Resources on Book Reviews

Booknote: “The Preacher’s Catechism” by Lewis Allen

By Charlie Wingard · January 5, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Many years ago someone pointed out to me that one of the principal values of a catechism is to teach us to ask the right questions. Since the 17th century, the Westminster Shorter Catechism has taught believers to ask the right questions about the Bible, the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, man’s duty to God, the way of salvation, and the means of grace (the preaching of the word, sacraments, and prayer). Employing the Westminster Shorter Catechism as his model, Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism helps ministers ask the right questions about life and ministry. The book’s 43 brief chapters, each in question and answer format, are divided into four sections: The Glory of God and the Greatness of Preaching…

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Booknote: My Year in Books (2018)

By Charlie Wingard · December 31, 2018 · 3 Comments
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When I finish a book, I add it to my annual “books read” list. My 2018 list is at the end of this post. I don’t have a detailed reading plan – I select books based on interest and recommendations. I also use commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and systematic theologies as I prepare two weekly sermons and one Bible lecture. Since I seldom read these cover-to-cover, I don’t include them in the list. 2018 was spent in Romans, Exodus, 1 Timothy, and a December morning and evening series in Isaiah. What follows are some of  my 2018 reading highlights. Several of my comments come from booknotes I wrote earlier in the year. Every year, I read a few substantial volumes in…

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Eyeglasses, Reading, and Thanksgiving

By Charlie Wingard · November 17, 2018 · 0 Comments
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My day begins with putting on my eyeglasses; it’s the very first thing I do. Most of the time,  I do it without thinking. But occasionally, when I pick up my eyeglasses, I remember that I am holding one of God’s most precious gifts to me. Eyeglasses are a relatively recent development of the human story. David Landes writes that the invention of spectacles more than doubled the working life of skilled craftsmen, especially those who did fine jobs: scribes (crucial before the invention of printing) and readers, instrument and toolmakers, close weavers, metalworkers. The problem is biological: because the crystalline lens of the human eye hardens around the age of forty, it produces a condition similar to farsightedness (actually…

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Booknote: “Local People” by John Dittmer

By Charlie Wingard · November 8, 2018 · 2 Comments
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Names like Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Vernon Dahmer should be as familiar to Mississippians as those of Washington, Lee, and Grant, and Mississippi school children should be as  a acquainted with the events surrounding the assassination of Medgar Evers as those of Abraham Lincoln. History buffs should possess the knowledge to trace the strategic battles for civil rights in Mississippi with as much attention to detail as they give to the battles of the Civil War. John Dittmer recounts that conflict well in Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Covering the pivotal years of 1946-1966, the author tells the story of the heroic efforts to end Jim Crow segregation and secure voting rights for African American citizens.…

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Booknote: “Watchfulness” by Brian G. Hedges

By Charlie Wingard · October 5, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Believers must be watchful, ever alert to spiritual danger. From Jesus’ “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” to Peter’s “be sober, be watchful; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” the New Testament sounds an alarm calling God’s people to spiritual watchfulness (Matthew 26:41, 1 Peter 5:8). Given the ample scriptural admonitions to spiritual watchfulness, the number of Puritan sermons and treatises  devoted to the discipline of watching is unsurprising. What surprises is the contemporary lack of interest in an area of vital concern to every believer. Therefore, I’m grateful for Brian Hedges’ Watchfulness: Recovering a Lost Spiritual Discipline. He argues that “watchfulness is as necessary to a healthy…

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Booknote: Bioethics and the Christian Life by David VanDrunen

By Charlie Wingard · September 13, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions, by David VanDrunen. Wheaton: Crossway, 2009. Christians grappling with beginning and end of life issues will welcome this fine book by minister, attorney, and theologian David VanDrunen. He asserts that “[b]ecoming a morally responsible bioethics decision-maker is the task of a lifetime and cannot be reduced to figuring out the right answer at a particular moment of crisis. Bioethical decisions must be made within the context of lifelong growth in Christian maturity” (15). He is persuaded that “having a firm and knowledgeable theological foundation is crucial for living the Christian life well” (17). The pages that follow reveal a solid grasp of scripture and Christian doctrine, as well as…

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