Some Recent Reads

July 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Books and Movies, Eschatology, Swimming, Theology | 2 Comments

I haven’t posted any book reports for a long time now.  Here are some recent reads that I found interesting:

100 Cupboards

Since my wife and daughter were reading this series and discussing it, I had to read it for the second time to keep up with the conversation.  I enjoyed it just as much as the first time.  I reviewed it here.

Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion, by Bob Schaller with an Introduction by Rowdy Gaines and a Forward by Jason Lezak.

The swimmers who wrote the Introduction and Forward made this look like a great read, and being a life-long swimmer myself, I couldn’t resist picking it up a while back.  Since this is an Olympic year, with Phelps back in the spotlight, I thought this would be a great summer read.  The information was interesting and I enjoyed that, but the editing was poorly done.  I noticed that the book was published in 2008 right after the Beijing Games, and I assumed it was quickly mass produced to take advantage of Michael Phelps’ popularity at that time.  Bob Schaller had written numerous magazine articles on Phelps, and this book must have been a compilation of some of those along with hastily scribbled notes from the 2008 Games.  For instance, numerous introductions of some key people, like Michael’s sisters, leave the reader with the impression the author is senile or each chapter was intended to be a separate article.  It’s no wonder I found it at the dollar store.  Maybe subsequent editions are better done.

Louis L’Amour

I hadn’t read any books by Louis L’Amour for at least 20 years, but when another swimmer at the Recreation Center loaned me a copy of The Last of the Breed, I thought I should get it back to him in a timely manner.  It was a great book – an exciting page turner.  The last one L’Amour ever wrote, and I’m sure a sequel was in his head somewhere.  It is the story of U.S. Air Force Major Joe Mack, who escapes a Soviet prison camp after his experimental aircraft is forced down over Russia.  If you like adventure stories and remember the cold war, this is worth your time.  It inspired me to pick up another L’Amour for a quick weekend read when I had some time away last week.  Called Milo Talon, it wasn’t as good as the first book.  However, L’Amour is a good story teller, and I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, by John Gerstner

This one has been on my shelf for a longtime.  Gerstner’s thesis, that Dispnsational Theology is mutually exclusive of Calvinism, fascinated me, but I’d never taken time to read the book.  It made me think more than any I’ve read in quite some time.  Gerstner begins with a historical presentation of Dispensationalism, and though it’s clear he doesn’t believe what he is presenting, his presentation was fascinating and seemed fair enough.  The section where Gerstner claims to show that Dispensational theology contradicts all five points of Calvinism was overstated.  He does demonstrate that the most popular Dispensational authors have some Arminian tendencies and do not agree with his understanding of Calvinism, but he fails to make his point.  Nowhere does he demonstrate that the tenants of Calvinism are exclusive of Dispensationalism.  However, in a later chapter, when the author asks the definition of a dispensation, he makes a strong point that Dispensationalists have changed their definitions over the years to avoid valid challenges from other Evangelicals, yet they haven’t yet corrected the problem.  Any definition given to the word changes the basic message of the gospel and opens up other means of salvation beyond the grace of God.  That chapter is a powerful refutation of Dispensationalism from a Calvinistic point of view.  Definitely a thought-provoking book that made me question what I believe on some of these issues.

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