Book Review: SCREWTAPE LETTERS By C.S. Lewis


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Author: C. S. Lewis
Publisher: Geoffrey Bles, 1942
Reviewer: Chinwendu Emenike

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way of escape.”

Every Christian must pass through one temptation or the other. But we should rest assured that God’s grace is sufficient for us to overcome the temptation.
Screwtape Letters is a collection of letters written by an experienced tempter Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood, who was assigned to a new convert to tempt him in all manner of ways that God, (whom Screwtape refers to as The Enemy), allows. This book is actually richer and deeper than the number of its pages suggests. It’s not just your normal “playtime book”.

Let’s take a look at the main characters.
SCREWTAPE: The experienced tempter, writing letters to his nephew, Wormwood. He, with experience, has gathered enough knowledge, tactics and skills to successfully deceive believers. He gives advice to his nephew, which he (Screwtape) believes should help his nephew capture the “patient” and take him back to the devil’s (who is referred to as “our Father”) camp.
WORMWOOD: the exuberant tempter seeking advice from his uncle on how to deal with the “patient” in his care.
My favorite character is Screwtape. This is because of his subtility in dealing with his patients (believers). I believe that if Wormwood had taken to his advice wholeheartedly, would have been successful in his endeavors.

When I picked up this book, I had no idea that I was embarking on a journey of discovery. With each page comes knowledge, accompanied with a lot of “ahas” and “hmms”. The book has allowed me to take a peek into the enemy’s “book of temptations”– as I would have loved to call it.

Though the book is not the Bible, I recommend that it not be rushed or just skimmed, but studied carefully; as it is said, “a delicious meal is best enjoyed slowly”.
I don’t have a particularly favorite place in the book because every page is filled with hard truths. This book is for every Christian passing through diverse trials and temptations, and even for those who think they have it all going smooth for them spiritually. It’s a must have for everyone.

Book Review: IS GOD A MORAL MONSTER? By Paul Copan


Author: Paul Copan
Publisher: Baker Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8010-7275-8
Reviewer: Ikenna Nwachukwu

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The Old Testament of the Bible often baffles the modern reader with its descriptions of ancient places, materials, customs and traditions. The average person living in today’s world would struggle to picture the scenes and events its words seek to portray, or understand certain actions that it makes casual reference to. For many, the Old Testament is filled with weird, difficult to comprehend things; they’d rather stick to the New Testament, which seems much easier to handle (partly because it has less talk about strange rituals and customs in it).

But the Old Testament is more than just a collection of odd stories from a mind-bogglingly distant past; it records what Christians believe to be the beginnings of God’s interaction with mankind, a process which reaches its crescendo with the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which the New Testament is preoccupied with. And because the Old Testament is so important, it is vital to pay attention to what it says.

In the book Is God A Moral Monster?, Philosopher and Theologian Paul Copan takes a critical look at one contentious issue that is often discussed about the Old Testament by believers and unbelievers alike- its portrayal of God. In the eyes of some, it presents God as fear-inspiring, violent and vengeful- a sharp contrast to the love and compassion He shows in the New Testament. He destroys whole societies in His wrath, and demands slavish dedication (or so the critics claim) from the people He calls His own. He subjects a community to draconian laws and makes them struggle under the weight of impossible rules. How, the unbeliever asks, can one reconcile this image of God with that of one who lets His one and only son die so that mankind would not perish?

Copan argues that the God of the Old Testament has been misunderstood. Readers have looked at the Bible’s portrayal of God and judged it based on a modern set of rules, with little or no understanding of the social and cultural contexts and symbolisms that form the background to its stories. It is this wrong mode of interpretation that Copan attempts to put right in his book.

Copan examines general and specific claims made by skeptics about God being brutal and even malevolent in His dealings with humans in the Bible. He tackles issues arising from the harrowing account of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac after being ordered to do so by God (and its alleged connotations of child abuse) , the wiping out of the Canaanite population by Israel, the status of women in Hebrew society, and the Bible’s treatment of the practice of slavery. He carefully reconstructs the accounts, situates them in their historical context, points out the not-too-obvious but relevant symbolisms they were meant to convey, and establishes a view of morality as pushed by the Bible (and the Old Testament in particular) that is liberating and awe-inspiring.

Beyond being a response to skeptics’ misgivings about the morality of the God of the Bible, Copan’s book is also a reaffirmation of the notion that morality can only be consistent when it is founded upon belief in God. It also reminds us that although the Old Testament holds a lot of lessons for Christians, we must take cognizance of the fact that its symbols point to Jesus Christ, in whom all the requirements of God’s law are fulfilled.

