Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity

About the Book

Is God dying? That's what some people think and want. They say Christian beliefs and our way of life aren't relevant anymore. But what critics and even many churchgoers don't realize is the life-changing importance of Christianity.

Showing how the world without Christianity would be a dark place, Unimaginable guides you through the halls of history to see how Jesus' teachings dramatically changed our world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. (taken from Unimaginable cover description)

My Review

As a life-long student of history, I anticipated reading Jeremiah J. Johnston's new release Unimaginable. Johnston's book is broken into three parts: The World Before Christianity, The World Without Christianity, and The World With Christianity.

Book Format

The World Before Christianity opens with an ancient letter written by a 1st century husband with words of instruction to his wife concerning their unborn child: if it is a son, keep him; if a daughter, cast her to the elements. Johnston then proceeds to set the stage for the wold as it was before the teachings of Christ spread over the world.

The World Without Christianity continues the same theme, only the light falls on a period of history much closer to home: the rise of atheism and post-modernism. This section highlights the teachings of 19th century figures, such as: Ludwig Feuerback, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzache and Sigmund Freud. The lives and teachings of these “Big Five” is brought into the open, as well as the disastrous fruit it bore in future leaders (i.e. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong, etc.) who put their ideology into practice.

The World With Christianity gives the evidence and stories of believers of Christ who changed their world for the better, resulting in the tearing down of racism, destruction of human life, slavery and oppression of women.

Book Pros

On the whole, I found Unimaginable an insightful read, well-written and well-researched. Johnston did a masterful job, not only showcasing how Christianity changed the world, but why it did and how it is vastly at odds with the atheism and post-modern religion of our time. For readers desiring a thoughtful overview of Christianity's impact, Unimaginable is an excellent choice.

Book Cons

I hate bringing out cons, because I did glean much from Unimaginable, but can not in good conscience exclude them from my review. There were two of the author's positions that I found inconsistent with the teachings of Scripture.

First, after denouncing Charles Darwin's teachings of human evolution – including his belief in “superior races” based on their advancement on the evolutionary ladder, Johnston says,

“Before moving on, it is important to note a few things in defense of Darwin. In this chapter I am describing the philosophies of men whose views laid the foundation for the evil that was unleashed in the twentieth century. Darwin himself should not be painted with this brush. There was nothing evil or dehumanizing about the man. He was a faithful husband and a loving father. The death of his daughter, as well as his own ill health, troubled him greatly...Today there are many Christians who are leaders in the various fields of science who speak of evolution and creation. Among these is Francis Collins, who headed up the Human Genome Project. Books like The Privileged Planet, in which strong arguments are made for divine creation, the great age of the universe, and the evolution of life on earth, have been written by devote Christians. Readers should know that the gulf between science and faith has long been bridged. Christian scholars and scientists recognize how Scripture and science, in fact, complement one another.” (Unimaginable, page 79)

The last two sentences I can wholly agree with – but not in the same way Johnston does. Scripture is abundantly clear God created in six literal days with the word of His mouth, not over vast amounts of time through evolutionary processes. There is no room for evolution, a multi-billion year-old universe or many of the theist evolutionary elements promoted by men such as Francis Collins if one will be true to Scripture.

Secondly, Johnston also errors in his interpretation of the role of women in the early Church. In what would otherwise be an excellent chapter on the honorable status Scripture and the influence of Christianity secures to women, Johnston confuses the ministry of women to also include positions that clearly put them as a pastor, deacon or teacher, which is completely inconsistent with 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 12. In other words, the Bible honors women based on the fact they are created in the image of God, one with men in Christ and given equal access to the throne room of grace without the need for a human intercessor. Women certainly have a privileged role in the Church, but this does not mean (and can not for Scripture to be consistent with itself) the New Testament Church gave them pastoral or elder roles where they exercised spiritual authority over men. (again, please see 1 Timothy 2).

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers and happily provide my honest review.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Quest For Leviathan - New Historical Short-story From The Pen of Amanda Tero


Are sea monsters a real thing? What about fire-breathing dragons? According to the Bible, there is a fire-breathing sea creature who really existed: the leviathan. Amanda Tero brings this dragon to life in her newest short story, "Quest for Leviathan." Join Anath and his crew of ninety-nine rowers as they face the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the power of Leviathan.


My Review

As always, it's pure delight to bring you new, family-friendly reading from my dear friend, Amanda Tero. "Quest For Leviathan" is no exception. Set during the same era of the biblical Patriarchs, Anath is a young man consumed with anger over the death of his sea-faring father. Consumed with one goal he engineers, builds and equips a vessel worthy of attacking one of the most fearsome creatures in history - the leviathan.

