A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of, “The Fatal Flaw: Do the teachings of Roman Catholicism Deny the Gospel?” Kindle edition, by Dr. James R. White.

fatalflaw
I know this book has been around a while, and it isn’t a very big book, but it is new to me, and possibly to some of you. This is such a useful book, I figured you should know too. By now I think it is obvious that I agree with much of what Dr. White writes. I find his work to be accurate, nuanced, and properly tempered by scripture. It is scholarly, includes bibliographies of cited sources, and still completely suitable for the laymen. This book is no different. Dr. White cites long tracts of text from Vatican II, and the Council of Trent. This way nobody can claim that the citations were out of context, or twisted. The focus is on the Roman mass, and purgatory, as well as the ramifications they have on the work of Christ, the gospel, the authority of scripture, objective truth, the doctrine of justification, and your eternal destination.

I would recommend this book for your Christian library. I think it distills the essential differences between the Roman works righteousness system, and the true gospel of Christ, and His imputed righteousness. This book would be great as a hand out to people who are in similar cults, like Mormonism, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. They would be able to see their own doctrine as very similar to that of the Roman system.

You can get your copy of the kindle version here, or the paperback.  This ISBN number is for the paperback.

  • ISBN-13: 978-0925703101

“Sola Scriptura, the Protestant Position on the Bible” From Reformation Trust Publishing.

SOL01BH_200x1000
This book is authored by some of the top contemporary theological minds in Christendom. Each one wrote a chapter treating the topic of sola scriptura. The forward was written by Dr. Michael Horton. Together they present a cohesive, and convincing defense of the true doctrine of Sola Scriptura, or scripture alone as God’s authoritative indelible will, as opposed to the Roman Catholic position of magisterium, and tradition. The following list is of the chapter titles and their authors to give you an idea of how the book is laid out;

Chapter 1 “What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?” by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey.

Chapter 2 “Sola Scriptura and the Early Church” by Dr. James White.

Chapter 3 “The Establishment of Scripture” by Dr. R. C. Sproul.

Chapter 4 “The Authority of Scripture” by Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas.

Chapter 5 “The Sufficiency of the Written Word” by Dr. John MacArthur.

Chapter 6 “Scripture and Tradition” by Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson.

Chapter 7 “The Transforming Power of Scripture” by Dr. Joel R. Beeke, and Rev. Ray B. Lanning.

Afterword” by Dr. Don Kistler.

I appreciated the manner in which they dealt with all of the subtopics. Each expert did a fine job of astutely presenting the information. Unlike so many modern works, there was a bibliography at the end of each chapter, displaying their scholarly due diligence to cite source texts. The book was just long enough to be helpful, and not so long as to lose the laymen in the tall grass.

I would definitely recommend this book to your Christian library. It will aid you, and it is a great resource to lend out to friends, and family who may be unsure of what to think on the topic of sola scriptura. It is a great primer on the topic of sola scriptura. You will learn what it is, and what it isn’t. You will learn how we arrived at the conclusion, and why it is the right one. If you are a questioning Catholic, it could help answer some question for you, as to why your Protestant friends believe what they do, and maybe even convince you. It isn’t just for questioning Catholics either, you could give it to anyone who is in a false religion that relies on extra-biblical sources, and traditions for their doctrinal authority e.g. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern Orthodox, and many more.

The book is published by Reformation Trust. It is available on the following sites; Amazon.com Christianbook.com, and Reformation Trust Publishing.

ISBN-13: 978-1-56769-333-1

A Review of Joe Siccardi’s book, “Heaven Shining Through.”

heavenshiningthrough

I need to premise this review with the following, I base my final judgment on a Christian book on whether or not it would add significant value to the individual’s Christian library. This novella seems to be skirting the secular, and Christian realms without boldly being in either. It was kind of like an episode of the Michael Landon series, “Highway to Heaven.” It tugs at the heartstrings of Protestants, and Roman Catholics. In my opinion, this is its failing. If it were merely a secular work with the occasional mention of faith, I would have a different opinion. As I understand it, this is intended to be a Christian work.

Without giving any spoilers, this book is a tear jerker. Siccardi tells a story that gets the water works going. I felt for the main character Samantha. She had some great times, and some sad times. It is set back east in the 60’s and 70’s. The story telling moved along, and didn’t make me sit through long tracts of boredom. I thought the author did a good job of bringing the female lead to life in this story, but I am also a middle aged man. I wouldn’t attempt it, but Siccardi did. I don’t think he did a bad job of it. I enjoyed the sacrificial love her husband demonstrated to her, and for her. I think it is what made her character understand real love. It also paralleled her father’s love for her, in light of her mother’s ineffective demonstration of love that seemed to rely on reciprocation, which is not true love at all. I think this theme was well played out, but could have culminated in a direct preaching of the gospel to her mother.

