Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort

There is really no secret in Comfort’s, “best kept secret”. Preach the Law and repentance before you present grace is standard fodder among those in the Reformed tradition. But among the revivalists and easy-believe advocates, getting a person lost before they get them saved is truly a missing piece of the gospel message. Comfort rightly rejects a man-centered gospel, which may fill churches but that doesn’t necessarily mean a soul has been brought to Christ. Beyond these positive points, Hell’s Best Kept Secret has little to offer. It was similar in tone to most manuals on witnessing, attempting to excite the reader about the task, mainly through examples of cold-turkey evangelism. Of a more serious nature is Comfort’s Arminian theology and obvious Pentecostal leanings. He is a big fan of Charles Finney while at the same time quotes Charles Spurgeon. He believes in power evangelism, the Pentecostal second blessing,...

Hedges by Jerry Jenkins

Jenkins is a gifted story teller and in Hedges he makes ample use of this talent. The book is a breeze to read, humorous, open, honest and unpretentious. Jenkins’ concern is how to combat moral impurity in the life of Christians, particularly men. His solution is to plant “hedges,” i.e. rules, boundaries, and practical safeguards, which will protect us from sexual sins. Jenkins offers his personal hedges as examples, including not dining, meeting or traveling alone with an unrelated woman, being careful about touching, complimenting appropriately, avoiding flirtation and recalling your wedding vows. Such hedges are wise and should be carefully considered by every believer who wants to walk in purity. Jenkins is also on target as he identifies common rationales, excuses and mind-games people play as they slide toward adultery (p. 27, 39-41). How many men think they are being original when they whine, “I never really loved...

Hearing God’s Voice by Henry and Richard Blackaby

Hearing God’s Voice is virtually a rehash of Henry Blackaby’s earlier work, Experiencing God. The thesis of both books is that “God created us for fellowship with him. He desires an intimate, personal relationship with us, so he will speak to us” (p. 15)! It is the last phrase of the above quotation which has become the trademark of Blackaby’s ministry. He has perhaps done more to promote subjective, mystical (nonclassical) Christian living than any modern noncharismatic leader. He co-authored this book with his son Richard and together they teach, “There is nothing more important in life than understanding when God is speaking to you” (p. 264). They have intimidated people into believing that if they are not hearing from God on a regular basis it is probably because of sin in their lives (p. 264). The Blackabys support their ideas through a combination of out-of-context Scriptures, personal experiences,...

Halftime by Bob Buford

Halftime is one of those useless books that unfortunately becomes popular in the Christian community. The concept is not without merit – how to live the second half of life. The thesis however is not how to live in godliness but how to go from success (in the first half of life) to significance (in the second half). Along the way Buford says very little that is biblical, much that is simply incorrect, and some that is truly dangerous. He over-generalizes, misquotes and fumbles almost every idea he presents. And yet some hail his book as a great read for the believer facing middle age and beyond. Too bad!...

God Talk by Ruth A. Tucker

God Talk is a daring, in-your-face confrontation with popular experiential Christianity. At every turn today, believers are being told to listen to the voice of God (either externally or internally), that the Bible is God’s frozen Word and must be supplemented by fresh words spoken to the individuals, that experience can be placed on a par with Scripture, and so forth. Tucker challenges this view of God’s communication and does so quite convincingly. As a matter of fact, Tucker says “the uniqueness of this book is its celebration of God’s silence” (p. 12), and affirms three primary propositions (pp 13-14): • Apparent experiences of interactive supernatural communication with God should not be perceived as a higher way or deeper spirituality. • Such a spiritual perspective too easily humanizes God, whose voice often begins to sound very much like our own. It fails to recognize our own subjectivity and self-absorption....

Future Grace by John Piper

Piper likes to shock. He makes statements, and creates phrases (e.g. Christian hedonism) that unravels his readers. His goal is to get our attention and provide a basis for changing the way we think. It works, but it also confuses. While I appreciate much of what Piper says, I have found that his readers interpret him in many ways. This is always true to some degree – we all put or own spin on what we read and hear, but Piper’s writings seem to lend themselves to this problem more than most. Why? Because he says things so many different ways. About the time you think you know what he is saying he addresses an issue from a different direction and leaves you scratching your head. Or he attacks a time-honored position of Bible teachers, replaces it with his own, then turns around later and softens his blows –...

Fresh Encounter by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King

Fresh Encounter is not as interesting, shocking or well written as the initial effort, Experiencing God, by these same two authors. Written in short, choppy sentences in a relatively simple style, full of Scripture (remarkably almost all misused) Fresh Encounter is sure to draw rave reviews from the many today who see revival as the only hope for the church and America. But like most books on the subject of revival this one has trouble pinning down a definition. Here are some efforts: “When your love for the Lord compels you to obey Him, then revival has occurred. When God returns to His people in power, His presence will be known and felt” (p.21). “Revival is a sovereign act of God, we cannot force Him to do anything. Yet in His sovereignty God has set forth the requirements for revival” (p.23). “Spiritual awakening occurs when large numbers of people...

Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart by Stu Weber

A few years ago the Promise Keepers officially endorsed the Masculine Journey by Robert Hicks, who drawing upon writings of a secular psychologist taught that men go through six stages of life. Promise Keepers after receiving heavy fire for the Masculine Journey due to its many unbiblical teachings and for its extreme, even raw discussion of sex, among other things, reluctantly, and not without parting shots, withdrew their endorsement of Hick’s sorry book. The apparent replacement is the Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart which, drawing on another secular book (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette), encourages men to develop four pillars of manhood. I will admit that Weber’s work is a vast improvement over Hick’s. He avoids the extremes, tells interesting stories, and even uses some Scriptures (although seldom basing any of his teaching upon it). And, of course, this is the major problem...

Foolproofing Your Life by Jan Silvious

Reading this book at the request of another pastor, who blamed it for some problems his church, was going through, I was fully prepared to run into a hornet nest of strange and dangerous teachings. I was pleasantly surprised to find this not to be the case. That is not to say that there were not a number of aberrant teachings and thoughts scattered throughout the book, but for the most part they were the normal ones that are found in almost all evangelical publications of this type. There were verses taken out of context or misinterpreted (Jere. 29:11-14 on pages 19, 76 and 189; Romans 8:26,27 on page 175; Luke 8:22-25 on page 183; Luke 4:30 on page 184). And of course a little psychobabble (self-image on page 36; dysfunctional family on page 100; a secular rather than biblical understanding of forgiveness, page 170-171). Throw in a little...

Fool’s Gold by General Editor: John MacArthur

Written by John MacArthur and seven staff members of Grace Community Church, Fool’s Gold? is devoted to the matter of discernment. Some of the more popular deceptions littering modern evangelicalism are identified and examined in light of Scripture including: The Purpose-Driven Life, Wild at Heart, contemporary Christian music and the New Perspective. These issues, and more, are bookcased with chapters by MacArthur on a call to biblical discernment. Fool’s Gold? is biblically sound and, even in areas in which there is more room for opinion, the authors’ position is well supported. One thing I appreciate about MacArthur and his staff is their willingness to strongly declare their views. Whether I always agree with them or not, at least I know where they stand. I also appreciate their willingness to tackle the hard issues that confront us today and to name names where needed. I find far too many in...