Review of ‘Revolutionary Summer’ by Joseph J. Ellis

 Joseph J. Ellis, Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence (New York: Alred A. Knopf, 2013). $26.95, 240 pages. Hardcover / Kindle Although the American Revolution can be viewed from many perspectives, history books typically emphasize the political and military ones, and for good reason. The Revolution was a bid for political independence that needed to be secured by force of arms. Revolutionary Summer is the latest history book aimed at a popular readership that tells the story of how political and military concerns interacted from May through October 1776. During those months, the American colonies—heretofore divided among patriot, moderate, … Continue reading Review of ‘Revolutionary Summer’ by Joseph J. Ellis

Review of ‘Ready, Set, Grow’ by Scott Wilson

 Scott Wilson, Ready, Set, Grow: 3 Conversations That Will Bring Lasting Growth to Your Church (Springfield, MO: My Healthy Church, 2013). $14.95, 240 pages. Paperback / Kindle / MyHealthyChurch Some books come too late, alas, to be of personal use. I say that because Ready, Set, Grow by Scott Wilson would’ve changed the way I pastored. During my three-year tenure at a turnaround church in southern California, I led the church to make some changes. Unfortunately, I failed to lead it to make the most important changes—changes to its culture. In Ready, Set, Grow, Wilson tells the story of how, … Continue reading Review of ‘Ready, Set, Grow’ by Scott Wilson

Sic Transit: Interesting Posts That Caught My Eye This Morning (July 26, 2013)

Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett, “Religious Freedom Is About More Than Religion” (Wall Street Journal) Religious faith by its nature must be free. A coerced “faith” is no faith at all. Compulsion can cause a person to manifest the outward signs of belief or unbelief. It cannot produce the interior acts of intellect and will that constitute genuine faith. Coercion in the cause of belief, whether religious or secular, produces not genuine conviction, but pretense and inauthenticity. It is therefore essential that religious freedom include the right to change one’s beliefs and religious affiliation. It also includes the … Continue reading Sic Transit: Interesting Posts That Caught My Eye This Morning (July 26, 2013)

Review of ‘Miracle Work’ by Jordan Seng [Updated]

Jordan Seng, Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2013). $17.00, 224 pages. Miracle Work by Jordan Seng is, as the subtitle explains, “a down-to-earth guide to supernatural ministries”: healing, deliverance, prophecy, intercession, and Spirit-baptism. Written in an engaging, folksy style, the book combines personal anecdote, biblical teaching, and practical, experience-based guidance. It is one of the most interesting books I have read this year, for several reasons: First, Jordan Seng is not the guy you’d expect to write this kind of book. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a PhD in … Continue reading Review of ‘Miracle Work’ by Jordan Seng [Updated]

Review of ‘The Evangelicals You Don’t Know’ by Tom Krattenmaker

 Tom Krattenmaker, The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2013). $34.00, 232 pages. In 1991, James Davison Hunter introduced the term culture war into American public discourse. His book, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, described “competing moral visions”—Progressivism and Orthodoxy—that generated heated conflict on a number of hot-button issues: family, education, media and the arts, law, and electoral politics. Many people interpreted these conflicts in geographical (Blue State vs. Red State), partisan (Democrat vs. Republican), or ideological/religious terms (secular Left vs. religious Right), although such interpretations were … Continue reading Review of ‘The Evangelicals You Don’t Know’ by Tom Krattenmaker

Review of ‘Dying Out Loud’ by Shawn Smucker

Shawn Smucker, Dying Out Loud: The Story of a Silk Road Nomad (Springfield, MO: Influence Resources, 2013). $14.99, 256 pages. In the fall of 2012, during the worship service at our church, my wife and I listened to a Christian young woman talk about her Turkish Muslim friends. “In Turkey,” she said, “I live among the people you call terrorists: anti-American, anti Christian, Muslim. I call them family.” Three weeks previously, her father had been diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer. In response, this young woman said, “People all across the country [i.e., Turkey] have been taking to their mosques to … Continue reading Review of ‘Dying Out Loud’ by Shawn Smucker

Review of ‘Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics’ by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel

 Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel, eds., Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2013). $24.00, 336 pages. In contemporary America, many people describe themselves as “spiritual, not religious.” They are interested in God, prayer, and spiritual disciplines, but not in dogma or denomination. They are critical of religious people who, to them, seem concerned only with the finer points of doctrine and weekly attendance at a specific type of Christian church. Evangelical Christians—including Pentecostals—need to listen to this critique, even as they disagree with it. The disagreement part is easy: Spirituality and religion … Continue reading Review of ‘Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics’ by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel

4 Kinds of Fundamentalists

There are four kinds of Fundamentalists: Those who put the “fun” in “fundamentalist,” those who put the “duh” in it, those who put the “mental” in it, and those who put the “lists” in it. I’ll let you decide what Fundamentalists fit into which category. (For my fellow eggheads, here’s a nice overview of what the term Fundamentalist does and does not mean.) Continue reading 4 Kinds of Fundamentalists