Book Review – Theistic Evolution

January 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Other Book Reviews

Book Title:  Theistic Evolution

Author:  Multiple

Published by: Crossway

Amazon Info:  The debate about biological origins continues to be hotly contested within the Christian church. Prominent organizations such as Biologos (USA) and Faraday Institute (UK) insist that Christians must yield to an unassailable scientific consensus in favor of contemporary evolutionary theory and modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life accordingly. They promote a view known as “theistic evolution” or “evolutionary creation.” They argue that God used—albeit in an undetectable way—evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. This book contests this proposal. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume provides the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced. It documents evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution, opening the door to scientific and theological alternatives—making the book essential reading for understanding this worldview-shaping issue.

My rating: 4 stars
My review:  It’s rare that I’ll write a book review without first reading the entire book, but I fear this one, at over 1000 pages, will take me much longer than I ever thought.  Given the scientific and academic subject matter, the intensity of the debate, and the writing style of the authors, this stay at home mom will have her work cut out for her!  All that said, the topic is fascinating to me and I believe it’s not only important, but vital that we Christians learn about the various views on creation/evolution within our own circles.  This book is a deep, full, and detailed argument not just in favor of creation, but against a view within creation science referred to as Theistic Evolution … sort of combining the idea that yes, God did create, but used the process of evolution to do it (my kindergarten explanation!).  Anyway, if you are at all interested in the topic (and you should be) this is a great volume to have in your library of resources and while thick and pricey, it’s definitely worth the money!

Here’s a little taste from the intro chapter:

In this book we will provide a comprehensive scientific, philosophical,
and theological critique of the idea known as theistic evolution. But
before we can do that, we will need to define what the proponents of
this perspective mean by “theistic evolution”—or “evolutionary creationism,”
as it is sometimes now called. Indeed, before we can critique
this perspective we will need to know what exactly it asserts. Is it a
logically coherent position? Is it a theologically orthodox position? Is
it supported by, or consistent with, the relevant scientific evidence? The
answer to each of these questions depends crucially on the definition or
sense of “evolution” in play. “Theistic evolution” can mean different
things to different people largely because the term “evolution” itself
has several distinct meanings.

And just to give you a feel for what you’re in for, here’s the table of contents (don’t get scared off!)

SECTION I: THE SCIENTIFIC CRITIQUE OF
THEISTIC EVOLUTION
Section I, Part 1: The Failure of Neo-Darwinism
1 Three Good Reasons for People of Faith to Reject Darwin’s
Explanation of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Douglas D. Axe
2 Neo-Darwinism and the Origin of Biological Form and
Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
Stephen C. Meyer
3 Evolution: A Story without a Mechanism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139
Matti Leisola
4 Are Present Proposals on Chemical Evolutionary Mechanisms
Accurately Pointing toward First Life? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165
James M. Tour
5 Digital Evolution: Predictions of Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .193
Winston Ewert
6 The Difference It Doesn’t Make: Why the “Front-End Loaded”
Concept of Design Fails to Explain the Origin of Biological
Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .217
Stephen C. Meyer
7 Why DNA Mutations Cannot Accomplish What
Neo-Darwinism Requires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .237
Jonathan Wells
8 Theistic Evolution and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis:
Does It Work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257
Stephen C. Meyer, Ann K. Gauger, and Paul A. Nelson
9 Evidence from Embryology Challenges Evolutionary Theory . . . .289
Sheena Tyler
Section I, Part 2: The Case against Universal Common Descent
and for a Unique Human Origin
10 The Fossil Record and Universal Common Ancestry . . . . . . . . . . . . .331
Günter Bechly and Stephen C. Meyer
11 Universal Common Descent: A Comprehensive Critique . . . . . . . . .363
Casey Luskin
12 Five Questions Everyone Should Ask about Common Descent . . . .403
Paul A. Nelson
13 The Battle over Human Origins (Introduction to Chapters
14–16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .431
Ann K. Gauger
14 Missing Transitions: Human Origins and the Fossil Record . . . . .437
Casey Luskin
15 Evidence for Human Uniqueness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .475
Ann K. Gauger, Ola Hössjer, and Colin R. Reeves
16 An Alternative Population Genetics Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .503
Ola Hössjer, Ann K. Gauger, and Colin R. Reeves
17 Pressure to Conform Leads to Bias in Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .523
Christopher Shaw
SECTION II: THE PHILOSOPHICAL CRITIQUE OF
THEISTIC EVOLUTION
18 Why Science Needs Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .547
J. P. Moreland
19 Should Theistic Evolution Depend on Methodological
Naturalism? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .561
Stephen C. Meyer and Paul A. Nelson
20 How to Lose a Battleship: Why Methodological Naturalism
Sinks Theistic Evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .593
Stephen Dilley
21 How Theistic Evolution Kicks Christianity Out of the
Plausibility Structure and Robs Christians of Confidence that
the Bible Is a Source of Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .633
J. P. Moreland
22 How to Think about God’s Action in the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .659
C. John Collins
23 Theistic Evolution and the Problem of Natural Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . .683
Garrett J. DeWeese
24 Bringing Home the Bacon: The Interaction of Science and
Scripture Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .705
Colin R. Reeves
25 The Origin of Moral Conscience: Theistic Evolution versus
Intelligent Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .731
Tapio Puolimatka
26 Darwin in the Dock: C. S. Lewis on Evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .755
John G. West
SECTION III: THE BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL
CRITIQUE OF THEISTIC EVOLUTION
27 Theistic Evolution Undermines Twelve Creation Events and
Several Crucial Christian Doctrines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .783
Wayne Grudem
28 Theistic Evolution Is Incompatible with the Teachings of the
Old Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .839
John D. Currid
29 Theistic Evolution Is Incompatible with the Teachings of the
New Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .879
Guy Prentiss Waters
30 Theistic Evolution Is Incompatible with Historical Christian
Doctrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .927
Gregg R. Allison
31 Additional Note: B. B. Warfield Did Not Endorse Theistic
Evolution as It Is Understood Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .953
Fred G. Zaspel
General Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .973
Scripture Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1001

