Book Reviews: Love Written in Stone

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Love Written in Stone: Finding God's Grace in the Boundaries He Sets by Philip Carlson (Bethany House)

Of the literature available for Christian edification, studies on the boundaries of God are not commonplace. Philip Carlson provides in Love Written in Stone a compelling, encouraging and truthful look at the physical, emotional and spiritual health benefits of God's law and love.

Written by a medical doctor/senior pastor, this book offers insight into the areas of science and theology and the way God designed us to interact with all of creation.

Laced with brilliant quotations as well as personal parables, Carlson weaves a tapestry of the beauty of God's creation, without sacrificing biblical priority or belittling scientific discovery. Humor, wit, woe and joy all help illustrate the benefits of God's law and the very practical reasons why we still should consider it relevant.

No Christian should shy away from God's law as a thing of the past, to be apologized for or ignored. Instead, by delighting in his law, we reap the holistic benefits of following his will. Love Written in Stone is a "must read."

Cody Hamilton Nygard,

associate pastor

Yegua Creek Evangelical Free Church


The Living Church by John Stott (IVP Books)

Evangelicals worldwide lost a giant when John Stott died July 27 at age 90. Fortunately, death has not stilled his voice, because we still have the benefit of his many books. One of his latter works focuses on characteristics of the living church, based on his more than 60 years experience as a parish minister at All Souls Church in London.

Stott shows little patience with the idea of an "unchurched Christian," calling such a solitary figure a "grotesque anomaly." Christ created the church to be a living and growing entity characterized by discipleship, ministry, worship, evangelism and fellowship, Stott insists.

As a skilled communicator, the author offers many of his observations and recommendations in the form of lists—four characteristics of true worship, five paradoxes of authentic preaching and 10 principles of Christian giving.

Stott does not shy away from controversial subjects such as women in ministry or appropriate styles of worship, but he avoids extremes and phrases his observations so graciously and inclusively that Christians on opposite sides of the issues may find themselves nodding in agreement with his wisdom.

While Stott offers a special word to young ministers, his message is applicable to both clergy and laity of all ages.

Ken Camp, managing editor

Baptist Standard


The Shelter of God's Promises by Sheila Walsh (Thomas Nelson)     

Former 700 Club co-host Sheila Walsh adds her voice to the women's personal devotional/Bible study market. The Shelter of God's Promises explores God's promises related to 10 life topics—promises, provision, peace, confidence, love, grace, hope, strength, home and more.

The author begins each chapter with a scriptural promise. She then amplifies each verse through Bible stories, well-researched examples and personal experiences. The book offers a view into her own struggles as she makes herself vulnerable to help readers work through their difficulties and challenges.

The Shelter of God's Promises should appeal broadly to adults, primarily women, who seek shelter in the midst of life's storms. For those temporarily navigating calm seas, the volume provides guidance for assisting others through the high winds, relentless waves and driving rain of stormy days.

The Women of Faith speaker appends an extensive personal Bible study to the book. The publisher also makes available separate DVDs and guides for both participants and leaders who desire to use The Shelter of God's Promises in a small-group setting.

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Woman's Missionary Union of Texas



The Practice of Repentance by Woody D. Wilson (Cross House Publishing)

The Practice of Repentance by Woody Wilson will challenge any serious follower of Christ to see repentance as more than an act of turning away from a sin committed. Repentance is an act of turning away from our proclivity toward sin. This will release us not only from the guilt of a sin, but also will release us from the power of that sin. Wilson uses the term "repenting repenter" based on Luke 9:23 "… take up the cross daily."

The author graphically illustrates his teaching with 12 diagrams, beginning from the "root problem of sin" to "praying through the cycle of sin broken by repentance." These diagrams illustrate the seven-fold process of repentance, from the root problems of sin to a renewed root system that produces the fruit of true repentance.

Wilson adds an exercise for each chapter—"Putting Repentance into Practice"—to help the reader internalize the teaching.

This is a good book for anyone who wants to learn the spiritual disciplines of real repentance.

Leo Smith, retired executive director

Texas Baptist Men


Has the Church Replaced Israel? by Michael J. Vlach (B&H Academic)         

The relationship between the church and Israel is not just a hot topic in theological circles. It is a deciding factor on which eschatological lines are drawn.

Anyone interested in end-times fulfillment deserves to have a competent guide with which to weigh the arguments made by all parties involved in the debate of the Jewish future. Has the Church Replaced Israel? is just that guide.

Michael Vlach writes with authority and expertise much more fitting in a seminary classroom than a coffee-table discussion. His insight and citation are voluminous. His arguments are thorough and blunt.

This book is not a polite chat over simple subjects. Vlach presents the future salvation and restoration of a physical Israel on the grounds of God's sovereign election, his faithfulness to his promises, and the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament authors.

Has the Church Replaced Israel? is an in-depth study on God's relationship with his original people. Read this book with a dictionary in one hand and a Bible in the other.

Cody Hamilton Nygard,

associate pastor

Yegua Creek Evangelical Free Church


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