Monday, December 31, 2018
Here I go again with my annual look at the books I’ve read over the past year, letting my readers know what sorts of things I read — well, that is, besides the Bible, newsletters, journals, etc! This has actually been another fairly slow year for reading books; hard to find time.
As with the past two years, a few books were repeat reads for me for various reasons (some so I could give them away, but mostly just too many years passed to remember what was in them!). Those will be noted in blue. For the most part the titles should tell you what the subject was. You’ll notice that my two favorite subjects are history and theology.
So if you’re interested in seeing what I fill my head with, take a gander below. (These are the order in which they were read, since I build my list as I go).
Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization, by Os Guinness. Given to me by a friend, as a birthday gift.
The Reason Why, by Cecil Woodham-Smith. The reason for the “charge of the light brigade” in the Crimean War. I first read this book in the early 1970s when I bought it. This “charge” has always intrigued me ever since I read the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I’ve read this book several times since, whenever my memory of the facts gets weak. This year I bought a couple old movies about the incident, and they were a waste of money.
The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, by Dinesh D’Souza. An excellent examination of the history of the Democrat Party and the ideology behind the liberal activists in the U.S.A.
The Charge: The Real Reason Why the Light Brigade Was Lost, by Mark Adkin. I was looking for more in-depth information.
The Charge of the Light Brigade: The History and Legacy of Europe’s Most Famous Cavalry Charge, by Charles River Editors. What can I say?
The World’s Worst Military Disasters, by Chris McNab. I found this book in a storage box; I had bought it over a decade ago and hadn’t read it since. It has now been donated.
Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government, by Glenn Beck. Bought and read back in 2009. Excellent study of factual information about various political and activist causes.
Encouragement for the Broken-Hearted Parent, by Leslie J. Barner. Actually a 62-page “devotional” given to us by friends. I don’t like devotionals but I read this out of courtesy. I was disappointed to find a few Bible passages taken out of context, but not surprised. It has been pitched now as I see no real value of it for others.
For Such a Time As This: Secrets of Strategic Living from the Book of Esther, by Ray C. Stedman. The author spiritualized the whole book to make it apply to us individually. He made everything into a “symbol,” which really distracts from the actual story of Esther. Oh, he also discussed the story and ensured we understood it to be a true story, but then he said it was really like a parable. He was really trying to make analogies for how we live our lives, but by calling every person and action symbolic of something else he actually ended up with what I consider a “train wreck” teaching moment.
The Flip Side of Liberation: A Call to Traditional Values, by Hope MacDonald. Published in 1990, so there are a lot of obsolete statistics—they are even worse now. It’s been many, many years since I read this and I decided that, although it has good information, it was time to pass it on.
The Hope of Christmas, by Jack Countryman. Given to me by a friend. Good devotional about the the gospel message from Christmas to Easter.
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, by Ruth Bell Graham. Given to us by a friend. Cross between devotional and stories of prodigals; living with the pain of children who have cut off their parents.
The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer
Names of God, by Nathan Stone
The Titanic’s Last Hero, by Moody Adams with Lee W. Meredith. Biography about one of the clergymen aboard the Titanic. Given to me by a friend.
Deception Tactics of World War II, by Peter Darman. About camouflage, fake planes and vehicles, ruses, etc.
The Story of Britain, by Roy Strong. A regular tome.
Passion & Purity, by Elisabeth Elliot
Images Of America: Indiana’s Historic National Road, East Side, by Alan E Hunter and Joseph M. Jarzen. America’s first federally-funded highway, Indiana’s stretch.
The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, by Eric J. Bargerhuff
The Greatest Escapes of WWII, by Col. Robert Barr Smith & Laurence J. Yadon, Esq
Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy, by Mark Regnerus.
The overall point of this book is that culture has degenerated to the point where sex is readily available without any effort. While men used to have to marry or provide some sort of benefit to a woman for her to give herself to him, nowadays about all a man has to do is ask! Where women used to be the “gate-keepers of sex” (and in actuality they still are), they have become much like men in that sex is just for pleasure when the urge hits.
Two major events happened which were the primary catalysts to this descent into human rutting: the birth control pill and pornography. The pill released men of the responsibility for their actions in that they no longer had to worry about a child resulting from their sexual immorality, but it also “liberated” women from remaining chaste in order to avoid the embarrassment of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Pornography became pretty much mainstream in the 1950s with the advent of Playboy magazine, which was considered “art” rather than porn — changing the name didn’t change what it was. The advent of the internet made porn something that could be enjoyed in the privacy of one’s own home, and it mainstreamed all sorts of sexual deviances.
