As this year is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, the people at Reformation Trust publishers have compiled a series of essays in his honor from an all-star list of authors, scholars, and pastors. The book offers current and historical reactions to the man and his work. One of the great things about this book is that, while it focuses on his work and contribution to theology (there are many great quotes!), it is also biographical in that it does not separate his doctrine from his life. One of the main lessons that can be gained from Calvin's life is his humility. This is often overlooked in many biographies. It is also important for the "neo-Calvinists" to learn humility so that they can clearly communicate their beliefs to those who differ with them. The only things about this book that were lacking were the slim treatment of Calvin's shortcomings (which I believe that he would have wanted us to learn from) and the annoying end notes (it is quite frustrating to have to turn to the end of the chapters to find reference information). This would be a fantastic introduction to Calvin for those who do not know a lot about him. I also hope that it will clear up some misconceptions about the man and his interpretation of the Bible. This should cause readers to want to purchase and read Calvin's work.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
I just finished reading This is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin. In many ways, this was unlike any other book that I have ever read. It fits into the “psychological self-help” category. The book is mainly about the various problems in brain chemistry that affect our daily lives. At the beginning of the book, there is a quiz to help determine which category the reader fits into. From there the reader is encouraged to go to their individual chapters. Each chapter ends with a variety of creative ways of dealing with various disorders. Movies, music, prayers, and Scripture references are included for each disorder. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with the book a whole. The author is not fond of using Scripture, the book as a whole does not resort to Scripture very often and the few verses that are quoted are usually taken out of context. Another problem is that the author seems to give too much leniency to sin, choosing to blame it instead on brain dysfunction. There also seemed to be a great deal of overlap in the questions – it made me wonder whether the data collected would be skewed. Finally, the book seems to be a large advertisement for a particular medical test called a SPECT Scan. In my opinion, the advice in this book should not be followed until it has been reviewed by your personal doctor.