Dr. Robert Sumner passed away in December 2016. The Biblical Evangelist newspaper is no longer being published and the ministry of Biblical Evangelism has ceased operation.

The remaining inventory of his books and gospel tracts was transferred to The Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles and may be ordered here.

Book Reviews Part 1 (editorial unless noted)
Dr. Robert L. Sumner

BELIEVER’S BAPTISM: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ, Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright; Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN; 10 Chapters, 364 Pages; $19.99

This is a new release in B&H’s NAC Studies in Bible and Theology series (only the third, I believe) which is “intended to supplement the New American Commentary,” a major production of B&H. The editors are both on the faculty of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville and each is a contributor of one chapter in this volume, Schreiner with “Baptism in the Epistles: An Initiation Rite for Believers” and Wright, “Baptist and the Logic of Reformed Paedobaptists.” The editor for this series is E. Ray Clendenen.

Other subjects and authors are “Baptism in the Gospels” (Andreas J. Köstenberger); “Baptism in Luke-Acts” (Robert H. Stein); “Baptism and the Relationship between the Covenants” (Stephen J. Wellum); “Baptism in the Patristic Writings” (Steven A. McKinion); “‘Confessor Baptism’: The Baptismal Doctrine of the Early Anabaptists” (Jonathan H. Rainbow); “Meredith Kline on Suzerainty, Circumcision, and Baptism” (Duane A. Garrett); “Baptism in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement” (A. B. Caneday); and, “Baptism in the Context of the Local Church” (Mark E. Dever). There are indices of author, subject, and Scripture. There is also an extensive Bibliography covering nearly four pages. Notes are where they belong: at the foot of the page.

What is promoted herein is “creedo baptism,” the teaching that “Christian baptism should be reserved for believers … in the Lord Jesus Christ.” We agree completely and emphatically! It opposes every form of infant baptism (“there are as many types of ‘paedobaptists’ (i.e., those who baptize infants) as there are Baptists)” and seeks to make clear the type being opposed in each case. Emphasis throughout the book is on the meaning of baptism, not so much the form – although that is mentioned.

The longest and perhaps most important chapter, at least for our day since so many claim baptism in the New Testament is a carryover for circumcision in the Old Testament (a replacement act), is Wellum’s on the covenants. Another interesting chapter is the Stone-Campbell chapter by Caneday.

Believer’s Baptism is a thorough, excellent study that ought to be in the library of every minister and Bible teacher. Obviously, with a work as detailed as this one, no one will agree with every point (the reviewer included), but we want to go on record as strongly recommending it!

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ANGELS OF GLORY & DARKNESS by John Woolmer; Monarch Books, Oxford, England (Distributed by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI); 10 Chapters, 217 Pages; $14.99, Paper

WORLD OF THE SPIRITS by David Burnett; Monarch Books, Oxford, England (Distributed by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI); 16 Chapters, 287 Pages; $17.99, Paper

Since these titles are similar in content and by the same publisher/distributor we are reviewing them together. The cover of the first describes the contents as dealing with Angels of good and evil; Angels in Christianity; Angels in history, and Angels today. The second book offers a subtitle, A Christian Perspective on Traditional and Folk Religions. And the cover further identifies the subject matter: Ghosts, Ancestors, Witchcraft, Divination, Shamans.

Both writers are Anglicans and, we are suspicious, charismatic ones at that! Each is into exorcism and other charismatic experiences.

As for Woolmer, he has amazing tales to tell about angels but confesses they might not be true, noting, “If any of the recorded experiences in this book are true experiences of the angelic world, then they are pointers back to the far more important truths about angels at Bethlehem and the angels beside the empty tomb on the first Easter Day.” In short, you can trust the stories about angels in the infallible Word of God, even if these reports are untrue, exaggerated, or false. He is certainly correct about that!

One of his first stories is about a colonel praying and asking God what He wanted for South Africa; suddenly an angel appeared and said God wanted the nation on its knees in prayer. So far, so good, but why did it take an angel to deliver that message? It is something taught all through the Word of God! If you sense skepticism on my part about some of these stories, you are correct. The next story was about an angel appearing to a minister in the middle of the night, but he was not at all frightened (kindly note how ‘petrified’ was each one in the Bible when an angel appeared).