Of course Hollywood’s promotion of every sexual deviance certainly helped indoctrinate the public, and the public schools desensitized children to sexual immorality by teaching that sex doesn’t need to be coupled with marriage.
The author describes how the modern “mating market” has led to “cheap sex,” i.e. sex which takes little effort to acquire. Dating applications and web sites make arrangements easier. He then describes research which examines the contemporary sex scene in America, and continues with examinations of the “cheapest” sex — pornography and masturbation. All this leads to how men, marriage, and even monogamy have been transformed to where people are just living a “genital” life.
Interesting is the fact that conservatives, especially Christians, are still the ones trying to retain sex within the bounds of marriage, and liberals/leftists are the ones who do everything possible to promote every conceivable sexual experience possible. What is even more interesting is that both men and women (moreso women) look forward to an eventual marriage after years of fornication! Even as women are giving themselves away they are seeking a man who will provide security and family!
There are a lot of good quotations in this book, many of which I have posted on my “Thought Provoker” blog beginning June 28, 2018. While the book was a very interesting look at what our culture of sexual rutting has become, it was also quite depressing to really understand the depths of depravity which has led people away from God’s good gift of sexual relations between husband and wife.
You Can Understand the Bible, by Christine Schneider. A small booklet teaching hermeneutics and how to answer the “who, what, when, where, how,” etc; included worksheets.
Signs & Wonders, by Dennis Fisher. A small booklet explaining the differences between signs and wonders, the purpose of them in Scripture, etc.
Images Of America: Indiana’s Historic National Road, West Side, by Alan E Hunter and Joseph M. Jarzen
Who Killed the Constitution? By Thomas E. Woods Jr and Kevin R.C. Gutzman. Examines 12 cases as examples of how corrupt politicians, presidents, and judges have abused the Constitution so as to institute laws, spend money, take property, violate rights, etc.
Apples of Gold, edited by Jo Petty. A collection of pithy sayings, proverbs, poems, etc.
LORD, Give Me A Heart For You, by Kay Arthur. Study of 2 Corinthians
Images of Aviation: Eastern Iowa’s Aviation Heritage, by Scott M. Fisher
The Fights on the Little Big Horn: Unveiling the Mysteries of Custer’s Last Stand, by Gordon Harper
The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, by Ryszard Legutko. The Polish author, who lived under Communism, demonstrates the parallels between Communism and “liberal democracy,” showing that the basic ideology is exactly the same. The Left in the USA and Europe have all the same desires as did Communism, and they are destroying our culture in the same way as did Communism. Many citations from this book are posted on my “Thought-Provoker” blog.
A History of Jihad from Muhammad to ISIS, by Robert Spencer. Should be required reading by every politician, high school student, and college student. Islam is not, and never has been, peaceful. It’s duty is to conquer the world.
Mossier’s Raiders: The Story of LST-325, 1942-1946, by David Bronson. LST means “Landing Ship, Tank.” Very interesting story of one LST’s tour during WWII as it took part in the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and Normandy, and all the practice missions, etc. It was decommissioned in 1946, but re-entered service in 1951 as a supply ship for the Arctic, and finally struck from the fleet in 1961. In 1964 the Greek Navy took it and operated it until 1999. In 2000 it was taken over by a group of U.S. Navy veterans to preserve it. The ship was brought back to the USA and restored mostly to its WWII configuration and now tours the country. We went to see the ship in August.
Little Lord Fauntleroy, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Although I have long ago heard of this story, I never knew what it was about until early this year when we bought a $5 DVD at Menard’s which had the 1936 movie by the same title among several other movies. The story was good but the copy was horrid; out went the DVD and in came a paperback from Barnes & Noble. Since we both liked the movie (and hope to find a good cut) I read this aloud to my wife while she was doing hand work. Excellent story.
Gospel Principles, LDS publication. Essentially a textbook for teaching all the Mormon doctrines.
D-Day 1944: Omaha Beach, by Steven J. Zaloga. The story of “bloody Omaha”: What happened and why it happened. More casualties than the rest of the D-Day beaches put together.
The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness, by Eriwn Lutzer
The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, By Michael Medved. Medved says, “This book focuses on the freakish good fortune and the prodigious good deeds of the United States not as a way to obscure our sins but in order to restore the missing context for consideration of such shortcomings. … The evidence for divine providence doesn’t prove that America is perfect, but it does strongly suggest that America is no accident.” The various “coincidences” which helped various people and situations bring about good results are fascinatingly examined.
Kids Say the Darndest Things, by Art Linkletter. My mom sent this book to me.
Forgotten No More: The Korean War Veterans Memorial Story, by Carol M. Highsmith and Te Landphair. Given to me when attending the orientation for Honor Flight.
