What Christians Believe (book review)

C.S. Lewis remains my all-time favorite author. His ability to explain concepts of theology is unparalleled in both his own time and into modern times. What Christians Believe is a classic case in point. 

During World War II, the BBC was looking for something both inspirational and educational to carry on their airwaves to the British troops abroad and the war-weary British citizens on the home front. They discovered a little-known professor of literature that presented something so fresh and revitalizing that his notoriety immediately skyrocketed throughout England! Part of what he presented as a series of audio essays for the BBC is captured in this book What Christians Believe

One of the things I enjoy about Lewis is his ability to simplify complex topics without feeling like he is “talking down” to you. What theologians had made so complex and out-of-reach to many of the uneducated, Lewis made accessible to a vast audience.

If you have a friend or family member that has asked you about your Christian faith, but doesn’t see to “get it” when you explain it, the short essays in this book may be just the thing to get the conversation started again. Better yet: read the chapters along with them and then get together for a time of discussion. I think you will be pleased with the doors that C.S. Lewis may open for deeper understanding and more productive conversations about your Christian faith. 

10 More Quotes From “When A Nation Forgets God”

Erwin Lutzer shares valuable history lessons in his book When A Nation Forgets God. In this book, he reveals some scary parallels between Nazi Germany and the current trends in the United States. To help bolster his case, Dr. Lutzer shares many historical quotes. Here are a few of them.

“The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment—or as the Nazis like to say, ‘Of blood and soil.’ I’m absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other of Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.” —Victor Frankl, psychologist and Holocaust survivor

“It would be misleading to give the impression that the persecution of Protestants and Catholics by the Nazi state tore the German people asunder or even greatly aroused the vast majority of them. It did not. A people who had so lightly given up their political and cultural and economic freedoms were not, except for a relatively few, going to die or even risk imprisonment to preserve freedom of worship.” —William Shirer, in The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” —Benjamin Franklin

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same words we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.” —Abraham Lincoln

“This generation is not accidental; each step logically follows from what has preceded: the loss of the Bible leads to the loss of God, for in the Bible God is most clearly revealed; the loss of God leaves man at the naked mercy of his fellows, where might makes right.” —John Warwick Montgomery

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!” —Adolf Hitler

“Create a critical mass of people who cannot discern meaning and truth from nonsense, and you will have a society ready to fall for the first charismatic leader to come along.” —Richard Terrell

“The desire to believe something is much more persuasive than rational argument.” —Winston Churchill

“The magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.” —Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf

“There is no problem in the wider culture that you cannot see in spades in the Christian Church. The rot is in us, and not simply out there. And Christians are making a great mistake by turning everything into culture wars. It’s a much deeper crisis.” —Os Guinness

You can read my review of When A Nation Forgets God by clicking here. And I also shared some quotes from Dr. Lutzer, which are posted here.

5 More Quotes + 2 Graphics From “The Beauty Of Intolerance”

This is the fourth set of quotes I’ve shared from Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell’s book The Beauty Of Intolerance. You can check out the other quotes here, here, and here; and if you missed my review of this book, please click here to read that.

“Respecting the boundaries of sexual morality and prohibitions for extramarital and premarital sex does bring protection and provision. Here are just a few ways it does this:

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“Although sin has separated us from God, His original intent for us and the reality that we were created in His image have not changed. What we do or don’t do may distort that image, but our worth to God as human beings never changes.”

 “So how has Christ loved you? He values all people for their inherent worth and offers grace freely to all people without exception. Cultural tolerance, on the other hand, claims to accept everyone’s differing beliefs, values, and lifestyles, yet it qualifies that acceptance. …  What distinguishes God’s unconditional acceptance from that of our culture is authentic love. His love is intended to make the security, happiness, and welfare of another as important as His own. It is other-focused, not performance-focused. … Real valuing of another’s personhood expressed in the context of authentic love separates doing from being and sees the acts of sin distinct from the sinner (which, by the way, is all of us).”

“The beauty of intolerance is its opposition to wrong and evil in the world—in alignment with God’s righteous and perfect standard of justice, equality, human rights, and caring for others. Intolerance of evil is not mean-spirited and condemnatory; it is actually the only way to be loving and caring. Far from being judgmental, it advances God’s righteous kingdom.”

