The Reformation in England by J.H. Merle d’Aubigne

The Reformation in Englandd’Aubigné, J.H. Merle. The Reformation in England in Two Volumes. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016. 1,064 pp. $65.00. Purchase for less at Amazon. You can also get the e-book for free though the formatting is not that great.

Introduction

From a short biography found at Banneroftruth.org

Jean Henri Merle d’Aubigné (1794–1872) was arguably the most popular church historian of the nineteenth century. In July 1817, d’Aubigné was ordained a minister of the established church in Geneva, but he did not then enter the pastorate, choosing rather to travel widely through the German-speaking lands before continuing his studies in the University of Berlin.

In June 1818, d’Aubigné assumed the pastorate of the French Reformed Church in Hamburg which had been established by French Huguenots fleeing from their homeland during the persecution under Louis XIV. He remained in this pastorate until 1823.

In 1835 the first volume of The History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century was published in French. The five-volume work was completed in 1853. This was followed by The History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin in eight volumes, published in French between 1863 and 1878, the last three volumes appearing posthumously.

For more about this great historian, you can read about him at The Banner of Truth’s website.

Summary

In the first volume, d’Aubigné covers from the second century to the year 1528. Obviously, the majority of this first volume will comprise the years 1516-1530 with the first chapter covering 100-1516 in some 125 pages!

The second volume looks at the years 1529-1547 and centers more on the rift between England and the church of Rome. It is not until the third book of the second volume (1536-1547) that we get to the events of the actual Reformation in England.

Review

I somehow came to possess the original 1962 Banner publication of this magnificent two-volume set. While nothing has changed from the edition to this edition regarding the content, the quality of the printing and binding (paperback to cloth-bound) is a testimony to the quality of books published by The Banner.

The content of this two-volume set, however, is what you are most interested in. J.H. Merle d’Aubigné writes a detailed account of what took place in England in the 16th century. He writes with great care and accuracy the events leading up to and involving the Reformation in England. It is easy to see why he is called the greatest historian of the 18th century.

His writing is copious as evidenced by the thirteen total volumes of history of the Christian church. This particular two-volume set is indispensable to the modern church’s understanding of where we came from regarding the Reformation that started in Geneva and found its way to England.

Perhaps what sets d’Aubigné apart in his approach to the history of the church with an emphasis on the Reformation in England is his pastoral care in showing how it impacts the church at large as well as the individual Christian. In reading this these two books, Christians today will be introduced to a whole new level of understanding of what took place and why it had to take place. Furthermore, we will understand how we have benefited greatly from that great cloud of saints that have gone before us.

I believe the reprinting of The Reformation in England is timely for the church as we are once again being forced to take a stand for the faith delivered once for all to the saints in an age that is seemingly more opposed to Christianity than ever. This resource will show the modern read that “baby, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Recommendation

For many Christians in the United States, and obviously in England, the Reformation that took place in England in the 1530’s led directly to what we today call the Protestant Church.  I realize the cost is pretty steep for many, but the benefits will far outweigh the price of the books as you read and begin to grasp the importance of clinging to Christ and the Scriptures.

Theodore Beza by Shawn D. Wright

Wright, Shawn D. Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth. Great Britian: Christian Focus Publications, 2015. 256 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon or for Kindle for less.

Introduction

Dr. Shawn Wright is Assistant Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves in the local church as an elder.

Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was the successor to one John Calvin.

Summary

With only 8 chapters divided over 256 pages, Wright looks first at Beza’s life and the context in which he ministered. He then paints with broad strokes the theological vision of Beza. The majority of the book is a summary of five publications of Beza:

  • Confession of the Christian Faith
  • Tabula Praedestinationis
  • Treatize of the Plague
  • Treatize of Comforting such as are Troubled about their Predestination
  • Maister Besaes Household Prayers

Review

Wright pulls no punches and is unapologetic in his own personal views. He is a Calvinist and he endorses the commonly used acronymn, TULIP. He writes with great sympathy toward Beza in the hopes of dispelling some of the myths that have come to be accepted throughout the history of the church.

After offering the introductory and summary of the life and theology of Beza in the first couple chapters, Dr. Wright dives in head first into the more controversial works of Beza. His fifth chapter entitled “Letting God be God” is, in my estimation as a reader and reviewer, the purpose of writing the book.

