Tag archives: Book Review

Yawning at Tigers

by Family Research Council

October 27, 2014

Have American Christians tamed God? Has the awesome God of the Bible been reduced to fit our limited human understanding? Drew Dyck’s insightful book Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God So Stop Trying answers these questions. The God of the Bible is one who is to be feared and reverenced. Dyck points out human responses to encounters with God in Scripture. Responses included prostration, awe, speechlessness, death, and intense emotions. He is holy. He is mighty. When He is encountered men are moved.

Dyck notes that in many of our most prominent churches God has been relegated to something we as humans can grasp. It is true that God has revealed Himself in ways we can understand, especially in the Incarnation of Jesus, but it is a limited revealing. To see the full unveiled glory of God is too much even for the Seraphim who cry “holy, holy, holy” before God, yet cover their faces with wings. Moses could only look fleetingly on part the glory of God. God is dangerous, He is not like us. Preaching a message of love and mercy while ignoring the wrath and power of God is to diminish the God of the Bible to a god of our own making. Yet this diminishing does not reduce Him it merely leaves us with a false god.

Like His holiness and wrath, God’s love can’t be minimized to fit with human understanding of justice. God is the ultimate lover and redeemer of the souls of mankind. His love reaches us in ways we can’t completely comprehend. God loved us while we were sinners. This profound concept is something that deserves our attention and awe.

Yawning at Tigers presents a God that is separate from His creation yet immanent. A God that is full of wrath yet abundant in mercy. These things are not mutually exclusive; they are a reflection of Truth that is more perfect that we can imagine this side of heaven. We must never stop preaching a God that is holy enough to turn His back on His own Son and loving enough to send Him to die for us. Dangerous. Wonderful. Separate. Immanent. this is the God Christians must never fail to preach in all of His awesome splendor.

Understanding the GLBT Political Agenda And What You Can Do About It

by Peter Sprigg

January 4, 2012

Book review: A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip Its Been, by Michael L. Brown

Note: Dr. Brown will be giving a policy lecture about his book at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC on Thursday, January 5, 2012. For more information and to register, click here.

Reviewed by Caleb H. Price

In the span of a few short years, American culture has undergone a breath-taking shift in attitudes about homosexuality and transgenderism. Behaviors that were recently viewed by most to be unseemly, if not immoral, are now embraced. What was good is now evil. What was evil is now good.

And while homosexual and transgender activists insist that there is no agenda in play, a closer look shows that this 180-degree turn was no accident.

In his latest book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, Dr. Michael L. Brown documents this cultural sea-change. Here, he takes the reader on an eye-popping account of the strange and bewildering trajectory that gay activists have charted for America.

And he persuasively argues that the trip were on will result in the catastrophic deconstruction of the most basic building blocks of human society biological sex, marriage and family.

The topics covered in this comprehensive work are timely and helpful for understanding the GLBT political agenda. Brown fearlessly engages political correctness on these issues and winsomely encourages concerned citizens to step up the plate and take action before its too late.

Specifically, Brown details how our schools and universities have been strategically targeted by GLBT activists to bring about their revolution in the span of two short generations. Terms like tolerance and diversity now almost exclusively refer to sexual orientation and gender identity. And intellectually honest debate on these issues has been completely stifled in the academic and mental health professions.

In this context, Brown offers a strong rebuttal to the born gay myth and the largely unquestioned view among cultural elites that sexual orientation and gender identity are equivalent to race. And he points out the undeniable and disturbing parallels of this equation to issues like polyamory and pedophilia.

Significantly, A Queer Thing offers an indictment of the one-sided embrace of the GLBT political agenda by media and corporate elites and the mean-spirited attack on those who hold to traditional values on these issues. Here, Brown treats the semantic issues well and shows how GLBT activists have masterfully reframed terms to advance their agenda.

Similarly, Brown provides a helpful understanding of and rebuttal to of the GLBT revisionist theology that has taken root in both the church and secular arenas. Given that Christians are called to offer a winsome answer for their convictions, this section is very helpful in equipping those who feel inept discussing these difficult issues.

At its core, A Queer Thing details the totalitarian nature of the GLBT rights movement. The inevitable conflict between religious liberty and sexual freedom is chillingly presented. Here, those who disagree with Brown will be particularly challenged.

Winsome and witty, well reasoned and meticulously researched, Michael Brown raises the bar with A Queer Thing and calls citizens to take action to turn the tide of the GLBT agenda at the local level. Theres even an accompanying website offering detailed action steps for citizen involvement (www.aqueerthing.com).

Carpooling with George Washington

by Robert Morrison

August 26, 2011

Commuting to Washington, D.C. can be nerve-wracking on the best of days. But when the hour-long commute drags on for more than two hoursas it did this week on the day of our earthquakeit might be especially trying. Motorists are not happy campers when traffic approaches gridlock downtown in the Capitol.