It is a story of reconciliation, but in my estimation leaves out the more important reconciliation, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to justify sinners to a holy God. In the progression of the story there were more than a few opportunities to preach the real gospel of reconciliation, and make the distinctions between it and the false gospel of the Roman Catholic tradition. I know many folks have heard, and repeated the idiom, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” This is falsely attributed to Francis of Assisi. It is also blatantly unbiblical. The Lord Himself commands us to preach the gospel to all the world and make disciples of all men. This by definition requires words. Jesus is the word made flesh. Jesus used words, and so did the Apostles. To preach requires the use of words. I’m not saying that Siccardi used the above quote in his novella, but it seems that principle was employed whether consciously or not.

To be clear, the Roman Catholic tradition relies on the practitioner’s works righteousness by keeping the sacraments. This is akin to the pre-incarnation works righteousness of the Jewish sacrificial system. In contrast the Biblical gospel is that we are fallen sinners in Adam our federal head. If we die in our sins, we will be sent to Hell for eternal punishment by God, who is holy, righteous, and just. In His mercy, and love, He has made a way for guilty sinners to be saved from Hell, and justified to Himself, without violating His justice. Jesus is the incarnate second person of the eternal triune God. He lived a perfect sinless life, was righteous, and in obedience to the Father, and love for His Church, went to the cross of His crucifixion, where the wrath of God was poured out on Him, instead of us. He who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. He took our punishment on Himself, and atoned for our sin. He expiated it, and when we repent of our sins, and trust solely on, and in Christ, His work on the cross, we are justified to God, by grace, through faith. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. We are born again, and translated from death to life. We will be with God for eternity. If you haven’t already, I urge you to repent, and believe.

Would I recommend this book? I would recommend it as a secular work of fiction, with some redeeming qualities. I would not recommend it as a Christian book. So if you are a Christian looking for distinctly Christian fiction, I would look somewhere else. If you are a Christian, and are looking for a quick e-read, and don’t mind a P.G. rating, this is an emotionally compelling story, that can get you crying, unless you are a heartless fiend. If you are not a Christian, you might be offended by some of the faith content, but then again, there is no pleasing you, is there Frank!? So, with everything that I mentioned in mind, I enjoyed the story. It may not be up to the standard of being a seminal Christian classic, but it was a good story, and did demonstrate sacrificial love, and reconciliation of estranged family.

“Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith” by Dr. Joel R. Beeke.

knowingandgrowinginassuranceoffaith

If you are a Christian, you’ve probably had questions about the topic of assurance.  We’ve all had doubts about our faith at some point in our growth.  While nobody can give you assurance of your salvation, this book can help you, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;” 2 Corintians 2:5a (NASB)  Dr. Beeke cites the Bible, and the writings of some very astute Puritans, and their explorations of this topic.  The book is very logically organized, and walks you through a process, by which you can examine yourself, if you are having questions about your salvation.  He unpacks where some of our problems come from, and what we should know to help us on our way.  This is one of the most accurate, and helpful books I’ve ever read on the topic.  If you are having difficulties with your assurance, I highly recommend this book.

You can pick up a copy at any of these sites; Reformation Heritage Books, Christianbook.com, and Amazon.

ISBN-13: 9781781913000

I am really enjoying, “Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion” the Banner of Truth edition as translated by, Robert White.


I just got a copy of the Banner Of Truth edition of, “Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.” This edition is the last one he wrote. He wrote it in French and it has been translated into English. I have another edition from Hendrickson that was earlier and translated from Latin into English by Henry Beveridge. I have to say, the Banner of Truth edition that was translated by Robert White is much more accessible. I’m enjoying it. It is much easier to follow and read. It is almost like reading a modern work. I highly recommend it if you have ever wanted to read Calvin, but found the Latin to English translations difficult. I’ve been told by a very educated man that Latin is a comparatively small language. I can see how the difference between the source material being written in French provides for the English translation being as easy to read as it is. If you don’t have this edition, go Get it.

Get your copy on Amazon.

A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of, “This Dangerous Book” by the Greens, Founders of Hobby Lobby.

IMG1 (9)
I know this review is going to seem negative at times. Please realize this has more to do with my expectations, and subjective bias. I’m a stickler for theology, and evangelism. I also prefer more academic works. If you are like me, you will find this review helpful. If you are a layman and have more of a superficial interest in theology, then this review won’t be that relevant.

This Dangerous Book” has a provocative title, with an implicitly lofty goal which can be inferred from this statement on the cover, “How the Bible has shaped our world and why it still matters today” I had hoped that it would more thoroughly treat the topic of the Bible, and its effects on human history. I was somewhat disappointed. It did not live up to my expectations. I was expecting a much larger, well fleshed out, academic treatment of the topic. This book could have been edited down to be an introduction to a book on the topic instead. It could have also been a brief book on the efforts of the Greens to collect Biblical artifacts for their museum, or the personal experiences of the Greens in regards to their faith. The Greens attempted to do all three in a book that is only a couple hundred pages long. The book didn’t accomplish any of them to my satisfaction.