It is in this chapter that Wright tackles Beza’s doctrine of double predestination – the belief that as God predestines some to salvation, He in turn predestines others to hell. Some may have heard of this doctrine called reprobation. They are one in the same.

What sets Wright apart, specifically in this chapter, but in the entire work as a whole, is his pastoral care as he wades into the deep end of theology. For many, these concepts kill evangelism and missions. For Dr. Wright, they give the messenger a greater boldness to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in an increasingly hostile environment (here in the U.S.).

Another aspect of this biography is the “Uses” section at the end of each chapter. These are designed to be discussion questions, but they are not simply a wrestling with the issues. Rather, Wright wants his readers to understand how the various truths Beza, and consequently what Dr. Wright writes about, impact our daily life and view of God.

Recommendation

For many, Theodore Beza is one of those historical theologians that they know little about and care to learn more because of his dangerous assertions. Dr. Shawn Wright has done a favor for the church in not only writing this biography and elucidating truth and dispelling myths, but he has also equipped a new generation of pastors and Christians to wrestle with divine truth. I highly recommend this biography to all Christians who want to take the time to get to know the heart and theology of perhaps one of the more misunderstood theologians in the history of the church.

Thumbprint in the Clay by Luci Shaw

Shaw, Luci. Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2016. 205 pp. $17.00. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Luci Shaw is writer in residence at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. She is a poet, essayist, and lecturer. She has written a number of volumes of poetry as well as many other books. You can find many of them here. You can read much more about Luci at her website, LuciShaw.com.

Summary

From the back of the book:

“The thumbprint . . . is for me a singular clue to human identity. . . . Just as each human thumbprint is unique, its pattern inscribed on the work of our hands and minds, the Creator’s is even more so―the original thumbprints on the universe,” declares poet Luci Shaw. We worship an endlessly creative God whose thumbprints are reflected everywhere we look―in sunsets, mountains, ocean waves―and in the invisible rhythms that shape our lives, such as the movement of planets around the sun. And this creative and ever-creating God has also left indelible thumbprints on us. We reflect God’s imprint most clearly, perhaps, in our own creating and appreciation for beauty. A longing for beauty is inherent to being human. We don’t create things that are purely practical; we desire them to be aesthetically pleasing as well. Beauty is also powerful, in its redemptiveness, generosity, inspiration. In reflecting on the role of beauty in our lives, Luci Shaw writes, “Beauty is Love taking form in human lives and the works of their hands.”

Review

I have honestly never heard of Luci Shaw until I received this book to review. I was interested in the concept of seeing “divine marks of beauty, order, and grace” in the mundane and normal every day objects and experiences of life.  I was hooked after the first chapter entitled “Coffee Mugs” as Luci helped to develop a meditative attitude on something as simple as the various coffee mugs from which we drink.

Chapter after chapter, Luci offers a  unique perspective as only a poet can offer on the many different evidences of God’s beauty and creativity. She draws from a wide array of experiences in her own life and points us back to the Scriptures in ways that we might not have ever considered. What is more, she does not offer these views from an ivory tower. Rather, she wrestles with the hardships of life and leads the reader to understand that God indeed does use everything in our life to reveal Himself as more and more glorious.

Reading Thumbprint in the Clay can be as quick or as slow as you make it. To plow through it, however, is to do a disservice to the intent of the author to stop and smell the roses and begin to see afresh the glories of God. Without even realizing it, you will begin to see more of God and less of yourself and this fallen world after having experienced the writings of Luci Shaw.

This is not because she is a gifted expositor or even Biblical studies professor. This is because she is a woman with a gift for words and a love for her Savior. She is much like Jeremiah in their is a fire in her bones and she must speak of what she has seen and knows.

Recommendation

This was a surprisingly enjoyable read for me. I am often timid to pick up a new author I have never heard of, let alone one who is known for poetry. In this instance, I am grateful Thumbprint in the Clay came across my desk. I recommend this to all Christians who look for new and biblical ways in which to see the glories of God in everyday life.

Evangelpreneur by Josh Tolley

EvangelpreneurTolley, Josh. Evangelpreneur: How Biblical Free Enterprise can Empower Your Faith, Family, and Freedom. Dallas: BenBella Books, 2015. 352 pp. $16.95. Available on Amazon and for the Kindle for less.

Introduction

Josh Tolley is a nationally syndicated talk-show host with listeners in all 50 states, as well as 160 nations. He is listed as one of the Top 100 business trainers in the world and is regularly on national and international television bringing his expertise to topics which include business, religion, relationships, and politics.

