Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners – Book Review

I owe a great deal of debt to John Bunyan. When I was going through a crisis in my life, it was his book, the Pilgrim’s Progress, which brought me immense comfort and encouragement. The same book also introduced me to Calvinistic theology, a set of doctrinal truths which have become the anchor of my soul. So as I went through another difficult season in my life I did not hesitate to turn to another of Bunyan’s writings to find solace and encouragement. This time it was his autobiography Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.

This book is short account of the most important phases of Bunyan’s life. Bunyan recounts his pre-conversion years (1-117), his evangelical experience (118-132), his fight with temptations and his victory over them (133-264), his pastoral ministry, his imprisonment and his trials. One of his friends adds a brief account of his death and his character. Continue reading Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners – Book Review

Review of Think: Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Part 2)

Continuing from my previous post, here I would like to mention a few things in Think which I found to be unpersuasive and sometimes disturbing. I realize that these points, on which I am going to comment on, are larger aspects of Piper’s theology and not the main points of this book itself. Disagreements on these points did not rob me of the benefits I derived from this book.

Also I should mention that while doing this exercise I am greatly aware that I am toddler in theology and layman with far lesser experience and maturity than John Piper, who has served the Lord for well over 35 years. Also, since I do not want to sound acrimonious, which has come to characterize much of Reformed blogosphere, I am going to address John Piper as Bro. Piper in order to always remind myself that he is my brother in the Lord and not some third person whom I delight in critiquing. Continue reading Review of Think: Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Part 2)

Review of Think: Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Part 1)

Think is a neat little book written by John Piper. As the title suggests, it is a book on thinking. More importantly, it is a book on how thinking is related to loving God – the great commandment that all Christians are called to fulfill.

In this book John Piper contends that thinking is something wholly indispensable for a Christian; but it is not an end in itself. It serves the larger purpose of loving God. And what is loving God? The essence of loving God is treasuring him above all things. All thinking is but a means to this end. This is the main thesis of the book.  The following sentence may capture the essence of the book

“loving God with the mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things. Treasuring God is the essence of loving him, and the mind serves this love by comprehending (imperfectly and partially, but truly) the truth and beauty and worth of the Treasure” (Page 19) Continue reading Review of Think: Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Part 1)

How to Choose Good Christian Books

Continuing from the previous post, here I want to give a few suggestions on how to choose good books. Before I give suggestions, I would like to define what I mean by “good” books. A “good” christian book is not necessarily one with which you will agree on everything.  A “good” christian book, according to me, is one which follows sound theology (2 Tim 1:13), at least for the most part, and presents clear and cogent arguments for its claims and conclusions . This applies even to Christian fiction and poetry (for they too convey some theology). A book may be well written, but that does not make it good automatically. Take for example Purpose Driven Life. Its a book which is well-organized. You can follow Warren’s arguments very easily. However, many of my respected teachers (and I am persuaded) deem it not good since it does not have sound theology and does not follow sound patterns of interpretation.

Now having said all this, my definition begs the questions – What is “sound theology”? Well, I believe Calvinism and Reformed Theology is sound. Not everyone will agree with me. That’s fine. Nevertheless, this does highlight the fact that you should first get convinced of what sound theology is . If you make up your mind on that you will be in a much better position to choose good books. If you haven’t, you may choose books which shed light on the questions you are grappling with. See, already we are getting into a rational process of choosing good books! So, with that said, let me move on to my suggestions. Continue reading How to Choose Good Christian Books