Burnett’s books has several aims, including “building respect for all societies,” including the ‘primitive,’ in a nonjudgmental way; showing the Bible as an authoritative document and the basis of faith; to show that the people of these regions, in moving from the jungles to urban slums, have taken their culture with them – especially as it relates to ‘the world of spirits.’

To be perfectly honest, we were not impressed with either volume.

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BASIC GREEK IN 30 MINUTES A DAY by James Found, with Bruce Olson; Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN; 5 Parts, 52 Lessons, 336 Pages; $21.99, Paper

The subtitle says, New Testament Greek Workbook for Laymen (note the qualification; it is not a Greek workbook, but strictly New Testament Greek; that is, only the Greek words found in the NT). Here is some other helpful information on the cover describing its contents: A Self-Study Introduction to Greek, Including: The Greek Alphabet, Greek Pronunciation, Meanings of Hundreds of NT Words, General Outlines of New Testament Greek Grammar, and How to Use Greek Lexicons and Other Reference Books.

There is a disclaimer that the book will make anyone a Greek scholar, “but you will reap the benefits of understanding the Bible better from learning the basic Greek presented.” We think that is a fair evaluation. It is also illustrated in a manner we think the student will find helpful.

Altogether the book will take you through 52 lessons and each lesson includes several “exercises.” We warn you up front: it will not be easy (my late friend, Dr. Bill Rice, often declared, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!”), but for men or women willing to work hard, we think it will prove a blessing and a benefit in both Bible study and labors for Him.

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750 ENGAGING ILLUSTRATIONS FOR PREACHERS, TEACHERS, AND WRITERS, Craig Brian Larson & Leadership Journal; Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI; 666 Pages; $17.99, Paper

The compiler of this work is both a pastor and one long associated with Leadership Journal: in short, he is well-qualified to release this kind of book. He knows what pastors and teachers are looking for and his long literary associations have helped him make right selections. Not only so, he has endeavored to make it both easy for those seeking illustrations and to obtain them easily and quickly. He says, “… if anything, I have gone overboard with the alternative subjects that accompany each illustration and are indexed in the endnotes. …One person might look for an illustration with the word faith, and another with the word belief; or you might look for the opposite, doubt.” He has used as major headings of each how he made the application, then gives alternative subjects at the close.

In short, he spent most of his time preparing extensive indexes, both by subject and by text.

Take the word of one who has written a column of illustrations for over a half-century and illustrated his own sermons and books profusely; there are some good, useful, helpful ones herein!

We are glad to recommend it.

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ANCIENT WISDOM: THE BOOK OF PROVERBS WITH DEVOTIONS FOR TODAY, Prepared by James MacDonald; Broadman & Holman Publishing Group, Nashville, TN; 30 Sections, 90 Pages Plus Book of Proverbs; $14.99

Probably readers are more familiar with this author than is the reviewer (he was totally unknown to me), since the inside back cover tells us he is the speaker on “Walk in the Word” radio broadcast, heard daily on over 650 radio stations in the United States. Too, he is the speaker on “Listen Up,” a 1-minute feature carried on a thousand outlets. We are not conscious of having heard any of this. MacDonald is also the founder and pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area, which probably is why when he references a football team it is the Bears.

Simply put, Ancient Wisdom consists of 30 days of brief devotionals. The latter take roughly 3 pages each, consist of a verse from Proverbs, comments about that theme, and a final “Wisdom Talking” involving several statement and/or questions about that day’s theme, helping the reader have thoughts on his/her mind for the day. The volume closes with the Book of Proverbs, which we thought strange since most reading this book would own a Bible. But then we noticed that this Proverbs is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, released by the publisher of this work.

We did not note the pages above because they are numbered only through the devotionals (90 pages), but we would judge that covers approximately two-thirds of the book and perhaps a total of 125 pages.

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THE ANGELS OF MORGAN HILL by Donna VanLiere; St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY; 12 Chapters, 228 Pages; Hardbound, $14.95, Paper, $6.99

The author is a gifted writer (a previous release, The Christmas Shoes, made the New York Times bestseller list) and this is a fascinating story of a widow (her evil husband dies early on in the tale) and a black family that moved into a Southern community during segregation days. When a fire burned the place where the blacks were staying, the mother’s dying request was that the white widow take in her son, the only survivor of the blaze.

