunately, the Holocaust of the Unborn is not.

Love the Least of These (A Lot)
by Michael Spielman
Loxafamosity Ministries Inc
January 2013

Spielman is the founder and director of Loxafamosity Ministries, the ministry that runs Abort73.com, (in my opinion) the best and most well documented anti-abortion website and ministry in the world. The website is a cornucopia of scientific, theological, moralistic, and logical reasons to abhor abortion and for visitors to recieve support in case they were considering abortion or unfortunately had already had an abortion. A well rounded ministry to, and education of, people.

This book is similar to the website but in a specific, focused way. A primer more than an in depth look at the debate and the act. Questions of life and conception, moral relativism, effects of abortion, why it’s wrong and more. It seems like a great starting place for interested parties – both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life – to understand the debate and the why of what they believe. Which is why I don’t understand why it wasn’t published sooner and by a bigger publisher.

According to the author, this book was passed on by multiple Christian publishers. I can only assume that the publishers either, 1) didn’t think it was marketable, or 2) didn’t want to publish a book against abortion for fear of repercussions. Spielman addresses this point in the book: some Christian organizations and churches don’t want to get in to this topic because they feel it polarizes and causes dissension. Listen, this is exactly the type of topic that we should be dividing over. Jesus said that He would divide people (Matt 10, Luke 12) and even though many Christians would like to solely focus on building relationships, which is good, the problem is that where sin is there will be division because the act of sinning is the cause of the division (or turning away/ breaking relationship) with God. The division exists because of the sin, not because a Christian calls something a sin.

(This is not to say that we should walk around calling sins out. Jesus made it clear in his famous plank eye analogy (Matt 7) that we need to look to our sins and let God deal with the sins of others. But here is a major difference between judging people and killing people. Abortion is killing people. We don’t have the luxury of saying to ourselves, “God will work that out.” See here.)

Abortion is one of the most dangerous to discuss topics in the world. In Christianity, unfortunately, it isn’t a settled issue either as with our mouths we condemn the act as murder but with our choices show that we aren’t much different than the world around us. Most of these decisions are made without true understanding of abortion and what it is and why it’s wrong. Education is what we need. This book is a great place to start.

Whether you are a Christian, Pro Choice, Pro Life, an Atheist or anything in between this book is one of the most clearly and concisely written primers on the Biblical argument against abortion.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Visions of the Coming Days by Sanford

visionsAn amazing book. He is speaking from a heart longing for redemption and grace. Read with an open heart.

Visions of the Coming Days
What to Look for and how to Prepare
R. Loren Sandford
Chosen Books
May 2012

These are uncertain and very difficult times we are living in. Our world is literally going to hell in a hand basket. Pastor Sandford spells out his vision of the coming days. He reveals the heart of the Father and the hope of the Body of Christ. Too many of us have lost the glow of our first love – the day/hour/minute that we accepted Jesus Christ. It is time to get back to that all consuming love and hope that we share with our Savior at that precise moment and really know the Father’s heart.

This is a book that I strongly suggest each and every one of you read and take to heart. We truly are living in the End Times and all must be prepared when Christ returns.

Highly recommended.


The Golden Reviewer, is an 80 something year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of fiction on top..

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Finding God in the Hunger Games by Gire

You know the Philosophy of… books? Like the Philosophy of the Simpsons where the authors break down the actions taken by the characters in that show to decompress the philosophies behind the actions? I love those kinds of books. I love when someone looks behind the show, book, movie to draw conclusions about what the characters believed or espoused or why they acted in such and such ways. This is not a book like that.

Finding God in the Hunger Games
by Ken Gire
Christian Audio
September 2012

This is an ultra short book, with tons of unnecessary information that I came to believe was included to get the page count to publication length, that doesn’t AT ALL go into anything to do with the Hunger Games and God. In fact, the author early on states that there is NO connection between the Hunger Games and God. (He tries to make the parallel between the book of Esther that also doesn’t mention God, but God is in every part of the story, like Shakespeare is not in his works as a character, but is in his works in every word and page. But that doesn’t work at all here. God is not here and the author never intended to put Him in and none of the characters act like there is even such a thing as a god.)