“Most people in America subscribe to a view of morality called ‘cultural ethics.’ In other words, they believe that whatever is acceptable in that culture is moral; if the majority of people say a thing is right, then it is right. … But there’s a problem with that. If that is true, then how can we say the ‘aborting’ of six million Jews in the Holocaust was wrong? In fact, the Nazis offered that very argument as a defense at the Nuremberg Trials. They argued, ‘How can you come from another culture and condemn what we did when we acted according to what our culture said was acceptable?’ In condemning them, the tribunal said that there is something beyond culture, above culture, that determines right and wrong.”

“We are all entitled to our own beliefs, but this doesn’t mean each of us has our own truths. Our beliefs describe the way we think the world is. Truth describes the objective state of the world regardless of how we take it to be. Beliefs can be relative, but truth cannot. … Moral truth was never meant to be spoken or understood outside of a loving relationship. Being like Christ and speaking the truth in love are synonymous.”

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Book Reviews From 2016

Chocolate Or Bullets?

Corrie ten Boom tells a short story with a profound lesson in her book I Stand At The Door And Knock.

Corrie ten Boom“At the beginning of World War II there was a young man in one of my clubs who had to serve in the military. He and his father ran a bakery and confectionery. He was a cheerful lad. One night he and the other soldiers were called to march out immediately. ‘War has broken out,’ they said. He didn’t believe it at all and thought, ‘It will be another of those boring maneuvers.’ So he quickly put some bars of chocolate in his ammunition bag instead of ammunition. That’s how he wanted to cheer up his comrades, because they had been called out in the middle of the night. In the fields he realized that it really was war. Fortunately his superiors never heard what he had done. There is a heavy battle on its way and maybe it has already started: the battle between Jesus Christ and the Antichrist. And each child of God will be at the frontline. Do we want to fight with chocolate or with bullets?”

If you would like to read other quotes from this book, check them out here.

I Stand At The Door And Knock (book review)

I Stand At The Door And KnockCorrie ten Boom is an amazing woman! She hid the Jews from the Nazis, was arrested for this “crime,” experienced unimaginable horrors in a concentration camp, and was miraculously released from prison just before all the women in her group were executed. And still she remained steadfast in her trust of God. I Stand At The Door And Knock is a collection of 40 of her radio broadcasts, especially directed to others going through difficult times.

Because these are radio transcriptions, each message feels very conversational and Corrie relates many of her personal experiences to her audience. All of this makes her message more believable to those struggling with challenges.

Each message concludes with a prayer that Corrie prayed for her listening audience, and I love how she ended nearly every prayer. She said, “Hallelujah! Amen.” In other words, she was already rejoicing in the answer to prayer as she finished praying it! What an inspiring woman!

If you are going through a difficult time—of if you know someone who is—and perhaps feel like no one knows how big your struggle is, this book will “speak your language.” These are honest, comforting words from someone who truly was battle-tested and came through victorious.

12 Quotes From “Churchill’s Trial”

Churchill's TrialIn Churchill’s Trial, Larry Arnn has given us a fascinating look at Winston Churchill’s battle to keep freedom alive, both in the moment of crisis and after the crisis has passed. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are a few of the quotes I highlighted as I read.

“Mankind has never been in this position before. Without having improved appreciably in virtue or enjoying wiser guidance, it has got into its hands for the first time the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination. That is the point in human destinies to which all the glories and toils of men have at last lead them. They would do well to pause and ponder upon their new responsibilities. Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse; ready, if called upon, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization. He awaits only the word of command. He awaits it from a frail, bewildered being, long his victim, now—for one occasion only—his master.” —Winston Churchill 

“Science is necessary, and also science is a master. As the human ability to make grows, the human ability to control the engines by which we make diminishes. The logical problem is relentless: we may stay as we are and lead shorter lives of pain and trouble, or we may use our capacity to make our lives easier and safer. If we do that we will gain power, and we can use that power against ourselves.” —Larry Arnn

“No material progress, even though it takes shapes we cannot now conceive, or however it may expand the faculties of man, can bring comfort to his soul.” —Winston Churchill 

“We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence. …

“All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad ascent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom what should lie in every cottage home. Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind. Let us preach what we practice—let us practice what we preach.” —Winston Churchill

“There is enough for all. The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace.” —Bourke Cockran

“Human relations are not a contest in which the advantage of some requires the disadvantage of others. That means in turn that government need not have the authority to allocate resources, at least not comprehensively. A government with such power would be in one sense at war with any citizens who have more than others, effectively with all citizens but the few poorest.” —Larry Arnn

“In republics, the greater danger is that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.” —James Madison

“He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Democracy properly understood means the association of all through the leadership of the best.” —Winston Churchill

“Our hearts will ache…if we have not a vision above material things.” —Winston Churchill

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” —James Madison

“We now watch the workings of a written Constitution enforced by a Supreme Court according to the letter of the law, under which anyone may bring a test case challenging not merely the interpretation of the law, but the law itself, and if the Court decides for the appellant, be he only an owner of a few chickens, the whole action of the Legislature and the Executive becomes to that extent null and void.” —Winston Churchill 

More quotes coming soon…

Churchill’s Trial (book review)

Churchill's TrialI have read so much written by and about Winston Churchill, that it’s hard to imagine learning something new about this remarkable man. And yet, I was amazed at how much more I learned in reading Churchill’s Trial by Larry Arnn.