She did. The community rebelled. The local school had rules against accepting him. Her late husband’s drunken, rowdy friends joined the excitement. While there are some religious twists to the tale, we wouldn’t necessarily call it a Christian novel.

We will have to be honest and say we didn’t like the language. While the grammar is atrocious, it can be excused, perhaps, by the setting of the story. However, VanLiere uses considerable “minced oaths” Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) invented when his wife wouldn’t let him cuss in the house (“daggum” is a popular one with her). And “Good Lord,” “Oh my Lord,” and “Lord have mercy” are not uncommon – and that is “taking the Lord’s name in vain”). There is also what we consider vulgar language about bodily functions. But then, we are a religious fanatic, a Fundamentalist, so what do we know?

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WHY GREAT MEN FALL by Wayde Goodall; New Leaf Press, Green Forest, AR; 16 Chapters, 159 Pages; $11.99, Paper

The subtitle says, 15 Winning Strategies to Rise Above It All. An antidote for failure, it is the kind of motivational book you would expect from a John Maxwell, Robert H. Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale, Charles “Tremendous” Jones or Zig Ziglar. He lists 14 different characteristics he thinks are “tipping points” for a leader going wrong and he has a chapter for each in this volume. There are some good thoughts and some very ordinary ones. It didn’t do much for me, but it might you.

We are told that the author is the pastor of a “thriving” Assemblies of God congregation in Winston-Salem (NC). As such, you would have thought he would have known Jim Bakker’s name (he refers to him as Jim Baker)!

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BEYOND SUFFERING: Discovering the Message of Job, by Layton Talbert; BJU Press, Greenville, SC; 6 Parts, 21 Chapters, 378 Pages; $17.95, Paper

Talbert, who has the reputation of Fundamentalist Bob Jones University (where he teaches theology) behind him, has divided his material in 6 sections: Introduction (2 chapters); Prologue: Job, God and Satan (5 chapters); Human Dialogue: Job and Three Friends; Human Monologue: Job and Elihu (2 chapters); Divine Monologue: Job and God (3 chapters); Epilogue (3 chapters). He emphasizes that he has not written a verse-by-verse commentary and says his ambition is to make his comments “… accurate (exegetically rooted), biblical (expositionally based), and relevant (practically oriented).”

He doesn’t like endnotes, he says, but has written his work on two levels: “… a lay-friendly text for the general reader, supplemented by technical, elaborative, or corroborative endnotes for additional research and information, corroboration and argumentation.” Ipso facto: there are nearly 100 pages of endnotes (93, to be exact; pretty good for a guy who doesn’t like them), and that is one-fourth of the entire book! When I was curious about a note I hunted in the back trying to find it, but soon gave up; it demanded more than I was willing to give. In his next work, we suggest the publisher make everybody happy and use footnotes – which should satisfy everybody!

There is a “Selected Bibliography” where the author lists some 30 titles on Job, then offers those by Francis I. Anderson, Derek Kidner, Elmer B. Smick, and Roy B. Zuck (3 titles) as his pick of that litter.

Our summary: this is a helpful study of what is probably the oldest book in the Bible, one that faces head-on the age-old problems of why the righteous suffer. His approach is reverent, his style clear, and his teaching is biblical. We think both teachers and laity will be helped by it.

While we have not seen Talbert’s previous release, Not by Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God, we are suspicious from this work that he might be more Calvinistic than your reviewer – but not radically so.

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CHARACTER MAKES A DIFFERENCE by Mike Huckabee, with John Perry; Broadman & Holman, Nashville, TN; 3 Parts, 17 Chapters, 227 Pages; $11.99, Paper

An old Negro spiritual says “Ev’rybody talk about heab’n ain’t goin’ there” and we’ve learned over the years that every politician talking about character doesn’t have it. We honestly think Huckabee does. He is another ex-governor from Arkansas who wants to be President and the subtitle of this book is: “Where I’m From, Where I’ve Been, What I Believe.” (To highlight the difference, Clinton told America, “Character isn’t the issue”; Huckabee thinks it is, saying in his Introduction: “Character is the issue, and your character makes a difference every day – in the work you do, the candidates you vote for, the people who look to you for leadership.” Amen!

