God’s Grace and Justice…

“He [God] cannot extend mercy without justice ; this would be to ignore sin and would be evil . God Himself meets the demands of the law on behalf of the sinner . Christ Jesus the righteous becomes the rebel in order that the rebels may become righteous.”

John Caldwell, Three Things the Devil Hates: Spiritual Warfare from a Biblical Perspective.

The Church is…


“The Church is a constant reminder that God is on the throne. The Church is a signpost which points to the glory of God. The Church is a testimony that God is in the business of rescuing souls from the kingdom of darkness. The Church is a constant reminder that Satan’s kingdom is toppling and one day shall be completely overthrown.”

–  John Caldwell, Three Things the Devil Hates: Spiritual Warfare from a Biblical Perspective.

Reconstructing the Gospel

When I first saw the title ‘Reconstructing the Gospel’ I was very intrigued.
Was this book going to say that we have gotten the gospel wrong?
Was it going to suggest ways in which we could ‘fix’ the gospel?
However, these questions were not the content of the book instead it was more of an analysis of the American church with the history of what Wilson-Hartgrove describes as ‘slaveholder religion’.

Possibly one of the problems, when I was reading the book, was that the racial division that Wilson-Hartgrove speaks of in regards to the American church is unfamiliar to me. Being a Scot I haven’t seen the division within the American church over race, but only heard of it.

However, this book does give a good insight into the racial issues that seem to be unfolding within the American church and it is a helpful insight for people, like myself, who maybe don’t fully understand the situation.

The first half of the book is the author’s journey about how he came to see the racial history of America and the damage that it has caused. Whilst this part is interesting, it can be quite confusing and somewhat jumbled. But the second half of the book, when Wilson-Hartgrove gets to the gospel, it is more thought through and structured.

Wilson-Hartgrove’s premise is that the racial history of the U.S. is a problem that is preventing the gospel from reaching different groups of people across the racial divide, whilst this might be true in the U.S. (something I can’t comment on) I’m not sure if that is the real problem.

The problem seems to be that, in the past, people have used Christianity and the Bible to justify slavery and the ill treatment of slaves. However, the problem is not with the gospel but the problem is with the corrupt hearts who have misused and misapplied the gospel.

Wilson-Hartgrove says that ‘a gospel that doesn’t confront racism is no gospel at all’ whilst racism is obviously the point of this book, I think the problem of people misusing and misapplying the gospel is far wider than just racism. A gospel that doesn’t confront sin and humanities fallen nature is no gospel at all. Christians need to learn from the past and learn not to read their prejudices into the Bible, nor exegete it according to their culture, but take the Bible as it is the Word of God.

Rating 2/5

City Lives

City Lives by Marcus Nodder

Have you ever wondered if you are the only Christian in your office? Or have you ever heard that Christianity is only for those who are weak and need a crutch to be able to get through the struggles of life? Or are you wondering how to respond to some difficult questions that people might have about Christianity?

If so, here is a great little book for you to read.

Marcus Nodder has drawn together the testimonies of people from all areas of city life and put together this helpful book ‘City Lives’. This book is a great way of dealing with difficult apologetics questions, whilst listening to someone’s story along the way. Over the years I have read many different apologetics books many for them written for different audiences for example new Christians, sceptics, people asking questions about Christianity and youth.

Yet I haven’t read many books that find the balance between facts / evidence and light reading. One of the purpose of any apologetics book should, hopefully, be to equip the ‘average Christian’ to answer and wrestle with some of the difficult questions in life and faith.

City Lives, on the other hand, is not just another apologetic book that is full of facts and statistics, but is instead it speaks about the impact that the message of Christianity has had on people lives. In this short and very readable book you’ll hear the stories of sports professionals, medical professionals, law professionals and a contestant from the Bake Off and many more people who have wrestles with some of the hard questions concerning faith and life.

This book addresses questions concerning the Bible, concerning the goodness of God, suffering, the purpose of life, the identity of Jesus and the evidence for the Christian faith.

This book is a breath of fresh air and an uplifting read because it contains 14 accounts of how the good news of Jesus has changed people’s lives.

The stories are not just of those ‘big names’ that always seem to be writing some new book in the Christian world, but also ‘normal people’ like you and me. From Judges to footballers, from bank executives to PA’s, from business owners to bake off contestants, listen to their stories and see how Jesus has changed their lives.

If you’re looking to be encouraged in your faith, or if you’re searching for answers to difficult questions, or even if you want to have an easy give a way book City Lives would be a good start on all fronts.