You can read more about Josh and even check out his syndicated call in show at his website, JoshTolley.com.

Summary

Divided into five parts, Josh first seeks to answer the question, Why be an Evangelpreneur. These first six chapters lay his foundation for the rest of the book. The second part consists of five chapters that attempts to show the reader five lies we believe from the devil when it comes to money and business.

The third part offers five steps for how to do business. The fourth part looks at how we are to do life and concludes with a chapter on spreading the gospel. The fifth, and final, part looks at how we are to “do church.”

Review

There is much business insight that can be gleaned from the pages of this work. There is sound wisdom rooted primarily in Scripture and, at the very least, faith in God that is driving pretty much everything Josh Tolley states. Keep in mind that he has written this book to help churches reverse the trend of foreclosures and bankruptcies that are now taking place at an alarming rate.

There is, however, some cause for concern. For example, his first chapter in part 2 looks at a lie from the devil that we are to get rich slowly. In other words, Josh is stating that we must strive to get rich quick albeit through sound and shrewd business decisions and not by cheating others out of their money.

He does look at Matthew 25:14:30, the parable of the talents, to make his point. He moves quickly on to a calculation of how long it would take to become a billionaire if you earned $250,000 a year and how it is obvious that 4,000 years is not a practical time table for one to become “rich.”

My concern comes from his overlooking of quintessential passages on wealth building like Proverbs 13:11, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it” or Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

My point is not to pile on, but to show that while everyone goes into business to make money and earn a living, there is nothing in the Bible that demands we must strive to be rich. On the contrary, there are numerous passages warning against striving to be rich (1 Tim. 6:10, Hebrews 13:5, etc).

That being said, Josh Tolley does not espouse any kind of idolatry, though I guess we all do at some point or another. Rather, he is passionate about helping others grow their business. Does he take some things to far and misapply Scripture at times? I would argue that he does. After all, he is a businessman first and foremost and his faith, at least in my estimation of how he presents himself, tags along. He certainly is influenced by his faith, but a theologian he is not.

His stated purpose of reversing trends in the local church is met as far as laying a groundwork for reversing the trend. I fear, however, he may have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.

Recommendation

Understand that when you pick up Evangelpreneur you are picking up a book on how to build a better business and live a better life based on sound financial strategies that is rooted in biblical principles. You are not picking up a theological treatise on how to run a business. That being said, I can recommend this book to all who have the dream of owning their own business. I would qualify that recommendation with be sure you know that there are some concerns to be found theologically and that, as with all books, you must be discerning.

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1

Works of Sibbes 1Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 1 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

Richard Sibbes was born at Tostock, Suffolk, in 1577. He was converted around 1602-3 through the powerful ministry of Paul Bayne, the successor of William Perkins in the pulpit of Great St Andrew’s Church.

After earning his B.D. in 1610, Sibbes was appointed a lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. Later, through the influence of friends, he was chosen to be the preacher at Gray’s Inn, London, and he remained there until 1626. In that year he returned to Cambridge as Master of St Catherine’s Hall, and later returned to Holy Trinity, this time as its vicar. He was granted a Doctorate in Divinity in 1627, and was thereafter frequently referred to as ‘the heavenly Doctor Sibbes’. He continued to exercise his ministry at Gray’s Inn, London, and Holy Trinity, Cambridge, until his death on 6 July 1635 at the age of 58.

You can read more of my reviews of Richard Sibbes’ writings here.

Summary

Volume one consists of A Memoir of Sibbes by A. B. Grosart, A Description of Christ, The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax, The Soul’s Conflict with Itself and Victory over Itself by Faith, and Safety in Evil Times. Along with several other sermons and a brief series on 1 Peter 4.

These works were edited by Alexander B. Grosart from when the first complete set of Sibbes works appeared back in 1862-1864.

Review

One of the most notable features to this first volume is the memoir of Sibbes authored by Grosart himself which is an excellent introduction the pastoral nature of Richard Sibbes. Much like the modern day JI Packer, Sibbes was very involved in writing and preaching as well as endorsing a number of other works and books for his fellow divines.

Personally, I was most struck by the words I found on one website as I was doing some research on this series that this first volume contains “all the works published during Sibbes’ lifetime.” I literally sat stunned after reading this. The Banner of Truth Trust has published 5 Puritan Paperbacks and one Pocket Puritan by Richard Sibbes. Upon comparing those titles with what is found in this first volume, only The Bruised Reed has been republished as a stand alone book. Every other book is based on Sibbes’ exposition of passages.