Book Review: MIRACLES By C.S. Lewis


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Author: Clive Staples Lewis
Publisher: Harper Collins
Reviewer: Ikenna Nwachukwu

Seas parting to let humans pass through. Fire falling from the sky. A dead man coming back to life. Miracles.

The Bible tells about such happenings, and we see them as interventions from God, demonstrations of His power over all of creation, and proof of His sovereignty. We are awed by them. But the skeptic will see things differently. He will scoff and laugh it all off as myth, as something belonging with the league of fairytales.

In his book Miracles, C.S. Lewis challenges the disbelieving attitude to miracles put up by many of the intellectual type and much of the modern world. He tackles the widely held notion that supernatural occurrences are impossible, and establishes that the basis for such skepticism is not a deep knowledge of science and the laws of nature, but on a misconception of the basic ideas that underpin our understanding of nature and its workings.

Rather than dive straight into proposing reasons for believing in miracles, Lewis starts off by addressing the worldview held by the unbeliever. This worldview, he says, is what gives rise to the idea in the mind of the skeptic that miracles don’t happen. He identifies this as naturalism, a basic belief that the physical world is all that there is- as opposed to supernaturalism, which argues for the role of causes other than factors in the natural world (such as a God). But then he points out that naturalism, which doesn’t allow for a God to have His say in the natural world’s workings, is a faulty way of looking at existence. Naturalism tell us that physical causes lead to physical effects, but it doesn’t help us capture those events in communicable ways, or explain why we can even think about such processes rationally. In short, he says, naturalism cannot tell us why rational thought is possible, since it only proposes material things as causes- and the mind, which thinks, is not physical. Consciousness, Lewis asserts, must have an origin that is ‘out of this world’.

Lewis’ argument from reason helps prepare the ground for a detailed examination of the objections to miracles often cited by those who do not believe. He makes the interesting point that miracles aren’t necessarily “violations” of the laws of nature; they are uncommon events which are traceable to a divine agent, but are also explainable as occurrences that happen through natural processes. He says that miracles give the impression that the natural world can, and occasionally is, “tampered with” (by a divine will), so that outcomes in those instances seem to be glaringly unlike what we would expect from nature operating as usual.

Miracles has a lot in it for anyone who is searching for arguments in favour of believing in the supernatural. It can also serve as a great gift to a skeptic friend; it could set them on the path to thinking differently not just about miracles, but about their worldview, and the possibility that they could be better off having faith in God and in His goodness.

Book Review: HOUSE by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker


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Authors: Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
Publisher: WestBow Press
Year of Publication: 2006
Pages: 192
Reviewer: Beatrice Ani

It’s a House, abandoned in a deserted environment. Empty physically, but not truly empty, it’s demon infested, holds mysteries, presence, memories and dilemmas. In a single word, it’s haunted. Ted and Frank centre this fiction on events that occur before the crucifixion of Christ; his betrayal/denial, the fierce battle we encounter daily in our hearts/minds, the purpose of Christ’s death, His resurrection and the Devil’s defeat afterwards .

The novel begins with White, also known as tin Mask- the devil himself -analysing the aforementioned “House”, his next venue for murder. White’s basic agenda is to lure people into deserted buildings, manipulate them to play his game (mind game) to his satisfaction and then kill them by dawn. Just as every game has a rule, his are as follows:
House rules: 1. God came to my house and I killed him. 2. I will kill anyone who comes to my house as I killed God. 3. Give me one dead body, and I might let rule two slide.

Despite White’s zeal and power to kill every living Human, there are still specific kinds of humans he couldn’t kill- the sinless/innocent. His victims must be sinners. And He strongly believes that all humans are guilty (sinners), until he meets Susan, An innocent young girl who finds herself in the building. White can’t kill her because of her innocence and her great knowledge. He keeps her hostage for three days, lures other victims, four to be precise, and begins to manipulate them. He asks them to kill just one person (His third rule) in order to make the second rule slide. His chosen candidate is Susan the innocent one. When the others don’t kill the girl, White decides to do so himself; then he realises his mistake, just as the devil did after crucifying Christ. Her death actually sets the other captives free.

