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Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews, Economics

Christian Economics in One Lesson

by Gary North 2015 / 268 pages Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is what its title suggests, just one economic lesson explained in the first chapter – that we focus on the obvious impact of a government program, and don’t consider what otherwise might have happened with those dollars. It’s the seen vs. the unseen. That one lesson is then repeatedly applied to different situations in the 24 chapters that follow. In chapter 4, it is applied to public work projects: when the government builds a new sports stadium we can see the job created by its construction. What’s unseen is all the jobs that might have been created by businesses if they hadn’t had to pay the taxes to build that stadium. Overall, Hazlitt is making a general argument for less government and more economic freedom, but is making it on the basis of practicality: that a free market approach will make us all, overall, more prosperous (download the book for free). Effectiveness is the fruit, not the goal In his Christian Economics in One Lesson, Gary North makes his argument for free market economics on a very different basis: obedience. He also thinks the free market is the most effective way of making us all richer, but he sees that, not as a goal, but as a side effect – the fruit – of being obedient to God’s commands do not covet, and do not to steal. As his title suggests, he is riffing off of Hazlitt, and his chapters are a reworking of each of Hazlitt's. Economics is sometimes treated as a being simply about the math, about some sort of neutral accounting, pitting the different economic systems against each other to find out which creates the greatest benefit for society. Both socialists and capitalists could even agree that economics is about dealing with the problem of scarcity – there is only so much to go around, so how do we make the most of it? But North is arguing that economics is really a matter of ethics, and applying God's guidance on money, work, property, and covetousness to the real world. Then the better way is the way that obeys God’s commands. Now, like Hazlitt, North thinks the best system is the free market, and not the sort of so-called capitalism that involves getting government contracts and special favors. None of that crony "capitalism." This is, instead, a free market where people make exchanges voluntarily, and consequently, both sides benefit. No temptation to tweak But even as Hazlitt and North both hold to the free market system, it is significant that they got there very different ways. Hazlitt got there because the free market works – it is the most prosperous of all systems, doing more to raise people out of poverty than any other economic system before it. North arrives there because the free market is what results when we are obedient to God, respecting our neighbor's property and pushing back against our own covetousness. So, both support the free market. But for those like Hazlitt who arrived there for practical reasons, there will always be the temptation to tweak, and in doing so, to succumb to socialism. If capitalism works best, who's to say if capitalism plus just a smidge of socialism might not be better? Maybe just 5%? Or 10? How can we know unless we try? But there isn't the same temptation to tinker for Christians who choose the free market for its alignment with God's Word. We won't want to be 5% or 10% less obedient. And it is worth noting it is no coincidence that the economic system that most aligns with God's Word is also the one that best raises people out of poverty. That's simply God's love – He knows what is best for us, and when we obey, especially when we do so on a societal level, it goes better for us. Conclusion North's insight – that economics is about ethics, not efficiency; it is about obedience, and not prosperity – is a brilliant one, and worth the reinforcement that comes in the repeated applications that follow. If this isn’t the most important book I read last year, it is certainly in contention… and it can be downloaded for free here....

Book Reviews, Teen non-fiction

Risk is Right: Better to lose your life than to waste it

by John Piper 2013 / 51 pages How often do you take risks? If you’re anything like me, it’s not often. I like to maintain the status quo and to never feel that knot in the pit of my stomach when the outcome of a decision is in limbo. I like to feel safe. John Piper in his short book, Risk is Right, sets out to destroy this myth of safety. We live in a world full of uncertainty. No matter how hard we may try to eliminate risks from our lives, it is impossible. But as Christians, we need never be afraid of risk, for we have the ultimate security, salvation through Jesus Christ! This one thought should release the chains that hold us from risk: we have been freed to honor Christ in this life and in death.  That is not to say that safety is wrong. We don’t need to be adrenaline junkies, looking for the next adventure to get our blood pumping. Rather, it's the safety that comes from cowardice that is wrong. Queen Esther risked it all when she approached King Ahasuerus without being called. Esther did not know the outcome but trusted that God was powerful enough to save both her and her people. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have bowed down to Nebuchadnezzar's statue and guaranteed their safety. Instead, they refused, handing the outcome of their lives to God. It is right to risk for the cause of God, and refusing these risks because of cowardice is wrong.  I recommend this short book to everyone. We live in a culture that is so risk averse that “two weeks to stop the spread” became two years. We wanted safety so badly, that even as it became evident the government wasn’t able to provide it, we settled for having at least a false sense of security. This book knocks away such crutches so we can live a life worth living, by finding our security in Christ.  A bonus: you can download it for free here....

Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews

Free book: The Divine Challenge: on matter, mind, math & meaning

Christians believe the world, the universe, and everything came about by Supernatural means – our God created! Those that deny the supernatural say that the universe came about only by natural processes – mere physics and chemistry, over eons of time. Is this a debate to explain why there is something, rather than nothing? No, says John Byl, the real question is “Who will rule: God or Man?” And in the world’s attempts to usurp God, they’ve crafted many a worldview to try to explain things apart from Him. In his brilliant apologetic work The Divine Challenge, Dr. Byl shares the world’s best godless worldviews. He shows, often in the proponents’ own words, how their explanations are self-contradictory or simply fail to explain what they set out to explain. Naturalism says there is nothing outside of nature, and materialism that there is nothing outside matter, so how can either explain how matter came to be, or the non-material world of math and meaning? Byl also makes evident how very often these godless philosophers understand the emptiness of their best answers, and yet cling to them anyway because they hate the alternative: bowing their knee to God. This is a book that will stretch most readers, and in some parts (Chapter 14 was a doozy!) I only got the gist of it. But what an encouraging gist it was! While the 2004 paperback edition is still available, Dr. Byl has made his 2021 revision a free ebook you can download at his site here:

Articles, Book Reviews

200+ free e-books worth checking out

We live in an age in which so many wonderful resources are available for free. Of course, with the sheer numbers being passed along here, we haven't been able to read, let alone review all of them so, as always, be sure to use discernment. But there are certainly a good number of gems here. The books below aren't broken up by subject, but are, instead, divided into three categories based on whether you can easily download them, or whether some personal information might be required, or whether the book has to be read online. This is a list of recent books, with most published in the last decade or two. has a list of much older titles, with most published at a minimum of 100 years ago, and many springing right out of the Reformation 500 years past. Their list amounts to more than 900 titles and can be found here. 1. Downloads These books are completely free and can be downloaded with minimal fuss (usually just a click and you are on your way). Almost 100 from John Piper and friends John Piper seems to have released all of his books in free pdf versions, and has tackled topics as diverse as biblical manhood and womanhood, abortion, sex, retirement, C.S. Lewis, Open Theism, racism and biographies. On occasion, some of Piper's writings are clearly directed to specifically Reformed Baptists. So, for example, in his biography of Adoniram Judson, he lauds the missionary for coming to reject infant baptism in favor of adult baptism. For the most part, however, his books are intended for a larger Reformed audience. But with so many available, what should you start with? His short biographies are excellent, each about 70 pages or so, available individually and in collections of three. We reviewed what I think was the first collection, with short biographies of Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, called The Legacy of Sovereign Joy. One of his most popular books is Don't Waste Your Life. An excerpt from it has been made into its own 50-page book, which we've reviewed: Risk is Right: Better to lose your life than to waste it.  While the majority of the books are by Piper, there are also titles by other authors and few of those seem to be free, except for a peek inside. Notable exceptions include Tony Reinke's The Joy Project: an introduction to Calvinism, and a book he helped edit, along with his wife, called Mom Enough. 16 by WORLD magazine's Marvin Olasky The editor of the Christian WORLD magazine has written books on journalism and how Christians should read the news (and write it), on the history of abortion and the fight against, on a Christian perspective on compassion and the government's role in it, and even written a novel about radical Islam called Scimitar's Edge. There is lots to love here! 20+ from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church I still haven't had a chance to check these out, but plan to download Ned B. Stonehouse's J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir. 17 Individual downloadable titles Social Justice: How good intentions undermine justice and the Gospel: E. Calvin Beisner is probably best known as the head of the Christian stewardship group the Cornwall Alliance. But before he started speaking on the environment, he researched and wrote a lot on poverty and economics. In this booklet, he outlines how good intentions are not only not enough, but often harmful. 31 days of purity: This is a 31-day devotional to encourage and challenge the Church in regard to sexual purity. With contributions from Tim Challies, David Murray, and Joel Beeke, there are some insightful, trustworthy folks behind this. Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?: This is an important topic for any Christian considering the pill. Randy Alcorn's 200-page book can be downloaded for free, or, click here for a shorter overview. Abolition of Reason: Jonathon Van Maren, Scott Klusendorf and other “incrementalist” pro-lifers argue against "abolitionism" or “immediatism.” Memoirs of an ordinary pastor: The life and reflections of Tom Carson: Well-known Reformed Baptist pastor D.A. Carson on his unknown, faithful father. False Messages: A Guide for the Godly Bride: Aileen Challies, wife of the Reformed blogger Tim Challies, has written a booklet for women on a biblical view of sexuality (it is near the bottom of the list). The Holy Spirit: Kevin DeYoung with a short 30-page introduction to the Third Person of the Trinity. Scripture Alone: The Evangelical doctrine: In this 40-page booklet, RC Sproul does a wonderful job of defending this key Reformed doctrine. How should Christians approach origins?: In just 67 pages, John Byl and Tom Goss have put together an incredibly succinct overview of an incredibly important topic. The Divine Challenge: on matter, mind, math, & meaning: In the world’s attempts to usurp God, they’ve crafted many a worldview to try to explain things apart from Him. In this brilliant apologetic work, Dr. Byl shares the world’s best godless explanations and shows, often in the proponents’ own words, how their attempts are self-contradictory or simply fail