Christmas Reconsidered, by Ralph Woodrow. Acquired about a decade ago, couldn’t remember what it was about. Essentially saying that celebrating Christmas isn’t pagan, and it should be a Romans 14 issue rather than an issue which divides.
Israel’s Fate, Our Fight, by American Center for Law & Justice. Actually more of a booklet at 50 pages. Explaining the history of Islam and Israel and the necessity for the USA to stand with Israel.
Be Real (1 John), by Warren W. Wiersbe. I read this excellent commentary 3 1/2 years ago but decided to read it again before passing it on.
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers, by Mike Aquilina. I picked up this one at Catholic Church while waiting inside out of the weather with the band; we were performing outside for a “Blue Mass” honoring police officers. I thought this book would be interesting to read; it will be providing meat for future blog posts!
Timothy and Titus, by William MacDonald and V. Paul Flint. This one is being pulled from my library as extraneous. It is actually a text for an Emmaus Bible College Correspondence Course, and is just an extended commentary. I think there is quite a lot of speculation in it, though, and not worth passing on.
The Friendly Invasion: How the United States Changed East Anglia Forever. No specific author, but put together by some tourist bureau in England. Summation story of the 8th Air Force in England during WWII, discussing all the museums now located in the area, highlighting certain 8th A.F. members. And of course highlighting all the accommodations for tourists. Very interesting publication, picked up in May 2018 at the Air Force Museum (who have an advertisement in the book).
So You’re Going to Wear the Kilt!, by J. Charles Thompson, F.S.T.S., revised by Iain Gray. Interesting small book about the history of tartans and development of the kilt, as well as all the appropriate attire to wear with the kilt.
Books I’m currently reading, which will show up on next year’s list:
My travel book (car and doctor appointments, etc):
Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich, by Eric Kurlander
My living room book:
The Times Complete History of the World, by Richard Overy
My bedtime book:
The First World War: A Complete History, by Martin Gilbert
Sunday, December 30, 2018
There has been much spoken against the doctrine of what is called free will by persons who seem not to have understood the term. Will is a free principle. Free will is as absurd as bound will: it is not will if it be not free; and if it be bound, it is no will. Volition is essential to the being of the soul, and to all rational and intellectual beings. This is the most essential discrimination between matter and spirit. Matter can have no choice, spirit has. Ratiocination [reasoning] is essential to intellect; and from these volition is inseparable. God uniformly treats man as a free agent; and on this principle the whole of divine revelation is constructed, as is also the doctrine of future rewards and punishments. If a man be forced to believe, he believes not at all: it is the forcing power that believes, not the machine forced. If he be forced to obey, it is the forcing power that obeys; and he, as a machine, shows only the effect of this irresistible force. If a man be incapable of willing good and willing evil, he is incapable of being saved as a rational being; and if he acts only under an overwhelming compulsion, he is as incapable of being damned. [He is] is incapable of being moved, but as acted upon by foreign influence; or, as an intellectual being, to nonentity.
--Adam Clarke (b. 1760–1762, d. August 28, 1832, British Methodist Theologian and Bible Scholar). Cited in The Berean Call email Update, 12/11/18
This demonstrates the error of Calvinism.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
The evidence of the Church at large going into apostasy is overwhelming when reading daily news items. It can be disheartening, but also encouraging at the same time because we know these apostates with fold with persecution and the true Church will become more evident. Watch out for these wolves and false teachings of every sort, that you don’t let them lead you astray.
This is why we quit ringing the bells and supporting the Salvation Army.
These “churches” are dens of iniquity. Their leaders are wolves. The Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ especially long ago left any semblance of following Christ. The others mentioned in the article are following Satan as they worship Molech.
Beth Moore — again! Why do churches continue to support her!?!?
Go figure; a United Methodist Church is putting on a Muslim Christmas play! Oh the apostasy of that denomination never ceases to amaze me!
Pope Francis proves he has no clue. In fact, he is trying to convince everyone that we need more Muslim “immigrants!” (As well as “immigrants” in general.) As usual, the Pope cares nothing for sovereign nations and their laws, contrary to what Scripture says about obeying the laws of the land. He is a shill for the LEFT.
The Church of England has bowed to the “transgender” agenda and has approved baptism for them.
I’ve posted many things about James MacDonald over the years, but here is an excellent article exposing all sorts of sin and corruption problems at Harvest Bible Chapel. And here is a followup. And, another one.
Lifeway “Christian Resources” is just another minefield of false teachings, and yet get praise from The Gospel Coalition!
With a place like this as their seminary, it’s no wonder that the ELCA has been apostate for decades!
