Category Archives: Theology

Unbelievable? by Brierley

I have had occasion to listen to the podcast by the same name by Brierley and found it interesting and worth my time, but how would a book work? Like he explains in the beginning chapters, this book is the first apologetic he’s written directly to readers and listeners.

Unbelievable?
Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian
By Justin Brierley
SPCK
June 2017

Brierley comes across as thoughtful, if somewhat basic (if you read apologetics you’ll have already heard most of this.) Where the book shines is in his stories about his guests and their debates. It’s a short read and worth it, especially for fans and those who are interested in the topic but don’t want a more dense volume.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Surprised by Hope by Wright

My daughter was reading this in a NT college class so I read along with her. This is Wright’s attempt to refocus Christians on the resurrection that happens at the point of salvation, here and now, instead of a future hope in an otherworldly heaven.

Surprised by Hope
Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the of the Church

by N.T. Wright
HarperOne
February 2008

I found the book to be both challenging as well as explanatory. Challenging in the sense that we can work towards bringing the Kingdom here without going full Social Gospel, which I think can become a works oriented, and sometimes idolatrous, gospel. We can find a balance between God does the changing/ fixing and we were created for good works. It’s a balance that I haven’t solved, but I’m convinced I should be doing a better job living the Kingdom now.

It was also explanatory in the sense that I have, seemingly apart from Christianity, come to believe that the escapism of the modern western church is wrong and that I feel strongly that certain injustices should be addressed. I believe that mistreatment of creation (environment) and animals (factory farms) is wrong, that the enslavement of people literally and through debt or poverty is wrong, and that the wrongs we see around us aren’t just supposed to make us upset or tut-tut, but should spur us to action. Feeling that way but being raised in a Western church didn’t mix and didn’t give me a justification for these feelings being Biblically based calls to action and definitely not connected to resurrection or the Kingdom. Wright connected the dots for me.

I recommend this book highly.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

The Abolition of Man by Lewis

This very short collection of lectures is a fascinating look at a mid last century argument against, what I believe we now call, postmodernism.

The Abolition of Man
by C.S. Lewis
1943

Lewis argues most vigorously against the attack on reason that a couple authors of a school text make, knowingly or not. The idea that sets Lewis off is a seeming rejection of objective reality; that things are objectively true regardless of our opinions. He carefully makes his argument without referring to Christianity or any religion at all, but falls back on what he calls the Tao or – and Lewis readers will recognize this one – natural law.

This argument is a winning one, but unfortunately we see that nearly 80 years later society has embraced it. Postmodernism and relativism rule academia and culture. “My truth” and “your truth” are accepted even though they don’t exist, objectively. “That’s how you see it” or “That’s your opinion” have not only been shown to be as destructive as Lewis anticipated but lead to exactly where he warns us: the death, or abolition, of all objective knowledge.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Paul Behaving Badly by Richards and O’Brien

A book that asks the question, is the Apostle Paul a racist, chauvinist jerk?

Paul Behaving Badly
by Richards and O’Brien
IVP
November 2016

I found it to be an excellent resource on questions and topics that come up frequently in discussion about Christianity, like, the role of women, homosexuality, and Paul’s sometimes aggressive arrogance. Each section digs into the claims to make the case against Paul and then domains the truth about him using historical criticism and exegesis.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

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.