Thursday Book Review – The Shepherd of Hermas

Hello again, beloved brethren, I hope you’re week as been a pleasant one so far! Today I want to return to the 2nd century in our book reviews with The Shepherd of Hermas. This book can most accurately be compared to an early church version of The Pilgrims Progress. The entire book is an allegorical tale of a man saved by the grace of God, and attempting to live a Godly life. It was popular with the early church, quite a bit life Pilgrims Progress was for so long. Similarly, I imagine as the comparisons no longer connected with generations the book ceased being as popular, like we sadly see today with Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress.

The books structure is really interesting, and certainly set it apart from all the other 2nd century writings I’ve read. There are three sections, the first being visions, the second mandated, and the last parables. Thankfully the main character, Hermas, is just as confused by everything he sees as the reader is reading it, so he asks many questions about all the symbolism seen. This helps the plot continue, and has a bit of a comical bent to it, though I’m not sure it was supposed to.

Although we’re not sure who wrote this book, many believe it was a man named Hermas. Whoever it was, he did a wonderfully imaginative job of depicting the Christian life, the church, and Christ’s love for His church. I think this book is great for anyone studying the early church, or anyone who loves allegories. I was really encouraged by the books theme of taking sin seriously, something our world is desperately lacking. Being that it’s so very old it’s in the public domain which means you can read the pdf for free here, listen to the audio book here, purchase the cheap kindle book here, or get your own copy of it here. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!

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Thursday Book Review – Truth Chronicles The Theif

Hello beloved brethren, I hope this post finds you all doing well! Kayliegh and I finally finished the fourth book in the six book series The Truth Chronicles. It’s been a busy couple weeks, but any free time we had we spent reading. It was well worth the read! If you missed the other book reviews you can find them here, here, and here.

Book four finds three of the four youths born again believers, with one still one the fence. The science fair is coming up again, and the group has paired off to invent some truly amazing projects! Once again you get that feeling that science is way cooler than text books can do justice. Since reading this book Kayliegh has done more science experiments then I can keep up with! She wants to build, experiment, and learn all about science, owing mostly to the practical application shown in these books. It helps that the main characters are young, which gives the reader a sense that they too can be a great inventor.

My favorite part of book four was the integrity shown by the two main characters who seemed to have feelings for one another in past books. As they’re both Christians now, the young man describes how they came up with a plan to avoid temptation. This is exactly the type of message youth groups need to hear! As always, there’s also a clear Gospel presentation in this book. The conflict moves past the evolution vs creation debate in this book, to become more about the meat of Biblical truth. The message is deepening with the arguments, and you see the evangelical outreach spread past the four main characters to other kids they know.

All in all I can’t recommend this book enough, particularly for youth groups and young people. If you have teenagers read it with them, as it gives a particularly accurate depiction of what our young people face when sharing their faith. You can find the kindle version here, or the entire book series here. As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – If Animals Could Talk

Beloved, I’m very excited to review this book today! A while back I heard brother Todd Freakishly Tall Friel read portions of this book on his radio program Wretched and immediately went and purchased the kindle version for Kayliegh. Most of you know we homeschool, and apart of our homeschooling routine is the devouring of books. We literally read chapters in at least 7 books each day, including the Bible. Very rarely are we so blown away by a book that we drag daddy into the room to hear it. This, friends, is one of those books.

If Animals Could Talk by Dr. Werner Gitt is written in first person, as if the animals were talking. Each animal takes time to detail the majesty and wonder of its make up, the fascinating characteristics that were given to them by God and why. It’s so loaded full of facts that you could turn every paragraph into a lesson! But it doesn’t feel like work when you’re reading it, it feels like you’re adventuring with each creature in its own habitat. This book pulls you from your couch and casts you into the ocean with blue whales, or into the depths with the earthworm. Each chapter shows you the tremendous care and attention God has given to His creation, while glorifying God for His handiwork.

I recommend this book to everyone, young and old. This book would make a wonderful gift for any little one celebrating a birthday, especially with its beautiful pictures. You can find the kindle version here and the paper back version here. I’ve got a whole stack of little ones that are getting this book for Christmas this year! Beloved, if there’s a book out there you’d like to recommend for us we’re always open to suggestions! As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – The Rescue

The past few weeks Kayliegh and I have been reading through the six-part book series The Truth Chronicles. I’ve been reading ahead, as I usually do, as I’ve found there are parts of any book that a 7-year-old is not ready for. This week I finished the third book, titled The Rescue. I’ve found that this book series just gets better and better, filled with excitement, adventure, science, apologetics, and evangelism.

In the third book, the friends make a daring rescue and bring a fifth person along with them on their next trip back in time. A third member of the four-person teen team comes to faith in Christ, leaving one lone friend still holding out. This book brings apologetics face to face with evangelism, while bringing the flood of Noah into the mix. There’s also more discussion of astronomy, which is yet another scientific field where Creationists have made some pretty fantastic points against evolutionism.