So why hasn’t Rome excommunicated all these apostates?!?!?
More on the situation with Lauren Daigle; some people don’t like their favorite stars to be criticized. I found this article to be right on the money, but also quite humorous.
A perfect example of why Andy Stanley MUST be considered a false teacher — his new book, Irresistible.
A “bishop” of Satan’s “church.” How these people can thumb their noses at God and expect His blessings is beyond me!
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
So [I’m] just laying in the bathtub, just reading my Bible, nothing extraordinary. I’ve never had an extraordinary experience. … I’m there and I’m reading and suddenly I have this experience and I look up — I kind of hear this noise — and I look up and Jesus walks through the wall and into the bathroom. And He’s standing next to me and He’s staring at me. And He begins to talk to me about my future. You know, I guess you shouldn’t be shocked when you’re praying and Jesus shows up, you know. I think that’s what’s supposed to happen. …
And Jesus begins to tell me things like — He — one of the things He said to me, He said, “I’ve called you to be a prophet to the nations. And you’re going to travel the world. And you’re going to speak to kings and presidents and mayors and governors and prime ministers and queens. And I’m going to take you all over the world and you’re going to guide nations through the prophetic wisdom that I give you. …
And the Lord begins to talk to me about this stuff. Now it goes on for a half an hour — it’s just a long experience. And I see the Lord with my eyes, so it’s evidently an open vision.
Kris Vallotton, “Discovering Your Divine Call,” School of the Prophets DVD series. Cited by M. Kurt Goedelman, “School Time with Kris Vallotton,” The [PFO] Quarterly Journal, Vol.39/No.1
First, this story is totally unbelievable—just the claim that he would be reading his Bible in the tub is nothing but virtue-signaling.
Second, how does he know this was Jesus and not Satan? (2 Cor. 11:14).
Third, he says Jesus is “supposed to” show up when you pray. Please show me this from Scripture.
Fourth, Vallotton is well known for his false teachings, so why would Jesus select him to be a prophet?
Fifth, Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe.” Ephesians 2:20 says that the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” So has God changed his mind and now needs prophets again? Is Jesus no longer good enough, the Scripture no longer good enough? Is Jesus now building a new foundation?
The PFO Journal article has an excellent exposure of the many false teachings of Kris Vallotton. Near the end of the article, Kurt Goedelman makes the following observation:
[T]he prophetic ministry and teachings of Vallotton are dangerous and aberrant. He opens his students and practitioners to confusion, chaos, deception, disappointment, mysticism, subjectivism, and perhaps even worse. He entices his flock to believe myths and engage in unbiblical practices. He presents a loose template in defining prophets and prophecy and lacks sound biblical interpretations. Apart from the written Word of God, God isn’t telling Vallotton anything. What he is telling his students that God has told him is merely Vallotton speaking from his own heart and imagination.
(Personal Freedom Outreach’s The Quarterly Journal is an outstanding apologetics and discernment publication which I can’t recommend highly enough. Subscribe to it here.)
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists claim that the Archangel Michael was Jesus prior to Jesus’ birth. Of course we know that isn’t true, since Jesus is God incarnate and Michael was just a created angel. However, Ron Rhodes, in his book, Angels Among Us: Separating Truth from Fiction, gives the following evidence against the JW/SDA claim (pgs 92-95):
Now, a controversial question that comes up from time to time relates to the claim that appearances of Michael in the Bible were actually appearances of Jesus Christ, the second person of the triune Godhead. Is this a possibility, or does Scripture forbid such interpretations? I believe there are at least five biblical arguments that make such an interpretation impossible. Let us briefly consider these arguments.
1. The archangel Michael does not have the authority himself to rebuke Satan. Jude 9… By contrast, Jesus rebuked the Devil on a number of different occasions (see, for example, Matthew 4:10 and 16:23). Since Michael could not rebuke the Devil in his own authority and Jesus could (and did) rebuke the Devil in His own authority, Michael and Jesus cannot be the same person. …
2. In Daniel 10:13 Michael is called “one of the chief princes.” Whether or not there is more than one archangel, the fact that Michael is “one of” the chief princes indicates that he is one among a group of chief princes. …[and] proves that he is not utterly unique. By contrast, the Greek word used to describe Jesus in John 3:16 in monogenes—which means “unique,” “one of a kind.” Jesus is never called “chief prince” in the Bible. In fact, He is called the “King of kings and Lord of lords” in Revelation 19:16. This is a title that indicates absolute sovereignty and authority. A King of kings/lLord of lords is much higher in authority than a mere “chief prince” (who is one in a group of princes). …
3. Hebrews 1:5 tells us that no angel can ever be called God’s son. Since Jesus is the Son of God, and since no angel can ever be called God’s son, then Jesus cannot possibly be the archangel Michael.