I go slightly out of my way, however, to drive daily down Pennsylvania Avenue. I count it a privilege to pass by the stately Capitol dome with its Statue of Freedom standing proudly on top. The Capitol was planned by George Washington. Hard to believe now, but there were no great domed buildings in America when His Excellency opted for a Roman architectural style. His favorite play was Cato, an English tragedy about a great Roman champion of republican virtue.

As trying as the drive on earthquake Tuesday might have been, the way was eased by my carpooling with George Washington. Ive been listening to Ron Chernows Pulitzer Prize-winning book-on-disk, George Washington: A Life. Its a wonderful book and the latest of some seven hundred Ive been able to read during fifteen years of commuting.

Chernows Washington is a full-blooded figure. He has faults, to be sure, but his virtues shine forth. Chernow describes Washingtons incredible bravery. Young Col. Washington dashes into the teeth of battle during the French & Indian War. He even rushes into a hail of bullets, slashing with his sword against the muskets of British regulars to keep them from shooting their allies, the heroic Virginia militiamen.

Washington studiously avoids all boasting of his military exploits, but in a private letter to his brother Jackie, he notes that he had two horses shot out from under him on the Pennsylvania frontier and four bullet holes in his coat following the 1755 battle that left nearly 700 British and Virginia militiamen dead. It was the worst defeat British arms had suffered in the history of North America. Washington organized the retreat after the death of Gen. Edward Braddock. He even ordered his wagons to drive over Braddocks grave so that Indians would not find it and desecrate the body.

Ron Chernow follows Washingtons life where the evidence leads. We wince when we read that the young Washington sold recalcitrant slaves for shipment to the West Indies. Thats where the expression sold down the river comes from. And its terrible to read that he hanged two deserters from his Virginia militia company. Washington was a stern taskmaster. He expected to be obeyed. But everyone respected him for his justice and growing humanity.

Chernow gives us Washingtons religious views. You would not find him leading prayers, as Gov. Rick Perry recently did. But neither would he spurn public expressions of fidelity and duty to God.

Chernow writes:

However ecumenical in his approach to religion, Washington never doubted its signal importance in a republic, regarding it as the basis of morality and the foundation of any well-ordered polity…For Washington, morality was so central to Christianitys message that no man who is profligate in his morals or a bad member of the civil community can possibly be a true Christian.

If Washingtons constant suspicion that he is being cheated is a character flaw, it is mightily tempered by seeing what Washington did with his vast wealth.

George and Martha Washington never turned away beggars at their doorstep. Let no one go away hungry…provided it does not encourage them in idleness.

Who would have thought George Washington was the original compassionate conservative? FRC has been highlighting Real Compassion on our website to show how

Christians can make a difference in their own communities. The German poet Goethe, a Washington contemporary, once said that if each one sweeps his own doorstep, the world would be clean.

Washington spent countless hours as a Vestryman for Christ Church, in Alexandria, and for Truro parish in Fairfax. In those times, the Vestry was the committee of Christian laymen who looked after widows and orphans, who helped the indigent get back on their feet. But they were expected to get back on their feet. It was no charity to keep them dependent and subordinate.

During the great welfare reform fight in Washington of 1994-1996, former radical Adam Walinsky came to FRC. This ex-speechwriter for Robert Kennedy said he didnt agree with most of our social agenda, but he did agree with us on welfare reform. If you dont think welfare harms the morals of a family, just consider the English royal family.

Thats a stunner. George Washington considered the English royal family, too. He found it increasingly difficult to pledge his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to the English royals who governed so foolishly and were so careless of their American colonists rights and liberties.

Washington chafed at British royal red tape. He hated the Proclamation of 1763 that declared the Trans-Appalachian West off limits to colonial expansion. King George III had not risked his regal neck fighting on that frontier. Who was he to bar settlement of it?

Washington also denounced British mercantile regulations. In his efforts to reduce his dependence on slave labor, Washington began growing wheat at Mount Vernon and marketing fish. He created a small fishing fleet on the Potomac. The best salt for preserving fish came from Lisbon, Portugal, but British regulations forced him to buy inferior salt from Liverpool.

Ill join with my conservative friends in denouncing federal intrusions and usurpations. We dont need, for example, a wasteful and unconstitutional federal education department. But youll never see me denouncing Washington. I have too much reverence for our Founding Father for that.

Ron Chernows book is 903 pages long. The audio version is 33 discs long. I expect to be carpooling with George Washington for weeks to come. Im honored to be in his company

Book Review: Surprised by Oxford

by Mark Trammell

August 12, 2011

Adrian Rogers, longtime pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, once said, I wouldnt trust the best fifteen minutes I ever lived to get me into heaven. This simple statement has such a profound truth: our hope is in Christ Jesus. This is a truth that Carolyn Weber, in her exquisitely written memoir, Surprised by Oxford, comes to realize.