to explain what they set out to explain. Byl also makes evident how very often these godless philosophers understand the emptiness of their best answers, and yet cling to them anyway because they hate the alternative: bowing their knee to God. This 421-page book will stretch most readers, but what a delightful bit of exercise it is! Lone Gunners for Jesus: Letters to Paul J. Hill (1994, 47 pages): This was written after Paul J. Hill, at one time an OPC pastor, shot an abortionist, his wife, and their bodyguard. Hill had been arguing for years that such action was biblical, and had been excommunicated for making his arguments publicly. Gary North's response to Hill explains how his actions weren't biblical or effective. An important book to calm Christian whose love for the unborn is in danger of being misdirected, but it is also a good read for those who, whether in ignorance or a lack of compassion, don't stand up for the unborn at all. Exodus: A Novella: This is the book of Exodus, no additions or edits, but without verses, footnotes, or the usual chapter divisions. It is formatted, as the title says, like a novel, making this an intriguing way to take a fresh look at this inspired book. The Biblical View of Self-Esteem (1986, 36 pages): More booklet than book, author Jay Adams still manages to offers a lot of insight on this sometimes controversial topic. Gospel Patrons: people whose generosity changed the world (2013, 170 pages): Author John Rinehart notes, not all of us are called to these leadership positions. Many are called to supporting roles. In Gospel Patrons Rinehart tells the stories of three people who enabled Tyndale, Whitefield, and John Newton to do their work. Economics in One Lesson (1946, 193 pages): Economist Henry Hazlitt wrote this for the rest of us, to make the a vital aspect of economics understandable – that for every dollar the government spends, there are other projects that haven't been done. We get to see the road that was constructed, but we don't see that business that wasn't started because of the taxes the entrepreneur had to pay. It is the tale of the seen vs. the unseen. Christian Economics in One Lesson (2015, 268 pages): Gary North wrote this to build off of, and anchor Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson in the unstated Christian foundation that made the secular best seller as true as it was. Time Will Run Back (1951, 368 pages): Henry Hazlitt's dystopian novel was written at the same time as 1984 and Brave New World, and is every bit as good. At some point in the future, Communism/Socialism has won so completely that all memory of Capitalism is gone. The world ruler is dying and wants his son to learn how to run things, so he assigns him a teacher to explain the world's economics. But the son wants to improve things. But how? Step by small step, he starts rediscovering and reinventing a free marketplace. Classics that are as relevant as ever Eugenics and other evils (1922, 201 pages): André Schutten has recommended this G.K. Chesterton book for three reasons: "to learn of the historical context in which it was written, to learn what the brilliant Chesterton had to say about the subject of eugenics, and to stand amazed at his prophetic insight." 2. Download for free, but they want some information These books are free, but getting them will require you to give your email address, or create an account, or in some way provide them some information. But these aren't spammers, so you can always opt out of their email lists. 44 booklets from RC Sproul In the last few years RC Sproul released a series of "Crucial Questions" booklets, all in the range of 40 to maybe 80 pages. That made them concise - something that could be read in an evening or two. And Sproul managed to pack a lot in these few pages while still keeping them readable. I will say, they still aren't light reads, but because of their small size, if anyone is interested in the question, then they should be able to work through Sproul's answer. I haven't read all 39 of them, but have appreciated each of the half dozen or so I've read so far. They tackle questions such as: Can I know God's will? Can I lose my salvation? What is baptism? Who is the Holy Spirit? The e-book versions are free and will be forever. You can find for free on Kindle here, or click above to get them from Ligonier Ministries. 12+ from Covenant Eyes equipping the Internet generation Covenant Eyes is a Christian Internet accountability company, and while they sell their software, their mission is to help Christian families, so they have all sorts of free booklets on topics like pornography addiction, sexual purity, online safety, cyberbullying, and more. Individual titles (downloadable but they want your email) Love the least (a lot): Michael Spielman is the founder of the website, one of the most comprehensive pro-life websites on the Internet. And his Love the Least (A Lot) is one of the most readable, most motivating, pro-life books you could ever read. God and the gay Christian: a response to Matthew Vines: This is a response, by Reformed Baptist leader R. Albert Mohler Jr., to a popular book by Matthew Vines called God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. Mohler has also written a short book Homosexuality and the Bible. A guide to adoption & orphan care: Russell Moore offers helpful advice and encouragement. Why sex is the best argument for creation: The folks behind the fantastic documentary Is Genesis History? have created a short 115-page e-book with ten of their most popular essays, including the title essay. 3. Read online These books are free too but are only available to be read online. So you can't download them, but can read them, chapter by chapter, on their website. That makes things a little more troublesome, but if the book interests you, it is a minor inconvenience. 29 Creationist resources from Answers in Genesis Answers in Genesis is a creationist group with a presuppositionalist approach to apologetics, which means there is a decided Reformed influence in the group. But while all Reformed folk should be creationists, not all creationists are Reformed, so these books are not specifically Reformed. The very best is In Six Days, in which 50 scientists each take a chapter to explain why they believe in creationism. Old Earth Creationism on Trial and In the Beginning Was Information are also very good. 8 more great Creationist books Dr. Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Evolution, and Refuting Evolution 2 are available for online reading here. Letters to a Mormon Elder James White’s fantastic resource can be read for free online. Be a bit patient – it does seem to take a minute or two to load....

