Category Archives: Book Reviews

Parenting according to the Gospel…A Book Review

Simply put, this book is a must read for any parent serious about raising their children according to the Bible. From the moment I first opened the book until I wrote this review, I found myself challenged with how I parent my children.

This is an area that I constantly struggle with and this book has been a great encouragement for me to read. The author does not write from the perspective of having been the perfect parent in that he shares some of his own struggles and what he learned from them. Every chapter begins with a story or a couple stories of a parenting situations every parent has experienced or has seen fleshed out in public areas that leave us shaking our heads. The unfortunate part of the stories he shares, is they are too often all too familiar to me as having done it myself.

But the author does not leave us to wallow around in self-pity knowing how far we have fallen from our big pre-parent aspirations, but encourages you to move forward with the principles he shares and how they can, as the front cover of the book says, “radically change your family.” And this is the best part of the book, it is gospel centered. This is not a feel good book about parenting and how you can do it all on your own and all you need to do is pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of book. It is a book that causes you to fall at the foot of the cross, admitting you cannot do it on your own and asking God to help you do it. This is not the approach most American parents want to accept but it is necessary for us to raise children in a God-honoring and gospel-centered way. If our goal as a Christian parent is not to raise children who love God, then what is our goal? What are we hoping to accomplish? If we do not have a goal in our parenting, then how can we know whether we are parenting the right way or not? The last things we as Christians should do is just go about our parenting ways with no ultimate end in mind besides helping them be successful adults. Our goal should be to raise children who fear and honor God with their lives and follow Him as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. If that is your goal, or if that is what you deeply long for your goal as a parent to be, then this book will give you direction and guidance in how to make that happen.

One quote from the book that truly stands out is this one Crossway also posted on their Instagram account:

“The goal of parenting is not control of behavior, but rather heart and life change.”

As a parent, this is a hard pill to swallow. I want to be able to parent in such a way and through what I say get my children to accept what I say and do what I say. But the issue with that is I do not have the power to get any child to change on my own. Only God has the ability to bring about heart change and eventually life change. And this makes it tough on us because it means no amount of yelling or threatening or anything else will bring about the change we hope or desire in our kids, only God’s grace can bring about that change. This book points us to remember that each and every day in each and every parenting situation that arises.

All that said, this is a book I would purchase for every parent in my church if I could. It is a book I would highly encourage and recommend for any parent, soon to be parent or married couple who aspires to have children in the future.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting / Flyby Promotions for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.

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H3 Leadership – A Review

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Brad Lomenick follows up his previous leadership book, The Catalyst Leader, with another leadership book sure to turn gold. As I read H3 Leadership, I felt as though I was sitting down having coffee with him, listening to him share gold nuggets of wisdom found from successes as well as failures. While The Catalyst Leader was born out of successes and triumphs, H3 comes more from struggles and even failures. This book came as a result of taking a sabbatical from Catalyst and the wisdom he shares is great and would help any leader regardless of their specific field.

Towards the end of his time at Catalyst, Brad was struggling and as a result of this, his leadership was suffering. Sure Catalyst was still being what Catalyst is known for, but the people under him were noticing this was a different Brad. He needed some time off and this was confirmed through a couple friends of his and thus Brad decided to take some time off from his leadership at Catalyst. As he took time off and began using this sabbatical to actually benefit himself, he says it became evident to him this was his best move and was necessary. He binged on Netflix, traveled, got together with some of the leaders he had been privileged to build relationship with through Catalyst and through this time, H3 Leadership took shape.

H3 stands for Be Humble, Stay Hungry, and Always Hustle. These are 3 components Brad says are musts for leaders to become and remain effective throughout their leadership. And for each one, he is able to use personal stories to illustrate the necessity for each. First off, for any leader to be effective and worth anything, there has to be a sense of humility as people do not want to be around someone who is proud. Eventually it sucks the life out of people around them. Second, something that needs to drive a leader is this ever pressing hunger to be all God made them to be both as a person and as a leader. This hunger to learn, grow, follow what God has laid in their hearts is what drives them. Lastly is the fact if you are going to be a leader worth anything, you have to hustle. In this life, there are always people who will be out there hustling for something, working hard for what it is they want to achieve. You cannot simply sit around and not pursue your dream and expect to reach it. If you want to achieve whatever dream or thing God has laid on your heart, it takes hustle. One person I think of as I think about this is Christine Caine. Seeing all her and her husband have been able to do through their ministry, A21, has been amazing. However, none of this would have happened if it was not for the fact they both fall under this H3 leadership idea. Having heard Christine speak a number of times, it is evident, at least from the public standpoint, she is humble, hungry and always hustling. God has used their team to bring freedom to many, many slaves and trafficking victims around the world.

