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Calvinism, Federalism, and Scholasticism (Basler Und Berner Studien Zur Historischen Und Systematische)
Calvinism, Federalism, and Scholasticism (Basler Und Berner Studien Zur Historischen Und Systematische)
by Stephen Strehle
Edition: Paperback
6 used & new from $152.87

2.0 out of 5 stars Pro-Dispensational Book, November 29, 2013
I only read the ending of this book. Readers should know the author received his degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and is promoting dispensational theology and premillennialism and a literal 1000 year reign on physical earth against covenant theology/amillennialism.

The book version I read is in courier (typewriter) font. Not pleasant to the eyes. Certainly not worth the $150 that this book is going for on Amazon.

Dogmatic Theology V.2
Dogmatic Theology V.2

1.0 out of 5 stars Scanned Pictures, Not Kindle Book, October 25, 2013
This really isn't a kindle book at all. Nothing is typed. They are pictures of the pages (sideways, landscape) not even upright. And parts of the pages are cut off. Looking at the sample, it also might be missing many pages? Why does it start in the 200s?

Idioms in the Bible Explained and a Key to the Original Gospels
Idioms in the Bible Explained and a Key to the Original Gospels
by George Mamishisho Lamsa
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.24
66 used & new from $7.05

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not idioms but unbiblical "spiritualization", July 2, 2013
This book claims to provide the true interpretation/understanding for "figures of speech" in the Bible. Instead, it provides false meanings that destroy the meaning of the scriptures.

Examples from the book:

Light (Gen 1:3) = enlightenment; understanding
Darkness (Gen 1:4) = ignorance
Garden (Gen 2:8) = wife, family
Tree of life in the garden (Gen 2:9) = sex; posterity; progeny
Tree of life (Gen 2:9) = eternal life
Good (Gen 2:17) = anything perfect

Smite the rock (Ex 17:6) = Discover the rock on top of the hidden well.

This book is unbiblical and not true to the meaning of the verses. It's like if you said "Can I have an apple?" and I turned the meaning of your words into "Drive your car down the hill."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2013 6:25 PM PST

Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
Offered by HarperCollins Publishing
Price: $5.99

65 of 93 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Prosperty gospel" masterfully disguised in low-Calvinism, June 6, 2013
Like Batterson's book "The Circle Maker", this book is very troubling and must be read carefully with much discernment and compared to the Bible carefully. Many have publicly commented negatively on the direction that author Mark Batterson's teachings are taking and the direction he may be headed - with accusations of "witchcraft", "ritual magic", "Jewish Talmud", a "prosperity gospel" "name-it-claim-it" direction of money, greed, false promises and a "me-centered theology", rather than "God-centered Christianity". Remember, the best false teachers slip teachings "that tickle our ears and appeal our our selfish desires" in the middle of many statements of truth. Pray for discernment before you read this book.

As a fellow-Christian and double-ly as a fellow 5 pt Calvinist, I wish I could say I believe the teachings of Mark Batterson are biblical. I read many statements about God's sovereignty and God's glory that my heart delighted over. However, in conclusion, I must agree with other reviewers that this book is absolutely promoting "prosperity gospel" and sadly, it is wrapped in the most clever, carefully-worded mask that I have EVER seen. This is not the easily visible greedy "prosperity gospel" of the "Word Faith" or "Word of Faith" cult. This is "prosperity gospel" carefully masked between beautiful statements of how we are to live our lives trusting in a sovereign God and living to glorify God! How "crafty" was the snake/Satan in the garden. Do not fall for his carefully disguised lies.

For every sentence, ask yourself "Do these teachings match the Bible?"

"In Luke 11[:5-10], Jesus tells a story about a man who won't take no for an answer. He keeps knocking on his friend's door until he gets what he came for. It's a parable about prevailing in prayer. And Jesus honors his bold determination: "... yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need." I love this depiction of prayer. There are times when you need to do whatever it takes. You need to grab hold of the horns of the altar and not let go. You need to dare demonic forces to a duel. You need to do something crazy, something risky, something different." Mark Batterson. Draw the Circle (Kindle Locations 496-510).

