• Book Reviews,  Christianity

    Overwhelmed by Great Expectations and Joe Gargery

    I just finished what has to be one of the greatest novels of all time, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. I am fairly overwhelmed by it, to be honest. Probably because I identify so much with Pip, especially his defects of character. I daresay that some of those very same defects were so pronounced in my own life in earlier days that I could not have read and benefited from this book had I read it in high school. Had I read it then, I probably would have thought it a tragedy rather than a comedy. I am embarrassed to say that, but I think it’s true. There was too much…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    Review of LOGOS 9

    There are some professors of Bible who have an allergy to Bible software. I am not one of them. But those who do object do so mainly because they fear their students may use such a resource as a crutch and as a result may never really learn how to read the Bible in the original languages. Their concern is that students may rely on the software’s instant parsing and glosses so much that they never actually learn how the language works. While I agree that this is a legitimate concern, I do not agree that eschewing Bible software altogether is the answer. Students of Hebrew and Greek do in…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Culture,  Social Justice

    Taking on the Revolutionary Program of Ibram X. Kendi

    Anyone reading this site over the last several years has probably noticed my growing alarm about leftist “social justice” ideologies. I had already become somewhat acquainted with queer theory while doing research for my book on sexual ethics in 2012-2013. A 2016 lecture on intersectionality by David French, however, helped me to see that queer theory was but one strand of a multi-faceted leftist identitarian movement. I had heard of identity politics, but now I was beginning to understand some of its ideological underpinnings. More and more, it appeared to be a kind of religion. I began writing informally about intersectionality in this space in 2017 and began to see…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Culture,  Social Justice,  Transgenderism

    Could you be convinced that 2 + 2 = 5?

    In high school, I remember starting George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World but never finishing either one of them. I thought they were boring and—what’s worse—morose. So I gave up on them. That was then, and this is now. In the last few months, I restarted and completed each of them. First, Brave New World and then 1984. This time, I was very much engaged. Both books read like totalitarian prophecies that have or at least are on the verge of coming true. Both of them forecast dystopian futures dominated by totalitarian regimes. One totalitarianism maintains power by appealing to human desire for pleasure (Brave New World)…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Why White Fragility Fails

    Earlier this week, I finished Robin Diangelo’s New York Times #1 Bestselling book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk about Racism (Beacon, 2018). A lot of ink has already been spilled over this book, and I suppose that I have little more to add. I won’t write a full review here. If you want that, I recommend Tim Challies’ three–part series. Nevertheless, I do have some observations that I would like to add to the conversation. The basic gist of the book is this. White people participate in a complex system of privilege and white supremacy. Whether they mean to or not, they are therefore…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    A Review of James Dolezal’s “All That Is in God”

    I really wish I had not waited as long as I did to read James Dolezal’s 2017 book All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism (Reformation Heritage, 2017). As it is, I only picked it up a month or so ago, but I would have picked it up much sooner if I had realized what an important book this is. It’s only 137 pages, but it is without question one of the most significant books that I have ever read. I don’t agree with everything in this book. In fact, there are parts of it that I found quite frustrating. Nevertheless, the main…

  • Book Reviews,  Social Justice

    Is social justice unjust?

    I want to post a brief note about Noah Rothman’s new book on social justice titled Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America (Regnery, 2019). I just finished it a couple days ago and found much that is helpful in it. Rothman outlines a brief history of social justice movements and argues that its current incarnation has collapsed into identity politics. In short, social justice is not about notions of individual liberty and justice but about righting historical wrongs committed against various identity groups. Rothman is not denying that certain groups have experienced injustice. On the contrary, he argues that certain classes of people have in fact experienced historic…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity

    A Hope Not on Offer in the Gnostic Gospels

    Yesterday, I finished Elaine Pagels’ moving memoir Why Religion? A Personal Story (Ecco, 2018). If Pagels’ name is unfamiliar to the general reader, it is not to scholars of the Bible and early Christianity. Pagels has been writing provocative books about early Christianity and its interface with Gnosticism since the 1970’s. Her 1979 book The Gnostic Gospels was a popular introduction to the Nag Hammadi library that became a publishing sensation. Her work in this book caught the attention of a popular readership and garnered numerous awards. She has written many other books since then, so her scholarly work has been well-known for decades now. And yet, this latest book, Why Religion?, seems…

  • Book Reviews

    “Ready Player One” and Three Is the Magic Number

    I just finished the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, also known as The Greatest Story Ever Told. What do I mean by that? I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more heavy-handed retelling of the gospel narrative in a novel. Nor have I had more fun with a novel than this one. It’s as if Cline aimed this book at people born in 1972 and weaned on 80’s pop-culture. The book is a nostalgia-filled Geek-fest for readers like me. Synopsis The story is set in the United States in a dystopian future in the year 2044. The main character, Wade Watts, is an awkward teenage gamer and…

  • Book Reviews,  Culture

    Ryan Anderson on the virtues of motherhood and homemaking

    I’ve been working toward a review of Ryan Anderson’s forthcoming book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (Encounter Books, 2018). It really is a fantastic, must-read work. I will resist beginning the review here, but I do want to share a passage from it that extols the virtues of motherhood and homemaking. Anderson writes: G. K. Chesterton praised the vocation of mother and homemaker as greater than paid employment in the modern marketplace, noting especially the broad range of responsibilities it involves. In her own domain, a home- maker is like the Queen, “deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays”; she is like Whiteley, the great retailer, “providing…