As I read "Quest For Leviathan", I was impressed with how Amanda used only biblical evidence in re-creating this fantastic sea monster. While there is nothing wrong with extra-biblical sources, Amanda's decision reminded me that the Bible has volumes to tell us, if we will only stop and listen. Amanda also did a masterful job weaving in scriptural truths that were consistent with the Bible, yet not directly quoted thus being realistic with the pre-scriptural era of the story. And the story! Gripping, fast-paced and handsomely written, Anath's tale is a short, yet powerful reading for children and adults alike.

On a personal tone, "Quest For Leviathan" tackles the hard questions of life, such as:

What do we do when God doesn't grant us our prayers?
Why does He not prevent evil when He is all-powerful?
What is to be our response when life leaves us bloodied and bruised?
What will we do if our questions are never answered?

While reading, I identified with the loss and questions Anath faced. While I've never been bereaved of a parent (thankfully) or battled a sea monster (another thanks there! ;)), the heart of the story rang true for all who have been at the turning point of trusting God's goodness over the evil we've experienced. It's my great joy to highly recommend "Quest For Leviathan" as your next summer read!




About the Book
Leviathan took the life of his father.

Anath has spent three years preparing for the voyage that will end the threat of Leviathan. Yet as the Valor launches into the depths of the Mediterranean, an inward quest also begins, taking Anath to depths he is not willing to face.

Purchase an e-copy on Amazon or order a paperback.
Add to your Goodreads shelf.

 

About the Author
 Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age -- reading anything she could get her hands on, and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas and novels. It is her utmost desire to write not only that which pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Connect with Amanda
Facebook 
Website
 Blog

Looking For More Reviews?

Check out this great list of blogs for more on "Quest For Leviathan"!



June 8 – With a Joyful Noise (Release Day Post)
Resting Life (Spotlight, Review)
Purely by Faith Review (Review, Interview)
June 9 – Victoria’s Book Nook (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
Bekah’s Books (Spotlight, Review, Interview)
June 11 – Clothed with Scarlet (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 12 – Chosen Vessels (Spotlight, Review)
My Purple Pen (Review)
June 13 – Once Upon an Ordinary (Review)
Yahweh Sisters (Review)
June 14 – Honey Rock Hills (Review)
Life of Heritage Corner (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes (Review, Interview)
June 15 – The Red-Hooded Writer (Review)
Blossoms and Blessings (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Lit Aflame (Review, Interview)
June 16 – The Left-Handed Typist (Review)
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review, Interview, Giveaway)
June 18 – Great Books for God’s Girls (Review, Interview)
Peculiar Miss Darcy (Character Interview)
June 19 – Done in Love (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Creating Romance (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 20 – Keturah’s Korner (Review, Interview)
Rock and Minerals 4 Him (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 21 – A Baker’s Perspective (Review, Giveaway, Character Spotlight)
Christian Author: A.M. Heath (Review, Interview)
Hunting for Truth (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 23 – Reading on the Edge (Spotlight)
Summer Snowflakes (Review, Giveaway)
June 25 – With a Joyful Noise (Giveaway Winner Announced)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Princess of the Reformation Jeanne D'Albret - Review of New Children's Historical Storybook

"Although I am only a little princess, God has put me here to rule and help spread the Gospel in this kingdom."

Courtesy of Faithwalk Photography
So stands Jeanne D'Albret of Navarre during the sixteenth century. Christian author and artist, Rebekah Dan, presents the story of a little-known, yet influential, princess just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The simple story-style and beautiful illustrations make "Princess of the Reformation" a delightful venue for introducing children to this courageous princess and events surrounding the French Reformation movement. I'd highly recommend it as a homeschool read aloud or bedtime reading for little ones.

Click here to order and find more information on "Princess of the Reformation"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Exiles: Adventure, Fantasty and Faith in New Novel By Jay L. Knight


Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]

About the Book

Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to Emperor Daican’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

My Review

Whoa! Where do I start with "Exiles"? Anyone who has read the Ilyon Chronicles knows the blend of faith and adventure Jaye weaves into her novels is first class. "Exiles" is no exception. For the faithful fans of Jace, Kyrin, Rayad, Trask, Anne and their fellow Ilyonians, "Exiles" continues the Resistance's fight against idol-worshipping Daican as he sets sights on the far regions of Dorland. At the interpersonal level many characters must grapple with real, soul-searching challenges such as earning the trust of a wounded heart, how a son honors his terribly deceived father, treasuring fellowship with fellow believers even at great risk and a young man's fears in how to be a good husband and father.

