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Speaking of Jesus

by

This is a tough book to review because there are many things to commend but there are also some serious problems. I was agreeing with much of what he said until I got to the chapter on Paul. I think that he seriously misunderstands Paul, probably because of his background of seeing Paul's letters as theological treatises focused on propitiation and other $10 words. I think that if he reread Paul's letter in light of Jesus he would better served to see that Paul indeed focuses on Jesus. Speaking of focusing on Jesus - for all of Medearis' insistence that we focus on Jesus there is precious little examination of the actual gospel text in this book. He provides copious illustrations from his own experience but seldom examines the biblical text with regard to how Jesus dealt with situations. I think that if he did it might allay some of the fears of those who don't see past his tossing Paul and words such as Christian, church, etc.
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Seaside Numbers

by

A fun little book for teaching young children to count. The illustrations are fun and the elephant family will draw your child's attention.
Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

by

I've given this book one star because it doesn't even attempt to prove its subtitle. First, the majority of the material referred to was never considered part of the Bible and mostly comes from centuries later. Second, there isn't even any mention that the authors claimed to be writing in the name of God - even in the case of the New Testament writings that he rejects the authors don't claim divine authority in the sense of an Old Testament prophet. Third, if the Bible's authors aren't who we think they are, is that their fault or ours? The gospels never claim to have been written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John so they certainly can't be forged. Given the title one would expect Ehrman to engage in interaction with other scholars showing why Peter didn't write 'his' letters, etc. However, he just refers to the general consensus of 'critical scholars' who presumably are those he is in agreement with. I guess those who accept Peter's authorship would be too conservative and those who reject Paul's authorship of Galatians, i.e. reject more than Ehrman, would be considered hypercritical.
Overall I also found the book poorly structured. The material is arranged categorically by reputed author. So Peter's biblical epistles are in the same chapter with gnostic documents from centuries later, etc. This really confuses the issue and combines material written across hundreds of years for very different purposes.
The purpose of this book would seem to be cast aspersion on the New Testament by demonstrating that its authors knowingly 'forged'='lied' by using someone else's name in order to convince others that their view of the Truth was the right one. I think a better title for this book would be "Forged: Writing in the Name of an Apostle - Why It is Always Wrong to Use Someone's Name, Even if We Think It's for a Good Cause."
Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe

by and

This book presents the universe as worshipping its Creator. Each chapter is accompanied by pictures from outer space and contains details meant to wow you with the size and magnitude of the universe. Although this will not convert anyone who is already convinced that the universe is a product of natural causes it will cause the Christian to ponder the scope of creation and our place in it.
What Do You Do with a Chocolate Jesus?

by

Quinn has some prophetic things to say as he rightly notes that Christianity hasn't historically lived up to the teaching of Jesus and the early Church. However, as a strident atheist he wants to throw the baby out with the bath water and reject the role the Bible has played in forming modern society. Throughout the book it is clear that he believes in free speech as long as your free speech doesn't disagree with his truth. He rejects ecclesiastical authority but sets himself up as an expert on the history of ecclesiastical affairs - able to see the atheistic truth from his god's eye view. Quinn gets a A for seeing the speck in the eye of Christianity but a C- for not considering the log in his own eye and failing to provide a more balanced history.
A Quick Introduction to the New Testament: A Zondervan Digital Short

by , , and

This book is pretty good for what it is - an introduction to the interpretation of the New Testament but the title is rather misleading because it is not A Quick Introduction to the New Testament but merely the information about (the history of) interpretation of the New Testament lifted from their larger introduction to the New Testament.
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