The Skeletons in God’s Closet by Joshua Ryan Butler (Book Review)

The Skeletons in God’s Closet

We believe that God is love and God is good. All Christians affirm these simple truths. But for a God whose defining attribute is love, his actions don’t always appear to be very loving. And for a God who is perfectly good, he seems to have done some things that aren’t very good at all.

Does our beautifully good God have an ugly side? Does God have something to hide?

In The Skeletons in God’s Closet, Joshua Ryan Butler sets out two answer three questions: Would a merciful God send people to hell? Would a loving God condemn people at the judgment? And would a good God wage holy war?

Butler contends that we have set up caricatures of God—pictures that contain a semblance of the truth without the substance of reality.

Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity

Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity

A renewal is taking place in God’s church. People are realizing that we don’t need all the ritual and tradition we’ve added over the years. We’re returning to the simplicity of the earliest believers. But if we’re not careful, we could allow this renewal to divide us from those who don’t share our views.

So I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity. Twenty-four of us have come together to share the passions that drive us—while keeping unity as our focus. We certainly don’t agree with one another on everything, but we share a common Savior.

In my chapter, I discuss the way we hold to our theological convictions. Why do we allow our differences to separate us? Can we remain united in Christ while maintaining our specific beliefs? Should we defend sound doctrine? What makes a belief heresy?

Check out this excerpt for a sample. I haven’t read the other chapters yet myself, so I’m really excited to get my own copy!

Here’s how to preorder your copy:

The New Covenant by Bob Emery (Book Review)

The New Covenant

The New Covenant is a collection of three historical novels by Bob Emery which were originally published separately. In this volume they are labeled as parts titled “The Messenger,” “The Message,” and “The Marriage: The Final Revelation.” All three feature the Apostle John as the main character.

Part I follows John and Timothy as they tour Jerusalem and discuss the life and times of Jesus. Part II dramatizes the writing of the books of the New Testament by John and the other apostles. And in Part III, John spends an evening discussing the book of Revelation with a group of believers.

These are very unusual novels. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but they’re not what one would typically expect.

Is God Pleased about the Death of His Saints?

Gravestone

There’s a certain verse that gets quoted at just about every Christian funeral. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. I usually hear it in the King James Version, which goes like this:

Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15, KJV)

What are we to make of this? Does God enjoy seeing his followers die?

A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd (Book Review)

A Farewell to Mars

There was a time when Brian Zahnd prayed war prayers, asking God to bless America’s militarism. He, like so many other American Evangelicals, had a picture of God that was much more akin to Mars, the god of war, than to Jesus, “that preacher of peace.” But Brian has repented of his nationalistic idolatry, and he invites us to do the same.

This book was of interest to me, as I too have recently become convinced that Jesus taught a gospel peace and nonviolence. We simply cannot fulfill his command to love our enemies if we kill them. A Farewell to Mars promises to chronicle Brian’s “own journey from war crier to peacemaker” as he “reintroduces us to the gospel of Peace.”

Having now read it, I’m simultaneously delighted and disappointed. Delighted because I enjoyed every page—and disappointed because the book failed to do what it promised. This is a fantastic book; it simply is not the book that was advertised.