This makes this first edition invaluable as we can read today what Sibbes thought most crucial for publication in his day. Even these books that he published in his lifetime are expositions of passages. The difference is they seem to deal with extremely urgent issues of the day and a theme of perseverance seems to arise from the pages. The Bruised Reed and The Saint’s Safety in Evil Times certainly point to this need.

The Soul’s Conflict with Itself points also to the inner turmoil it seems every Christian faces regardless of the era. All of this helps us to understand why Richard Sibbes was known as the Heavenly Doctor. His messages are timeless and perhaps more needed today than ever.

Recommendation

Of the seven volumes in this series, if you are going to purchase only one, this is it. The Bruised Reed is worth the price of the volume, but to be able to set it in the context of the other published works during his lifetime is open your eyes to the need of the gospel every day. If you have never read Richard Sibbes, you are missing out. This volume will show you why.

Why Everything Matters by Philip G. Ryken

Why Everything MattersRyken, Philip G. Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2015. 160 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Westminster books for less or on Kindle.

Introduction

I reviewed Philip’s work King Solomon a few years ago and found it to be very informational and an excellent read. He currently serves as the President of Wheaton College. Before this, he was Senior Minister of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He has written a number of books and commentaries as well as contributing to many more. You can find many of those here.

Summary

Divided into ten chapters over 141 pages of text, Dr. Ryken delves into arguably the most philosophical book found in the Bible. He begins by asking, and answering, the question, Why Bother? and then works his way through the text of Ecclesiastes.

Other chapters include a look at the ultimate quest and meaningful hedonism. He takes from the Puritan Thomas Boston with a chapter entitled The Crook in the Lot in which he seeks to answer the problem of personal pain and suffering.

The last chapter sums up the entire book as only the Holy Spirit could do. Ryken unpacks for us Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil,” in a chapter entitled The Final Analysis.

Review

For many the book of Ecclesiastes is one of those difficult books that we tend to shy away from while reading and studying Scripture. This is to our detriment since the Lord’s Holy Spirit saw fit to include it in the canon. Philip Ryken does a masterful job of unpacking the essence of this extremely important book found in the Old Testament.

Heavily footnoted, one can build a commentary and study library based on the footnotes alone. This also shows that Ryken is not leaning on his own understanding. Rather, he is seeking the thoughts of others who have gone before him. Personally, I find this more and more refreshing as I read and review books.

What is more, he shows how the entire book, chapter by chapter, points us to the necessity of faith in Christ. This, in turn, shows today’s reader not only the importance of the Old Testament, but its authority and practicality for the Christian today. Reading more like an exposition of the text, this work will serve both laymen and pastors at varying levels.

Recommendation

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Ecclesiastes. It will serve both the pastor in his study and the laymen in theirs. Reading Why Everything Matters and seeing how Ecclesiastes points us to Christ is a gift from Philip Ryken to the Christian church.

A Heavenly Conference by Richard Sibbes

A Heavenly ConferenceSibbes, Richard. A Heavenly Conference Between Christ and Mary. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 184 pp. $8.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Richard Sibbes (1577-1636) was a Puritan preacher at Cambridge.  I have reviewed other works of Sibbes’ which can be found here. His most instrumental work in my personal walk was The Bruised Reed.

Summary

This 184 page book is an exposition from John 20:16-17:

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

In this book, Sibbes looks at the believer’s union with Christ and meant to help believers understand the benefits of being in Christ.

Review

As with any work by Richard Sibbes, you will quickly understand his pastoral care and wisdom as he unpacks the importance of this brief conversation that resulted in Mary’s running back to the disciples and letting them know Christ was alive.

In true puritanical fashion, Sibbes begins with the passage and then parses it out to the greater truths of Scripture while all the while applying the doctrinal truths to the life of the believer. In this case, it is the importance of the union with Christ and the hope we have because of the historical Jesus we worship.

Though this is not as dense (theologically thick) as most other puritanical works, it most certainly delves into the heart of the importance of  understanding the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection and what it means to have faith in Christ. In other words, this book is sorely needed in the church today.

Recommendation

This excellent little book is great to read at any time. I think, however, that it may be even more appropriate to read during the Lenten season. Understanding these truths will help many Christians to lean not on their own understanding and instead lean on Christ alone. I highly recommend this book.