Ms. Weber, a native of Ontario, Canada, grew up in a community where the name of Jesus is not included in everyday conversation. Growing up in spiritual darkness, she found herself not only opposed to evangelical Christian beliefs, but categorically annoyed by them. Surprised by Oxford, details her first year of graduate work at Oxford University, a place where she did not expect to find faith in God, but nonetheless, in the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17, became a new creation in Christ.

Surprised by Oxford is captivating, mentally stimulating, and spiritually energizing. Intertwined with thought-provoking quotations from poetry and Romantic literature, Ms. Weber refreshingly exhibits a level of honesty and vulnerability that all readers can appreciate. Evidenced by the boldness of the classmate she affectionately refers to as TDH (tall, dark, and handsome) to share the gospel, Ms. Webers conversion to Christianity is a testament of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit: pointing people to Salvation in Christ Jesus. She allows readers to peer into her thought process, her rational questioning of the existence of God, and her search for truth in a way that can only be rivaled by the great C.S. Lewis.

Carolyn Webers memoir is different from others of its kind. What makes her memoir special is her attention to her post-conversion experience. Sophomorically, many new Christians expect post-conversion life to be nothing but roses and bonbons. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the words of John 15:18-20:

18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

Ms. Webers stories are relatable, a quality that enriches the overall quality of her memoir. Her struggles are real. Her relationships with family and friends changed dramatically. She faced persecution in the field of academia, a field that generally associates faith with ignorance. Her ability to overcome these hurdles and literally stand firm for absolute truth, when confronted by old friends and professors shoveling moral relativism, is an encouragement to all believers. The trials she faced, in her relationships and in academia, are not specific to her, but rather a telling reality that, in some respect, all Christians will face.

As I aimed to become a teacher, God made me a student. This quote from Surprised by Oxford is a beautiful summation of the entire text. Its splendor is not derived from any brilliance in diction or syntax; rather it derives from a honest illustration of the sovereignty of God. Surprised by Oxford is the celebration of the grace of God, grace that is available to all those who will accept it. I consider Carolyn Webers memoir a treasure, and recommend it to believers and skeptics alike. Through this beautifully written memoir, it is obvious that Carolyn Weber is an extraordinarily talented storyteller. I am confident that Surprised by Oxford will enrich the lives of readers in generations to come.

Mark Trammell is a Policy Intern at the Family Research Council, and is a 3L at Liberty University School of Law.

Race and Liberty in America, Jonathan Bean

by Kyle Forti

February 7, 2011

Jonathan Beans Race and Liberty in America addresses the role race has played in the history of the United States. It develops the conjunction of race and ideas of liberty by compiling a diverse survey of pieces from Americas earliest days to the present. Bean takes advantage of the perch that the year 2011 offers and allows history to speak for itself as these issues were (and most currently are) queried. As a result, this is a book likely to appeal to a wide audience as has already been evidenced by the praise it has received from critics on both sides of the isle.

From page one, Bean leaves very little doubt that Race and Liberty in America is not a partisan book, nor one advocating a conservative or liberal ideology. Rather, his thesis and emphasis is to track the classical liberal tradition and its response to slavery and other race issues by offering an excerpt from each period in American history. To do this, Bean fills each chapter by citing journalists and authors, pastors and activists, political leaders and businessman. He scopes-out the structure of the early anti-slavery movement, on into the Republican Era, through color consciousness, the Roosevelt years, and classical liberalisms involvement in the Civil Rights Era.

As Bean prefaces most of these historical markers, he weaves in the definitive ways in which the American idea of liberty so affected the outcome of racial tensions in every season of note. The last part of the book takes the observations of the past and then turns to the role race and liberty will, in coming years, follow in the United States.

Ultimately Race and Liberty in America provides insight into what was central to the progress made by the classical liberal tradition and its critique of slavery and race in recent history. Bean effectively ties together the chronological flow of history and parallel flow of ideas that went along with it. It is because of this approach that Bean is able to thoroughly identify and investigate those concepts that played the most significant role in streamlining race and liberty in America: individual freedom, Christianity and Judaism, the Constitution, colorblindness, and capitalism.

Bean seeks to move beyond placing trust in political parties for the answers to the questions that yet remain, but rather encouraging citizens to once again seek out the basic questions for themselves: What is race? Why should government define race as it chooses? Why are immigrants available for other benefits not with other citizens? Why is government involved in the race business at all?

Bean poses these challenging questions as well as sobering, provocative statements: If race is a fiction, then it is a fiction worth disposing of because it has done far more harm than good. Race and Liberty in America maintains distance from the distractions of todays political debate by providing a comprehensive framework on the issues of race and American liberty in which to properly gain knowledge and move forward.

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