I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Review – The Spurgeon Journal

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Parent Product Reviews

What:  The Spurgeon Journal

Amazon info:

For almost 160 years, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s earliest sermons were lost to history. Thanks to Christian George and Spurgeon’s College, these powerful words from one of the world’s most popular preachers are now widely accessible to be read, studied, and enjoyed in the twelve volumes of the Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon series.

This journal contains Spurgeon’s own inspirational words culled from these early sermons. On the page directly following each quote, you’ll find the source—the name and number of one of Spurgeon’s early sermons—for easy reference. In addition, the customizable table of contents at the front of the journal and the date feature at the top of each page allow you to keep your thoughts organized.

Whether you use your journal for writing sermons, taking notes, or daily journaling, allow Spurgeon’s stirring words to speak to your life today.

 

My rating:  5 stars

My review:

I’m a journal/paper/traveler’s notebook nut, to be honest. I love a good journal for jotting sermon notes, prayers, books of scripture, quotes, etc. So I was thrilled to get this. It a great size (fits my Wide Chic Sparrow traveler’s notebook perfectly) and the paper takes a fountain pen very nicely. I love it.

Add to that the quotes of Spurgeon’s sprinkled throughout the bottom of the pages as well as an index page in the front… this is great!

 

 

Because it’s so high quality, beautiful to look at, and it feels nice in your hand, it’d make a great gift but once you get a hold of it, I don’t think you’ll want to give it away – so get two!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this journal in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Book Review – Out of a Far Country

January 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

 Book Title:  Out of a Far Country

Authors:  Christopher and Angela Yuan

Published by:  Water Brook Press

Amazon info:

Coming Out, Then Coming Home

Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered at an early age that he was different. He was attracted to other boys. As he grew into adulthood, his mother, Angela, hoped to control the situation. Instead, she found that her son and her life were spiraling out of control—and her own personal demons were determined to defeat her.

Years of heartbreak, confusion, and prayer followed before the Yuans found a place of complete surrender, which is God’s desire for all families. Their amazing story, told from the perspectives of both mother and son, offers hope for anyone affected by homosexuality.

God calls all who are lost to come home to him. Casting a compelling vision for holy sexuality, Out of a Far Country speaks to prodigals, parents of prodigals, and those wanting to minister to the gay community.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”  – Luke 15:20

Includes a discussion guide for personal reflection and group use.

 

My review:

I found myself not wanting to read any more as the details about Christopher’s pre-conversion lifestyle were a bit too … detailed for me. I appreciate that this is a true journal and all… just want to warn other readers that while not “graphic”, his attraction, feelings, experiences in the homosexual “scene” etc., is pretty detailed.

It’s an amazing story and I’m thankful for the redemption of this family. I just can’t recommend the book.

 

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – Full

January 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Title:  Full:  Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction

Author:  Asheritah CiuCiu (with forward by Linda Dillow)

Published by:  Moody Publishers

Amazon info:  

Can the Bible help me with my food struggles?

Have you ever felt stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of overeating, yo-yo dieting, and obsessive thoughts about food?

Whether you feel defeated by your lack of self-control or overwhelmed by thoughts and longings for foodthe answer to our food fixation does not lie in the $500 billion global diet industry.

This is not a diet book and it’s not a healthy eating plan. Because at the core, our problem is not really what we eat. It’s why we seek fullness in something that will never satisfy.