Reformation Commentary on Scripture VII Psalms 1-72 Edited by Herman J. Selderhuis

RCS Psalms 1-72Reformation Commentary on Scripture New Testament III – Luke. Edited by Beth Kreitzer. General Editor, Timothy George, Associate General Editor, Scott M. Manetsch. Downer’s Grove: IVP Academic, 2015. 566 pp. $50.00. Purchase at Westminster for less or on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed a few other commentaries in this series. You can find those reviews here.

Herman J. Selderhuis is professor of church history and church polity at the Theological University Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and director of Refo500, the international platform for knowledge, expertise and ideas related to the sixteenth-century Reformation. He has written John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life and Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms.

Summary

The best way to summarize a commentary (more than simply saying this is a commentary on the first seventy-two Psalms) is to quote the summary on the back:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2, ESV)

The book of Psalms has been the subject of daily and nightly meditation throughout the history of the church, and has been a significant resource for Christian belief and practice, often serving as the church’s prayer book and hymnal. Like generations of Christians before them, the Protestant Reformers turned often to the book of Psalms, but they did so during a time of significant spiritual renewal, theological debate and ecclesiological reform.

In the Psalms the Reformers found comfort, guidance and wisdom from God that applied to their context as much as it did to David’s. As John Calvin explained, the Psalms demonstrate every emotion that people have experienced: “The Holy Spirit has presented in a living image all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the emotions with which human minds are often disturbed.” Moreover, as Martin Luther proclaimed, the Reformers also heard in the Psalms a resounding affirmation of the good news of Jesus Christ: “The Psalter ought to be a precious and beloved book because it promises Christ’s death and resurrection so clearly.”

In this volume, Herman Selderhuis guides readers through the diversity of Reformation commentary on the first half of the Psalter. Here are both familiar voices and lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, many of whose comments appear here for the first time in English. By drawing on a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises and confessions—this volume will enable scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, provide resources for contemporary preachers, and aid all those who seek to meditate upon God’s Word day and night.

Review

I was beyond thrilled to receive this particular commentary for review. As a pastor, I am always looking for solid commentaries, especially in the Old Testament. After recently being completely disappointed in the NICOT Commentary on the Book of Psalms, I was a bit hesitant to even open this commentary. I’m glad I did eventually scan through this volume.

To be able to read the thoughts of those men who instigated and fought for the Reformation on what amounts to the greatest prayer book ever written is a gift to the church. I appreciated the pastoral reflections of Martin Bucer as well as the devotional style of Matthew Henry.

Perhaps the one negative is the wide availability of the likes of Calvin and Henry free online might steer the reader to the Internet. I personally own both Calvin and Henry in print and digital format and yet I find this style of the commentary to be extremely helpful. To be able to see their thoughts on various passages and the wide variety of applications one can draw from their perspectives is worth the cost of the book. This helps the one studying to not become so myopic in their study and application. It also opens up their imagination to the infinite applications that an infinite God has given us through His inspired Word.

(Thanks to Ethan, see comment below, for correcting an error on my part. Matthew Henry was not involved in the Reformation.)

Recommendation

If you enjoy Reformation history and theology or you are one who will use a commentary set, I highly recommend this series. It is both accessible and theologically rich. Particularly, this commentary on Psalms is of immense value as the Book of Psalms may be the most wide read book of the entire Bible.

Grief Light by Julie Yarbrough

Grief LightYarbrough, Julie. Grief Light: Reflections on Grief. Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2015. 252 pp. $19.95. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Julie Yarbrough is a native of Dallas, Texas. With over thirty years’ experience in business management, she is president of Yarbrough Investments and the author of Peace of Mind – Financial Management for Life, an estate planning guide.

She is a member of the Board of Directors of Methodist Health System, Methodist Health System Foundation, and of Golden Cross, a division of Methodist Health System Foundation. At Southern Methodist University she serves on the Executive Board of Perkins School of Theology. She is also on the President’s Advisory Council of the Texas Methodist Foundation.

Julie has written for the United Methodist Reporter, Living with Loss, and Grief Digest. She is an active member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.

Summary

From the back of the book:

Grief Light is for anyone who is grieving. Written in an informal, approachable style, each brief meditation offers grief insight through the rich imagery of stories and scenes from everyday experience, supported by Scripture and a prayer idea. Through these positive, uplifting reflections on life and love and death, you will discern how your faith can grow as a gift of grief through the steadfast love and faithfulness of God.

