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D. Williamson (Belfast, NI)

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Unsilenced: How to Voice the Gospel
Unsilenced: How to Voice the Gospel
by James Boccardo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Both Exhorts and Equips, 23 Jun. 2015
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One of the most difficult tasks for most Christians is personal evangelism. In fact, many of us find it so difficult that we rarely, if ever, speak to our neighbours and friends about Christ. There may be many reasons for this but an honest reading of the New Testament will certainly cause us to agree with Boccardo, "I've noticed something different about people in the New Testament: they weren't silent about their faith".

In this book Boccardo gives very practical guidance as to how we can be "unsilenced". He is certainly not an 'ivory tower' instructor, he knows the cut and thrust of conversation, and his enthusiasm for the spread of the Gospel is infectious.

He commences the book with a reference to his own conversion experience. He then gives a brief outline of the Gospel message. Common excuses for neglecting personal witness are then dealt with one by one. This is an uncomfortable chapter for most of us. Then, from Ch 5 the equipping begins with advice as to how to open and lead the conversation to the Gospel. Nineteen different challenges are identified and answered. The remainder of the book deals with our dependence upon the Lord for blessing, some reference to the cults and science, and a final encouragement.

This book should be read by anyone who wants to spread the Gospel in a personal way. My only reason for not giving 5 stars is that some of the answers given to the challenges are (in my opinion) not very well thought through and may not result in the challenger being silenced!

He that believeth not...: The Errors of Universalism and Annihilationism Explored
He that believeth not...: The Errors of Universalism and Annihilationism Explored
Price: £9.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal Conscious Punishment Defended, 9 Jun. 2015
The sub-title of this book is “Hell - who goes there, why, and for how long?” and, while all of these questions are certainly answered in the book, the main focus is upon “for how long?”.

The author’s Introduction clearly sets out his stall. He describes the importance of his subject, “the eternal destiny of human beings … is a doctrine that is immensely relevant, intensely personal, and infinitely practical to every single individual who has ever lived”. He admits the “deeply troubling” nature of the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment, but asserts that if “people are given a false hope … it is not a minor mistake, but an unspeakable and eternal tragedy”.

The main content of the book is in three large sections:

Setting the Scene
Part One - Universalism
Part Two - Annihilationism

The third section is the largest by far. McCauley defends this seeming imbalance by stating that “[Annihilationism] has more support amongst those on the conservative end of Christendom” and thus merits the greater scrutiny.

This section includes a brief statement of purpose for the book and describes the view defended by the author, before briefly introducing the alternatives. The view defended is that “people who do not have their sins forgiven will be consciously punished for those sins without end”. The alternatives are “that everyone ultimately will be saved (universalism)” and “that no one will be consciously lost (annihilationism)”.

In this section McCauley interacts with the writings of such well-known emergent church leaders as Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. He helpfully exposes their caricatures of the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment before scripturally challenging and deconstructing the ‘arguments’ for universalism. This is a most beneficial read, showing that challenges to the Biblical doctrine of eternal conscious punishment are largely based upon mis-representation of the truth and appeal to emotion rather than Scripture. He then gives thorough treatment to those scriptures which universalists appeal to in support of their view, clearly placing each scripture in it’s context and giving the correct understanding. He concludes this section, “The idea of everyone living happily ever after is a lovely thought, but like all other fairy tales, it’s not true, and we had better face reality”.

Once again, the author is evidently up to date with the arguments of his opponents. He references works by Glenn Peoples, Joseph Dear, and John Stott, among others. His approach is to examine the words used to describe the judgment of the lost, then the passages of scripture to which the annihilationist might turn to support his view. He then investigates such concepts as the love of God and the justice of God. At each point his refutation of the annihilationist position is Biblical and thorough. This section concludes with consideration of further Biblical passages which clearly support the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment. I found particularly helpful and enjoyable a sub-section with the title ‘Put a cross through annihilationism’ (Pg 177-188) in which the author considers the implications of the sufferings of Christ on the doctrine of annihilationism.

In summary, McCauley is well read and his conclusions are well reasoned. I found this book to be of great help in my understanding of the subject. The book does require the readers brain to be in gear throughout but will certainly reward the diligent.

