Reading Challenge Book Reviews

I'm using Goodreads to do something of a reading challenge this year (I want to try and read 50 books but we'll see!). So from time to time I'll post some mini-reviews of what I've been reading. See if there's something for you.
1. Confident: Why We Can Trust the Bible by Dan Strange and Michael Ovey

This was my half-term read and it was great.

Confident by Michael OveyDan and Mike were my lecturers and college and I think they've brought out a brilliantly helpful book to help Christians be confident in the Bible.

The first half has short, punchy chapters which addresses how Christians might discuss the Bible and it's authority with unbelievers - the main point here is an apologetic getting people to think about their ultimate authority and the plausibility of biblical authority. The second half has longer chapters addressing some of the questions about Scripture we might find bubbling around Christian circles (certainly useful in terms of Church of England circles) - the challenge here is to reflect in our Christianity the attitude of Christ to the Bible.

It's a sharp book with clear arguments and helpful engagement with the the Bible text itself. In particular, it's a book for our times, addressing the questions we have about the Bible now.

2. Unbreakable: What the Son of God Said About the Word of God by Andrew Wilson

Unbreakable by Andrew J. WilsonThis is largely a good a clear little book dealing briefly with aspects of the doctrine of Scripture, e.g. Inspiration, Canon, Sufficiency. It's written in a very easy to read and approachable style and the method - going to Jesus first for his view - will be compelling.

I have three concerns, which dropped my rating slightly. The first is that Wilson assets from experience the existence of ongoing prophecy and doesn't distinguish this from Scripture (he makes it clear we don't need anything else for salvation, but beyond that doesn't seem clear). Secondly, in the final chapter he warns against bibliolatry and while I understand his concern he seems to separate the Spirit and Scripture in an unscriptural way. These two concerns are not uncommon when dealing with charismatic views of Scripture, but I'm not sure they do Scripture or the Spirit justice. Finally, and less significantly, Wilson recommends N.T. Wright's Scripture and Authority at the end, which I would be cautious about, given Wright antipathy to inerrancy.

Sadly, those three issues would make it unlikely that I would give this book to someone as a start point on the doctrine of Scripture despite its many strengths.

The Silencing by Kirsten Powers3. The Silencing by Kirsten Powers

In many ways a fascinating catalogue of examples of what Powers calls "the illiberal left" shutting down debate, shaming opponents and limiting free speech. This is striking from Powers give she would see herself as a part of the liberal left. It is largely written in an American context, but refers to some British examples.

I think the weaknesses of the book are that the catalogue becomes a bit repetitive and Powers doesn't do much analysis of the how and whys of the situation, but a thought-provoking read.

4. Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus
by Rifqa Bary

Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow JesusI received this for Christmas and it's a great read.

It tells the story of Rifqa Bary, a girl in a Sri Lankan Muslim family who converted to Christianity after the family moved to America.

The book is beautifully written - has a way with words. Her story is gripping, moving and primarily a powerful testimony to the work of God. The study questions at the end help to get you thinking about some of this issues.

As someone seeking to shine for Christ in a Muslim area, it was both eye-opening and informative.


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