John Calvin says this verse means, "Believers ought not be discouraged, if they do not immediately obtain their desires, ... we have no reason to doubt that God will listen to us, if we persevere constantly in prayer..." However, notice how the alarm bells go off in your head when you read Batterson apply this to life by adding "there are times when you need to do WHATEVER IT TAKES." "You need to dare demonic forces to a duel." Is this biblical? Although some modern day Pentecostals believe we are to "go to battle with demons", the bible does not teach this. Batterson follows with this example extracted from the Jewish Talmud Scriptures (which Christians very much reject, as the Talmud is written by rabbis hostile towards Jesus) of "doing whatever it takes":

"The epitome of shameless audacity is the circle maker himself. When a severe drought threatened to destroy a generation of Jews, Honi drew a circle in the sand, dropped to his knees, and said, "Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children." It was a risky proposition. Honi could have been in that circle a long time! But God honored that bold prayer because that bold prayer honored Him. And even when God answered that prayer for rain, Honi had the shameless audacity to ask for a specific type of rain. "Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Your favor, blessing, and graciousness." Mark Batterson. Draw the Circle (Kindle Locations 496-510). Zondervan.
First, this is a story from the Jewish Talmud, which includes some bizarre stories and portrays Jesus as a false prophet. We do not affirm anything in the Talmud to be a true account on its own basis. So we do not know that God honored any such prayer/demands from anyone named Honi. Batterson has dangerously gone into the Jewish Talmud and ripped a story out and is using it as a basis for teaching Christian prayer.

"The moral of this parable is to prevail in prayer, but it also reveals the character of Him who answers prayer. The request is not granted simply because of repeated requests. Prayer is answered to preserve God's good name. After all, it's not our reputation that is on the line; it's His reputation. So God doesn't answer prayer just to give us what we want; God answers prayer to bring glory to His name." Mark Batterson. Draw the Circle (Kindle Locations 496-510). Zondervan.
I can just see a dozen professing Christians demanding God grant their prayers "or else God will have a bad name." Or going before unbelievers and declaring "God will heal your mother or else He will have a bad name!" This is a very dangerous claim and I do not believe that Batterson accurately portrays prayer "for God's glory" as "according to God's will" and "according to God's foreordained purpose that is set from the foundation of the world" is nearly always left out of the context.
"Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle."

Draw a chalk circle around yourself and demand that God grant your prayers or you will not leave your little chalk circle [Batterson teaches the "don't leave" in his The Circle Maker" book]? How unbiblical and disrespectful and dishonoring of God. How self-focused and self-centered. Is this how Jesus taught us to pray? What happened to praying according to the Father's will?
Dozens of farmers showed up to pray [for rain]. Most of them wore their traditional overalls, but one of them wore waders! ...Why not dress for the miracle? I love the simple, childlike faith of that old, seasoned farmer. He simply said, "I don't want to walk home wet." And he didn't. But everyone else did. ...... I can't help but wonder if that act of faith is what sealed the miracle. I don't know for sure, but this I do know: God is honored when we act as if He is going to answer our prayers! And acting as if means acting on our prayers. After hitting our knees, we need to take a small step of faith. And those small steps of faith often turn into giant leaps. Like Noah, who kept building an ark day after day, we keep hammering away at the dream God has given us. Like the Israelites, who kept circling Jericho for seven days, we keep circling God's promises. Like Elijah,10 who kept sending his servant back to look for a rain cloud, we actively and expectantly wait for God's answer. ...... Don't just pray about your dream; act on it. Act as if God is going to deliver on His promise. Maybe it's time to put on waders and act as if God is going to answer. Mark Batterson. Draw the Circle (Kindle Locations 539-559). Zondervan.

Exactly like the "Word of Faith" cult that is the primary promoter of the "prosperity gospel", Batterson starts encouraging believers to "take a step in faith." This is the same false teaching referred to as "seed faith" by the "name-it-claim-it" group. Biblical "trusting faith" is trusting in God to do the best thing for you whichever way He decides to answer your prayer. It is not "acting as if God were going to grant your prayer in the way you want it to" as if this "voodo" "mind over matter" could fool God into granting that prayer just as you wish Him to. This is completely unbiblical.

Especially, take note of Batterson's false claim: "I can't help but wonder if that act of faith is what sealed the miracle." Your "acting as if God were going to give you your desires" is NOT faith and it does NOT "seal" or "grant" or "cause God to move" in any such way. This is the unbiblical teaching of "seed faith", "faith-ing-it" or "mind over matter" or "mind over God". It is using your "behavior" to "fool God/prompt God" to give you what you want.

