Book Review: The Coalwood Way

Title: The Coalwood way Author: Homer Hickam Publisher: Island Books (September 4, 2001) Language: English Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle Pages: 318 (Hardcover edition from the library) In what author Homer Hickam has described as an equal, not a sequel, to his first memoir, October Sky, we revisit the mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia and get a more detailed look at about a year’s worth of time, covering essentially from Christmas of Hickam’s junior year of high school through Christmas of his senior year. While October Sky had considerable focus on the Rocket Boys and their rocket building adventures, this volume deals more with home life and determining the cause(s) of Homer’s bouts with sadness/depression. It reads quickly like October Sky, and I would recommend reading that first to get an overall impression of the author and the time and place in which he lived so that The Coalwood Way will have something to … Keep reading!

Book Review: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity

Title: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity Author: Nabeel Qureshi Publisher: Zondervan, Expanded Edition (April 19, 2016) Language: English Formats: Paperback, Kindle Pages: 368 This excellent book was a quick and highly enjoyable read. It was not what I would call a hard-and-fast Christian apologetic, although apologetic information is frequently mentioned. Rather, much of it is an autobiography of the author’s journey from Islam to Christianity (the title of the book should indicate as such). I found the background information on Islam in general and Nabeel’s upbringing to be insightful and learned a few things I had not previously known. Theological disparity exists in Islam much as it does in Christianity; while perhaps not an exact representation, Islam appears to suffer from denominationalism much the same as the Christian faith. Additional difficulty is found between first generation (Eastern; born/raised in primarily Muslim countries) and second generation (Western, … Keep reading!

Book Review: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Title: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Author: Eric Metaxas Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Reprint Edition (April 18, 2010) Language: English Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle Pages: 608 (hardcover) I first heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 2007 when I saw the second half or so of the movie about his life. My wife and I have some fun jabbing back and forth of the things that neither of us were exposed to in our youth, and this is one where she gets me; historical figures of the Christian faith were not a high priority in my growing years, which is a real shame (and something I’m attempting to correct for myself and encourage in my family and all of you reading this). Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 to a family of great intellectual and theological background, and much to his family’s chagrin he knew by the time he was 13 that he wanted … Keep reading!

Book Review: Spirit-Empowered Theology

Title: Spirit-Empowered Theology Author: Charles Carrin, D.D. Publisher: Chosen Books (February 28, 2017) Language: English Formats: Paperback, Kindle Pages: 352 What we find in Spirit-Empowered Theology is a brief systematic theology. Divided into 18 sections and addressing 300 questions, Carrin provides 1-5 paragraph answers that may leave the reader with more questions than answers, or at least a level of dissatisfaction, especially if the reader is already at this level of theological understanding. There are also no footnotes, though it is obvious that a fair bit of quoting was done throughout the text, which is aggravating for the more academically-minded individual. As the church at large seems to largely ignore the Holy Spirit, bringing Him up almost as an afterthought, a work bringing the Spirit more into focus is a welcome idea. However, Carrin’s Pentacostal/Charismatic leanings are of concern to me. He is obviously not a cessationist, referring to such … Keep reading!

Book Review: God’s Smuggler Young Reader’s Edition

Title: God’s Smuggler Author: Brother Andrew Publisher: Chosen Books (June 6, 2017) Language: English Formats: Paperback, Kindle Pages: 224 I read the original version of this book a few years ago and was encouraged by the work God accomplishes when His children are faithful. This edition is no less impactful despite being abridged. It is a blessing to read of men such as Brother Andrew who did not do everything correctly; this man, despite countless instances of God meeting his needs, still dealt with doubts and fears. Comparing the circumstances he operated under and those many of us face, I am ashamed of the lack of effort I put into reaching those who are daily available to me. I don’t recall this original book being especially scary, although there are events in this Young Reader’s Edition that might be intense for elementary children. Still, I would recommend all Christians read … Keep reading!

Book Review: One Nation Without Law: The Rise of Lawlessness, The End Times and the Power of Hope

Title: One Nation Without Law: The Rise of Lawlessness, The End Times and The Power of Hope Author: Phil Hotsenpiller Publisher: Chosen Books (July 4, 2017) Language: English Formats: Paperback, Kindle Pages: 226 We all have the capacity for evil as part of our human nature, and it seems the situation is only getting worse as the years go by. We could worry or panic, wringing our hands in abject fear, or we could understand that none of this is a surprise to God and place our face squarely in Him. Lawlessness, an intentional disregard for both God’s laws and man’s, is on the rise, which was foretold in Scripture. While we cannot set a date, the rise in lawlessness is an indicator that the return of Christ is drawing ever closer This book is an excellent reminder that God had already told us of the lawlessness that will encompass … Keep reading!

Book Review: Reformation Women

Title: Reformation Women Author: Rebecca Van Doodewaard Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (April 25, 2017) Language: English Formats: Paperback Pages: 136 Reformation Women is a delightful, quick history of 12 women who were involved in the Reformation and had regular contact with some of the more well-known Reformers. I had not heard of any of these women, which was kind of the point of this book: bringing to light the contributions of lesser known members of the Reformation. Part of the reason these women are not as well-known is because they were busy running homes and ministering to the physical needs of their communities and were therefore unable to have as prolific of an impact in terms of writing or even speaking. What I find especially helpful about a book such as this is the reminder that Christianity has never been the domain of men alone. Faithful women, married and serving … Keep reading!

Book Review: Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted

Title: Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted Author: Ron Citlau Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (March 14, 2017) Language: English Formats: Paperback, Kindle Pages: 176 This is going to be a controversial book because of the subject matter. Homosexuality has been enshrined in such emotional terms that a rational discussion is often difficult to achieve. I have read some reviews of this book that make me wonder if the reviewers looked past the title, calling out Ron Citlau as some hate-spewing monster. Pastor Citlau, who has dealt with same-sex attraction in his own life, approaches this topic both from experience and with grace. Like Christians of old, he has not shied away from calling homosexuality what it is: sin. But he doesn’t just make this declaration and drop the mic; he provides insight on two major fronts. First, he addresses three obstacles to the same-sex attracted (SSA) individual finding fulfillment in Christ. Then … Keep reading!