With a surprise ending that warms the heart, this is my favorite book so far in the book series. I’m so thankful that the writers put the Gospel into each book, while also answers more and more of the questions and refutations against the Bible. It’s as if they took the Answers Book series and turned it into a grand adventure! I can imagine no better way for young people to be encouraged to share their faith, educated about Creation, and equipped to answer evolutionists. I highly recommend this book to all youth groups, young people, or adults who work with children. This would be a great summer read for teens and preteens, or mature younger children. I haven’t had this much fun reading since my first time through Pilgrims Progress. You can find book three here, and the full set here. I pray these books are a blessing to you, beloved! As always, dear brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – The Contest

Last week, dear ones, I reviewed a book series Kayliegh and I had started. We managed to finish the second book this week, they’re not very long. The Contest is the second book in the six book series ‘The Truth Chronicles’ written by AiG’s Tim Chaffey and Joe Westbrook. The book series centers around four teens, one of which is a creationist.

In book two one of the three unbelieving friends becomes a Christian, and I particularly liked how the fruit of their salvation was focused on. While the teen has now bowed the knee to Christ, they still aren’t sure about creationism. In this book the four teens come up with a contest that involves returning to the same time period in the past as they did in the first book. There they’ll review what they would expect to find if Evolution or Creation were true.

The book ends in a cliff hanger, and we’re very excited to start the third book. One thing that I commented about last week was the puppy love in the first book. There was next to none of that in the second book so there were no googalie-eyed paragraphs that needed to be skipped for Kayliegh’s sake. However, what was present in this second book was more apologetics, particularly in regards to Jax’s anger at God due to the death of his father. They also answer more questions often brought up by evolutionism. I highly recommend this book series to youth groups, or any young adult in your life. It has a high focus on science, integrity, hard work, and Christian Creationism. You can find the full series here or this book here. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – The Truth Chronicles Book I

Beloved, I want to tell you about a book series I’m reading with Kayliegh right now. The Truth Chronicles by AiG’s Tim Chaffey and Joe Westbrook is a six book series. Kayliegh’s always looking for an adventurous book, and this series certainly provides that. We’re on the second book, so I’ll just be reviewing the first book. The Time Machine is the first book in this series, and it deals mainly with one of the youths anger towards God for the death of his father. All the while the teens challenge themselves to invent something amazing for a science fair, where their adventures begin.

This book is apologetically designed, creation centered, with moments of evangelization happening between the four youths. Only one of the four is a Christian, and throughout the book she’s praying for wisdom on how to lead her friends to Christ. There are moments of fearful excitement, a few of which might be too frightening for younger audiences. I read this book to Kayleigh, and skip the moments of puppy love between the characters. If you are, like me, a proponent of courtship as apposed to the unbiblical practice of dating, then there will be some contention with this book series. While no one is currently dating, there’s a lot of youthful talk of it.

All in all this book series has been a great find, truly one of a kind! It has opened up more conversations with Kayleigh about apologetics than any other book she’s read. It’s funny and adventurous enough not to become a cheesy storyline, and any youth you know that’s interested in science is going to adore these books. I would mostly recommend this book for preteens and teens, or youth groups to read together, although a mature child of a slightly younger age is still going to love it. Dear friends, if you have any books you’d like to recommend for me, or Kayliegh, we always love to add more to our lists! You can find this book on Amazon or as a set at the AiG’s site. As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review- Second Apology of Justin Martyr

Friends, as I was beginning to write a review this morning about Justin Martyrs Dialogue with Trypho I realized I had never finished my review of his Apologies. My review of his First Apology can be seen here.

The Second Apology, written some time between 150-157 AD, is a short book addressing Christian persecution from Urbicus. While it is important for us, as believers, to read the early church writings, they can be difficult. When we become saved God gives us this beautiful gift, love for the brethren. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt. That’s what makes Foxes Book of Martyrs so difficult to read. It’s often the same with these early writings, as the church was being hotly persecuted at the time.

Justin’s Second Apology is also beneficial from a historical viewpoint, which is why I would recommend it for anyone who is not a Christian as well. If you are learning about Rome, or teaching that era in homeschooling, these Apologies are excellent resources. Although I would suggest they be read to older, more mature, students being that they contain persecution which might be frightening for younger ones. For example, Kayliegh is 7-years-old, and while she’s very mature for her age, I’m waiting until she’s older to give her these books as lessons.

One last thought, just as an aside, if you have lost friends or family who love history I think these Apologies could be a great springboard into the Gospel. People love to hear about gladiators and other secular facts which happened around the same time as the early church. Just an idea, if anyone has some of those more difficult folks in their lives to share with, the ones who love learning but never come to the Truth. Because these books are so very old they are in the public domain, yay! This means, of course, that you can find it in Online, Audiobook, kindle version, and a very inexpensive paperback. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.