So if God is not in the Hunger Games and the book isn’t about that what is the book about? Let me give you an example of what you can connect in short form: Panem, where the story in the Hunger Games takes place, means “bread” in Latin, which is the language of the Romans, which persecuted Christians and had the circus, which is where Christians died, which reminds us that we will all die, which brings up the End Times, which makes me scratch my head about what the heck is going on! This isn’t a stretch or a fabrication. Each of those topics are covered in depth but nothing at all about God in the Hunger Games.

As a Christian and a teacher I would have expected a tact bout how a soulless world where God was conspicuously absent would be like this hopeless, vile place where decadence and selfishness are pervasive and then move towards how the Hunger Games is a great starting point in apologetic conversations about what it would really mean to have a world without God. But the author doesn’t even go here; the most obvious connection.

(There, I just wrote a better book than the author did about God in the Hunger Games.)

This book, or pamphlet, is a mess of ideas that aren’t terrible but aren’t about the Hunger Games. This isn’t exegesis (finding God in the Hunger Games,) or even eisegesis (writing God into the Hunger Games). This is Proof Texting and then Tangent (finding a word in the Hunger Games that reminds you about what you wanted to talk about.)

Shame on Christian publishers for capitalizing on the success of the Hunger Games and rushing a sub-par book to print.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

A Shot of Faith to the Head by Stokes

Our culture is dominated by challengers to faith in Christianity and God and reasoned voices in response seem to be silent. How is a Christian supposed to answer non-believing critics that don’t even speak their same language? Apologetics is about defending the faith, not about evangelizing atheists. Enter philosophy.

A Shot of Faith to the Head
By Mitch Stokes, PhD
Thomas Nelson
April 2012

While it seems like Christians have no response – if you simply rely on the secular media – in reality, which is to say the marketplace of ideas, Christians not only have a response but the right response. Stokes takes one step then another in a devastating deconstruction of philosophical evidentialism (the idea that a belief must be supported by evidential facts to be rational), which atheists and philosophical non-believers try to use to show faith in God is irrational.

A test: do you know how to disprove the claim that faith in God is irrational? And no, you can’t appeal to the Bible or your faith to prove your faith. Just using logic and philosophy, which are the languages of the “cranky atheist.” If not, then this book is definitely for you. As it was for me.

Too often we Christians are bombarded with so-called facts about of faith and how it is blind and not rational, therefore not for intelligent or thinking people. Atheists even call themselves “free thinkers” to bring home the point. We MUST learn to defend our beliefs using the language that the atheists use and not fall back to “I just do” arguments.

Our faith is perfectly rational and the most logical of all worldviews. We just need to be reminded why. Stokes does a great job of breaking this down for us. Highly recommended.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Has God Spoken? by Hank Hanegraaff

Seldom has a more timely book come across my desk at a more opportune time as this one did!

Has God Spoken?
Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration
by Hank Hanegraaff
Thomas Nelson
August 2011

One thing that Hanegraaff does that can turn some off on his radio show is that he sometimes speaks over the head of his callers. A failure at times to lower his vocabulary to the level of his audience. I’m sure he has his reasons, but whatever the reason this book doesn’t suffer with the same issues. It is easy to read, easy to digest, easy to understand and easy to remember.

Hanegraaff is renowned for the memorization techniques employed in his writings and this book likewise was written in a way that makes it easier to remember the arguments in favor of the “Bible being divine rather than human in origen.” Even phrases like that one (taken directly from the author,) are drilled into the reader in Hanegraaff’s repetitive writing style so that any read will retain more from this book than most.

The book covers manuscript evidence, textual criticism, reading the Bible as literature, Archaeology and more and it does it very well. In fact on several occasions I wondered what Old and New Testament 101 would have been like with these topics rather than the sometimes bland introductions and overviews we got in Bible school! Not only is this more interesting, but in this day when the Bible is under constant attack this book may be more relevant that a debate on the author of Hebrews or the textual criticism of the Pentateuch.

Which brings me to the only flaw into the book: not enough direct answers to critics of the Bible. I know that’s not the point of the project but that’s a book we need just as much. Many times Hanegraaff shows the failure by critics like Dr. Bart Ehrman but I’d like to see a book of rebuttals. Maybe Hanegraaff can work on that for his next project.

This is a timely, engrossing and well written overview of why the Bible is trustworthy and can be legitimately viewed as the direct revelation of God without blind faith or avoiding tough questions. Very highly recommended.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Learn to Study the Bible by Andy Deane

Not everyone has an opportunity to go to seminary but every Christian should learn to study the Word. Andy Deane’s book fills that gap. Deane gives no less than 40 methods of studying the Bible with illustrations and diagrams showing how he moved from a verse or passage to an application.

