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Tag Archive: Thomas Nelson


Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions, written by James A. Beverley and published by Thomas Nelson is the ultimate comprehensive guide on religions of the world. It is the most thorough book on the numerous religions I have encountered. When I received the book at one o’clock in the afternoon, I spent the rest of the afternoon skimming  through the 740 page volume, reading much of it. I returned to other projects, but I kept picking Beverley’s book back up for another look. It is a book I will keep close at hand for future reference and referral.

It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to name a religion or cult that Beverley does not identify. The author is commendably objective in his reporting on the many religions and cults of the world, past and present. Other than the most common religions of Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Scientology, Unification Church, and Sikhism, Beverley also includes chapters on groups of the New Age movement, Christian Sectarian groups, Satanism, and Witchcraft.

The Illustrated Guide to Religions includes a chapter on the Branch Davidians, their timeline, and the tenuous connection with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (included in the section on Christian sectarian groups). Each section contains a history of the religion, movement, or cult, a timeline(s), chart of facts, and list of resources for those who wish to inquire further. A list of frequently asked questions follows many sections, particularly where misconceptions abound and are common.

In sections on religions not having a Christian worldview, Beverley provides ways for  Christians to respond to those religions. As Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario and Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California, Beverley is extremely knowledgeable on the subject and presents a thorough, in depth overview of religions of the world. The author’s research was extensive and thorough, even listing the top subgroups, histories, and myths/facts pertaining to each religion.

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions should be on the shelf of anyone desiring a knowledge of world religions, and Christians seeking  to know more about other religions in  order to dialogue with people of other faiths. The overall quality of the book itself is superior, with beautiful photographs and illustrations – combined with the text in an eye-catching layout. It is the most comprehensive guide for a Christian on the subject of other religions. It is, without a doubt, the book to suggest to anyone who only wants to buy or read one book on the subject of religions.

Peace be with you.

[Note: I was given the book for review by Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated in any way.]

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[Re-posted from former blog]

Faith and Pop Culture is the eighth installment of the Christianity Today Current Issues Bible Study Series, published by Thomas Nelson. As stated in the introduction, “[t]his Current Issues Bible Study is designed to facilitate lively and engaging discussion on various facets of entertainment and how it connects to our lives as Jesus’ followers.” The Faith and Pop Culture study examines the compatibility of our faith with the current culture as it pertains to the various parts of the entertainment industry. The book includes observations on movies, books, sports, television, and violence in entertainment media.

The study also takes a look at how entertainment affects Christians and vice versa. Must all entertainment Christians enjoy be “family friendly?” Can Christians influence the entertainment industry? With “entertain me” as the cry of our culture, is it compatible with a life of faith? These are questions to be discussed during the eight weeks of this study.

The Current Issues Bibles Studies are designed to be small group studies. Each session of the Faith and Pop Culture study begins with a Scripture Focus which provides the passages pertaining the lesson. After a brief introduction, a relevant article from Christianity Today magazine and ChristianityToday.com follows. The study guide of each session following the article are Open Up – discussion activities, The Issue – focusing on the main issues with which the session is concerned, Reflect – sharing thoughts and observations on the Scripture Focus passages, Let’s Explore – discussion questions, and Going Forward – taking what is learned and discussed and putting thought into action within our culture.

Each study guide includes ample questions and activities. Which allows for flexibility within the small groups using the study. If the group meets for two hours, they have plenty of questions, scripture reading, and activities. A group that meets for a shorter time has many options to choose from. Some sessions have “bonus” ideas or extra activities which could also be done outside of the regular group time.

In a time when many books and articles are written about modernism, post-modernism, and, indeed, faith and culture, Faith and Pop Culture is an intriguing Bible study that allows Christians as a group to actively apply their faith to the culture in which we live. The studies are also relevant for any small group in any situation. After reading the study, you might find yourself mentioning the book and series to group leaders whom you know.

Peace be with you.

I was given this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of  review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor did I receive any compensation other than the book itself.

 [Re-posted from former blog] The Noticer, by Andy Andrews, published by Thomas Nelson, is an interestingly quick read. The plot was rather predictable. Jones (no Mr., just Jones) is the noticer, a seemingly ageless old man who appears in the life of people who are at a major crossroads in their life. Jones appears without warning and talks them through their situation and helps them to get a new perspective, after which they are forever changed.

The old man appears to be a charismatic person who not only quietly demands the listener’s attention through his steady voice and calm demeanor, but also renders the person incapable of hearing anything but his voice. His listeners pay rapt attention to what he is saying without knowing why. After talking to him the listener not only has a new perspective on his/her life, but actually feels refreshed.