This book is divided into 3 sections: Humble – Who are You, Hungry – Where are you going, and Hustle – How will you get there? Each section digs deep and gives the reader insights to be transformed into the leader God has called them to be. As I read, I found myself constantly highlighting and underlining as there is much truth found in this book. If you are a leader of any sort, I highly recommend this book.

Here are a couple quotes from the book to whet your appetite:

“Influencers should lead from the inside out so that their identity shapes their leadership rather than the other way around.” (p. 4)

“The best leadership moments will probably be the ones that nobody sees.” (p. 34)

“Leader can’t inspire others unless and until they are inspired themselves.” (p. 83)

“Establishing a habit of excellence begins with a core commitment to set a standard that scares the daylights out of you.” (p. 129)

“Great leaders are great finishers.” (p. 151)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Want to be a better father?

10 things great dads do

My review of 10 Things Great Dads Do by Rick Johnson

5 years and 2 months ago, my wife and I become the parents to a beautiful baby girl. In March of this year we became the parents to the cutest baby boy ever born…I might be a little bias. Outside of marriage, there is probably nothing that teaches people more about themselves than parenting and in 5 short years, I have had some great moments and some not so great moments. There are moments I look back at and wonder how I could have possibly responded and acted the way I did. Then there are times where I have the perfect parent mindset and I wonder why it does not remain forever. As anyone will tell you, parenting is hard work. It is a tough task for anyone. The only people who might say parenting is easy would be those parents who have abdicated their responsibility to actually raise their kids and pay others to do it.

As soon as you say you want to be the best parent there is, your child will unknowingly find a way to put you to the test. You might be on the way home from work and say I am going to be the perfect father when I get home. Then, you walk in the door to your house and it looks like a tornado has somehow picked out the inside of your home and completely turned everything around. The home you left when you went to work in the morning is a distant memory. Your wife is laying on the couch (if she doesn’t meet you at the door and tell you “good luck, I will be back in a month”) completely worn out from the day. Every room looks like my daughter turned into the incredible hulk and just went smashing through the house. On top of that, she has decided the walls would be her painting and coloring canvas instead of paper, the toilets are clogged because she used too much toilet paper after using the bathroom, water is all over the bathroom floor from her cannonball into the bathtub, the floors are a slip-n-slide due to drool from my teething son, and my daughter is running around the house singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs. Ok, so the truth is this has never happened to me, it may have to some of you but I just wanted to include this for dramatic effect. It seems when we decide to become better at something, the universe comes at you with all guns blazing. It is crazy how this happens. But every feeling you have had to this moment goes out the window as you just want to walk back out and try again in a couple hours.

I have to admit I have never personally experienced anything this bad, but it does seem that every time I truly decide I am going to be more patient with my kids, something happens to test it. Up until reading this book, I had been praying and asking God to help me become a better father and husband. 10 Things Great Dads Do was the best book for me to read at my current stage in life. I am far from being a perfect dad. I have my good moments and my bad moments but unfortunately, it seems like the bad moments far outweigh the good moments. I do not want to be the dad who looks back and regrets how he parented his kids. I want to be the dad who looks back and cherishes every moment he had with his children and would not change a thing. I know this would only happen in a perfect world but I also know if I truly want to be the best father and husband I can be, it will take hard work, discipline and dedication. Some people might say it will take blood, sweat and tears, which can also be true but I think you get the picture. To be a good father, it will take work because our kids really know how to bring out the worst in us…and they never had to be trained for it. After reading 10 Things, I can honestly say I have been refreshed, encouraged and challenged to be the best father I can be as well as equipped with some helpful tips and advice on how to move forward in my quest to better fathering.