Two major characters in the novel, Jack and Stephanie Singleton, are led into White’s trap while on their way to a marriage counselling session. Their marriage, though troubled by differences they have been unable to deal with, is restored as they emerge from the grave dangers of the house. They are saved from White’s deadly game by Susan, whose self sacrifice gives them a new chance to live.

The novel’s allusions to the ministry of Christ and the salvation that he wrought is hard to miss. It has an interesting and attention gripping plot, and more importantly, a message of redemption that shines through it, especially at its end.

Book Review: REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers


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Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher: Multnomah
ISBN: 978-0-553-29368-5
Reviewer: Ifejesu Adewunmi

I read this novel- Redeeming Love. I really loved it!
The book retells the Biblical story of Hosea and Gomer, as a romantic saga which plays out in the United States in the mid 19th century.

Here’s a summary: Angel, a strikingly beautiful woman, is the product of a broken home. She had a father that loathed her and had another family. She lost her mum at a very tender age. As a result of that, she was forced into prostitution. She sold her body for a place to sleep and food to eat. Michael Hosea was a man who had committed his life to serving God. God tells him to marry Angel.

At first, Angel dismisses him as one of the numerous men who were smitten by her beauty (or driven by lust) and would say anything to have her. But Hosea keeps coming back. He doesn’t give up in spite of all the negativity because he heard God. Angel  is unable to comprehend what anyone would want to do with her – a wretched sinner like her. She feels unworthy. She doesn’t believe that the pure and holy God would even know she exists. She keeps running away from God’s love. God’s unconditional, redeeming love, God’s love that never fails, His irreversible, irrevocable love.

When I read Redeeming Love, it got me thinking. I was like just like Angel. I feel I have to earn God’s love. I have to actually work for it so the equation will be balanced.
The journey of Angel to accepting God’s love really helped me realize that God’s love doesn’t depend on me.

You really should get the book. Not one second I spent on the book was wasted.

Book Review: THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD By N.T. Wright


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Author: Nicholas Thomas Wright
Publisher: Fortress Press, 2003
ISBN: 0-8006-2681-8
Reviewer: Ikenna Nwachukwu

Our faith as Christians is founded upon the historical fact of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. Paul famously pointed out that if Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, “we believe in vain”. But while we affirm that Christ did resurrect, skeptics seize upon perceived inconsistencies in the Biblical account of his return from the dead, and declare that it is difficult for any thinking person to accept the story. They say, in essence, that we ought not to believe in the resurrection, let alone build our lives upon it. As far as they are concerned, when people die, they stay dead. The story of the resurrection of Jesus is for them a wild myth, or even a fraud.

In The Resurrection of the Son of God, Nicholas Wright takes up the challenge of answering the unbeliever’s questions about the resurrection. Wright, who is regarded as one of the finest theologians (if not the finest) alive sets forth his argument in favour of the reasonableness and believability of the resurrection accounts in this scholarly work that has a quality that is hard to match. He systematically charts a course (gulping over 800 pages) that aims to point out that the conclusion reached by the ancient Christians about what happened to Jesus in the days following his crucifixion was the most reasonable of the alternative interpretations of the events, in view of the available evidence.

The book begins with a survey of the beliefs about death (and the possibility of resurrection) in ancient Judaism and paganism. Wright ploughs through the myths and traditions from the world before and in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and shows that the perception of a bodily resurrection in practical, real life terms by the cultures of the time would not have differed markedly from ours- they would have regarded reports of a resurrection with skepticism, even scorn. It was in that setting that the Biblical story played out, the one in which the disciples, going against the grain of popular commonsense, declared that their master had come back from the dead.

After reconstructing the cultural background of the resurrection story, Wright goes on to the detail of the actual event. He examines clues of the gospel account’s genuineness, addresses objections to the event’s historicity, and deals with doubts raised about the witnesses’ state of mind. The result of this exercise is more than just a rebuttal of old and new challenges to traditional Christian beliefs about the living Christ; it is a powerful restatement of our faith in him as the Son of the Living God.

The Resurrection of the Son of God is a brilliant book. However, it doesn’t lend itself to everyone- because not everyone is a fan of dense volumes that contain more than a handful of references to Greek myths and ancient Jewish traditions. But if you want more than just the regular diet about Jesus’ death and resurrection you get from Sunday school classes and Church sermons, this book is for you.