Despite the predictability, I kept reading, hoping there would be a change in the plot or a surprise. The way in which Jones adjusted his vocabulary and conversational style to each listener was interesting and well done. The Christian overtones were subtle yet solidly present. Some of the dialogue though, seemed as if Jones was approaching Christ-like status, and was rather tame and too obvious.

The ending, while also rather predictable, and drawn out more than necessary, was still successful enough to leave the reader with a warm feeling. It was not, however, the desired effect that Jones had on his listeners throughout the book. All in all, The Noticer is a pleasant and heartwarming story despite occasional straying and the predictability aspect. While I wouldn’t recommend The Noticer to everyone, there are many people to whom I would certainly recommend it. The book would make an appropriate gift for someone going through any type of crisis in their life.

Peace be with you.

 I was given this book by Thomas Nelson for reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, nor did I receive any compensation other than the book itself.

[Re-posted from former blog.] Christianity in Crisis 21st Century, written by Hank Hanegraaff, published by Thomas Nelson, is a book every Christian should have on his or her bookshelf. I wished I had read Hanegraaff’s first book, Christianity in Crisis when it was published in 1993. It would not have changed my views, but would have given me a source to which to turn for proof in my discussions on the subject. I commend Hanegraaff for having the faith and mission to read and listen to these preachers of fallacies and their obvious distortion of God’s word in order to alert the general populace of Christians – many who have themselves been deceived by prosperity and faith healing preachers.

In the 1970’s, after a night of sitting with my jaw on the floor while watching the 700 Club, Pastor Gene Scott, and the like, I wrote a song called Buy One God (Get One Free) portraying the ridiculousness of the prosperity gospel. At the time, I felt alone in my convictions, not even being able to bring the subject up in church. Now I find that I am not alone – thanks to Hanagraaff and others – but the problem has grown much larger and more ingrained in our society and economy.

It is not necessary that I repeat some of his arguments here – he does an excellent job and you must read it for yourself. Although you will be completely repelled and incensed at the audacity of these false preachers – which under other circumstances would leave you feeling lost and praying that it was not so – Hanegraaff points out the fallacies, which offsets the discomfort brought on by their demented interpretation of scripture.

In chapter seven, Back to Basics – as well as the appendixes – Hanegraaff leaves the Christian readers with positive thoughts and theology on their journey through the teachings and theology of these false “prophets.” The reader finishes the book with the comfort of knowing that there are those such as Hank Hanegraaff to point out the false preachers and their fallacies.

Peace be with you.

I was given this book by Thomas Nelson for reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, nor did I receive any compensation other than the book itself.

[Re-posted from former blog.] I received the Word Of Promise The Gift of Psalms from Thomas Nelson Publishers yesterday. Since I am in the midst of several projects, I skimmed through the book, then popped the first cd into the computer – planning to read/hear one psalm and devotional and put the book aside for the moment. I found I could neither put the book down nor turn the cd(s) off. I previously thought having celebrities read the Bible would cause the listener to be distracted from the biblical message. Pleasantly, I was mistaken. Although it did distract me a little, the voices of the well-chosen celebrities enhanced the reading of the Psalms – as did the use of the King James version.

The devotionals by Lori Jones are a mixture of exegesis and devotional – as opposed to the common types of devotional. However, readers and listeners who prefer the more common devotional styles will not be disappointed with the mixture. The exegesis adds a contextual view of the scriptures and their application in the world today.

The Gift of Psalms provides an inspirational way to start the day or to take a spiritual break from a hectic schedule. The WOP New Testament Audio Bible is also available.

Peace be with you.

I was given this book by Thomas Nelson for reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, nor did I receive any compensation other than the book itself.

Beyond Opinion,” edited by Ravi Zacharias and published by Thomas Nelson, is a book for anyone who writes apologetics, enjoys reading apologetics, wants to know what apologetics are all about, or someone who would like to have answers when asked about their faith in everyday life. It is not a book that will be read in one setting. It took me longer to read than most books I review. Fortunately, I found I was not alone, according to reviews by fellow reviewers, Angie Boy and Christian Salafia.

“Beyond Opinion” is a book to be read, re-read, and savored, mentally devouring each delectable morsel – made up of theology and reason. Each of a number of today’s leading apologists, including Zacharias himself, takes on a different aspect or topic of apologetics. Though each chapter stands on it own, it is also a unique part of the cohesive whole.

As is noted in the marketing copy, “Beyond Opinion” is Zacharias’ response to the question posed to him by a Hindu friend. “If this conversion is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians that I know?” To achieve his objective – an apologetic to enable Christians to be theologically informed enough to answer the tough questions in such a way as to persuade rather than argue – he asked the leading apologists, working with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), to write on the different challenges to the Christian faith.