Rick Johnson shares from personal experiences as well as stories from other fathers in order to help dads make decisions to be great dads, and that is what it takes, a decision to do it and then the discipline to follow through. Anyone can be a great dad but in order to do so, you cannot forfeit your responsibilities, you have to embrace them. Along with this, there is enormous pressure on fathers. It has been proven that children without a father face a much more difficult life than children with fathers. Daughters and sons both need the presence of a father or the tide turns against them in life and life becomes an even more intense uphill battle. Thus, fathers really need to step up to the plate for the sake of their children, and the next generation. This book will encourage and equip you with ideas on how to become the father you long to be.

As a father, are you beat up? Are you discouraged because there seems to be more yelling than laughter in your home? Are you tempted to just become more withdrawn from your family and just hope above that everything will turn out ok and then you can come back in to your children’s lives? Or are you going through a great stretch in your life right now where everything is just peachy? No matter where you are at in your journey of fatherhood, this book is worth your time. I can honestly say I have been challenged to be a better father through this book and it has given me renewed energy to actually strive to be the best father I can be. If you know of a man in your life who is just getting beat up as a father and is discouraged, get him a copy of this book. It will help.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Revell Books in return for a review of the book.


The Irresistible Community

irresistible community

We as humans are built for community. We are hardwired to have friends and people in our lives that we do life together with. We are not made to live this life on our own. This is why when we see people who isolate themselves, we would not say they are living life to the fullest. We would agree they have withdrawn from reality and the world around them. By choosing to follow Christ, we become part of a community, part of the body of Christ. It is impossible to fully be a Christian and not involved in a community of believers in some way. You might disagree with that but as you read through the Bible, you see that God intended for us to be in community. God Himself is about community in that He created us for relationship with Him. Unfortunately, today we have become so “connected” through social media and the internet through smartphones and other devices we have actually become disconnected. And this is the world we live in today, a world full of people who desire community, some without fully knowing it, but who are in some ways running away from community. There are even people who call themselves Christians who are not involved in a community.

Bill Donahue addresses this issue head on for followers of Christ. In The Irresistible Community, he tackles what Christian community should mean, be about and what it should look like. Jesus has extended a call and offer for all people to follow Him and be involved in a community of Christ followers. It is only through this community that we are able to experience all God intended life to be about. The title itself helps us to understand that when Christian community is lived out and done right, it is attractive, even to those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If Jesus was attractive to the “sinners” around Him, shouldn’t His church be the same way? Shouldn’t we be living in such a way that it causes those around us to wonder what we have?

The title of this book includes the tag line “An invitation to life together” which is what I believe God wants us to do, live life together. But how do we do that? How do we live life together? We are all messy and we have lives that cause people to not want to know us so shouldn’t I keep people at a distance? Dr. Donahue helps the reader understand how life can be done together in community and done in a way so people are drawn to it and not turned away from it. The Irresistible Community is divided into 3 parts: join the fellowship of the table, practice the ministry of the towel and live in the circle of truth. To truly experience community the way God intends, each of these 3 parts has to be included.  I have experienced this in my own life, when I am involved with a group of Christians, our lives have been greatly impacted when we have times of fellowship around a table, make time to serve together and then also allow the truth of God’s Word to guide us, community happens and there is nothing greater in this life. Unfortunately today, this has been lost, even in the church. The church should be a community of people who understand the church is who they are, it is not simply a building or something they do on Sundays or special holidays.

Read this statement which is taken from the back cover of the book:

Using the relationship of Jesus to His disciples in the upper room, Bill Donahue presents a simple but compelling approach to community life. Using a table, a towel, and the truth, Jesus created an “irresistible community” where everyone found a place to belong, lived fully in the truth, and served others with joy. (Back cover)

As you read this book, you will find yourself longing for this type of community wherever you are. Why does this longing grow within us? Because it is why we were created. Bill Donahue addresses the topic/issue of Christian community in a thought provoking manner that will challenge but also encourage and inspire you to look for community in your own life. Though living in community is not always easy, he helps us see that there is more life to be experienced in community than can be experienced outside of it. This book is one that I would highly recommend anyone currently serving in Christian ministry to read as well as those who see themselves in some type of ministry in the future. This book would also be a great asset for any church planter. Go get a copy for yourself, or a friend or your pastor, it will be well worth it.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


Into the Fray

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I had never heard of Matt Mikalatos before requesting this book but the idea of the book of Acts basically retold for today intrigued me. I never thought of Acts as being a tough book to understand or read through but as I read Into the Fray I was reintroduced to the story of Acts through storytelling that grabbed my attention and caused me to think again of how miraculous and amazing the stories written and shared in this book of the Bible actually are. Unfortunately, many times we read over them without a second thought and we do this to our own detriment.