The first section is “Character in the Furnace” (8 chapters); the second, “The Need for Character” (9 chapters); and the third is called “Selected Speeches and Commentary” (6 Appendices). Huckabee was Lieutenant Governor when the top man, Jim Guy Tucker (Lieutenant Governor under Bill Clinton) was convicted on two felony counts (fraud and conspiracy) in the Whitewater fiasco (same day Jim and Susan McDougal were convicted), and promised to resign by a certain date.

He didn’t, saying he had ‘changed his mind’ merely hours before Huckabee was to be sworn in. All of that is described herein. In fact, when I picked up the book and glanced at the Table of Contents, my attention was fastened on the Appendix, “The Speech That Never Was.” I read it first, followed by the other 5 appendices. We don’t recommend it. When we started reading the book the opening parts were a rehash of the other (which are probably in the book as a record only).

The book cleared up one matter for me: was this Baptist pastor, a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, ever called to preach, even though he started preaching at age 15 and when he was elected president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention he was the youngest to hold that office in its 150-year history? Apparently not. He had majored in communications (at age 14, he was running a radio station at times by himself), having been interested in politics from his early youth and sort of ‘backed into’ his two pastorates.

Before he was out of high school he was convinced he was “a true-blue, conservative, family-oriented young Republican,” although he is careful to note, “The Republican Party is not ‘God’s party’ … God doesn’t join organizations; He asks us to join his.” If the GOP were God’s party, He’d be mighty embarrassed today, wouldn’t He?

Huckabee is confused about one issue, saying he grew up in a small Missionary Baptist Church that was “somewhat legalistic” and calling such an emphasis “misguided.” He has confused legalism (which is trusting something for salvation, like keeping the law) with standards of conduct. Yet he contradicted his own position later talking about a pilot landing on a strip of concrete, noting it must be on the strip designated by the air controller, not a busy freeway at rush hour when hundreds could be killed. And he correctly pointed out that our children need to be told “this is right” and “this is wrong.” In short, standards come in pretty handy after all!

His illustration of his son’s salt in his first cake was terrific and it was nice of him to use my illustration of General Robert E. Lee that I used over 60 years ago (actually, it is a very common one, used by thousands of preachers and public speakers, we are confident).

Obviously we live in a different age from just a few years ago, and he notes the sins of our leaders that were covered up by the media a generation ago, but make front-page headlines today. We don’t think Huckabee is the only candidate with character running for our nation’s highest office, but such are almost as scarce as hen’s teeth. One admirable trait he has that most politicians don’t: he gets into the Book every day! He speaks of daily reading of Proverbs and his study of the Sermon on the Mount.

When we put down the book we mused, “This guy would make a great president,” but followed with, “A man with these morals would never have a chance today.” Yet, again, maybe he would! He was only the third Republican governor since Reconstruction in a “yellow dog” Democrat State. (Called such because they will vote for a Democrat even if he is a yellow dog! Even if they agree with the positions of the Republican and disagree with the Democrat, they will still vote a straight Democrat ticket!)

Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, you ought to read this book. Why? Character matters!

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EPHESIANS by H. A. Ironside; Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI; 26 Lectures, 191 Pages; $19.99

ACTS by H. A. Ironside; Kregal Publication, Grand Rapids, MI; 45 Lectures, 367 Pages; $24.99

Good news! Two more of Harry Ironside’s books are back in print! Even though a “dead man’s” books aren’t supposed to sell, this spiritual giant has been in Heaven over 55 years and we commend our friends at Kregal in putting his works back into the hands of the public.

We have noted heretofore that his books consisting of messages preached at Moody Church and stenographically recorded are much better in our mind than the ones he wrote in his study. Both of these books are in the first category and have excellent illustrations scattered throughout, something the ‘study written’ books do not.

The paragraphs are long and the print is smaller than some books, but these are minor matters in our judgment – even if you have to use a magnifying glass to read them. We had no problem.

Yes, good news, these titles are back in print and available for your encouragement and blessing.

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A WESTERN JESUS: The Wayward Americanization of Christ and the Church, by Mike Minter; Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN; 15 Chapters, 245 Pages; $19.99, Paper

The author starts by admitting he was a failure (now, that’s unique): booted from the Naval Academy for academic reasons; built a large church and then was watching it disintegrate before his eyes, helpless to stop it. It was during the latter problems that he decided culture was the main problem, one that was affecting adversely local churches (and Christian life) everywhere. This book was the result and it is about, the author tells us, “how our western culture, led by a western Jesus, has negatively influenced how we view Scripture.” We are now, he feels, tourists instead of pilgrims.