Immediately next, Batterson makes the bold declaration: "this I do know: God is honored when we act as if He is going to answer our prayers" This is completely false! First, God ALWAYS answers our prayers. Sometimes it's a "yes", "no", "later" but He ALWAYS answers them. So "acting as if He were going to answer "yes"" as if this little "behavior" were to twist God into answering a "yes" is completely false. Why not act as if God were to answer "no"? Same logic. This is completely unbiblical.

Like the master of deception himself, Batterson then cleverly slips in "we keep hammering away at the dream God has given us" [as the Israelites and Elijah did]. Notice that Israel and Elijah were given commands directly from God. "Our dreams" "wants" "desires" are not something God told us to pursue through a prophet. In fact, they are often worldly and contrary to the desires of God. This is why often God's answers to our prayers is a "no" because our Father knows these "wants" are not for our own good.

The number of passages in this book that teach an unbiblical view of prayer are astounding. This book is entirely "prosperity gospel" masked in low-Calvinism. And even then, the low-Calvinism promoted by Batterson is very tainted with a "man can influence God through clever tricks" theology.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.

If you disagree with any point in any of my reviews, please in a loving, edifying and respectful manner, write me "as you wish someone would correct you" in detail pointing out exactly what you think I missed. I long to be sharpened. God bless.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2014 7:19 AM PDT

The Great Treasure Hunt
The Great Treasure Hunt
by Jim Spillman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.89
103 used & new from $0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars False Claims of Israel Having the Biggest Oil Field, May 28, 2013
I agree with the reviewer "steven struthers" when he said this book can't be taken seriously but the problem is that it is MEANT to be taken seriously! I don't know how Steven can give this book 5 stars when it is clearly false!

Just like Steven said, this book is claiming that "oil must be found in Israel and tells you it would not have been fair for God to give his people the only middle eastern land without the most valuable resource for the last days." This book offers no supporting evidence for this oil claim except that "the world/Muslims would not have a big enough reason to attack Israel unless Israel had something valuable - like the biggest oil field in the world under their soil." This whole book is so far-fetched fiction. Don't waste your time.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.08
113 used & new from $8.95

31 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Christian Author Gets Christianity Wrong, May 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This author says he was raised in an Anglican Christian home (~Pg 10), but is not a believer. Although he claims to be "a candid friend of Christianity" (~Pg 10), he makes many derogatory and negative comments about Christianity (some listed below). He does not even understand many of the basics of the Christian faith and a surprisingly large percentage of his statements about basic Christianity are incorrect and untrue. The author writes: "I live with the puzzle of wondering how something so apparently crazy can be so captivating to millions of other members of my species."(p. 10) [He calls Christianity "crazy"]

Quotes that Christians MAY/MIGHT have issue with due to author's negative portrayal of Christianity:
- "the cluster of beliefs making up Christian faith is an instability which comes from a twofold ancestry [Greece and Israel]." (instability = state of being unstable)
- "Christians were Jews who lived in a world shaped by Greek elite culture. They had to try to fit together these two irreconcilable visions of God, and the results have never been and never can be a stable answer to an unending question." [Portrays Christianity as illogical uniting of two unreconcilable beliefs]
- "For most of its existence, Christianity has been the most intolerant of world faiths..." (p. 4)
- for Constantine, his side of the bargain was to turn Christians from a harried, suppressed cult,(p. 4). [Referring to Christianity as a harried cult]

