Justin’s #61 – Supernatural: What the Bible teaches about the unseen world and why it matters, Michael Heiser, 224 pages

November 12, 2015 // 0 Comments

Well, you thought I was done reading in 2015? You were wrong. Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Heiser released a book called “The Unseen Realm” which I reviewed in September to high acclaim. I was quoted in this review on the Logos Blog; my conversation with Dr. Darrell Bock was quoted on the Faithlife blog, “5 Questions to Ask When You Encounter New Ideas in Biblical Scholarship.” Dr. Michael Heiser, a person I never expected to see my review, even left a nice comment on my review praising my “candor and the high quality of your perceptions.” All of this was really cool. It’s my dream (one that I don’t know if it will ever come to past) to have these kinds of discussions, but I was more overjoyed that people were reading what I wrote and thought what I said contained of some kind of academic weight. Anyways, with all of this, I couldn’t help but read Dr. Heiser’s book, “Supernatural.” It was the logical “next step.” Supernatural is a “cut down” version of the Unseen Realm. So it’s quite a bit smaller. But the premise is the same. I read the book on an extended bus ride in just […]

Justin’s #53 – Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, various, 224 pages

October 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

It’s always frustrating to hear on the news “Evangelicals believe..” because that term is either very generic or very specific depending on who you ask. I never really thought about it before, but the term “evangelical” is actually a highly contested term. As I read this book, I thought evangelicalism might be a lot like jazz. Jazz is a genre of music that has a variety of subgenres. So for example, when you say “I’m listening to jazz”, that doesn’t really tell you anything. Are you listening to latin jazz? Straight ahead? Fusion? Bebop? Free? The possibilities are vast in this world. In the same way, I think this book is a lot like that. There are many, many forms of evangelicalism and each has a particular view of what makes a person evangelical. What convictions does one have to hold to be an evangelical? Where are the boundaries and what is central? What of differing opinions? This is the beginning question of this book. How do we define evangelical? There are four views presented on the “spectrum of evangelicalism” that general editors Andrew Nasselli and Collin Hansen assembled, each with a different theologian to describe what is an evangelical. […]

Justin’s #48 – The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade, Philip Jenkins, 377 pages

September 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ever since I got this book last Christmas, I’ve been just a little skeptical of it. As I have mentioned in other reviews of mine, I have been on a huge WWI kick this year. This has been on my shelf for nearly a year and I just got around to reading it. Dr. Philip Jenkins thesis centers around the thought that World War I was actually not a political war, but a religious one. He invokes images of Christianized Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century as a type of Medieval landscape that went to war purely on the proposition of religious fervor. If you read this and are too skeptical, you should be. Mostly because I think that Dr. Jenkins argument is really weak. You’d have to read the book to get a full grasp on the argument, but what I thought was most interesting is that by the end of the book, the culmination of all the evidence he presents warps into an entirely different idea. At the beginning, he lays out the fact that World War I was a “religious crusade.” By the end, the conclusions he draws from the rest of the book […]

Justin’s #45 – The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, Michael Heiser, 368 pages

September 10, 2015 // 3 Comments

Well.. This book has given me fits since I picked it up 4 days ago. Yes, I read nearly 100 pages a day of this book, probably more in the first couple of days. This was the most thought provoking, thrilling, insightful book I have read all year. And I don’t even know what to think about it. I’ve been kept up at night because of it (as I write this at 11:00 PM and have to get up at 6:00 AM), I’ve sent emails (including one to Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas Seminary; he replied and schooled me), I’ve talked with friends.. So I guess what I want to accomplish with this review is NOT to say I support or don’t support Dr. Heiser’s conclusions, but merely lay them out. But please, before you read any further or judge the conclusions I’m about to explain: please READ this book. Even if you don’t agree, it is really quite interesting. Dr. Michael Heiser was in a graduate program when he was handed a Hebrew Bible by a friend and told to read Psalm 82:1. This is what it says: “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the […]

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