“Beyond Opinion” is not only a relevant and useful apologetic compendium, it may also be used as a topical apologetic in particular situations. Beginning with the postmodern challenges to the Bible, part one also addresses the other most common challenges such as atheism, youth, Islam, eastern religions, and science. For those wanting to delve further into apologetics and theology in order to be equipped to ” simultaneously defend the faith and be transformed into a person of compassion,” section two of part one digs deeper by addressing conversational apologetics, broader cultural and philosophical challenges, the existential challenges of evil and suffering, and cross-cultural challenges.

Part two seeks to internalize the questions and answers acquired by venturing into the Trinity as a paradigm for Spiritual Transformation, the role of doubt and persecution in spiritual transformation, and idolatry, denial, and self-deception – hearts on pilgrimage. Zacharias rounds out the tome expounding on the church’s role in apologetics and the development of the mind.

Unfortunately, space does not permit in a short review a discussion of the theological points so eloquently stated in the book. And where would one begin? Or end, for that matter. It is better that you read it for yourself in its entirety (albeit not all at once). Your faith will become stronger and you will become spiritually assured. More importantly, the next time you find yourself in a conversation about your faith in a public setting, you will be able to respond knowledgeably and in a manner aimed more toward “winning people rather than arguments.”

Peace be with you.

Max on Life,” the new book by Max Lucado and published by Thomas Nelson consists of the author’s answers to questions he has received over the years in letters, emails, and phone calls. Questions he has been asked as both a pastor and a writer. The letters Lucado received as a pastor are separated by categories (and chapters) entitled Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Haves/Have-nots, and Hereafter. The questions asked of Lucado range from basic theological questions to marital questions related to God to why go to church. The pastor writes about the role of prayer, the purpose of pain, and the reason for our ultimate hope.

The writing questions are answered in an essay in the addendum, The Write Stuff. The well-written essay deals almost exclusively with writing for the church and as a calling, using the prophets and other authors of the Bible as examples. Lucado deals with basic matters of writing in the last couple of pages. He does not tell an aspiring writer how to be published. But he does tell anyone who feels called to write in the service of the Lord how to proceed from the call, the desire and an idea.

Some readers will read the book cover to cover. Others will use it as a devotional reference or as a topical reference when they are facing hard questions in their own lives. Lucado directly answers most questions with personal experiences and/or Biblical references combined with insights gained from his study, reflection, and prayer. Even answers to questions I will probably (and hopefully) never have still evoked deep feelings, causing me to reflect on my own spiritual journey.

“Max on Life” is an interesting read. Regular readers of Max Lucado will enjoy this book as well as those who are not familiar with his earlier books.

Peace be with you.

The Final Summit,” by Andy Andrews, published by Thomas Nelson, is the sequel to Andrews’ “The Traveler’s Gift.” It is not necessary to have read the previous book to understand “The Final Summit.” Andrews recounts the story in the first chapter. David Ponder recalls his travels through time after an accident. He meets seven famous figures from history who give him the Seven Decisions for Success.

Using the seven decisions, Ponder makes a fortune and then the business fails in a very public way. After losing everything, Ponder realizes that the seven decisions were right all along. It was his lack of wisdom that caused the disaster. Ponder makes another fortune, building a skyscraper in Dallas without borrowing any money, “paying as he went.” When the building is completed, he and his wife Ellen give it all away through charitable trusts and retire to the penthouse which encompasses the top floor of the skyscraper.

Then his wife, Ellen, dies in her sleep while in Austin with their daughter and grandchildren. Ponder stays in the penthouse and mourns her death. He goes through the navy blue tobacco pouch with the souvenirs of his travels. He breaks down in tears, not understanding why he had been left alone. Then Gabriel appears for the second time – having been one of the figures from his time travels. Gabriel tells him that he is to lead the Final Summit of all the Travelers (every Traveler who ever existed) to decide the fate of the Earth and avoid another disaster as destructive as the flood in Genesis.

In chapter two Gabriel explains about the gathering of the travelers and plans for the summit. Including the fact that Ponder will be leading the meeting. Even though Solomon and Winston Churchill will be there. Gabriel takes Ponder under his wing, literally, and they are off “like a rocket.” The remainder of the book details the meeting place and the summit itself with an array of famous characters and Biblical figures.

I am not the first reviewer to have mixed feelings about the book. It is the next installment in Andrew’s series of lesson filled books as well as the sequel to “The Traveler’s Gift.” Unlike a few of his previous books, however, the dialogue seems stilted and the plot rather contrived and drawn out longer than necessary. Gabriel, for example, does not quite sound as one would imagine from reading the Bible. But if you are looking for a light afternoon feel-good read, you will enjoy “The Final Summit.” Just do not expect to get too involved in the story or receive any unexpected revelation.

Peace be with you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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