Quotes Christians may believe are simply untrue and portray their faith incorrectly:
- "Paul...quarrelled fiercely with other disciples of Jesus who saw their Lord as a Messiah sent only to the Jews.(p. 4) [Quarrelled fiercely = UNTRUE/INCORRECT STATEMENT]
- "It does not have all the answers, and - a point many forget - only once does it claim to do so,"(p. 5). "It tells stories which it does not pretend ever happened, in order to express profound truths, such as we read in the books of Jonah and Job."(p. 5).[Bible does claim it is all you need for instruction and a life of godliness. Jonah and Job are taken by a huge percentage of Christians as real stories and not fictional tales]
- "Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all discovered that the text between the covers cannot provide all the answers."(p. 8).
- "Jesus seems to have maintained that the trumpet would sound for the end of time very soon,(p. 9) his followers seemed to question the idea that history was about to end: they collected and preserved stories about the founder" (p. 9) [Christians that hold to a preterist understanding of Jesus' prediction see Jesus and the apostles both agreeing and anticipating the Romans' destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. This was fulfilled. The "end of time" (not the term used in the Bible) that the author attempts to refer to was completed and seen by Preterist Christians as being true. In this view, the disciples were not expecting anything different from Jesus but exactly the same.]
- "Christianity emerged from it a very different institution from the movement created by its founder or even its first great apostle, Paul."(p. 9).
- "It is very different from the way in which the Jews came to speak of the remote majesty of their one God, the all-powerful creator, who (at relentless length) angrily reminded the afflicted Job how little a lone created being like him understood divine purposes; who dismissed Moses's question `What is your name?' with a terrifying cosmic growl out of a burning bush in the desert, `I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE'. 6 The name of the God of Israel is No Name."(p. 23).
- "Such political coups were hardly unprecedented in human history, but most ancient cultures disguised them with some sort of appeal to a higher divine approval: witness the way in which the books of Samuel in the Hebrew scriptures present the usurper David's takeover from the dynasty of Saul as God's deliberate abandonment of the old king for his disobedience." (p. 27).
- "The relationship of this detail to history as practised and understood by modern historians raises deeply felt arguments about the `reliability' of sacred literature:"
- "Around Abraham's rackety grandson Jacob are woven several engaging tales of outrageous cheating and deceit,"(p. 48).
- "all-night wrestling match with a mysterious stranger who overcomes Jacob and is able to give him another new name, Israel, meaning `He who strives with God'.(p. 48). Those who follow Israel and the religions which spring from his wrestling match that night are being told that even through their harshest and most wretched experiences of fighting with those they love most deeply, they are being given some glimpse of how they relate to God." (pp. 48-49).
- "Using the Bible's own internal points of reference, the promises to the Patriarchs would have been made in a period around 1800 BCE. But this raises problems, even if one simply reads the whole biblical text attentively. One silence is significant: there is very little reference to the Patriarchs in the pronouncements of `later' great prophets like Jeremiah, Hosea or the first prophet known as Isaiah, whose prophetic words date from the eighth and seventh centuries BCE. It is as if these supposedly basic stories of Israel's origins a thousand years before were largely missing from the consciousness of Jeremiah, Hosea and Isaiah, whereas references to the Patriarchs appear abundantly in material which is of sixth-century or later date. The logic of this is that the stories of the Patriarchs, as we now meet them in the biblical text, post-date rather than predate the first great Hebrew prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries, even though various stories embedded in the Book of Genesis are undoubtedly very ancient. 6 It is also striking that certain incidents in the stories of the Patriarchs mirror incidents which took place in a more definitely `historical' context, six centuries after 1800. Obvious lurid examples are the duplicated threats of gang rape to guests in a city (with dire consequences for the perpetrators), to be found in both Genesis 19 and Judges 19. Similarly the Children of Israel, with a carelessness that Lady Bracknell would have deplored, twice put to the sword the unfortunate city of Shechem, once in Genesis 34 and again in Judges 9. Another problem: the patriarchal narratives contain one or two references to Philistines, who come from a later period of history, and there are many more to a people who are close relatives of the Patriarchs, called Aramaeans - Abraham is very precisely given a kinship to the Aramaeans in one family tree. 7 The settlement of Aramaeans in areas reasonably close to the land of Canaan/ Israel/ Palestine was a gradual process, but other historical evidence shows that it cannot have begun any earlier than 1200 BCE, and that was a very different era from the supposed time of the Patriarchs; their arrival was in a time which followed a further great upheaval in the story of the Children of Israel. 8 Altogether, the chronology of the Book of Genesis simply does not add up as a historical narrative..."(pp. 50-51).
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2014 7:26 PM PDT

The Gospel of John, Volume One: 1 (New Daily Study Bible)
The Gospel of John, Volume One: 1 (New Daily Study Bible)
Price: $9.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbiblical: Universalist, Denies Miracles, Essentially Denies Virgin Birth, April 9, 2013
Readers should know the dangerous theology of the man before they buy his book.

William Barclay is a self-declared Universalist, writing an article "I AM A CONVINCED UNIVERSALIST" available via Google search.

William Barclay is also a self-described "liberal evangelical", neo-orthodox and attempts to deny Christ's miracles. Barclay looked at the healing miracles as normal practices and not supernatural in any sense. See Pg 41-42 where he comments on John 9:6-12 where Jesus healed a beggar, Barclay says this was a common healing practice of the day and that Jesus did nothing special. On Pg 42, paragraph 3, he even calls Jesus a "physician". Barclay writes "The fact is that Jesus took the methods and customs of his time and used them. He was a wise physician."

