Ephesians: God’s Eternal Glory by Preston Taylor (Xulon Press)
Pastors and/or teachers are constantly at work making the truth of God accessible to the folks we serve. The simple gospel can seem complex when we begin to outline it, exegete it, compare it and analyze it.
Preston Taylor has a unique gift of writing so that God’s word shines through in its full glory even as he illuminates it with clear illustrations from everyday life. His latest work, Ephesians: God’s Eternal Glory, is another masterful exploration of the richness of Scripture that is both faithful to its meaning and eye-opening in its beauty as he takes the reader on a verse-by-verse guided tour. I always am blessed by the unique way this dear brother uses his foreign missions experiences, the common challenges we face in the local church and his broad knowledge of God’s creation to show me things I never had seen, even in countless readings over many years.
This book is a rare treasure because, in addition to Ephesians, it includes his work on the books of James and 1 John. He handles them with the same loving hand, always seeking to point the reader to a better and closer relationship with the Father.
This book should be an important and permanent part of the library for anyone who loves God’s Word.
Jerry Barker, pastor
First Baptist Church
The Shack by William P. Young (Windblown Media)
The Shack is a riveting story of a man who has seen tragedy that caused him to doubt the love and even the existence of God. The story is God’s attempt to reconcile with him. I want to be very careful to not to give away any of the plot, because it is worthy of reading without knowing what comes next.
This is a book you have to think about, however. I don’t agree with all its concepts, and some I’m still pondering. But William Young was able to couch some concepts in terms that brought some hard things into focus for me.
This is not, however, a book I would give a new Christian or even a long-time, im-mature Christian. The book takes on the very hardest of questions, and the reader would be better off if they were spiritually mature enough to say, “Yes, I agree” or, “I don’t know about that” and even at times, “No way.” I especially disagreed with the harsh picture painted of the church and organized religion.
As I read the book, I thought of people I know who are going through a tumultuous time in their relationship with God and who could benefit from reading this book. Some I later crossed off my list. But for others, I think this would be an excellent reminder that they are intimately connected to a God who loves them personally and deeply.
This is a really good thought-provoking book, but it must be thought about and not merely accepted. It needs a “For Spiritually Mature Audiences Only” label.
George Henson, staff writer
Rebekah Ann Naylor, M.D.: Missionary Surgeon in Changing Times by Camille Lee Hornbeck (Hannibal Books)
For an entire generation, Rebekah Naylor has personified Southern Baptist medical missions. For 35 years, she served Bangalore Baptist Hospital in India as missionary surgeon and administrator. Stateside now, she continues to work on special assignment with the International Mission Board.
From the time Naylor enrolled at Baylor University in 1960, through her years as a medical student at Vanderbilt University and surgical residency at the University of Texas South-western Medical Center (from which she was the first female graduate), and continuing throughout her missionary career, she wrote her parents in Fort Worth. Fortunately, her mother not only saved all 4,091 letters, but also cataloged them in chronological order.
Drawing from that voluminous correspondence and multiple interviews, Camille Lee Hornbeck paints a vivid word-picture of a living legend. But while Hornbeck’s admiration for Naylor seems unmistakable, she presents her subject as fully human and doesn’t shy away from the paradoxes in Naylor’s personality. She’s presented not only as a fearless single woman in a male-dominated, unfamiliar culture, but also as one who is deathly frightened of rodents, roaches and snakes. She devoted her entire adult life to selfless service among the poor, but she delights in fine food, beautiful clothing, classical music and elegant jewelry. Patients know her as a gentle and soft-spoken healer, but coworkers testify to her ability to be a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense administrator.
Any Christian would benefit from reading this inspirational story of a life fully surrendered to God’s calling.
Ken Camp, managing editor