Join Asheritah Ciuciu as she shares honestly about her own battles with food and reveals the path to freedom. You’ll discover the joy of living free from food fixation so you can experience deeper satisfaction in Christ, gain a renewed sense of purpose, and yes, even enjoy good food (without regret).

A healthier relationship with food through a stronger relationship with Christ—that’s the goal of Full.

Includes a quiz to help you find out if you have food fixation, plus practical strategies for overcoming it.

My rating: 5 stars

My review:

I’ve read many diet books. I’ve done many diets.  I’ve had some success on some. In fact, one time when my daughters were pretty young, I determined I was going to get skinny. And I did.  Pretty fast too.  Too fast. And too skinny.  And I discovered that my addiction to food could easily be converted to other addictions – like the addiction to dieting, or to starving myself, or to getting just one size skinnier.  It was scary.

I haven’t “dieted” since then. Oh, I’ve tried to watch what I eat, limit my sugar intake, stop eating carbs, etc., I followed some pretty crazy “Christian” diets that I quickly learned were not good even though most of them had some good information, etc.  It’s been a journey.

All that to say, I wasn’t expecting too much when I got this book. But, I had heard the author on the radio once when I was running errands and at the time that I heard the interview they were talking about food and worship. I was intrigued with what she was saying – and I thought it was profound and totally different from anything I’d heard about “dieting” before. Mostly because it wasn’t about dieting at all.  And I liked that.

I started reading this one and wondered if it would be the same old same old but it’s not. It’s really not.  This is a book about your relationship with God and His word … and a little bit about how that relates to food.  But that’s a good thing because, with all addictions, it’s rarely REALLY about the substance of choice. It’s about what’s going on in your mind and where your heart’s focus is.

Favorite chapter?  Chapter 8. Celebrate the gift of food.  This is the chapter that I heard the author discussing in the interview on the radio and it filled out what I heard. The book is worth this chapter alone and I’m convinced if we’d just do some of the suggestions she makes here, our outlook about food and dieting and fellowship and mealtime and … a bunch of stuff, would be much, much different.

So yeah, better than I expected AND highly recommended!  Get this book!

I received a paperback copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

 

Book Review – Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges

December 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Book Title:  Transforming Grace

Author: Jerry Bridges

Publisher:  Tyndale

Amazon info: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love
Grace is amazing because it is God’s provision for when we fall short of His standards. Unfortunately, too many of us embrace grace for our salvation but then leave it behind in our everyday lives. We base our relationship with God on our performance rather than on His love for us, even when we intuitively know that our performance cannot earn us the love we so desperately crave.

Isn’t it time to stop trying to measure up and begin accepting the transforming power of God’s grace? The product of more than ten years of Bible study, Navigator author Jerry Bridges’s Transforming Grace is a fountainhead of inspiration and renewal that will show you just how inexhaustible and generous God’s grace really is.

This edition includes the full study guide, which was formerly available as a separate product (ISBN 9781600063046).

 

My rating: 4 stars

My review:

This is another fine book by Jerry Bridges.  It’s a comprehensive look at the beauty of grace in the Christian life.

About 1/4 of the book is the Discussion guide which includes a pretty detailed overview of each chapter for individual reflection or group discussion.

I enjoy Bridges writing for the most part. This book does tend to get a bit repetitive though, and that’s the reason I’m giving it 4 instead of 5 stars.

I received a copy of the book by the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Sing a New Song – Devotional for Women

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Book Title:  Sing A New Song

Author:  Lydia Brownback

Publisher: Crossway

352 pages

Amazon info:

Humans are relational, emotional beings—and nothing reveals this more beautifully than the book of Psalms. As the psalmists pour out their hearts to God, they uncover the multifaceted character of the Lord almighty and reveal his grace-filled plans for his people.

Sing a New Song offers a fresh look at the 150 psalms in the Bible, summarizing each psalm’s key themes, revealing how each fits in to both the Psalter as a whole and the rest of Scripture, and suggesting practical applications. Designed for use in personal study or in small groups, this book will invigorate your study of the the book of Psalms and enable you to see the steadfast love and faithfulness of God reflected on every page.

My rating: 4.5 stars

My review:

This is a lovely devotional book of the Psalms and would make a great gift for someone who would like to systematically work their way through the Psalms with some guidelines, etc. Solid but not stuffy, each entry offers some wonderful insight as well as companion scripture to see how the Psalm fits into the whole. A great book.

I received a copy of the electronic version book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

The Marvelous Mud House -Book review

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Children's Book Reviews

Title:  The Marvelous Mud House

Author:  April Graney

Published by:  B&H Kids

Amazon Info: Ben and his American family live in a hungry ranch house where they are always wanting more. But then they travel far across the world to Kenya and visit the marvelous mud house where George and Mama George live. There, among the mango trees, they discover a marvelous lesson about what it’s like to be full of joy instead.

