We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, December 31, 2018

Books I Read in 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

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