Some of his chapter titles are “A Western Jesus and His Church,” “Reason Vs. Revelation,” “A Western Jesus and Theology,” “The Pilgrim and His Gospel,” “A Western Jesus and Contentment,” “A Western Jesus and Discernment,” and, “A Western Jesus and the Word of His Grace.” He hits hard. Don’t look at this volume for some kind of balm in Gilead.

Some of his criticism may be overstated, but probably most is understated. You won’t agree with everything – at least your reviewer didn’t – but Minter will make you think. And, after all, isn’t that what a good book is all about?

An interesting aside: he tells of hearing Calvinist J. I. Packer say that God blessed him even though he was off on doctrine, adding, “I just don’t know where.” I immediately mused, “I could tell him!” – and that probably illustrates what Minter was talking about.

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SCIENCE’S BLIND SPOT by Cornelius G. Hunter; Brazos Press, a division of Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI; 9 Chapters, 170 Pages; $14.99, Paper

Subtitled, The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism. Hunter is a writer in the new pool of Intelligent Design (I.D., as it is known) scientists and we previously reviewed his Darwin’s Proof. If we had read the latter before we saw this one we would not have requested a review copy (we liked the title of this one). You may recall that we panned his Proof pretty badly.

When we started to read this one we found the author giving credit, especially, to four people. One was David Snoke, author of the A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (reviewed, July-August, 2007), a book we thought was terrible. That didn’t do anything to encourage us with this one.

We do not like to give bad reviews, but sometimes titles fool us. This one did. We do not recommend it; the blindness is not just in science.

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INTERPRETING THE HISTORICAL BOOKS: An Exegetical Handbook, by Robert B. Chisholm, Jr.; Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI; 6 Chapters, 231 Pages; $19.99, Paper

This is a release in Kregel’s “Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis” and covers Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. David M. Howard, Jr., is the series editor. The latter explains that each volume is built around the same six-chapter structure: Nature of the Genres; The Big Picture: Major Themes; Preparing for Interpretation; Interpreting the Text; Proclaiming the Text; and, Putting it All Together.

The author of this work is not the Chisholm that gave us such uplifting and sweet songs as ”Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” “Oh, to Be Like Thee,” “Living for Jesus,” “He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions” (for which our friend Merrill Dunlop wrote the music), “Christ Is Risen from the Dead,” and “The Prodigal Son.” No, this is the Chisholm that chairs the Old Testament department at Dallas Theological Seminary and teaches Old Testament studies at that renowned institution.

The books for further study made me realize how long I have been “out of the loop.” I didn’t recognize hardly any of the authors. And we’ll sum up this book very briefly: probably more technical than most of our readers would appreciate.

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EXPLORING PEOPLE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, Volume Two, by John Phillips; Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI; 32 Chapters, 285 Pages; $22.99

This is the second volume in the author’s Bible Character Series (we reviewed volume one in our January-February 2007 issue). It looked at 33 characters starting with Adam and closing with Ehud. This picks up with the next judge in Israel’s history, Barak, and goes through Jabez. They are written in the refreshing style readers of Phillips have become accustomed to: well-outlined, timely illustrated, and biblically evaluated.

As noted, this volume looks at 32 characters, including Gideon, Samson, Ruth, David, Abigail, Joab, Solomon and Abiathar. Phillips brings up a matter about David in his chapter regarding the king and Bathsheba that we had never heard before: that David became a leper because of his sin! He based his point on the psalms and after reading his proof-texts, we remain unconvinced. Some kind of illness as a result of chastening? Yes. Leprosy? No. (Spurgeon is not even sure he is talking about his own illness in some of the psalms. Others have suggested venereal diseases of some sort and they would be more logical, in our judgment.)

If you purchase this volume you will not regret it.

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SARAH’S LONG RIDE by Susan Page Davis; Journey Forth, A Division of BJU Press, Greenville, SC; 21 Chapters, 173 Pages; $7.99, Paper

FEATHER by Susan Page Davis; Journey Forth, A Division of BJU Press, Greenville, SC; 23 Chapters, 213 Pages; $7.99, Paper

Long Ride is an interesting story for kids aimed at the 9-12 age bracket, although the story is primarily about a 14-year-old girl who is heavy into horses (for kids that are into that – and those who aren’t). A book that starts sad should end happy and this one opens with the death of Sarah’s mother in an automobile accident (her dad had died 8 years earlier).