Book Review: THINK by John Piper


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Author: John Piper
Publisher: Crossway,
Year of Publication:  2010
Pages: 226
Reviewer: Ikenna Nwachukwu

John Piper feels that much of modern Christianity, especially the evangelical movement, has developed a rather frosty relationship with thought. The church emphasizes sense experience and emotionally charged encounters with the Divine, and encourages the faithful to seek the Lord who reveals Himself through a still small voice, in acts of provision and protection, and yes, through scriptures. But there always seems to be a warning attached, a warning not to approach the word with the philosopher’s mind, with the haughty style of the intellectual who tries to question the Almighty’s sovereignty and wisdom. We are to read the Bible with reverence, bow humbly before its contents, and get on with the job of being obedient doers of the word.

But Piper thinks this way of dealing with the Bible’s message, and the whole way of life it reflects and produces, doesn’t do much good for Christians. His point is that Christians should have a healthy thought life, one that brings glory to God through its robustness. Not thinking through what the Bible is actually saying to us, is dangerous. A lazy, emotional approach to the word results in flawed interpretations of it, false doctrines, and outright heresy- things which plague Christianity today. Christians who do not engage God’s word and the culture that surrounds them by examining them with the tools of systematic thought end up being unable to speak confidently about, and in defense of their faith when confronted by skeptics. Sometimes, even the simplest question about what they believe throws them off balance.

Think begins autobiographically. Piper shows us how thinking for him has been a practice of devotion to God, and how his intellectual pursuits have yielded some of the most profound moments of worship in his life. He turned to full time ministry when his academic project covering the book of Romans ignited a passion in him for the truth of the gospel. 
In the next few chapters, Piper points out that reading literature (including the Bible) involves thinking- trying to make connections between symbols, words, sentences, ideas and themes. Thinking also plays a great part in the process of coming to believe in Jesus (potential converts have to weigh the options before taking the “step of faith”).

The extremes of thought are dealt with within the book as well. There’s an examination of the dangers of anti-intellectualism, and the problems it brings about for modern Christianity; there’s also a warning about approaching God’s word cynically and spitefully. The author’s submission at the end is that thinking to glorify God is not only possible, but a command. It doesn’t apply to meditating on Bible text alone; it embraces “all learning, all education, all schooling, formal or informal, simple or sophisticated”.       
Think is a call to Christians to become more aware of what they believe, and how they believe. It is an appeal to the believer to use the mind God has given them as a tool, not only to properly divide the word, but also to love and worship their maker. Thinking is worship- when it is done to the glory of the Creator. As Piper says, God has given us our minds, so that “we might seek out and find all the reasons for treasuring Him in all things and above all things” (Page 15). There is real joy to be experienced in doing this.

Book Review: The POWER OF RIGHT BELIEVING By Joseph Prince


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Published By: Faith words, Hachette Book Group, New York,
Publication Date: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4555-5314-3.
Reviewer: Adeleye Olaoye

Are you drowning in a pool of your fears? Does guilt and addiction limit you from walking in the path God has destined for you? Look no further because they answer lies in a book inked by Joseph Prince, titled The Power of Right Believing.

What’s the book about? Its aimed at liberating  the mind on fear, guilt and addiction using seven main keys. These seven main keys  are:
1. Believe in God’s Love for you
2. Learn to see what God’s sees
3. Receive God’s complete forgiveness
4. Win the battle for your mind
5. Be free from self- occupation
6. Have a confident expectation of good
7. Find rest in the Father’s love

This book which its foundation are built on God’s love and right believing will change your beliefs on “so-called” standards set by the church- rules which suggest that once you sin, God can’t and won’t listen to you or won’t want to be around you. This book sets fire to such beliefs, and programs new belief codes into your system- if you’ll let it.

Why do you need to have a copy of this book? It’s interesting, practical, written in easy and simple English, has practical biblical stories with verses to back his theory up, key highlights of phrases to drive his point home and diagrams to make it a little bit colourful.

If you don’t like reading books like me because they bore you and make you sleep, I urge you to just take a glance at this book for thirty minutes and let the book do the rest. But if you are a nerd and love to read books (especially ones from Joseph prince), then I need not explain further. The Power Of Right Believing is  divided into seven parts and 21 chapters, and contains 348 pages only. Anyone can read it, regardless of their gender, class, age or denomination (disclaimer: THIS BOOK IS NOT A RELIGIOUS BOOK). And you don’t really need to make a hole in your pocket to get one.

In conclusion, if your power of limiting factor for years has been fear,guilt and addiction, then this book is for you. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your copy now!!! (in the voice of the typical Nollywood movie trailer).