4. Hebrews 1:6 tells us that Christ is worshiped by the angels. This is the exact same word (Greek: proskuneo) used of worshiping Jehovah God in the Bible. Christ is worshiped with the same kind of worship rendered to the Father. … There is no getting around this fact. Jesus is not an angel; He is worshiped by the angels.
5. We are explicitly told in Hebrews 2:5 that the world is not (and never will be) in subjection to an angel. Certain angels…have various ranks and, under God, exercise imperial authority in different ways. But no angel is ever said to rule the world or God’s kingdom. … If no angel can rule the world…, then Christ cannot be the archangel Michael since Christ is said to be the ruler of God’s kingdom over and over again in Scripture. …
Thursday, December 20, 2018
One of the most far-reaching and fatal lies of Satan is the fallacious teaching that man can merit eternal life by doing good works. Satan knows that the only way God saves sinners is by grace alone (Eph. 2:5). He also knows when anything is added to God's grace, such as good works, human effort, law-keeping or religious rituals, it nullifies saving grace (Rom. 11:6; Gal. 2:21). In fact, when anyone adds anything to God's justifying grace, they remain dead in their sins. The only way a helpless, hopeless, and hell-deserving sinner can be saved is by God's unmerited, undeserved grace and mercy (Titus 3:5). They must come to the cross of Christ with empty hands of faith, bringing nothing but their sins. This is the only way they can experience the greatest exchange in human history - their sin for Christ's righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
Wrong Timing with The Wrong Motivation for Good Works
The timing and motivation for good works is of utmost importance.
Scripture declares that any righteous deeds done prior to justification are filthy rags in the sight of our Holy God (Isa. 64:6). Therefore, if someone's motivation for doing good works is to become right with God, they cannot be justified. Anyone who seeks to establish their own righteousness by good works is ignorant of God's righteousness (Rom. 10:1-4). Yet, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that good works are necessary for justification and condemns anyone who says they are justified by faith alone (Council of Trent).
Right Timing with The Right Motivation for Good Works
After God justifies the repentant sinner by grace through faith, apart from works, the motivation for doing good works is dramatically different from the unbeliever. Now, the motivation is out of love, gratitude and thanksgiving for having been justified. The new creature in Christ desires to do the good works which God prepared for him/her (Eph. 2:10). The believer desires to live a life pleasing to Christ, bearing fruit in every good work, and giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified him to share in the inheritance of the saints (Col.1:10-12).
A Question Answered for Clarification
Why did James write, "You see man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24)? The answer can best be understood when the verse is read in context. James is contrasting two kinds of faith; he is not giving instructions on how to be justified. James is presenting the stark difference between genuine, living faith and spurious, dead faith. When he asks, "Show me your faith," he is asking a professing Christian for evidence of their faith. Since faith is invisible, James writes, "I will show you my faith by my works." Earlier he wrote the best way to prove one's faith is to be "doers of the word and not merely hearers" (Jas. 1:22). From Scripture we know that faith alone justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone.
A Root That Is Alive Will Bear Fruit
James is concerned for professing Christians who have dead faith which is idle, barren, and unfruitful (Jas. 2:17). He is saying that dead faith does not justify and is useless (Jas. 2:20). Only genuine faith is alive and bears fruit. In other words, faith is the root of the tree, and works are the fruit. If the root is alive, the tree will bear fruit, but if the root is dead, there will be no fruit. Just as works cannot produce justification, fruit cannot produce the tree or bring it into existence. The fruit only reveals the type of tree and whether it is alive or dead. James is echoing the teaching of Jesus when He said, "you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (Jn. 15:8). So when there is no fruit, there is no union with Christ.
Tragically, there are many professing Christians who remain dead in their sins because they are trying to merit salvation by their works.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
I’ve come across some really good articles over the past few weeks, and I think they need to be shared with my readers! As usual, just follow the links.
An interesting study of the Trinity.
Good information for when dealing apologetically with the secular world. Those of us who have studied the issue have always know that the “50% of marriages end in divorce” claim was just a total fabrication.
Interesting article about the sexual morality of atheists; without God they have no objective sexual morality.
The importance of artistic intent when judging if art or music is Christian. The author mentions Mormon hymns, and I even address why they are wrong in this article.
A very good article about the situations with Lauren Daigle’s claim about homosexuality.
Jesus was not born in a stable. I’ve read similar articles over the years, which is why I agree.
What Jesus meant by “Water and the Spirit”
Excellent discussion for non-Calvinists to see support for OUR side!