When you read these “almost devotionals,” you may think, “Oh yes, that happened to me” or “Now I understand more about what it is I’m feeling” or “I thought I was the only one who’d ever experienced that” or “There’s really some plain talk here about human nature.”

The hope is that the heart and spiritual truths of Grief Light will guide you toward a better understanding of your grief and direct you away from the darkness, toward the light of new life.

You can find out more about her ministry to the grieving at Beyond the Broken Heart.

Review

The six different sections of this book keep before the reader the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel as she includes the word light after the section titles: Shadow, Life, Grace, Love, Hope, and Joy. She does not write as a theologian, as evidenced by her professional experiences listed above. She does, however, write from an experience of having dealt with grief for extensive periods of time as her husband, father, and mother all died inside a five year window.

Her willingness to engage at an intimate level with the reader is the draw of this book. While she is certainly rooted in Scripture, and it is evident her writing flows from her understanding of and relationship with her savior, Jesus Christ. Her passion to honor God and help her fellow saints wrestle with grief in a myriad of contexts.

She offers a friendly voice to help those struggling to understand the grief they are experiencing. This “almost devotional” book offers many different areas one can turn depending on where they are on their own personal path of grieving.

Recommendation

If you are struggling with grief of your own or know someone who is, I commend this work to you. It is worth keeping on your shelf to be able to hand to someone to help them. It is also worth having on your shelf to have available as you seek to counsel those who are grieving.

Jesus Triumphant by Brian Godawa

Jesus TriumphantGodawa, Brian. Jesus Triumphant Chronicles of the Nephilim, Book Seven. Los Angeles: Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2015. 364 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Amazon or for the Kindle for much less.

Introduction

This is now the eighth book in the Chronicles of Nephilim series. I have reviewed most of the series here.

Summary

To get a better understanding of Brian’s vivid imagination, check out this video for the book:

From the back of the book:

The story of Christ like you’ve never heard it before. Told through the eyes of the two thieves on the cross and the spiritual warfare hidden from mortal men.

It starts with the temptation in the desert by Satan and ends with Christ’s descent into Hades, his resurrection and his ascension. In between, we see Jesus’ ministry in the context of the Biblical motif of Christ taking back the inheritance of the nations from the rebellious Sons of God. The demons that rose up in that day were not random but were the spirits of the dead Nephilim, and part of a comprehensive battle strategy between Christ and the Powers. When it comes to spiritual warfare, Jesus was no pacifist.

In this series, Chronicles of the Nephilim, author Godawa has depicted for the first time the comprehensive storyline in the Bible about the Watchers, the Nephilim giants and the Cosmic War of the Seed like no one has ever done before.

Now, everything comes to a climax in the arrival of Jesus Triumphant. This book explains why they misunderstood the deliverer to be a worldly warrior king instead of the suffering Servant he was. He was a warrior, but it was a war they could not see with mortal eyes. In Jesus Triumphant, we now see it.

Review

I have been looking forward to this particular book since I was first introduced to Brian Godawa a few years ago. While some have argued it is not his best work, I believe it is a fantastic finish to an extremely, albeit sometimes graphic, entertaining series of books.

The strength of this series lies in his ability to paint such vivid pictures with his words. Personally, I was concerned how close he would get to blasphemy, but after talking with him and reading these books, he did not, in my estimation, come anywhere close to blasphemy as he wrote about Jesus Christ engaging in an epic war against Satan. And by war, I do not mean that Brian paints a dualistic picture of what is taking place. Rather, he offers a perspective on the spiritual warfare that we would all do well to come to terms with.

Randy Alcorn, another favorite author of mine, has written a book entitled The Chasm that offers a possible look at the battles raging around us in the spiritual realm. This is not to mention his excellent adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic, Screwtape Letters, which is entitled Lord Foulgrin’s Letters.

I mention Alcorn in this review because of his phrase “sanctified imagination.” Brian Godawa shows us what a sanctified imagination might look like on paper.

Recommendation

While I am careful to recommend this series to any and all, they are just graphic enough that they can be used by Satan to cause you to possibly stumble, they are excellent stories that adds a descriptive element to the spiritual war that we are largely unaware of. I do recommend Jesus Triumphant and the rest of the series to all mature Christians.

Short, introductory reviews of Christian Books