The Tragedy of Dumbing Down Christianity

This article is reprinted in it’s entirety with the permission of the Author – Ethan Renoe

The other day I was in a coffee shop in the mountains, seated near the counter. A guy in his early 20s walked in wearing a TOOL shirt and a long ponytail. I could overhear his conversation as he approached the barista and they began chatting. Somehow it came up that she attends a Christian university and he clearly didn’t approve.

“Do they incorporate religion into all the classes there?” he asked. “Even the science classes? How does that work?”

She valiantly began explaining how they pray before every class and teach from a Christian worldview, but it soon became evident that she was being crushed in this conversation. He was well-schooled in the writings of Dawkins, Hitchens and Nye, and began doling out the punishment.

I use the word punishment because this poor barista has herself been punished by a church system which, for the past 200 years, has begun discarding intelligence in favor of emotion, conversion experiences and passion. Ask most American Christians today any question deeper than “Does God love everyone?” and you’re bound to get some sort of response suggesting that that sort of discourse should be reserved for theological universities.

The other day, a friend of mine said he sees no merit in understanding Calvinism or Arminianism because he just wants to love God and love people. And it seems that the ball stops there for most Christians today. No need to know any more than that.

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Answering the Toughest Questions About God and the Bible

Answering the Toughest Questions about God and the BibleAnswering the Toughest Questions about God and the Bible by Bruce Bickel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When it comes to the big questions about God, Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz don’t pretend to have all the answers. But they do know how to wrestle with doubt. They welcome questions, and in these pages they ask some of the most important ones you have about God and the Bible.

With candor, insight, and a disarming touch of humor, Bruce and Stan provide some answers to these critical questions, yet they leave enough space–and grace–for you to keep wrestling, asking, and seeking truth. Continue reading

When Mountains Won’t Move

When Mountains Won't Move: How to Survive a Struggling FaithWhen Mountains Won’t Move: How to Survive a Struggling Faith by Jacob Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Standing in the midst of majesty and might, Jesus said that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can look at the mountains in the distance, tell them to move, and they will (Matthew 17:20). But what happens when our faith is smaller than the smallest of all seeds? What happens when the mountains won’t move? The purpose of this book is to equip and exhort Christians to survive the most difficult days of life, so that the mountains which won’t move will move before them.”

When Mountains Won’t Move; How to Survive a Struggling Faith by Jacob Hawk is not a big book both in size and number of pages, but it certainly is big on wisdom. Death of a child, loss of a job, foreclosure of the house, your spouse is walking out, the bills can’t be paid, a serious illness is diagnosed… those are the mountains that show up in the lives of believers and non-believers alike with more regularity than we want. They are mountains that seem impossible for us to move under our own strength. Continue reading

Understanding the End Times

The Holy Land Key: Unlocking End-Times Prophecy Through the Lives of God's People in IsraelThe Holy Land Key: Unlocking End-Times Prophecy Through the Lives of God’s People in Israel by Ray Bentley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Don’t Just Read Prophecy. Step into Its Fulfillment. The study of prophecy inspires elaborate timelines and speculation about which world leader might rise to power in the last days. But meanwhile, it’s far too easy to miss the significant prophetic signs contained in stories of biblical characters, in God’s creation, and in the lives and actions of today’s Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Holy Land Key: Unlocking End-Times Prophecy Through the Lives of God’s People in Israel by Ray Bentley is quite an interesting book. Right from the beginning it is filled with intriguing personal stories about key players in present-day Israel. With all that is going in Israel daily, it is through these personal accounts, we get a glimpse of Israel – then and now. Continue reading

If God is Good, then

If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and EvilIf God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God–Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.” Continue reading

The Derision of Heaven

The Derision of HeavenThe Derision of Heaven by Michael Whitworth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Every day it seems the world becomes increasingly hostile to Christianity. Values are being scuttled, faith is scorned, and God’s people are being marginalized. These difficult times pose two questions to Christians. How can we be the “light of the word” in such abject darkness? And how can God still be in control of all things?”
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Confident Faith – A Review

Confident Faith: Building a Firm Foundation for Your BeliefsConfident Faith: Building a Firm Foundation for Your Beliefs by Mark Mittelberg

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Confident Faith – Building A Firm Foundation For Your Beliefs
by Mark Mittelberg
Tyndale House Publishers

“Are you confident in your beliefs? Don’t let doubts or objections intimidate you. Bestselling author Mark Mittelberg will show ho you can enjoy a solid and robust faith that you can share with your skeptical friends or questions family members. There is a firm foundation for your beliefs with:

~ A fun Faith Path Questionnaire
~ The Twenty Arrows of Truth
~ The Ten Barriers to Belief
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Examine Your Faith! A Book Review

Examine Your Faith!: Finding Truth in a World of LiesExamine Your Faith!: Finding Truth in a World of Lies by Pamela Christian

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“If your faith were put to a test – if you encountered a faith challenging crisis today –would your faith sustain you?

“Are you confident about what you belive and why you believe it?

“If you are not sure that your faith is based on a solid foundation, then by all means, you should examine your faith.”

In her book, “Examine Your Faith – Finding Truth In A World Of Lies”, Ms. Christian answers these questions in her own life by bringing together a careful and consise commentary of the leading world faith – Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, humanism (including New Age), Islam, and Christianity, adding personal testimonies of people who practiced them. She provides the reader with a definition of sound faith and explores how truth is determinded and looks at evil and how the various faiths deal with it, in comparision to Christianity. The book ends with a case for Christ, where she encourages the reader to conclude with her that the Christian faith provides the best possible explanation for our world, the existence of God, the reality of pain and suffereing and the conclusion of evil (pg 194).

As readers we are priviledged to walk with Ms. Christian on her journey to examine what she believed and why she believed it as she was forced to examine her beliefs in order to find peace and have any hope at all.

While this book is not a “lite” read, it is both enlightening and educational in regards to the definitions, truths and falsehoods, and discussions of the basic tenents of the other world faiths descibed in this book ending with the discussion on Christianity. The book concludes with a case for Christ and Christianity as the only true faith… with no competitors.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

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