Tuesday, January 03, 2006

long time no...blog?

So, it has been quite a few days (almost a full month) since I last updated this blog and I would like to extend my heartfelt apology. You see, my wife and I were blessed with a baby (Noah) on 12/9/05 and so my hands have been pretty full. Between Noah and his big brother Micah (2 1/2) it's been a mad house around here between plain 'ol adjusting to the new addition to our family as well Christmas - the gatherings were at our house, no less - my hands have been full.

So, before I get back into the swing of things, I wanted to say 2 things:

  1. What the new study will be (and consequently, where will much of the material for my posts will come from)
  2. A brief commentary on looking for Christian books.

New Study:

Well, our Sunday school class will be studying the book of 2 Peter. I haven't studied this book in a lot of depth before, so I am really excited about it. I am even more excited because of how much I learned from 1 Peter. The lessons in our Sunday School Class will begin on 1/8/05.

Brief Comment:

I was asked what I wanted for Christmas by many of the members of my family, and I basically asked for books - good commentaries, good books about biblical things (like "Holiness" by J.C. Ryle), and other fun stuff (slippers, the "Narnia" books, etc.). Well, I was blessed to get a bunch of good books from everyone. My little brother and sister-in-law (Ezra and Molly) were not sure what I would like so they got me a gift card to ensure that I would be happy with my gift. Now, I did the same thing for my brother-in-law, only in a more unconventional way (maybe I'll explain later).

So on Monday (1/2/05) I went to look for a good book at a very large bookstore. I was perusing the shelves and I was very upset with what I found interspersed together. I found books by Bishop John Shelby Spong next to (or fairly close to) Lee Strobel's books. Now why is this a big deal, you ask? Bishop sponge denies the bodily resurrection of Christ as well as the exclusiveness of Christ as the only way to God. Now, I'm not much for heresy, but these are two of the big ones that would take you out of what the Bible teaches on the person and work of Christ. See 1 Cor 15:12-19 and John 14:6 or John 3:36 to see how these views contradict scripture itself.

To many an unexpecting consumer, one could be trying to get a good book on the Christian faith, but end up with filth and garbage. Now, this was at a larger secular book store, and perhaps I shouldn't be so picky with how they choose to stock their shelves because - what can you expect? But, I was at a larger Christian book store a few weeks ago and I was less than impressed as well. Now, to be fair, this store had a much larger selection of good quality books and authors, but it also had a much larger selection of Christian "fluff" and books by heretical authors.

My point is this, and I hope that it is a redundant one - but just because something is labeled "Christian" and even if it is a best seller, don't assume that these are quality books or even books that promote a truly biblical worldview.

So what should one do if you're looking for a Christian book or commentary?

  1. Stick to authors that have been tried and true over time. It would be hard to go wrong when reading things written by Luther, Spurgeon, and other men who have died, but their contributions haven't.
  2. If you want to read contemporary authors, one strategy to use is to see who endorses the book (on the back cover). If other contemporary Christian leaders give it acclaim, it may be a good book.
  3. If you're unsure who to read or whose accolades to listen to and whose to avoid, the best thing to do is ask someone who you trust - pastor, Sunday School teacher, or a mature brother or sister in the faith.

However, even if you pick up a book by Martin Luther or Charles Spurgeon, or even Chuck Swindol, St. Augustine, Calvin...or even a book by your own pastor or friend, never ever read a book like this without examining all of the claims, arguments, presuppositions, and conclusions against the Word of God, and don't be afraid to be a stickler for details (as a matter of fact, that is what we should do).

1 comment:

Nate said...

Eric, I totally agree with your frustration over the placement of books in these large secular bookstores. If someone were truely seeking and went to one of these stores that had the "Spongs" next to the "Strobels," how would they know the difference? Then again, I believe that if someone is really seeking the truth the Lord will somehow make that truth available to them.
Another method I use to determine if a book may be good or not is by the publisher. There are certain publishers that tend to publish better or more conservative books than others. I like your other methods as well.

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