Monday, December 31, 2012

Bethlehem - Traditional?

Here’s an incident which occurred on Christmas Day that I think demonstrates the clever and crafty way that the media promotes secular humanism and at the same time denigrates Christianity.
CBS News, during their morning fluff programming, ran a piece on tourism in Bethlehem (no, not PA). The female commentator/host, when attempting to describe the significance of Bethlehem, referred to it as the “traditional birthplace of Jesus.”
Well, sweetheart (and CBS), I’ve got bad news for you. There’s nothing “traditional” about it. It’s a fact – a historically accurate fact. How do I know this? Well, there are two reasons not necessarily in proper order:
First, I took a highly scientific poll on Facebook and each person that responded correctly identified the birthplace of Jesus and …
Second, each knew exactly how they knew the correct answer.
And the number one answer is …
The Bible!
Uh-oh, does this mean that CBS and its cute little spokeswoman were trying to influence the thinking of the American people? Of course, it does.
The moral of the story: Be wary of what you listen to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: Ruth, From Bitter To Sweet

I think it could be accurately stated that the book of Ruth is often overlooked by many Christians. There’s just too much other exciting “stuff” in the Bible – Revelation, Genesis, and Acts for example. It is short (just a mere four chapters); it is hard to find amidst sixty-five other books (right between Judges and 1 Samuel); and it follows one of the more ominous statements in the Bible, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (ESV)

I think it could also be accurately stated that the book of Ruth is a pivotal point in the story of salvation and, with a little prayer a spiritual digging, provides us with a wealth of practical knowledge. To help us with the spiritual excavation is Ruth: From Bitter to Sweet by Dr. John Currid.

Dr. Currid is the Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. He is the author of nine other commentaries. Yet, despite being of the scholarly bent, he has provided us with a highly worthwhile commentary on the book of Ruth that is focused on providing Christians with a practical view of this inspiring story. Dr. Currid actually encourages us to take a deeper look at the person of Ruth.

The structure of the book is simple: It is a verse-by-verse commentary. However, it is not technical. Yes, there are a few Hebrew language points included in the commentary, but they are not meant to impress. They provide us with valuable insight for a complete understanding of the text.

With an eye toward practical application, Dr. Currid includes a section entitled “Points to Ponder” at the end of each chapter. This is where he encourages us to think a bit about what we have just studied and provide some relevance to our lives.

Ruth: From Bitter to Sweet will be excellent for personal study, but I think its greatest use will be for Sunday School classes where this wonderful bok can be introduced to all Christians.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Review: Rebels Rescued

Let’s face it; theology is a controversial subject even just within Protestant circles. Of course, with the controversy comes a bit of verbal sparring. And if one is going to “mix it up” a bit with the opposition, it is useful to know what the point of view of the opposition will be.
Enter Rebels Rescued to provide information from the reformed side of theology. The book is written by Brian Cosby, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) who serves as Pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church on Signal Mountain, TN. He has several earned degrees from reformed theological seminaries.
Cosby has provided us with a neat and concise summary of reformed theology. Have no fear; this is not a thick theological textbook. It’s slim with big print and covers only 103 pages. It’s a perfect basic primer for Reformed theology. There is little detail here and that was not Cosby’s intention.
Yet, despite its diminutive size, it does contain all the major points of what reformed theologians preach and teach. In fact at the very beginning of the book, Cosby summarizes reformed theology for us in ten expressions: The first five are what is often called the “Five Solas…” The second five are organized by the acrostic TULIP, or what has been called the “Five Points of Calvinism.” Immediately you know where you’re going in this book. He then takes these ten points and provides further theological detail in the remaining eight chapters. In a short time you'll get a grasp of what Reformed Theology is all about.
Whether or not you are in sympathy with reformed theology, Rebels Rescued is an excellent simple and fast read to peel back a layer of reformed theology.
Get the book, read it and keep it on your shelf for ready reference.