- May 24, 2012
- By Staff, Baptist Standard
John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts, wanted to create a shining "city on a hill"—a New Jerusalem in the New World that would be an example of Christian virtue and religious practice nurtured by the state. Roger Williams, on the other hand, founded Providence Plantations in Rhode Island as a place of refuge for people persecuted because they followed the dictates of conscience. Williams envisioned a model where religious liberty would be protected by keeping church and state separate from one another.
Author John M. Barry traces early influences on Williams, ranging from noted British jurist Edward Coke to philosopher Francis Bacon, as well as examining the theological underpinnings of his views on soul liberty. Likewise, he notes how Williams' writings on freedom of conscience, individual rights and the separation of church and state influenced John Milton and John Locke, who—in turn—influenced Thomas Jefferson.
More than just a history lesson, Barry provides insights into the competing visions that still shape the religious and political landscape in the United States.
Ken Camp, managing editor
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook by J. Daniel Hays & J. Scott Duvall, editors (Baker Books)
The editors provide an overview of the Bible then organize the handbook into Old and New Testament sections, divide by general categories and subdivide by Bible book. Specific information for each book includes general background, the author, the audience, the setting, the heart of the book, the uniqueness, the message, applications for today and favorite verses. Supplementary articles and illustrations accompany the text. The handbook's final sections encompass "How the Bible Came to Be" and "Digging Deeper into the Bible."
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook offers significant information in a very appealing format. While an index might have increased its usefulness, the handbook is worth adding to the library of the Christ-follower who wishes to enrich Bible study or expand biblical knowledge.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman's Missionary Union of Texas
Love Food & Live Well By Chantel Hobbs (Random House)
In Love Food & Live Well, Hobbs applies a simple approach to weight-loss maintenance derived from biblical principles. As a professional life coach and personal trainer, she urges readers to focus on honoring God through healthy eating and fitness. This advice, combined with a simple eating plan and exercise routine, promises readers weight loss results that last a lifetime.
Love Food & Live Well does not offer breakthrough dieting formulas or quick results, but Hobbs' personal story and encouragement give readers hope that they, too, can lose weight.
Tameshia Williams, student
Dallas Theological Seminary