Book Review | Sola Scriptura!: The Protestant Position on the Bible

Sola Scriptura!: The Protestant Position on the Bible
Sola Scriptura!: The Protestant Position on the Bible by Don Kistler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Throughout Sola Scriptura the authors expound on what the authors argue is the key principle of The Reformation. The book compares and contrasts the Protestant doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture for faith and life and what the Roman Catholic Church believes regarding Scripture, Tradition, and the role of the Church in the life of Catholic faith.

The Good
Each of the articles provides a clear explanation of Sola Scriptura and why it is important. The author(s) of each of the essays also do a good job of carefully representing the Catholic position by not cherry picking the “worst” examples from the “other side” and then blasting them for being wrong.

The final chapter does a great job challenging pastors/ministers responsible for leading churches to encourage a more bibliocentric approach in the life of the Church and individual believers. Sections pointing to and calling for a more Scripture-centered, gospel-saturated pulpit ministry were particularly challenging and worthy of another reading.

The Bad
At times the arguments were very dense.The comparisons between the two positions became difficult to follow and required a second reading. So, the reader should read carefully. The book is more academic on the whole, so this is less a criticism and more a point of information for those who decide to read it.

View all my reviews

Book Review | Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation

Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation
Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation by Wayne A. Grudem
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Good
This collection of essays does a good job of making the case for the “essentially literal” Bible translation philosophy. I found the arguments compelling. The first three essays are worth the purchase of the book. The strongest case for the “essentially literal” approach are clearly presented.

The Bad
Making the case for a word-for-word philosophy does not need to descend into accusations of malpractice on the part of those that do not follow this approach. Grudem’s essay (the first essay) did this a few times (four or five times). It was unnecessary.

The final two essays were a little more technical and not as helpful. While these two did tease out the practical implementation of an essentially literal approach, it was a little hard to follow.

That being said, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a clear and concise argument FOR the essentially literal translation approach.

View all my reviews

The Anchor of Truth amidst the Storms of Tragedy

As I was perusing my Facebook feed one of the ministers I know asked, what I believe, is an important question. He was wondering if any of his pastor friends would be saying/addressing the tragedy in Charleston in some way, if at all this coming up Sunday. This is an ongoing conversation so, there is not consensus yet, but it is worth noting that there is no right answer here. At least in my mind.

Each pastor and, by extension, each person who hears about and considers the events at the Emanuel AME Church will respond according to how the news affected them. The range of human emotions is as varied as the faces upon each persons head. The reality is that how we respond is the cumulative product of our experiences and our beliefs. If there is anything I have learned in life is how true this is.

The key to navigating the waters of life is having a means of charting your course. For sailors it was the stars. They learned to identify the formations above them and then correct their direction. The same is also true for us. When we are adrift and in search of our bearings we have to look up and set our minds on things above. We have to take our eyes off what is front of us and around us to catch our breath and regain our composure.

Tragedy has a way of throwing our lives off-kilter. The only way to regain our balance is to put our hands on something solid, something sure. For me that is the Word of God. The word of God is the anchor of truth I rely on when the storms begin to rage. Turning to the truth of who God is and what he has done in and through Jesus is what provides the ballast and stability required to weather the storm.

Tragedy has a way of bringing issues and problems into greater relief. We all have an opportunity to grow wiser, become more loving, and extend greater grace when we turn to God rather than our own wisdom. My prayer is that I do not miss the chance to increase my sensitivity to what God is saying about himself and his word. The promise we have is that every storm will pass. The question is this: Will we learn from the present one to better prepare and handle the next?