30 November 2010

Review: Jesus and the Land (Gary Burge)

Jesus and the LandJesus and the Land by Gary Burge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, and right after I started reading it I noticed two other authors I respected had also recently made mention of it, so I figured it should be a good read. The issue of Zionism, or those who feel Israel deserves to be back in their land due to some biblical, covenantal, or eschatological reason, really need to examine the issue further; and this book is a great place to start.

I was thinking it was going to just be a book to counter the many modern arguments in support of modern Israel, but instead it is a fairly thorough historical march through the Bible, covering the covenant, the promises, and the importance of the land along the way. Most of the way through, it spoke so much in favor of the importance of the land, that I thought it was going down a path other than what I thought the intent was. Then as he approached the New Testament, and the new covenant, the shift began, and the last couple chapters examine the view of the land in those last days for the Christians.

Kenneth Gentry recently commented, saying this book is one of a few books that has greatly shaped his view of Israel and the land, and that after reading this and the couple others, if someone still could cling to a modern dispensational view of the land, then they are probably beyond hope (that is a paraphrase as I understood it).

Maybe this book had more of an excitement and impact on me due to it's heavy look into Israel's past and understanding of the land, since I had recently finished the Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel which examined a lot of historical understandings in Hebrew thought; but either way, this book was full of great content, history, and biblical conclusions. I have so many highlighted remarks throughout, it would be hard to narrow it down to give a brief synopsis, but I just encourage you to check this book out if you have any interest in the modern crisis in Israel over who has the rights to the land.

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12 November 2010

Review: God Versus Socialism (Joel McDurmon)

God Versus SocialismGod Versus Socialism by Joel Mcdurmon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

McDurmon does an excellent job laying out the basics of socialistic thought, and in names and exposing the major players in the "social gospel" movement over the past hundred years; especially those most active today.
This book has shown that these issues did not die with the previous era of socialism/communism versus the free world. They did not fall silent when they fell. They remain as relevant as ever, especially with the reinvigoration of socialist ideology in government, including radical activists in Congress, the Judiciary, labor unions, teachers' unions, universities, and numerous posts in the White House itself, including the Presidency. The arguments of socialism resound throughout America like never before, and Christians must both discern their persuasive but devious rhetoric and stand firm with a biblical answer. The answers to socialism are, "The king is not God," and "Thou Shalt Not Steal." If Christians refuse to apply these principles to government, law, and economics, then we will move closer to the socialists' vision for society. We will have more of Marx than Moses, more of Trotsky than Christ." (pg 226-227)
Wielding the sharp sword of truth, McDurmon cuts through and destroys the fallacious teachings of modern day social gospel pundits Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis. His excellent dealing with Campolo's "red letter Christian" teachings is a highlight, as he shows that verse after verse they misuse and abuse Scripture in an attempt to force it to fit their agenda.
Campolo, like Wallis and Sider, loves to point out how "there are more than 2,000 verses of Scripture that calls us to express love and justice for those who are poor and oppressed..." But he immediately makes the unwarranted jump from the Bible's mandate for personal compassion to socialist government action: "we promote legislation that turns biblical imperatives into social policy." ... Gary DeMar responds appropriately, "What Campolo needs to find in these 2,000 verse is one verse that gives authority to civil government to redistribute wealth. Campolo takes verses that are directed at individuals and turns them on their head and gives them a political twist." (pg 134-135)
I could go on quoting more quotes (you should see how many highlights I have in this), but instead, let me encourage others to read and take heed. It is not full of high thinking economic garbaly-gook or political speak, but it is written in easy to understand terms. If you are new to political issues, socialism in general, or social justice/social gospel issues, this is a great place to start. highly recommended.

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