The only negative to be raised is with regard to the format. A book of this nature could have done with being divided into shorter chapters. When I went back to the book to do this review, I found it difficult to find paragraphs I had particularly valued because the sections are lengthy. Also, this should be a good reference work, however its usefulness as such would be greatly enhanced by the inclusion of a scripture index.

Notwithstanding my complaint concerning the format, I have given the book five stars for its content. May the Lord use it for His glory and the instruction of His people.

THE GOSPEL HB (Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers)
THE GOSPEL HB (Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers)
by Joey Allen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate Gospel, attractively taught!, 8 May 2014
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This is an excellent little book. Our daughter is three and we wanted to teach her the Gospel clearly. This book is simple, well written, holds her attention throughout, and presents the Gospel of Christ with accuracy.

In fact, she asks continually to be read this book, and (perhaps as a result) we heard her telling her baby brother how he must 'trust Jesus to be in heaven'.

It's hard to find children's books with a solid message which are also interesting, even to three year olds. If that is what you are looking for - I would certainly recommend this little book!

John Calvin Goes to Berkeley (The University Christian Fellowship Series)
John Calvin Goes to Berkeley (The University Christian Fellowship Series)
Price: £2.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Insomnia can be useful, 17 Sept. 2013
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No sleep at all enabled me to read this book through at one sitting. It was a great read, hugely entertaining & deals with some doctrinal issues too :-). The book is a fictional account of 5 students wrestling with Calvinism/Arminianism. Whatever your stance on the issues, the conclusion will make you think...that's all.

The Case for Easter: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Ressurrection
The Case for Easter: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Ressurrection
by Lee Strobel
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Good evangelistic tool, 22 Mar. 2013
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It is well worth having a few copies of this little book for friends who may have genuine questions about the validity of the claims of Christianity.

The contents of the book have been released before - they are a portion of the well known "Case for Christ" by the same author. However, due to this being a smaller publication (dealing particularly with the death and resurrection of Christ), I feel it is more accessible to those who may have only a passing interest.

Another bonus for me was that it clearly presented the Gospel and the responsibility of the individual to believe it without incorporating a 'sinners prayer'. Altogether a worthwhile addition to any evangelistic tool box!

TACTICS: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
TACTICS: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
by Gregory Koukl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting Apologetics in Plain Clothes, 24 Feb. 2013
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This book comes recommended by a variety of well-known Christian apologists. It is not, however, another book dealing with the substance of arguments defending the faith, it is rather (as the title suggests) a book about tactics. As Koukl notes in his first chapter 'effective persuasion in the twenty-first century requires more than having the right answers'. He suggests that three 'skills' are required in order to be an effective ambassador for Christ. These skills he defines as 'knowledge, an accurately informed mind; wisdom, an artful method; and character, an attractive manner'.

Knowledge can be obtained through careful study of the Scriptures, and through reading some of the many excellent books written for the purpose of defending the faith from every conceivable attack. Character involves our own personal submission to the Word of God and will be seen by the measure in which we are like Christ. However it is tactical wisdom which is 'the main focus of this book'.

The book is divided into two main sections as follows:.

Part One: The Game Plan. This section first deals with the need for our engagements to look 'more like diplomacy than combat'. We are also reminded that the tactics discussed in the book are not intended to be used to humiliate anyone but rather with the end in view of guiding a person to the truth. The whole subject of argument and its usefulness in the service of God is then discussed before Koukl introduces us to The Columbo Tactic and it's various uses. There are 6 chapters in this first section.

Part Two: Finding the Flaws. The second section involves training oneself to see the logical flaws in anothers argument. These flaws are clearly explained and illustrated and relevant names are given to each in order to help the reader to memorise and put into practice the advice given. There are 8 chapters in this section.

The book is 207 pages long and will certainly be a great help to those who find it difficult to engage with their friends and relatives about Christianity. The writer of this review is involved in evangelism full-time and finds the tactics here presented to be invaluable as he discusses and communicates the Gospel to others. Whether you are actively spreading the Gospel or just wanting to be better prepared to discuss and defend Biblical truth when asked, this book will be a help to you.

No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have a Message..., 7 Aug. 2012
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This is a quality product.

