Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Full Gospel, Fractured Minds - Review - 1

Full Gospel, Fractured Minds: A Call to use God’s Gift of the Intellect
By Rick M. Nańez
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005) ISBN: 0-310-26308-5, $18.00 HB, 267pp.
A Review, Part I

The claim to the uniqueness or seminality of this title, as attested by the likes of Stanley Horton, J. P. Moreland, and Amos Yong (see Endorsements and Preface), only confirms some of the negative impressions non-Pentecostals have supposedly and stereo-typically held concerning the Pentecostal/Charismatic phenomenon.

Having been a participant in such circles for over five years, having brethren who remain or still partake in the fringes of such, and being an observer of the evangelical Christian sub-culture in general, much of Nańez’s book resonates with what I have either experienced or know. Nańez, himself a Pentecostal, undertakes, in this aptly titled volume, to call his kind to a reformed opinion and use of the intellectual faculties with which we have been created. And, as you might imagine, this is no small task.

Exposing the anti-intellectual bias within his camp, Nańez appears convincing enough to me; but, will it be enough to convince his brethren who hold entrenched positions within that camp? I think so. At least, I hope that it proves adequate to shake the insularity of their world - characterized by “power encounters,” “liberating emotional expression,” and “where robust leadership is encouraged and cultivated” (ie: though Nańez sees these as positives, I would propose that they are the very obstacles to his pursuit of a balanced Christian life.)

Nańez divides his book up into two sections: the first half, Anatomy of the Fractured Mind, deals with the history and origins of the problem; while the second half, Ammunition for the Full-Gospel Mind, attempts a reasonable defence of the uses of the intellect. He also provides an eclectic 15 page Bibliography, as well as handy Scripture, Subject, and Name Indices.

Friday, January 20, 2006

2005 Top Fiction Titles

Here are the Top Five Fiction Titles for 2005

1. Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice [1913]
First time read, and 3rd Austen.

2. Leo Tolstoy - Resurrection [1899]
Second reading of this Doukhobor-financing novel of redemption.

3. Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment [1866]
Second reading of this novel which portrays a truer anthropology than most.

4. Agatha Christie - Crooked House [1949]
Another novel of surprising anthropology.

5. Alistair MacLean - When Eight Bells Toll [1966]
4th reading (this time - to my son) of one of MacLean's classics.

And here, in no particular order, and to compensate for the lack of a proper top ten, are ten works of fiction which will receive honourable mention (though they are not in the class of - at least the top three - above):
Agatha Christie - The Mysterious Affair at Styles [1920]
The first Poirot mystery, and still worthy.
Agatha Christie - The Moving Finger [1942]
A nice treatment of the poisoned pen letter theme.
Agatha Christie - The Secret of Chimneys [1925]
She should have written more with Anthony Cade.
Ngaio Marsh - Overture to Death [1939]
Not up to Died in the Wool, but a pleasant read.
Michael Crichton - Disclosure [1993]
Dated, but his usual fast-paced read.
Robert Ludlum - The Bourne Identity [1980]
Much better than than the movie; too bad the same couldn't be said for The Bourne Supremacy, which I just couldn't be bothered to finish.
Robert Ludlum - The Scarlatti Inheritance [1970]
Nice debut. Doesn't read like a novel, but interesting plot.
Robert Ludlum - The Matlock Paper [1973]
Conspiracy! Scary! Unfortunately, dated.
Clive Cussler - Sahara [1992]
Read it before the movie, and was impressed enough to buy the rest of his.
Clive Cussler - Pacific Vortex! [1983]
Promising actual debut, though published later. Mediterranean Caper passed, but Iceberg ran the Cussler engine dry for a while.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

2005 Top Ten Non-Fiction Titles

These are, in order of importance, the top ten non-fiction titles I have read this year.

1. Paul M. Elliott - Christianity and Neo Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond, 2005.
A must read for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the reformed camp today.
2. James Bannerman - The Church of Christ, 2 vols., 2002 reprint.
The definitive text on the nature of the Church of Christ first published in 1868.
3. Heinrich Bullinger - The Decades of Heinrich Bullinger, 2005.
A classic text on reformed theology (in the shape of 50 sermons) finally in print again.
4. John MacArthur - Fool's Gold: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error, 2005
Timely collection of essays by Master's Seminary staff dealing with issues of alarm.
5. James White - Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible's Accuracy, Authority, and Authenticity, 2004
Another plank in White's continuing defense of reformation principles, this time expounding sola scriptura. A worthy compliment to The God Who Justifies, The Potter's Freedom, and The Forgotten Trinity.
6. Timothy Weber - On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend, 2004
An expose of the logical conclusions of dispensationalism.
7. David T. King - Holy Scripture, the Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume One: A Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, 2001
What the subtitle says! And how!
8. Don Kistler, ed. - Sola Scriptura!: The Protestant Position on the Bible, 1995
Collection of Essays. As can be seen, a significant (and profitable) subject of study for 2005!
9. John Piper - Counted Righteous in Christ, 2002
The imputation of Christ's righteousness for the justification of sinners! [contra Gundry]
10. Steve Wilkins & Duane Garner, eds. - The Federal Vision,2004
Primary source for the Arminian-leading heresy invading the presbyterian reformed camp.