It’s easy to take for granted the freedoms people have in countries like England and the United States because of the foresight of the framers of our Constitutions. But there are trials which put these freedoms in a precarious place, and if it were not for strong and insightful men—like Winston Churchill—those freedoms could have disappeared.

Churchill played key roles in his country, and in world politics, through two world wars, a global depression, the coming of age of new military super-powers, the dawn of the era of atomic warfare, and the rise of Communism. In all of these intense events, the temptation was there to make radical changes to meet the challenge of the moment. Churchill had the wisdom and foresight to leverage the strength of his country’s Constitution, without undermining it nor setting a precedent which would erode future freedoms.

In what Churchill did for England, he also helped strength the resolve of key leaders in the United States, who faced similar challenges in a shifting geopolitical climate. Churchill not only saved the world from the spread of fascism and communism, but he did so in a way that would guarantee freedom for millions of people in generations to follow. The question before us now is: Will we learn from Churchill’s example, or will we fail the trial we now face?

For history buffs, political junkies, and fans of Winston Churchill, Churchill’s Trial is an excellent read.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have inward peace? … Such a burden as this is not necessary to bear. Jesus calls us to His rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.” —A.W. Tozer

[PHOTOS] Some great photographs from the scientific world.

Dave Barringer has a great post about marriage and adultery: Affairs And Fruit.

[PHOTOS] Today marks the 73rd anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “day of infamy” speech. Here are some memorable photos remembering that horrific day.

“It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been ‘had for a sucker’ by any number of impostors: but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need. After all, the parable of the sheep and goats [Matthew 25:31-46] makes our duty perfectly plain, doesn’t it? Another thing that annoys me is when people say ‘Why did you give that man money? He’ll probably go and drink it.’ My reply is ‘But if I’d kept [it] I should probably have drunk it.’” —C.S. Lewis

10 Quotes From “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”

How Do You KillAndy Andrews pulls no punches in this amazing book: How Do You Kill 11 Million People? You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some of the more noteworthy quotes I highlighted in this book.

“The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.” —Plato

“The past is what is real and true, while history is merely what someone recorded.”

“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” —Adolf Hitler

“It is a fact that fewer than 10 percent of Germany’s population of 79.7 million people actively worked or campaigned to bring about Hitler’s change. Even at the height of its power in 1945, the Nazi political party boasted only 8.5 million members. So the remaining 90 percent of Germans—teachers and doctors and ministers and farmers—did . . . what? Stood by? Watched? Essentially, yes.”

“The danger to America is not a single politician with ill intent. Or even a group of them. The most dangerous thing any nation faces is a citizenry capable of trusting a liar to lead them.”

“Have you ever wondered why America doesn’t have a balanced budget? Have you ever in your life heard of a politician who wasn’t for a balanced budget? Have you ever heard a politician speak in favor of a complicated tax code that ordinary citizens would find difficult to understand? Then why do we have a complicated tax code that ordinary citizens find difficult to understand? Meet the 545 men and women who enact every law, propose every budget, and set every policy enforced on the citizens of the United States of America: one president, nine Supreme Court justices, one hundred senators, and 435 members of the House of Representatives. By the way, have you ever noticed that if any one of us lies to them, it is a felony? But if any one of them lies to us, it is considered politics.”

“During the past quarter century, no presidential election has been won by more than ten million ballots cast? Yet every federal election during the same time period had at least one hundred million people of voting age who did not bother to vote!”

“History shows that any people who are sheeplike in following their leadership (so long as their personal self-interests are satisfied) may one day awaken to find that their nation has changed in dramatic ways.”

“If we don’t demand honesty and integrity from America’s leadership now—and reward that integrity with our votes—our leaders will lack the fortitude to make the hard decisions that must be made to change course.”

“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. … If [one hundred years from now] the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” —President James A. Garfield, in his address to Congress on the centennial of our country (1876)

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