Book Review: Anne Bradstreet by D. B. Kellogg

Title: Anne Bradstreet
Author: D. B. Kellogg
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2010)

The colonization of America in the 17th century was a fascinating time period. The circumstances that drove men and women to travel for weeks to forge a new life for themselves in what would become the United States are beyond what most of us can fathom. And the story is often told as acts of relentless heroism and bravery in the face of uncertainty.

Except when it comes to the Puritans. The Salem witch trials and an inflexible attitude & work ethic are, sadly, what the bulk of us think of when we consider the Puritans who founded much of New England.

And because of this, it’s easy to overlook figures like Anne Bradstreet, a devoted Puritan, wife, mother and… poet. Published as part of Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounters series, Anne Bradstreet by D. B. Kellogg offers readers a taste of the life of this extremely unusual figure.

And unusual she was. [Read more…]

Book Review: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas


Title: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Author: Eric Metaxas
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

World War II is unquestionably one of the most devastating events in human history.  Like perhaps no other, it is a testimony to the evil of which man is capable.

Hitler’s extraordinary rise to power and his reign led to Germany’s rising out of the shame of their defeat in the First World War, followed quickly by the nation’s devastation as its desperate people bought into the promises of their false messiah. Along the way, tens of millions of men, women and children were brutally murdered.

And, seemingly, no one could stop them.

But not all of Germany’s people were deceived. Some stood against the Nazis.

Among them was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and author whose works, including The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together, are still widely read today.

Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is the first major biography on this important figure in forty years. Relying on past biographies, interviews and letters from Bonhoeffer written over the course of his life, Metaxas paints a captivating picture of this twentieth century martyr. [Read more…]

Vintage Saints – Fanny Crosby

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American hymn writer Fanny Crosby was born on March 24, 1820, to John and Mercy Crosby. At six weeks old, she caught a cold and developed inflammation of the eyes. A botched procedure to treat the inflammation left her blind. A life-long Methodist, Crosby is reputed to have written some 8000 hymns, many of which are mainstays of today’s American hymnals.

Recommended reading:

Fanny J. Crosby: An Autobiography
by Fanny J. Crosby

From the publisher:

Frances Jane Crosby (1820-1915), usually known as Fanny Crosby, was an American lyricist best known for her Protestant Christian hymns. She was one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing over 8,000 hymns, despite being blind from shortly after birth. Also known for her preaching and speaking, during her lifetime Fanny Crosby was one of the best known women in the United States.

To this day the vast majority of American hymnals contain her work. Some of her best known songs include “Blessed Assurance,” “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” and “To God Be the Glory.” Since some publishers were hesitant to have so many hymns by one person in their hymnals, Crosby used nearly 100 different pseudonyms during her career. [Read more…]

Book Review: Once An Arafat Man by Tass Saada

Title: Once an Arafat Man
Authors: Tass Saada with Dean Merrill
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Tass Saada was born in Gaza City in 1951. He was born in a tent. His family one of the many groups of refugees moved out of Palestine.

Moving from Palestine to Saudi Arabia and eventually to Jordan, Saada grew to be a young man characterized by rage. He found a channel for it: He joined the PLO and was trained as a sniper.

He became a murderer. And he trained others—including children—to be the same.

Eventually, Saada left the PLO and came to America. He married, had a family, a successful career… but his life was a wreck. He was a terrible husband, a worse father. While he didn’t actively practice the Muslim faith of his youth, he still identified with it.

Then, his friend Charlie told him about Jesus, and his life was changed forever.

Grace Abounding

Saada’s story as told in Once an Arafat Man, is powerful. He’s very transparent about his past, how he relished in the death and destruction he caused, his selfish motives for marrying his wife, Karen, and his unfaithfulness to her… Saada makes it very plain that he was a very bad man. He’s not a man deserving of God’s grace, and he knows it. That, in large part, is what makes his story so powerful. God had no need to save Saada, yet He did. The same is true for you, if you’re a Christian, and me.

A Dangerous Decision

Converting from Islam to Christianity is a dangerous thing, far more dangerous than I think most of us would realize. To do so brings dishonor to the family, a crime punishable by death. [Read more…]

Around the Interweb (12/20)

The Many Ways of Destroying the Church

The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful.  Raw factionalism will do it.  Rank heresy will do it.  Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it–admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul.  Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it.  Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God.  Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism–all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church.  And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 83-84.

HT: Timmy Brister


In other news

5 things the Church can learn from the fall of Myspace

Tim Keller on dealing with harsh criticism

Russell Moore—Avatar: Rambo in Reverse

An update on Pastor Matt Chandler’s condition


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Alexander Strauch’s Leading with Love 

Vintage Jesus is Vintage Driscoll—a review of the Vintage Jesus DVD Curriculum

This is War (a Christmas Carol from Dustin Kensrue)

A biographical sketch of Charles Wesley

Vintage Saints: Charles Wesley

On December 18, 1707, Charles Wesley was born–the 18th of Samuel and Susanna Wesley’s 19 children. His brother John was the 15th. 

Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, where his father was rector. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, and formed the “Oxford Methodist” group among his fellow students in 1727. John joined in 1729 and soon became its leader, moulding it to his own notions.

Charles lived and worked in the area around St Marylebone Parish Church. Just before his death, he sent for its rector John Harley and told him “Sir, whatever the world may say of me, I have lived, and I die, a member of the Church of England. I pray you to bury me in your churchyard.” On his death, his body was carried to the church by eight clergymen of the Church of England, and a memorial stone to him stands in the gardens in Marylebone High Street, close to his burial spot. One of his sons, Samuel, became organist of the church

During his lifetime, Charles would author of some 6,000 hymns. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Jesus, Lover of My Soul and And Can It Be That I Should Gain? are among of the most famous of his works.

Mars Hill provides a nice overview:

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More about “Mars Hill Church | The Rebels Guide t…“, posted with vodpod

Justin Taylor also points to an essay by Bernard Manning providing a good analysis of the quality and value of Wesley’s hymnody. 

HT: JT