There are many main characters throughout the book of Acts, for instance, Paul, Peter, Barnabas, the Philippian jailer, Lydia, the demon possessed girl, the Ethiopian eunuch and many more. However, the story of Acts is unequivocally the story of how God worked in the early church through the Holy Spirit to draw many people to Himself and cause the church to spread throughout the world like a wildfire. If not for the Holy Spirit, none of what is shared in Acts would have been possible. The church never would have impacted the world as it did and it would have torn itself to shreds from within. How else could the stories shared in Acts have actually happened apart from the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit? It would be impossible.

How does the author go about reaching his objective? Each chapter begins with a retelling of a story in Acts as if it happened today. He does not cover every single story in Acts in this manner because the book would have been well over 700 pages. Instead, he picks 14 stories to share using language from today that does not take away or add anything to the story, but simply retells it from a revised perspective. But why is this even necessary? Could people not just read the book of Acts as it is and be amazed? Yes. This book is not trying to take the place of Acts in the Biblical canon, it is simply retelling stories that many times we read over and have lost the amazement of how miraculous many stories actually are. For example, one story that many people in Christian circles just kind of gloss over is the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This story should produce a fear in people about how seriously God takes things in His church. This couple sold land, and gave money to the church, but apparently were deceptive in their giving and thus they were both killed for it. In Acts 5:11, it says that as a result of Ananias and Sapphira, “great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” Imagine if this kind of fear came upon the church today? Imagine how much of an impact it would have on how people interact with each other and how people go about with their daily lives? Unfortunately, we read stories like this and simply believe God just does not deal with people like that anymore and thus the story is just read over without much thought given to it. You also do not hear many sermons on this topic today but imagine if we did?

Simply stated, Matt Mikalatos does a great job with this book and his retelling of some of the stories from Acts. As I read through the book, I found myself challenged in what I thought about God and how He works. Have I been guilty of trying to control how God works? Or have I simply been presenting myself to God to work in whatever manner He chose? While reading through Acts, it is easy to see that even though there were times of disagreement between people in the church, they allowed Him to move in and through them as He saw fit. They did not put restrictions on God as we many times do today. Imagine a church today with the fear of God and mindset of the church in Acts? It would truly be an unstoppable force.

In one of the last chapters, Matt writes the following: “May God grant us the ability to speak the good news we have experienced without embarrassment, with boldness, and with simplicity.” It is a statement I have been challenged to begin praying in my own life. I long to see God work in and through my life as He did in the book of Acts. He is the same God today as He was then and is perfectly capable of doing the same thing today that He did in Acts. I pray that I would not lose the wonder of seeing and desiring God to move in my life in the same way He did in the New Testament.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


Mission Drift and how to Avoid It.

Mission Drift

“In its simplest form, Mission True organizations know why they exist and protect their core at all costs. They remain faithful to what they believe God has entrusted them to do. They define what is immutable: their values and purposes, their DNA, their heart and soul.” (p. 27)

Mission Drift is a book that will help any organization, charity, church face the future with a steadfast foundation. What is that steadfast foundation? God. This book builds on research that helps the reader realize that any organization is prone to wander from its original mission. Many Ivy League universities started as places to train young men for the ministry. However, if you look at them now, they have strayed from that purpose and are far from what the founders intended. You can go all around the globe and find many ministries, charitable organizations, trust funds who were founded for one specific purpose and with a mission in mind, who have now drifted. This happens over time and to keep it from happening, it takes intentionality. Staying true to your mission does not just happen, it has to be made to happen. For some organizations or charities, it might mean turning down donations from companies or people who want you to change who you are, or maybe just not mention God or Jesus Christ as much.

What will you do as you go through life? Do you have a mission that is founded? What is it? How do you know that you will not drift from it in the future? Do you work at a church, charity, or any other organization that is currently Christian? What will keep it from changing in the future? This book is written to help you answer that question. Mission Drift is for leaders and people in leadership positions who help make decisions that guide organizations or ministries into the future.

The authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst write Mission Drift not simply from observing and researching, but also from experiencing it themselves in their own lives. They write from a point of view of having experienced what it takes to remain mission true. They combine their own personal experience with research to help the reader understand the importance of this topic. As time continues to march towards the return of Jesus Christ, life is not necessarily going to get easier for Christians. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, it will get more difficult. So as Christians, should we fold or continue to stand true and not drift from the mission God has given us? The Bible only gives one answer to people who claim to follow Christ: to persevere regardless of circumstances. We need to be equipped and ready for what lies ahead, and Mission Drift will help you.

As a youth pastor, I can see the effects of drifting from a mission. It is not always a dramatic shift all at once, rather, it is something that takes place over time. So if you are in any kind of leadership position with a ministry, church, charity or Christian organization, read this book.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for a review of the book.

 


Be the Message – a Gospel centered devotional

Be the message

If you only had one sentence, this book could be described this way: Be the Message is a simple, yet life-changing devotional centered on the Gospel. As followers of Christ, it is easy to speak words but not actually live them. If you grew up in a church, chances are you can state what it is you supposedly believe even if your life does not follow your words. This is a struggle for any person claiming to be a follower of Christ. We make statements to satisfy our minds and cause us to think we believe something when our actions simply do not align with our words. Be the Message hits this struggle head on.

Each day follows the same process of opening yourself, God’s Word, your mind, your heart, your life and your arms. This is an effective process because it challenges you to slow down and not simply read through the day’s devotion quickly to simply check it off. It challenges you to think about what you are going to read and one of my favorite parts of the book, gives simply but practical ways to actually do something with what you have read. It is always easy to read something that challenges you and walk away thinking and knowing you should do something with what you read, only to not do anything. This book helps you get beyond that with different ways each day to apply what you have read.

Be the Message is a challenging devotional that will impact your life and challenge you to move beyond words and live your life with the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center. Jesus did not simply preach the Gospel, He also lived it. This is what we as followers of Christ need to be doing as well, living the Gospel and not just preaching it. When we do this, people will take notice and lives and hearts will be changed.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as a part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

 


Finding the Skinny in your cooking

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For those of you who normally check out the reviews I post on Thetoddlynn, this review will be a break from the typical theology or Christian inspirational/living book. This review is actually of a cookbook. My wife and I have been looking for ways to eat healthier without losing the flavor and without breaking our budget. From all the mom bloggers out there, it is easy to see this is something where we are not alone. Today, families are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and break from the norm of not considering the results of what we eat and how it affects more than just our waistlines. Our attitudes, energy, focus, and passion for life are all affected by what we eat and how we eat.

Gina Homolka initially started her Skinnytaste.com blog to share healthy but delicious and family-friendly recipes and this cookbook includes some recipes from her blog as well as 125 all-new dishes. The blog began when Gina decided she wanted to lose some weight. After initially trying to Weight Watchers program, she began looking for ways to “skinny-fy” her meals so her and her family could eat what they enjoyed while remaining healthy and still losing the desired weight. The great thing about The skinnytaste Cookbook is that the recipes are not too elaborate for a mother, or even a father, with young kids to follow and put together while living with the craziness of family life.

My wife said the recipes were simple to follow, and I enjoyed that the flavor was great. She enjoyed how the book is organized and includes a wide variety of recipes broken down into easy to find sections ranging from breakfast to soups to appetizers to meats and salads. However, that is not all. In a cookbook like this, you would maybe assume there would not be a section for desserts. But let me share with you that there is even a section for desserts. As of now my wife and I have yet to try any of them but as I look through the options, I am excited and looking forward to trying even more of them.

The two recipes that really stood out to us were the French Bread Pizza Supreme and the So-Addicted Chicken Enchiladas. Having a daughter that is a picky eater makes it difficult for us to try new things all the time keeps us from branching out as much as we would like but these two were meals that she even ate along with us. We are looking forward to finding other recipes she will be willing to eat along with us.

Needless to say this book will definitely help any family enjoy delicious but healthy homemade meals without forfeiting the flavor. Are you looking for ways to make a change to a healthier lifestyle? You should check out the blog then pick up this book. You and your family will be glad you did.

 

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Bonhoeffer Abridged by Eric Metaxas

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Having heard much of Dietrich Bonhoeffer I was excited to get this book by Eric Metaxas and start reading it. After getting it, it took me a few days before starting to read it but as soon as I did, I couldn’t put it down, finishing the book in only 3 days. You might think 3 days is kind of slow but for me, it is fast. In Bonhoeffer Abridged, Eric Metaxas does a great job of painting a clear picture of this pastor and theologian as well as what inspired him to be the man he was.