My rating: 4 stars
My review: What a beautiful little book.  Sweet illustrations with a great message of contentment and joy, this is a great book for kids AND adults.  Great read aloud for the whole family. Highly recommended!

 

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Book Review – Know Who You Are, Live Like It Matters

November 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Children's Book Reviews

Book Title:  Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters

Author:  Tim Tebow (with A.J. Gregory)

Amazon info:

The World Does Not Define You!
Nobody said your life would be easy. And the older you get, the more difficult it seems to become. Deep down you may know your value as a person isn’t defined by wearing cool name-brand clothes, scoring points for a sports team, or even by having a huge number of social media followers. And you’re right! Your identity resides in something—in fact, Someone—much greater than anything this world can offer:

The only identity worth having…is found in Jesus Christ!

American sports icon, Tim Tebow knows firsthand what it’s like to face pressure head-on. In Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters, he shares the wisdom he’s learned—not from what the world says, but from what God says in His Word.

Tim will guide you through thirty-six weeks of lessons, each based on a key Scripture, to discover who you are—by learning more about whose you are! You will also have the opportunity to write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on topics such as:
* Building godly character
* Maintaining great relationships
* Standing out from the crowd
* Doing things that matter in the big picture

Get ready to live bigger than ever before…with your faith and identity secured in a God who loves you beyond measure!

 My rating:  4 stars
My review:

This is a fine devotional book for it’s target audience – which is pre-teen, young teen, homechooled boys.

A bit simple, it’ll reach that crowd because of who Tebow is. Unashamedly Christian in focus, this would make a nice gift for a young man in your life who is just starting out on his spiritual growth journey.

Divided into 36 lessons, it encourages young guys to journal their thoughts (needed!) about various aspects of christian living.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

November 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Title: Becoming  Mom Strong

Author:  Heidi St.John

Published by: Tyndale

Amazon info:

Have you ever looked into the faces of the people who call you “mom” and wondered what in the world you got yourself into?
If you’re like many Christian moms today, you’ve been reading the headlines and watching the rapid-fire changes in our culture with frustration and fear. Let’s face it: Moms today are facing questions that previous generations didn’t even see coming, and even our right to determine what is best for our own children is under fire. Popular speaker and blogger Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom) believes that today’s mothers need a special kind of strength. We need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We dare not rely on human strength for the battles we’re facing right now. In Becoming MomStrong, Heidi has a powerful message just for you?the mom in the midst of it all. Through encouragement, practical prayer points, and authentic “me-too” moments, Heidi equips you for a job that only you can do: to train your children to hear God’s voice and to walk in truth no matter where our culture is heading. God wants to use this generation of mothers to do something extraordinary:

  • To be strong in the Lord
  • To know who you are in Christ, and
  • To impart that strength to your kids.

In other words, He wants you to be MomStrong! So if you’re feeling tired or inadequate today, get ready to find new strength as you join Heidi St. John in Becoming MomStrong.

My rating: 4 stars

My review:  This is such an easy and enjoyable read. Heidi is a fun writer and her writing is very down to earth.  This kind of reads like a series of warm-hearted and “real” blog posts – and it works.  A mom of 7 kids, she knows what a stressful mom life is and seems to have really made the most of her own advice.  I think this might make a great book for new moms or those who are in the thick of young motherhood.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Book Review – The Crown Volume 1

November 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews


Book Title:  The Crown, Volume 1

Author:  Robert Lacy

Published by:  Crown Archetype (October 17, 2017)

Amazon info:

The official companion to the Emmy-winning Netflix drama chronicling the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and starring Claire Foy and John Lithgow, The Crown by Peter Morgan, featuring additional historical background and beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills

Elizabeth Mountbatten never expected her father to die so suddenly, so young, leaving her with a throne to fill and a global institution to govern. Crowned at twenty-five, she was already a wife and mother as she began her journey towards becoming a queen.

As Britain lifted itself out of the shadow of war, the new monarch faced her own challenges. Her mother doubted her marriage; her uncle-in-exile derided her abilities; her husband resented the sacrifice of his career and family name; and her rebellious sister embarked on a love affair that threatened the centuries-old links between the Church and the Crown. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of resolve to ensure that the Crown always came out on top.

Written by the show’s historical consultant, royal biographer Robert Lacey, and filled with beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills, The Crown: The Official Companion: Volume 1 adds expert and in-depth detail to the events of the series, painting an intimate portrait of life inside Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. Here is Elizabeth II as we’ve never seen her before.

 

My rating:  4 stars

My review:

I only saw a small part of “The Crown” on Netflix but my daughters enjoyed the whole series. Regardless, this is a helpful book to understand the history as well as the artistic liberties the creator of the series used. I always wonder how much of some of these historical dramas is true…this book answers that question for this one.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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