Archive for Book Reviews

Dec
15

Ending the War on Drugs

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Review of Dean Becker, To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press, and the Public (DTN Media, 2014), iv + 337 pgs., paperback.

It was a hundred years ago this month that Congress enacted the Harrison Narcotics Act to make the importation, manufacturing, sale, and distribution of cocaine and opiates illegal without being registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, recording each transaction, and paying an annual tax and licensing fee. This was the federal government’s first major salvo in the war on drugs.

Dean Becker has just launched his own salvo, but in the opposite direction. He is a man on a mission—a mission to end the drug war. His new book, To End the War on Drugs, will tell you why Bush drug czar John Walters refused not only to consent to an interview, but to even talk to the author.

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Jacques-Ellul-If-You-Are-The-Son-Of-GodLooking for a great read to give that libertarian in your life this Christmas? Want to delve deep into something interesting over your Christmas vacation? Every year, I make it a point to highlight the best (in my opinion) recent and classic books about Christianity or libertarianism, and some books that address both at the same time.  This year’s list really focuses on theology even more than liberty, but I can guarantee you will find great some great books for just about anyone here. And of course, you can find much more in LCC’s many other book lists, or in our little bookstore. Let the reading commence!

1. If You Are the Son of God by Jacques Ellul – If I were to recommend that you read one book this Christmas season, make it Ellul. This little 100-page book is immensely challenging on multiple levels. It will, of course, make you think deeply about your own theology (even if you disagree with some of it), but it will also reveal the corrupting influence of power within the world around us. I am personally giving this book to multiple friends and family this Christmas. Check out my review here.

2. For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty, edited by Anne Bradley and Art Lindsey – The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics has released this edited volume as a response to the terrible policies promoted by some Christians that supposedly help the poor. Using sound economics and good theology, they make it clear that it is capitalism and voluntary charity, not government and force, that lifts the plight of the poor and promotes human flourishing. You will definitely see a review of this book on LCC in early 2015. Read More→

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Review of Malcolm D. Magee, What the World Should Be: Woodrow Wilson and the Crafting of a Faith-Based Foreign Policy (Baylor University Press, 2008), x + 189 pgs., hardcover.

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Although I purchased this book soon after it was published, other commitments compelled me to add it to my mountainous stack of books “to be read.” Since this year is the one hundredth anniversary of World War I, and I have already reviewed two books on World War I (Jack Beatty’s The Lost History of 1914 and Philip Jenkins’ The Great and Holy War), I figured that if I was ever going to read What the World Should Be, I might as well read it this year.

George W. Bush was not the first president to have a “faith-based” foreign policy. Most people know that Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was the U.S. president from 1913 to 1921. Some perhaps know that he was the governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. But few probably know that he was the son of a Presbyterian minister, president of Princeton University—then a Presbyterian institution that had always been headed by clergymen until Wilson—from 1902 to 1910, and had a faith-based policy of his own.

But like the faith-based foreign policy of Bush, Wilson’s was shaped by a defective faith.

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This is a video review of the book "If You Are the Son of God" by Jacques Ellul, French theologian and professor of law. (Published by Wipf and Stock.)

Ellul’s purpose in this short volume is to reflect upon the sufferings and temptations of Jesus. If we are to take the incarnation of God in Christ seriously, we must accept that Jesus was deeply and constantly tempted, and that he suffered in all the same ways that we do.

You can buy the book on Amazon here. You can support LCC by making an Amazon purchase through any LCC link to Amazon; we very much appreciate it!

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Sep
09

The Bible Tells Me So

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ForTheBibleTellsMeSoI will never forget my Bible college professor’s comment a month before I graduated: “Don’t forget: reading the Bible can really ruin your theology.” He intended to remind me that our theology is subservient to the Bible, not the other way around.

Christians have been doing theology ever since there have been Christians. Some traditions have well-established theological “houses” that are untouchable, such that even mild efforts to “freshen the paint” or “reorder the furniture” are met with resistance and disdain from loyal adherents. Other traditions make efforts to freshen their home a bit every generation or so. Individual Christians often talk about being on a journey where God is doing the remodeling of their heart, so old beliefs are replaced with new ones with more solid material.

I grew up in a tradition where defending the Bible was a major element to reading it. To be sure, personal devotional time and reflection upon the meaning of Scripture for my life was highly encouraged. But there were few sermons in my church where the reliability and authority of the Bible were not mentioned. It was not enough to read and study the Bible for ourselves. We had to be sure we knew how to defend it against antagonistic scholars, science teachers, or our unbelieving friends. Sunday school classes taught us how “real science” conforms to a literalist reading of the Bible or how archeologists are godless scholars undermining God’s Word. Read More→

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