Her dad’s brother, Uncle Joe, a bachelor, offered to take her in and in short order she is moving from her friends, church and hobbies (horses and horse competition) in California to an entirely new environment. To add insult to injury, her uncle is as talkative as Silent Cal Coolidge and she is not sure whether he loves her or is merely forcing himself to do charity.

Even worse, she was active in horse competition in California and is not sure she will get to compete at all in her new situation. Kids will love the tale.

By the way, the author is either into this kind of horse competition or has really researched the subject. She has done a masterful job. We are glad to recommend it.

The other title by the same author, Feather, is for the same 9-12 age bracket and involves several different Indian tribes of the wild frontier. Two kids of the Woban tribe, Feather and her younger brother Karsh, are separated when the pair were out picking blackberries and the girl is captured by two braves of the Blens tribe and taken as a captive to live with them.

The story alternates between what is going on with Feather and than a chapter about what Karsh is doing. Both, of course, are dreaming of being reunited – but things don’t look good.

Frankly, perhaps I was tired when I picked this book up, but I didn’t think it was near the class of the first one. Along about the middle or slightly past, the pace picked up and it had a fairy story ending. (Which is good for kids!)

There is no way that this title could be called Christian fiction. There is no mention of any kind of God, Christ, the Bible, church, or anything of that nature. When books were found and tribal members tried to translate them (and eventually succeeded), we thought they might be copies of the Word of God. They weren’t.

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IN THE SHADOW OF GRACE: The Life and Meditations of G. Campbell Morgan, Compiled and Edited by Richard, Howard & John Morgan; Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI; 8 Chapters, 139 Pages; $12.99, Paper

G. Campbell Morgan has always had a ‘soft spot’ with evangelicals in spite of all his flaws: smoked 5 or 6 cigars a day and had to be ‘isolated’ when speaking at Bible conferences – when he spoke at Moody he was at first housed at one end of the boys’ dorm and finally the school refused to have him back because of the tobacco problem and his ‘bad testimony’ on students; taught that Judas Iscariot would be raised from the dead to become the antichrist; denied a literal fire in Hell, and even said no one would ever be separated from God forever who had not heard the gospel, contradicting Romans 1:18-30; taught that saints could fall from grace and lose their salvation; denied divine inspiration when he said it didn’t matter who wrote the first five books of the Bible; subscribed to theistic evolution; and refused to call himself a Fundamentalist, saying he “disliked” the term as much as he disliked the term “modernist.”

Yet Billy Graham said he “always considered [him] one of the greatest Bible expositors of his generation.” The editor of the liberal Christian Century, John Buchanan, joined the chorus, saying he was “one of the most important preachers of the last century.” And Preaching magazine listed him sixth in its list of the 10 top preachers of the 20th century, right behind civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., and ultra-radical modernist, Harry Emerson Fosdick. His most fruitful ministry was at the Westminster (Congregational) Pulpit in London where, believe it or not, he kept resigning and returning (he led the church three different times).

This book, however, unlike the others by him and about him, centers more on the comfort of Scripture in times of trouble, including his own “life crises and the faith that arose out of them.” The compilers of this work, all grandsons, selected comments about such times as being rejected by the Methodists for an ordination into their fellowship; thoughts given during such times as the sinking of the Titanic (the captain was a personal friend); World War II (he was a lifelong pacifist, believing “almost identical” what the Quakers believed); and the loss through death of an older sister (his only playmate) when he was eight and his darling daughter Gwennie, his eldest daughter, when she was under three. In fact, his comments about death are some of the best in the book. In the back you will find a list of the sermons from which quotes are taken, with the texts.

Morgan’s health was not the best and a chapter is given over to comments relating to it and the lessons he learned from those problems. Throughout the volume, interspersed with quotes from his messages, you will find helpful information detailing the occasions. If you have read, This Was His Faith, by Jill Morgan, as we have, you will find much duplication in this volume.