I purchased it for use in Open Air preaching and it is powerful enough for using in pedestrian precincts without blasting people with a wall of sound. The headset provided, while it may feel flimsy at the start, is very adequate. The Amplifier seems to be well-built of quality plastic. There is a built in rechargeable battery pack and once charged the system is powered for use for a long time (I haven't timed it but certainly it lasts for a couple of hours).

For those wanting to purchase in the UK it is worth mentioning that it comes with a two-prong European style plug and therefore a small adapter plug is needed for charging.

This can also be used as a portable amplifier for your iPod or computer. Altogether a handy piece of kit at a reasonable price.

Alone in Majesty
Alone in Majesty
by William MacDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scriptural and Beautiful meditations on God, 24 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Alone in Majesty (Paperback)
The author specialized in stating deep truth in very easily understood language. He is perhaps best known for the Believers Bible Commentary - a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible.

Alone in Majesty is a study of the Attributes of God. It is not an exhaustive study, it is not intended to be. It is a clear, concise, reverent, scriptural, and worship-producing collection of brief meditations on God. While these are meditations, they are based firmly upon truth revealed in the Scriptures.

There are students of the Word who make this known by their use of technical language and in-depth analysis. William MacDonald was no mean student of the Word, but the sole result of reading this volume will not be occupation with the gifts of the author but with the God he has so beautifully presented.

I have used it mainly as an aid to devotion. Each night for a period I have read one chapter, relaxed, and allowed myself to consider the greatness of our God.

If you are a believer who feels the need of stimulus in his/her appreciation of God, these brief studies can hardly fail to enrich your understanding of, your devotion to, and your confidence in, the Almighty. I cannot speak too highly of this publication.

How to Study the Bible (John Macarthur Bible Studies Series)
How to Study the Bible (John Macarthur Bible Studies Series)
Price: £2.84

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful - especially for younger Christians, 24 Jan. 2012
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This is an excellent and easily-read encouragement to Study the Bible.

In the first two chapters, the author sets out to convince his readers of reasons to study the Bible. To do so he gives an overview of certain attributes of the Bible. He speaks convincingly of its Infallibility, Inerrancy, Completeness, Authority, Sufficiency, Effectiveness, Impact, and Authenticity. He notes "We can discuss its implications, its applications, and its meanings, but we shouldn't discuss whether or not it is true". He then lists some major benefits of Bible-study stating, and showing the Bible to be, the source of Truth, Happiness, Victory, Growth, Power, and Guidance. As he states, "The Bible changes lives. Someone has said that a Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't".

In chapter three, the question is asked, "Who can study the Bible?" Certain pre-requisites are clearly laid-down, all of which are confirmed by reference to the Scriptures. The serious Bible student MUST:
1. Be a Believer
2. Be Diligent
3. Have a Desire to know the Truth
4. Live a Holy life
5. Be Spirit-Controlled
6. Be Prayerful

The fourth chapter deals with "How to Study the Bible". The reader is encouraged to Read, Interpret, Meditate, and Teach the Scriptures. Very practical and helpful suggestions are given throughout as to how to gain most profit from Bible-study. There is also a consistent emphasis on the need to apply the truth learned to our lives.

I am now 35 and have sought to study my Bible since I was saved at 21. I only wish that I had been handed this book as a fresh young believer. If put into practice it may well have greatly increased my understanding of the Scriptures of Truth.

Creation Sings
Creation Sings
Price: £12.35

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuous Improvement, 21 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Creation Sings (Audio CD)
Having purchased almost all of Stuart Townend's albums I would say that this is possibly my favourite.

From the opening tune "Come, People of the Risen King", with its upbeat tempo and beautiful lyrics, through to the closing "Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God" this album proved to be a blessing to me. The words of "There is an everlasting kindness (Compassion Hymn)", "Creation Sings", "To see the King of Heaven fall" are all spiritually helpful, and positively scriptural.

The Getty/Townend collaboration in songwriting produces some beautiful hymns with sound theology and singable tunes. The solidly scriptural nature of the words are what sets these hymns apart - a characteristic which is unfortunately missing in much of modern Christian music. In all of this, of course, we are not claiming to agree with every word in every song.

I would recommend the purchase of this CD for anyone. It is an encouraging and uplifting album.

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