The reader is drawn in and taken on a journey through the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You learn about his family life and childhood and on to his life as a student and eventually a teacher and pastor. The life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is inspiring and motivating. His love for God and theology as well as his love for other people is revealed throughout this small glimpse into the life of one of the great thinkers in Christian history. This is not an all-encompassing biography of Bonhoeffer as you can perceive from the title, but a brief overview or summary of the more important parts of his life, the parts that truly reveal who he was. What is truly captivating about this book is the glance at what life was like for many Germans as Adolf Hitler was coming to power and throughout his reign through World War II. One amazing part of this book is the revelation of how Dietrich was involved in a plot to end Hitler’s reign by assassinating him to regain control of Germany from the Nazis. Throughout the book you get to read some of Bonhoeffer’s own words and thoughts as well as those who knew him well. “The man who died was engaged to be married. He was a pastor and a theologian. And he was executed for his role in the plot to assassinate Hitler. This is his story.” (p. xii) His is a story worth reading.

Bonhoeffer Abridged is definitely worth your time. Eric Metaxas does a splendid job of writing and sharing just exactly who this man was and why you should know him. I can definitely say after reading this book I am already looking forward to reading some of Dietrich’s own writing and getting to know this German man who was a theologian and a pastor.

“The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one’s bread; on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian.” (p. 33)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 


Not a Chance: A Review

Not-a-Chance

Can faith in God and science coexist? Does one contradict the other? Many opponents of Christianity attempt to use science to show that a god does not and cannot exist. Along with this, many believe that the supernatural does not exist. They believe people see or experience an illusion or a figment of their imagination, but nothing actually supernatural. Opponents of believing in God often claim that “chance” plays an integral part in the world. This is where Not a Chance makes its plea. Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the back cover:

Despite claiming unbelief in God or any higher power that may have designed or created the world, modern scientists often write and speak of chance as some kind of being or force that can actually cause things to happen.

In this book, Sproul and Mathison “call the scientific world to employ logic and clarity in their discourse, to leave the word chance as an abstract concept to describe mathematical possibilities rather than an ontological entity that can cause change.” How do they accomplish this? They accomplish their goal by presenting compelling and logical arguments that demand to be answered. Not a Chance touches on everything from chaos to reason, magic, contradictions, quantum physics and logic. This book is a great read for someone wanting to stretch their brain and learn more about how God and science cannot just coexist, but actually strengthen an individual’s faith.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“Chance is their magic wand to make not only rabbits but entire universes appear out of nothing” (p. 24).

“However, even in our wildest dreams, chance, which is nothing, cannot do something” (p. 24).

“Chance itself has no influence on the outcome of either the coin toss or the subsequent game” (p. 37).

“I do not allow for uncaused effects because uncaused effects represent a contradiction in terms” (p. 58).

“To be free of causality is to be free of logic, and license is given for making nonsense statements with impunity” (p. 61).

One of my favorite quotes from this book is this one: “For something to come from nothing it must, in effect, create itself” (p. 26). The authors respond to this statement with this thought: “For something to create itself it must be before it is. This is impossible” (p. 26). Everyone will agree that this is in fact impossible. And that is why a book like this is so important for Christians to read as it will educate us all with how to respond to arguments against the existence of a supreme being, God Himself.

There is much more that I could cover from this book in this review but let me bring this to a conclusion and share the conclusion as the authors wrote it:

Gravity is not nothing. Space is not nothing. A multiverse is not nothing. Scientists may be able to show mathematically consistent ways in which the existence of any of these somethings could lead to other somethings. But what are the odds that something can come from absolutely nothing? There is not a chance. (p. 223)

How could something come from absolutely nothing? That is a huge question that unfortunately science has never nor will ever be able to answer. Why? Because when science tries to make something out of nothing, in their very experiments they are using something. So they are not reproducing and reenacting the very beginning of the universe they claim to be trying to prove.

Want a book that will cause you to think deeply? Have you been looking for a book on God and science? Then Not a Chance is a book that you will enjoy. Written by author and theologian R.C. Sproul, this book will challenge your cognition. If you are just looking for light reading, keep looking as this book will leave you with a headache.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.