Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review -- Bitesize Biographies Ulrich Zwingli by William Boekestein

This is not an easy book to read for one unfamiliar with European geography and church and civil government during the sixteenth century. Words such as Diet, canton, burgomaster and “biblical humanist” were used without explanation, making it hard for me to follow much of the detail in the earlier part of the book. This is not a criticism of the author as much as a warning for those expecting to find this book a simple read.

The author, William Boekestein, has done a tremendous job in documenting the life and times of Ulrich Zwingli during the Swiss Reformation.  The author deals straightforwardly with the struggles Zwingli had with his own sin, with the Anabaptists, with the Roman Catholic Church and chronologically explains the reforms Zwingli instituted in Zurich and the differences he had with Martin Luther.  This book is a worthwhile read and a good introduction to a most influential, but lesser read reformer.  The quality of the writing and research is what you would expect from William Boekestein, who also co-authored Why Christ Came: 31 meditations on the incarnation.

I received this book for free from Evangelical Press via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Book Review -- Living Without Worry by Timothy Lane

Here is a book that provides insights to overcome or lessen worry.  The first part of the book states the case for overcoming worry and carefully describes it; what it is and what it is not.  Worry’s connection to fear and to things we love more than God is carefully described. 

Chapters three through six takes a look at worry past, present and future with comparisons and contrasts on how biblical characters dealt with worry and how Jesus meets the need. Timothy Lane provides suggestions for the way out of worry for anxiety that has its origins in each of these time periods.

Chapters seven through nine are filled will much practical advice on how to start to change, a presentation of truths to help counter your worry and advice on how to cast your cares onto Christ.  In these chapters Timothy Lane draws parallels between the call to wisdom in Proverbs and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In both places there is the call to trust God to really experience life free from fear and harm.  On page 92 he says, “Until you are able to draw a line from your behavior and what is driving it, you can’t call out to God for grace to enable you to turn away from what you are living for and find the grace of Christ you need to start changing.”

Chapter ten is a look at the advice to Paul about his worry.

The conclusion wraps up the book with a reminder about God’s command to not worry, the tenderness with which God makes this command and the promise He makes about giving us the Kingdom which reassures us that we have everything we need for this life and the life to come.

The author does a good job of giving clarity about what worry is and how to begin to grow away from worry, replacing it with peace.  Although I consider Edward T. Welch’s book Running Scared: Fear, Worry and The God of Rest most helpful, Timothy Lane’s book comes a close second, providing different biblical illustrations and entry points for beginning to get a grip on worry.