Learn to Study the Bible
by Andy Deane
Xulon
April 2009

I have had an opportunity to study Biblical exegesis at the university level and can say that this book is a more concise and helpful tool than many of the convoluted texts I was made to purchase and read. I thoroughly enjoyed his direct approach to the studies. You want to find out what Jesus would really do? How about you use the Twenty Jesus Questions section or the 5 Ps method where you can quickly understand and apply what Jesus said and how we are to use that information in decision making today.

Bottom line: this is an impressive book! Deane takes readers step by step through learning to faithfully exegete Scripture at their own pace. This is the next best thing to a seminary or university degree. It is practical Biblical studies and I recommend it highly for all believers.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Love Wins by Rob Bell

I am not a Rob Bell fanboy; however, I do have a generally positive opinion of the little exposure I’ve had to his ministry. When Love Wins was first being reviewed and its author was being held up in many quarters as satan’s chief apostle my first instinct was ignore it. (There are only so many books one can read.) Finally, the clamor reached so close to home that I had to give in and read it for myself. I don’t like to let third parties do my thinking for me.

The uproar is understandable. Bell has a habit of asking hard questions. He also has a tendency to not provide definitive answers to the hard questions he asks. And when those questions concern the issues of heaven and hell and the possibility of universal salvation…well, the sacrificial fat is clearly sizzling on the altar.

It is hard to pin down Bell’s position and I am strangely OK with that. I suspect the reason is because these are some very complex questions and the Bible is somewhat lacking in absolute clarity. Where the Bible is lacking in absolute clarity we extrapolate dogma at our own risk. Honestly, when it comes to eternal things I think the Bible gives us the best picture we can possibly process from our finite frame of reference. Sometimes that picture seems confusing because things that seem exclusive of each other in this world can actually be essential to each other in the various dimensions of eternity. (What sense does it make in this world to die in order to live?)

Do heaven and hell exist? Of course they do, and Bell would be one of the first to assert their reality. He does have a little different take on what, and when, heaven and hell are but he certainly doesn’t deny their existence. Far from making them smaller and less meaningful he actually makes them bigger and more meaningful. I think there is room for disagreement among true believers on this topic especially since none of us have ever really been to either place. I actually find Bell’s concept of heaven to be challenging and somewhat more exciting than big mansions and streets of gold.

The real problem most Evangelical believers will have with this book concerns the question of universalism. Is everyone going to be saved? Can a person find redemption after this life? My inclination on both of these questions is to say, “No.” However, “No” does give rise to some legitimately serious questions and both positions can be argued from scripture with some powerful verses backing up each camp.

At this point I feel compelled to point out that Bell’s position on universalism is essentially identical to the one held by C. S. Lewis. Having read almost everything by Lewis my thoughts had already turned to The Great Divorce and The Last Battle as well as various quotes from his lectures. I was not at all surprised when Lewis was cited in the end notes. Both Bell and Lewis seem to essentially hold the position that God is going to save everyone He can. They both believe that a person can go to hell but they have to really want to go there. That assertion is not as strange as it may sound. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a fantastical story but it shines a big bright light on human nature.

Am I comfortable with the notion that if everyone is going to be saved, or can be saved after this life, then strenuous efforts need not be made to bring people to Christ in this life (and the sooner the better)? Not at all, and that is not what I hear Bell saying. Am I comfortable with allowing God the right to do what He wants however He wants and would I be thrilled if everyone did get in to heaven? You bet. Do I know exactly what God is going to do about all of this? No, but I trust Him.

This is a short book and Bell doesn’t even try to tie up all the loose ends. (I would be quite interested in hearing his take on the “second death”.) What he does do is open a conversation that the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived would be comfortable having. It is only in the Western (mostly North American) church and over the last two to three hundred years that these issues have been considered resolved and beyond discussion. Hopefully once the journalistic hype and reactionary hysteria have died down this little book can make a positive contribution to the advancement of God’s kingdom. Frankly, after all the hate and vitriol in the current Evangelical dialogue I’m quite ready to see love win.


Ronnie Meek is is a guy who likes to share good reads with other people and warn them about boring or bad stuff. His personal blog is It’s In There Somewhere where he is currently blogging through the New Testament.