Of the grandson compilers, one is a preacher (Richard, a Presbyterian); one an ex-pastor, now a Quaker, college teacher and newspaper columnist (John); and one a businessman (Howard, former senior vice-president of Citibank). The latter is currently chairman of the board at the Chicago Theological Seminary, where the “Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite” serves as president and professor of theology! This lady preacher also wrote the Foreword for this volume and she notes therein that her school now has an annual preaching contest for the best preachers following Morgan’s style. She says, “Three of the four winners … have been African-American, two of them women.” In short, half of the winners have been women preachers, like the school president.

If you have been a great fan of Morgan, you’ll probably want this volume. Maybe you will anyway.

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MOMMY, TEACH ME! By Barbara Curtis; Broadman & Holman Publishing Group, Nashville, TN; 12 Chapters, 184 Pages; $12.99, Paper

The subtitle explains, Preparing Your Preschool Child for a Lifetime of Learning, and, as “Mommy” Curtis says, “In meeting the child’s needs to serve, the home has a distinct advantage over preschool.” Her idea is to build a better world, one child at a time. Some of the chapters are, “Releasing Your Teaching Ability: Five Strategies,” “Releasing Your Child’s Learning Ability: Five Potentials,” “Small Beginnings Exercises,” “Beginning Math,” “Science,” “Fine Arts,” and, “Spiritual Life.” Some black and white pictures are scattered throughout, illustrating the author’s points.

Is “Mommy” experienced? Well, in addition to eight books and over 700 articles about education and parenthood, she has a dozen children of her own! She is also an AMI certified Montessori teacher.

We are glad to recommend this helpful book for mothers. It has a host of good ideas.

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SLANDER by Ann Coulter; Three River Press, New York, NY; 9 Chapters, 327 Pages; $14.95, Paper

This is not the type of book we normally review, but since Mrs. Sumner gave me a copy for Father’s Day and I greatly enjoyed reading it, I thought I’d just mention it. Subtitled Liberal Lies About the American Right, Ann has one of the fastest and sharpest tongues in the media. If you are a liberal, you’ll throw the book away in disgust (liberals never could face reality). If you are a conservative, you find yourself saying, “Amen!” and “Preach it, Ann” over and over.

By the way, this book is not slander – she documents almost every statement in the book, something we found amazing – but about the slander the left daily heaps on the right.

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ON BEING A SERVANT OF GOD by Warren W. Wiersbe; Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI; 30 Essays, 143 Pages; $13.99, Paper

The author’s name inspires enthusiasm when it comes to books because the reading public knows there will be meat and value in every volume he writes. This particular book was originally published about a decade and a half ago by a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. This edition, we are told, has been revised and a Foreword by Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle added.

The back cover describes these essays as “armchair chats.” We would portray them as something like editorials for The Broadcaster when he was with the Back to the Bible Broadcast. They are typical Wiersbe, clear-cut, pointed, and with solid applications. My favorite was his chat for senior citizens – probably because “I are one” – and his story about the 94-year-old youngster in his church who was hoping to make it to 100.

Some of these chats are little more than a “howdy,” but some are a sit-a-spell length. All honor Christ. Wiersbe is well read and it shows.

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A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY by D. A. Carson; Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI; 8 Chapters, 192 Pages; $14.99, Paper

We reviewed favorably a similar title by Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry (Leadership Lessons from I Corinthians, looking at five passages in that epistle) in our July-August 2005 issue. This one is subtitled An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13 and was originally released by the same publisher in 1984 under the title, From Triumphalism to Maturity. He states at the offset that it is “not a technical commentary” and that is good, since most of our readers are not interested in such. His text is the NIV.

Carson says he is focusing on these four chapters because he is convinced they “most clearly reveal the heart and mind of the apostle Paul.” He is certainly correct that one of the passages he expounds, 11:16-33, reveals more about Paul’s sufferings than are even intimated in Luke’s accounts of his missionary journeys in the Book of Acts.

The other passages he examines are 10:1-6 (an appeal for obedient faith), 10:7-18 (how not to boast in the Lord – the ugliness of spiritual one-upmanship), 11:1-15 (overturning false criteria, dealing with false apostles); 12:1-10 (boasting in weakness), 12:11-21 (open rebuke); and 13:1-14 (aiming for maturity). In these, of course, are the accounts of being caught up into the third heaven and Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

Preachers and teachers alike will find much profitable material herein.