Book excerpts, Book Reviews

How to refute skepticism

Romans 1:18-32 explains that God’s creation proclaims His existence, as well as our guilt, such that everyone is left “without excuse.”  Yet rebellious man wants some sort of excuse. So one that he offers is that our sense can be fooled, and our thinking too, so – these extreme skeptics propose – can we really know anything at all? And if we can’t know anything, how can we be held accountable? But, as John Byl explains in this excerpt from his book “The Divine Challenge,” such skepticism is self-defeating. *****  Skepticism about human ability to acquire knowledge is as old as philosophy. The Greek philosopher Pyrrho (circa 360-270 BC), who had been in the army of Alexander the Great, taught skepticism regarding the senses, logic, and morals. He affirmed that there were no rational grounds for preferring one belief above another. Hence one should renounce all claims to knowledge. A somewhat more recent advocate of skepticism was the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776). Hume believed that all our knowledge derives from sense impressions. Consequently, he denied the validity of all abstract ideas, including notions of causation, the external world, and even the self. Skepticism is appealing to the intellectually lazy for, if all knowledge is reduced to the status of mere opinion, the ignorant is as wise as the learned scholar.  1. Test the assumptions How would one refute skepticism? Any worldview consists of various presuppositions, accepted on faith, and their logical consequences. One might start, therefore, by analyzing, one by one, each of the skeptic’s premises as to its plausibility. Take, for example, Hume's assumption that our minds consist entirely of a succession of perceptions, without any trace of intellectuality. This presupposition alone already leaves no room for any thinking about our perceptions or how they are linked. Once one adopts a more comprehensive view of mind, Hume’s skeptical conclusions no longer follow. Often, however, the initial errors are small and not easily discerned. It is only later, after a long train of thought, that they produce significant consequences. As Aristotle noted in De Caelo (On the Heavens), The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand-fold…that which was small at the start turns out a giant at the end. (1) 2. Try out the system This suggests a second, more indirect approach. Instead of examining presuppositions individually, we can examine them together, as a unit. One way we can test the plausibility of a set of presuppositions is to examine the reasonableness of the conclusions that they entail. In any logically valid argument, the conclusion follows from the premises. One must then either accept the conclusion or reject the premises. To make a rational choice, one must ask: what is more plausible, that the premises are true or that the conclusion is false? Often, of course, our comparison of plausibility is itself rather subjective, colored by our worldview. Sometimes, however, the conclusions are so strongly contrary to common sense that the choice should be clear. In that case, we have a reductio ad absurdum of the premises. Consider, for example, George E. Moore's refutation of Hume's skepticism: It seems to me that, in fact, there really is no stronger and better argument than the following. I do know that this pencil exists; but I could not know this, if Hume's principles were true; therefore, Hume's principles, one or both of them, are false. I think this argument really is as strong and good a one as any that could be used: and I think it really is conclusive. In other words, I think that the fact that, if Hume's principles were true, I could not know of the existence of this pencil, is a reductio ad absurdum of those principles. (2) Moore argues that, since it is more certain that his pencil exists than that Hume's premises are true, Hume's set of premises must therefore be rejected as false. Moore's argument is like that of Aristotle, in Physica, who met the skepticism of his day with the reply: That nature exists it would be absurd to try to prove, for it is obvious that there are many things of this kind and to prove what is obvious by what is not is the mark of a man who is unable to distinguish what is self-evident from what is not. (3) In brief, if the falsity of the conclusion is more plausible than the truthfulness of the premises, then it is rational to reject the premises. This is particularly the case if the conclusions deny that which is directly evident to our senses. After all, worldviews are supposed to explain our observations. If any theoretical explanation is at odds with our personal experiences, then it is clearly the explanation, rather than our experience, that will have to be revised. The advantage of this method of refutation is that one need not pinpoint exactly where the initial error occurred. 