In reading "Exiles", two instances especially grabbed my attention, which I'll strive to share without divulging any spoilers. ;) The first was a particular character's yearning to be with other believers and the needed courage he drew from their fellowship. The steadfast love of the Ilyonian believers has been one of the aspects I appreciate most about the series and I was again reminded afresh of the precious gift our brothers and sisters in Christ are.

And then there's Kyrin. Oh Kyrin. It's not often I find myself wanting to emulate the femininity and grace of a fictional heroine but Kyrin's spirit stirred my woman soul. I'm really having to fight giving those spoilers, so let's just say while the previous novels highlighted Kyrin's bold faith and courage, "Exiles" accents a strong yet gentle, gracious and very feminine spirit in its lead actress that I believe will be an encouragement for many girls and young women.

As for concerns with "Exiles", they were very few for readers considering Jaye's target audience (young adult). While "deeds of darkness" are present in the pages they are covered with great tact and discretion - one of the attributes I appreciate most about Jaye's works. Still it is YA fiction and some parents may want to peruse the content for young teens who are not yet worldly-wise. Some scenes include persecution and martyrdom of believers (including a beheading and gladiator/Roman arena like sports), battles, a brother mourning the nieces and nephews he will never meet as a result of his sister's abortions to cover her illicit relationships, aforementioned sister seen with young staff member after an immoral encounter, threats of rape (more implied than told) and villains with predatory motives - and in one scene action - toward women. Again, all portrayed in a manner that is not descriptive but it is there nonetheless. As to romance in general, I thought the romance between several main characters was refreshingly sweet, providing honorable as well as endearing examples of wooing and winning so sadly absent in most Christian novels. Two weddings bookend the novel but you'll have to read it to find out whose they are. :) There are several kissing scenes but again more mentioned than described - some so brief describing them as "scenes" borders on misleading. As a general summary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Exiles" and highly recommend it. Keep up the good work, Jaye!



Available now on Amazon!

goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th - 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.

3BookKindleSale

About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her 
website,
 blog,  
Facebook
Twitter
Etsy.






Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Promise Is: In His Son

 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:3-21

Courtesy of Faithwalk Photography

Jesus came into the world to save it, not condemn it. Men bring condemnation on themselves when they refuse to believe on the only Name under heaven by which we can be saved. This self-induced condemnation is proven by their love for darkness. But to those who have believed on God's Son have no fear of their deeds being reproved by the light. They stand free, clean and blameless in the righteousness of Christ.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life,
 and this life is in his Son. 
He that hath the Son hath life; 
and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 5:11-12 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Promise Is: Not Forsaken

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee: 
I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High... 
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, 
a refuge in times of trouble.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: 
for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that 
seek thee.
Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: 
declare among the people his doings.
~*~ Psalm 9:1-2 & 9-11 ~*~

Courtesy of FreelyPhotos.com

This is a beautiful promise. But it comes with a narrow condition. The Lord promises to never forsake those who seek Him. Yet in the Scripture are many whom God forsook because they ceased to seek Him such as: King Saul, Asa, Judas. To seek is to pursue, search and follow hard after a reward like an Olympic runner after the gold medal. It is to whole-hearted seekers, God promises to never, no, never forsake them.

And [Rehoboam] did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord
2 Chronicles 12:14

And ye shall seek me, and find me, 
when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, 
call ye upon him while he is near: 
Isaiah 55:6

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Promise Is: Weeping

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak:
 O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. 
My soul is also sore vexed: 
but thou, O LORD, how long
Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: 
oh save me for thy mercies' sake...
Mine eye is consumed because of grief; 
it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. 
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; 
for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. 
The LORD hath heard my supplication; 
the LORD will receive my prayer
Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: 
let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
Psalms 6:2-4 & 7-10

Courtesy of Faithwalk Photography
In the Word, we see that many who loved God greatest wept most. Even the Son of God did so. Yet, our merciful and compassionate Father draws so near He hears the silent tears as they fall. And He does more than listen: our Priest promises what the Enemy meant for evil He will turn to His glory and our good.

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest;
 but he that said unto him, 
Thou art my Son, 
to day have I begotten thee...
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications
 with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,
 and was heard in that he feared; Though 
he were a Son, 
yet learned he obedience by the things which he 
suffered;
Hebrews 5:5 & 7-8

...And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 
Revelation 7:17