Book Reviews: Classic Christianity

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Classic Christianity by Bob George (Harvest House Publishers)

Like many, I have been blessed in the past by Bob George and his insights into the Christian life called Classic Christianity. The truths recorded in the Bible and illuminated by the author are timeless and necessary if we are to be all God desires us to be. In our busy schedules, we tend to forget who we are and who God is. We slip back into a spiritual drought of our own making. The author’s long experience as a Christian counselor and Bible teacher enables him to clearly show the way back to the “real thing” God intends for each of us to experience in Christ. These reasons and many others have led to a reprint of Classic Christianity.

I found that the letters written to the author through 20-plus years were a source of personal encouragement to me, as well. The simplicity of the gospel is foundational to the spirit and truth expressed by Classic Christianity.

Read again about being “Busy and Barren,” “Putting the Pieces Together,” being “Free From the Yoke of Slavery” as well as “Freedom in Dependency.” All of these are the simple tools of our faith Bob George brings back into spiritual focus.

It is worth your time. You will be refreshed.

Leo Smith, executive director

Texas Baptist Men


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Don’t Miss the Blessing by Jo Ann Paris Leavell with Rhonda Harrington Kelley (Pelican)

When she was first lady of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, God gave Jo Ann Leavell a unique ministry to student wives. Remembering the challenges when she married Pastor Landrum Leavell, she began sharing with the women each Tuesday evening. She turned her original sessions into a book in 1990.

Rhonda Kelley, who attended the classes as a newlywed herself, became the seminary’s first lady in 1996 when her husband, Chuck, assumed the presidency. She added her special touch to the course and joined her mentor in updating the book.

The two women fill the pages of Don’t Miss the Blessing with sound theology, thoughtful philosophy, practical examples and concrete ideas for the wives of ministers. Topics covered include everything from keys to fulfilling the purposes of marriage to friendship within the congregation to hospitality, budgeting and time management.

Pithy quotes and memorable statements punctuate the text. A personal check-up and prayer conclude each chapter, and an appendix offers a wealth of information on etiquette, table settings and additional resources.

Leavell and Kelley write primarily to challenge ministers’ wives not to “miss the blessing.” However, their book should be on the list of “must reads” for ministers and laity who seek to understand the roles, responsibilities, rough spots and, yes, blessings of the minister’s spouse.

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas



Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told by Bradley R.E. Wright (Bethany House)

The national media and various Christian leaders often cite statistics that depict negative perceptions of Christians. Are these statistics true? Are things really as bad for Christianity as their sources proclaim?

Bradley Wright, University of Connecticut sociologist, breaks down statistics from the last few decades and submits a very different and more positive portrait of American evangelicals than most will find in the newspapers and even in the pulpit.

Why the discrepancy? Wright contends it is not because reporters in the media are necessarily anti-Christian, but the sensational or unusual story sells. Pastors and Christian lecturers tend to preach from negative statistics about Christians because they are also trying to “sell” an idea or challenge the church to see how bad things are in order to live counter to the statistics.

Wright is seeking honesty—some of the data does portray glaring areas where Christ’s people need much improvement.

Read this alongside Wilkens’ & Thorsen’s Everything You Know About Evangelicals is Wrong (Well, Almost Everything) to gain a clearer picture of perceptions of Christians within and without the church family.

Greg Bowman, minister to students

First Baptist Church



365 Reasons Why Getting’ Old Ain’t So Bad by Karen O’Connor (Harvest House Publishers)

This delightful little volume can be read in a single setting or stretched out over 365 readings. The author finishes the statement, “Getting old ain’t so bad, because …,” with statements that will make you laugh, cry and sometimes think. The author interlaces Scripture, humor and simple logic like “playing jacks or jump rope with your grandkids brings out the child in you.”

No matter what your age, you will enjoy O’Connor’s writing. It’s a book you will be able to go back and refer to often. It will make a good volume to sit by your cup of coffee and read a page or two. Some of the quips are worth writing out and posting on your refrigerator door, such as: “Gettin’ old ain’t so bad, because the best is yet to come—So keep going till you get it.”

Leo Smith, executive director

Texas Baptist Men




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