3. Impossible to live out Hume's skepticism fails also the test of livability. Consider, for example, Hume's own writings on skepticism. Surely Hume, by writing and publishing arguments for skepticism, expected others to read and comprehend them. This, in turn, assumes the existence of an external world consisting of at least paper with symbols on it, as well as other minds to whom the symbols on the paper are directed. It assumes further that, in reading Hume's book, the senses of other people will reliably transmit to the mind what is written down. Hence Hume's written defense of skepticism is self-refuting. Hume's book itself refutes the theory of mind it contains. Indeed, Hume confessed his own inability to consistently maintain his skepticism: The great subverter of Pyrrhonism or the excessive principles of skepticism is action, and employment, and the occupations of the common life. These principles may flourish and triumph in the schools; where it is, indeed, difficult if not impossible to refute them. But as soon as they leave the shade, and by the presence of the real objects, which actuate our passions and sentiments, are put in opposition to the more powerful principles of our nature, they vanish like smoke, and leave the most determined skeptic in the same condition as other mortals.… Nature is always too strong for principle. And though a Pyrrhonian may throw himself or others into a momentary amazement and confusion by his profound reasonings; the first and most trivial event in life will put to flight all his doubts and scruples.… When he awakes from his dream, he will be the first to join in the laugh against himself, and to confess that all his objections are mere amusement...(4) Hume's failure to integrate skepticism into his daily life is itself the practical refutation of skepticism. Deeds, not words, are the most telling indicator of a philosopher's deepest convictions. Hume conceded that " the great guide of human life."(5) Only Hume's habits of mind enabled him to accept such things as, for example, the principle of causality whereby he could successfully navigate life. However, he was unable to give these a rigorous philosophical grounding in terms of his empirical presuppositions. Hume's skeptical worldview failed to adequately account for the reliability of such common-sense knowledge. The dilemma of relativism is that it asserts a non-relative claim, which inevitably leads to its self-refutation. As Thomas Nagel notes: The claim "everything is subjective" must be nonsense, for it would itself have to be either subjective or objective. But it cannot be objective, since in that case it would be false. And it cannot be subjective, because then it cannot rule out any objective claim, including the claim that it is objectively false. (6) Similarly, the skeptical claim "there is no objective truth" is itself a truth claim, contradicting itself. If relativists were consistent with their professed beliefs, then they would have to remain silent. Skepticism renders philosophical discourse null and void. Hume concluded his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding with the following advice on how to choose books: Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity and number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. (7) Unfortunately for Hume, this severe standard dooms his own works to ashes. In sum, a worldview may be assessed directly, by examining the plausibility of its presuppositions, or indirectly, by considering the consequences of its set of presuppositions. It is irrational to accept a worldview whose consequences are less plausible than the denial of one or more of that worldview's presuppositions. Extreme forms of skepticism or relativism cannot be rationally defended. Any viable worldview must allow for (and justify), at least to some extent, objective logic and language, as well as other factors that are presumed in normal intellectual discourse. The relativist may claim that he is not concerned with rationality or consistency. He may prefer to live inconsistently rather than opt for another worldview. However, this amounts to giving up on explaining reality and resigning oneself to superficiality. Endnotes 1) Aristotle. 1952. The Works of Aristotle Vol.I. . Robert M. Hutchins (ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica, p. 362. 2) Moore, George E. 1953. Some Main Problems in Philosophy. New York: Collier, pp. 119-120. 3) Aristotle. 1952. The Works of Aristotle Vol.I. . Robert M. Hutchins (ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica, p. 268. 4) Hume, David 1777. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. La Salle: Open Court (1958 reprint), pp. 177-179. 5) Ibid., p. 47. 6) Nagel, Thomas. 1997. The Last Word. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 15. 7) Hume, op. cit., p. 184. This is an excerpt from Dr. John Byl’s apologetic classic “The Divine Challenge: on Matter, Mind, Math & Meaning” which he’s just updated, and made freely available via his website It is reprinted here with the author’s permission....

Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews

Why Pro-life? Caring for the unborn and their mothers

by Randy Alcorn 172 pages / 2012 Randy Alcorn has written a much longer pro-life book called Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, but while I would recommend it highly as a pro-life reference work, at 455 pages, it's a bit much to take in in a short period. Why Pro-Life?, on the other hand, is an excellent concise call to love both mother and child in a crisis pregnancy. Randy Alcorn's book was originally published in 2004 (available as a free PDF here), but it was updated in 2012. Both editions include sections on the following: The Basics The Child The Woman Other Important Issues Spiritual Perspectives and Opportunities. The 2012 edition updates every chapter and adds chapters and appendices on: Do Birth Control Pills Cause Abortion? (which RP has also covered here) Abortion in the Bible and Church History Biblical Passages Relevant to Life Issues Talking Points for Communicating the Pro-Life Message. Both Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments and Why Pro-Life? are typically insightful looks at an important issue from Randy Alcorn, but the latter will be invaluable for both those skeptical of the pro-life position and those who are new to the pro-life movement. If you want a clearer understanding of how to be pro-life for both mother and child, or want to expose someone else to the pro-life perspective, you can get the 2004 version of Why Pro-Life? for free here or buy the 2012 edition on Amazon....

Book excerpts, Book Reviews

Free book: How should Christians approach origins?

Blaise Pascal once quipped that he had written a long letter because he hadn’t had time to write a short one. Well, in this booklet it is evident that authors John Byl (who blogs on evolution and creation at Bylogos) and Tom Goss put an enormous amount of time and effort to boil down the key issues of the origin debate. In just 67 pages they gave an overview of: the difference between historical and operational science why secular scientists deny miracles as a matter of dogma why many professing Christian scientists do, but shouldn’t, deny miracles the basics of materialism and naturalism what the various origins positions are why Christianity is incompatible with any form of evolution how dating methods can be unreliable what books would be good for further reading And that isn’t even all of it! Both authors are professors, and one, John Byl, is Canadian Reformed. He has his Ph.D. in astronomy, and if this slim book has you ready for more, then you’ll want to take a look at his larger and more comprehensive God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe. But this smaller book, at just 67 pages, is an ideal size to share with any university student, or anyone looking for an introduction to the origins debate. You won’t find any better! The book concludes with Resource Pages that list two dozen books – these are the very best books on various aspects of the origins debate. So not only is this is an excellent introduction, it also points you to where you can go for much much more. And the authors have now made the book available to RP readers, for free! Click the cover to view it online or click here to download the PDF. ...

Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews

FREE BOOK: Coronavirus and Christ

by John Piper 2020 / 112 pages  What Piper offers us in what he calls this “historic moment of bitter providence” is a lesson in how to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). The secret of “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” is this: knowing that the same sovereignty that could stop the coronavirus, yet doesn’t, is the very sovereignty that sustains the soul in it. Some Christians want to “rescue God from his sovereignty over suffering” – they want to say God is not responsible for the coronavirus. But, Piper notes, such a "rescue" can only be done if we also “sacrifice his sovereignty to turn all things for our good” – if God is not responsible for the coronavirus, then He is not really in control, and we can’t rely on Him to do as He has promised, turning all things to our good (Romans 8:28-30). However, God is in control. Therefore... The very sovereignty that rules in sickness is the sovereignty that sustains in loss. The very sovereignty that takes life is the sovereignty that conquered death and brings believers home to heaven and Christ. It is not sweet to think that Satan, sickness, sabotage, fate, or chance has the last say in my life. That is not good news. That God reigns is good news. Why? Because God is holy and righteous and good. And he is infinitely wise. We don’t know all the reasons God has brought the coronavirus. But we do know He values us, and loves us so much He gave His Son for us. We do know He is in control. So we do know He can and will do as He has promised, somehow, in some way, turning even this pandemic to the good of those who love Him. It is a short read, but an encouraging and also challenging one. It is also free, both as an e-book, and as a 2-hour audiobook. Both can found at books/coronavirus-and-christ. You can also find the audiobook on YouTube here. The book trailer is available below. ...


Saturday Selections - December 7, 2019

FREE E-BOOK: Why sex is the best argument for creation The folks behind the fantastic documentary Is Genesis History have created a short 115-page e-book with ten of their most popular essays, including the title essay. You can download the pdf for free here, the Mobi (Kindle) version here, and the Epub version here. Should we use "preferred pronouns"? (10-minute read) J.D. Greear, a prominent US pastor, recently told listeners that he will use a transgender person's "preferred pronouns" out of a “generosity of spirit” – i.e. Greear will call a guy a she, if that's what the guy asks Greear to do. Now, there is some nuance to be had in this but also a clear line that shouldn't be crossed. The clear line? We should not lie, even if people ask us to, so we cannot refer to men as women. The nuance? If we meet a transgender fellow, our opening line doesn't have to be: "You need to stop wearing dresses." We can start with "Hi" or "How's it going?" And if that fellow asks us to call him Sue, we can even do that, because, while it is an odd name for a guy, we can pick our names, even as we can't pick our gender. This Rod Dreher article is fantastic in that it includes a lot of other's thoughts as well. How I make a sermon (3-minute read) Dr. Bredenhof gives us a peek behind the curtain to see what's involved when he crafts his sermon. No Canadian Anglicans by 2040? And no United Church either? (10-minute read) This article, by a veteran religion reporter, collects a few other articles to explore whether mainline denominations in Canada and the US might be gone by 2040. And while this is far from certain, this isn't simply hype from some journalist trying to get click-thrus – we're hearing this straight from the horses's mouth: "A 'wake-up call.' That’s what Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, called a new report showing there may be no members left in the mainline Canadian denomination in 20 years." Praying backwards (2-minute read) We'll often conclude our prayers with the words "...but Your will be done." What if we began our prayers that way, putting God's desires first? Your eyes are AMAZING!!! (9 minutes) The funnest bit starts just after the 4-minute mark when Dr. Wells spells out an evolutionary critique of the design of the eye. But what evolutionists present as an example of bad design (and therefore as proof of unguided, undesigned evolution) is actually an example of genius. Or, rather, Genius.  ...