In my opinion, books that add value to the Christian library must meet some criteria. The main attribute I look for is whether or not the book is Christ/gospel centered. They should also be; evangelistic, exclusive, (exclusivity of Christ) theologically orthodox, intellectually stimulating, educational, reasonable, and well bibliographed/annotated.

This book would only be educational to the laymen. It gives a basic overview of the history of the Bible, and its effects on mankind. The Green’s expressed their desire to present the Bible without any bias. They even had their collection displayed by the Vatican without a note of distinction between Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. I was disappointed with their ecumenism, and their efforts to keep the book, and museum, from being overtly evangelistic. The personal stories of the Greens were encouraging and inspiring at times. The theology of the Greens was not fully expressed. I think this was in an attempt to have a broader audience. Because of their ecumenism, desire to have a wide appeal, and brevity of the treatment of the implied topic, the book fails to meet my requirements for a valuable book.

That’s not to say that there isn’t any value in this book. There are books that many Christians would find interesting, but not necessarily worthy of their personal libraries. Books like these are more for entertainment. They are the types of books you read and then give away. This book falls into that category. As such I can recommend it. If you have some spare time on a weekend, and are not in the mood for something more substantial, this book would fit the bill. The writing is interesting. The personal experiences the Greens write about hold your attention. Their enthusiasm for the Bible is commendable. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it won’t thrill you. That is one of the great things about books. They are as varied as the authors and readers. If you like to write about something, there will be someone who wants to read about it.

What the book gets wrong; it is too ambitious for a book that is approximately 200 pages. It will have limited appeal to academia. It is more of a primer of the topic of the Bible’s affect on history.  For the title it talks too much about the Green’s experiences, and their Bible museum. It doesn’t make a clear gospel presentation. It demonstrates the Green’s flawed approach to ecumenism. It isn’t a book that will be read over and over again, or used for reference. It is a read once, and give away type of book.

What the book gets right; it will appeal to the wide varied masses of folks who profess to be Christian, including cults and groups that aren’t. It is a decent primer for anyone who has given absolutely no thought to how the Bible has shaped human history. New Christians might find it encouraging. Anyone who wants to know more about the founders, and owners of Hobby Lobby will enjoy reading about them.

I was sent an extra copy of this book to give away on my site. If you would like to have this copy, please leave a comment on the page and e-mail me your address so I can send it to you if you are the winner. This give away is only open to people who live in the continental U.S. I will select the winner personally based on my own personal preferences 🙂

A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of, “When my Ox Gores my Neighbor: Using Hermeneutics to Travel from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Zion” by Josiah Nichols.

oxgore.jpeg

I was contacted by a mutual friend to do this review. Up until that point I had not heard of Josiah Nichols. This would be the first work that I have read of his. It might also be his first published work. It isn’t a long book, nor is it a book that requires a seminary education to read. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate how he employs hermeneutics to interpret, and derive applications from Exodus 21:28-32. The book is very evangelistic. I would say that it has been far more evangelistic than many theological books that I’ve recently read.

From reading the title, and the author’s intended goal treating the topic of hermeneutics, I expected a more in depth primer on hermeneutics, and a demonstration of the analytical methods of hermeneutics on the cited verses. While the author accomplished this goal, I think occasionally the author also got a little lost in some peripheral details.

It is also evident that the author is a big fan of Wretched Radio/TV and their work. Todd Friel is the host of the programs as well as the podcast. The people over there at Wretched have put out a number of very useful videos, and educational products. Josiah refers to, “Hermen Who?” numerous times throughout the book. Wretched should thank him for the plug 🙂 I liked both the book, and Wretched. I am a big fan of their work to, so I share that with the author.

The questions I consider for book purchases are, is it theologically accurate, and will it add value to the individual’s Christian library? That’s it. That’s how simple it is for me to decide, “yes” or “no” for a book. The answer to the first question is, yes this book is good and accurate if you are Reformed in your soteriology. If you are not, it is still accurate, and you are the one with the problem lol.  As far as value goes, it does add value to your library as a resource to loan out. This book is evangelistic. I would feel good handing this to someone who is new in the faith. It will teach them a bit about hermeneutics, and much more about other doctrines of God.

After reading it, I am still hard pressed to categorize this book, or write a more fitting title. The author does analyze Exodus 21:28-32. He does so accurately. He did not twist the scripture, or impose a meaning on it that was not intended by the author of scripture. It would be educational for a new Christian. I believe that was his intended audience. I look forward to seeing Josiah’s future projects. I think we will see bigger and better works from him. He was precise and nuanced without being rhetorical. Some theological books for laymen seem as if the authors had forgotten who their audience was. If Josiah reads this, “Keep up the good work.” You can pick up a copy of his book at Amazon, Christianbook, or Westbow to name a few. It can be purchased from many other online book retail sites.

ISBN-13: 978-1512782530