Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder (Zondervan)
Unveiling Grace provides a true account of a family steeped in the traditions and theology of Mormonism 30 years. It tells how they finally were able to break ties with the Church of Latter Day Saints, eventually becoming active born-again Christians. The book reads like an intriguing novel, since the reader knows what is going to happen but has no idea how difficult the family’s separation from the LDS church would become.
The mother, Lynn Wilder, writes in a readable style with such honesty one feels not only her struggles and those of her husband, but also the challenges of their four children and their spouses. Since the Book of Mormon and related documents emphasize family relationships for eternity, there is no easy road to disassociation from Mormon doctrine. Only a sincere reading and study of the life of the biblical Jesus Christ makes this possible.
Mormonism teaches Jesus sweeps away sin, but he is not considered the Heavenly Father’s only begotten Son. Salvation does not come from his grace but in following the laws of the church and in believing Joseph Smith was God’s prophet. LDS doctrine teaches salvation based on works—not on the grace of God. So, Wilder writes about the “unveiling” of grace.
Ed Spann, retired dean
College of Fine Arts
Dallas Baptist University
Turnaround God: Discovering God’s Transformational Power by Charlotte Gambill (Thomas Nelson)
Charlotte Gambill, who serves with her husband, Steve, as pastors at Life Church in England, penned this work to remind us God is our help. Gambill majors on stories where God transformed situations.
She opens with an illustration from her own life. She recalled how she looked at a friend’s old barn and her friend said that was going to be her new home. It eventually was transformed to a beautiful home.
The Bible has many “turnaround” stories, Gambill insists. She cited the example of Jacob, who turned from deceiver to deliverer, as well as Abraham and Sarah having Isaac at a time when Gambill says they could have been “in a nursing home.”
The book implores readers to get involved with the Great Commission, encouraging Christians to turn lives around to Christ. Gambill emphasizes Christians can be turnaround instruments of God. This was an inspirational read.
Skip Holman, minister of discipleship
Northeast Baptist Church
Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History by Michael L. Gillette (Oxford University Press)
Fifty years ago, Lyndon Johnson became president of the United States following the assassination of John Kennedy. On that tragic day, history thrust Lady Bird Johnson into the unenviable role of following one of America’s most captivating first ladies. Over 18 years, the LBJ Library’s oral history program recorded 47 interviews with Mrs. Johnson. Director Michael L. Gillette added notes and footnotes and published the results in Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History. The book covers the first lady’s earliest childhood recollections through the White House years, 1963-1969.
Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor was born Dec. 22, 1912, near Karnack, in East Texas, into a genteel Alabama family. After losing her mother in 1918, she describes herself as a shy, voracious reader who developed deep compassion from her father. She tells of her early schooling and graduation from the University of Texas with a degree in history and journalism. She provides details of Lyndon Johnson’s proposal on their first date, their whirlwind courtship and impromptu wedding.
She takes readers behind the scenes of Congress, World War II Washington, controversial Senate campaigns, the 1960 Democratic Convention where Johnson accepted the vice presidential nomination, and the day he became president. She paints intimate portraits of John Connally, his wife, Nellie, and a host of her other well-known friends. And of course, she sheds light on her life with her husband, a man with whom she forged a strong partnership.
Oral histories can be challenging and tedious. Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History has those moments. Readers would be well-served to begin with sections that capture their interest and then fill in the background. Lady Bird Johnson’s words, offered with kindness and grace, provide unique perspectives and insights into a tumultuous period of history.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, first vice president
Baptist General Convention of Texas