Friday, January 9, 2015

Nonfiction Review: A Reasonable Response by William Lane Craig

I've been looking for a book to read that doesn't just repeat what I've already read about the defense of the Bible and Christianity. I suppose that "A Reasonable Response" offered just what I was looking for. Letters to William Lane Craig bring up issues I had never thought about in my many  debates. Craig's responses in this book cover everything from the Trinity to the reliability of the Bible to Middle Knowledge to Hell to Time theories.

The list goes on and even includes a very short section on real-life applications (i.e. can a Homosexual be Christian? How do we persevere in the faith? etc). That particular section seemed out of place and could use a book of its own (it wouldn't surprise me if Craig has already written such a book). I must admit, I skim read and skipped over must of the 40 page introduction and three appendixes, which seemed more aimed toward leaders or toward those who would question the need to question. With occasional commentary from Joseph E. Gorra, this book works well as a text book on discussion and apologetics.

But I didn't read the book for its lessons on form. I dug right into the meat of the book, and it took me a while to read it. I certainly learned a lot, but I had a few complaints, as well. Craig uses jargon and references his other books out of context, making some responses more difficult to understand than others. I also felt somewhat unsatisfied with a small number of his responses, which were, of course, limited in space. So I wouldn't recommend this book to beginners. It will hurt your mind.

A minor side complaint: The letters skip around between reference their authors' countries and leaving that space blank. Inconstancies like this irritate me.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Resource Review: Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

I've never understood the purpose of Bible dictionaries. Take Nelson's Illustrated New & Enhanced Edition. It has a clean layout. The paper and ink smell nice. There are lots of photos and colorful illustrations to make it easy on the eye. But then there are entries for names that included the exact same information that you could find in the Bible. If I look up a name, I want more information one the person, not just a reference to the passage I just read! More detailed entries tend to either take liberal stances or take no stance at all. And when I want detail, I want detail. You can give me all sides of the argument as long as you actually give me detailed information. So, as far as Bible dictionaries go, Nelson's works ok. I don't really have anything to compare it to. I chose to review it out of curiosity and out of the hope that there might be some meaty facts in there, but as I read all the way through the A's and skimmed other sections, I didn't really find anything interesting. And I still don't know how to use this book in my regular studies. The beginner's guide is not very helpful.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Fiction Review: Angela Hunt's Esther

"Esther: Royal Beauty" is different from other Esther books and films I have taken in. Angela Hunt uses a longer timeline and adds some new and original ideas to her telling. She also includes a lot of historical detail on architecture and culture. However, since the story is told from the first person point of view, alternating between Esther and a Eunuch, the book has a modern diary feel to it that I did not quite care for. Haman did not come into play until the very end of the book, and there was not much of a romantic sensibility to the story, either. But the one thing that really bothered me was that I could not get my head around Esther's character. I liked that she grew up at the moment God called her to action, but I did not like the childish attitude and desires she had up until that point. She is described as wise and delicate, obedient and loving, but I did not get those characteristics at all from this Esther. That said, I did read through the book quickly and I enjoyed it overall.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Finding Jesus

"Finding Jesus" is fun, but not too challenging. It's a coffee table book that takes Where's Waldo in style and concept and applies it to Jesus. A thin book and a quick entertainment, the book's drawings are not too difficult to solve. But there were a few more difficult ones, and one in particular that I never found Jesus in. The drawings are nothing too deep or spiritual, but they weren't offensive to the Christian believer, either.

*I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.