William Barclay also denies the trinity "Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus with God" according to William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography. When you read Barclay's books, look at such topics in the index as "The Virgin Birth," "Miracles" and "The Person of Christ." As Barclay dealt with these and other matters related to them, he would often just cast a little aspersion on the belief in super natural matters. He did not directly but essentially denied the virgin birth of Jesus Christ in his commentary on Matthew but called it a "crude fact" and emphasized that it is not important to literally believe that Jesus was born only of a woman. He argued that the virgin birth story could not be taken literally.

Some may also find it objectionable that Barclay uses the books of the Jewish Apocrypha as support and treats it on the same level as God-breathed scripture. Example: Pg 29 of his John Volume 1 commentary, he refers to 2 Esdras and Wisdom as if they were God-breathed scripture. And Pg 32 Barclay quotes from the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus.

This commentary is easy to read and understand for the lay reader but there are much better commentaries on John available from the following authors: Don Carson, Köstenberger, Köstenberger's Theology of John, Michaels, Bruner; J. Ramsey Michaels. John (NICNT commentary series); and Leon Morris's commentary on John from the NICNT series.

Note, William BarclAy is not to be confused with William BarclEy. William B. Barcley is the pastor of Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was previously Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Update: Upon further review, I do see what the other 1-star commentator was objecting to. When reading very carefully through Barclay's commentary on John 1:1-18 Pgs 25-40, it becomes clear that Barclay is removing the deity of Jesus Christ. He downplays Christ's divinity in the whole section, ending with pg 39-40:

"Finally John says that the word was God." (Notice Word is not capitalized?) This is a difficult saying for us to understand... [because the Greek is different from English]. ... He said that the word was theos - which means that the word was, we might say, of the very same character and quality and essence and being as God. When John said "the word was God" he was not saying that Jesus was identical with God; he was saying Jesus was so perfectly the same as God in mind, in heart, in being that in him we perfectly see what God is like. So right at the beginning of his gospel John lays it down that in Jesus, and in him alone, there is perfectly revealed to men all that God always was and always will be, and all that he feels towards and desires for men." (Notice carefully that Barclay implies Jesus is a human man who is very much LIKE God in mind, heart, being but NOT identical with God and NOT part of the trinity. Barclay carefully DOES NOT associate Jesus directly as being God or part of God/trinity. He so carefully steps around this teaching that in stepping around it, it is clear that he is denying this teaching. ALL commentators that read "The Word was God" associate this with Jesus BEING God/Trinity. Barclay carefully avoids this conclusion.

Morning by Morning: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon
Morning by Morning: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon
Offered by HarperCollins Publishing
Price: $5.98

5.0 out of 5 stars #1 Out of Kindle Versions, Superb Work, March 27, 2013
Appears to be NIV Bible Version used.
Modern language updated
Gives sources for quotes(example Charles Wesley - yeah, I know :P Why is he in here?)
Below each of Spurgeon's devotionals, Jim Reimann also makes comments that may be insightful. This is exactly like this version of the book, if you have it in paperback.

Very good modern version. Makes an excellent gift.

Spurgeons' Morning and Evening Devotionals
Spurgeons' Morning and Evening Devotionals
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars #1 Out of 7 Kindle Versions, (#1 being the best version, 7 the worst), March 27, 2013
King James Bible translation used for each day's verses.

I am reviewing only this kindle formatting of this book and not the contents themselves (which are SUPERB!).

There are 7 Kindle versions of Charles Spurgeon's great work "Morning and Evening".

#1 recommended out of the 7 available versions. The table of contents is by month and by date sorted by Morning and Evening.

Formatting and spacing are better than other versions of this work, as bold and larger fonts are used to distinguish headings.

The contents themselves are fantastic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2013 12:28 PM PDT

Morning by Morning: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
Morning by Morning: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
Price: $10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars #2 Out of 7 Kindle Versions, (#1 being the best version, 7 the worst), March 27, 2013
ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION (ESV) bible translation used for each day's verses.

I am reviewing only this kindle formatting of this book and not the contents themselves (which are SUPERB!).

There are 7 Kindle versions of Charles Spurgeon's great work "Morning and Evening".

#2 recommended out of the 7 available versions. The table of contents is by month and by date PLUS it includes a summary of the verse quoted. Only problem with this is that it makes the ToC 10 pages long! But you can scan the ToC to select exactly where you wish to go.

Formatting and spacing are better than other versions of this work, as bold and larger fonts are used to distinguish headings.

The contents themselves are fantastic.

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