Dec 23

How Britain Initiated Both World Wars, by Nick Kollerstrom ★★★★

First, I’d like to discuss why I chose to read this book and to mention why it received 4 and not 3 or 5 stars from me. The topic of responsibility for the two world wars in Europe is to most Europeans and Americans quite obvious—it was the Germans. Sadly, this commonly known “fact” is almost certainly not true. It takes much gall to go against the prevailing opinions of the elite, as Nick Kollerstrom discovered in writing this book. My interest in war responsibility started after reading Pat Buchanan’s book, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. In this text, Buchanan bucks the notion that Hitler was an evil maniac desiring the conquest of the world. Odd that the person who most promoted the notion of the Hitler image, Winston Churchill, was an evil maniac that controlled an empire ruling 1/4 of the surface of world. The British had discovered the usefulness of war propaganda long before Himmler ever used it to his advantage. Churchill had to paint the Germans as desperate immoral mongrels raping women, slaughtering children, and kicking innocent dogs. This is strange, since Churchill’s beloved Queen (Victoria) was the grandmother to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany who was currently head of state of Germany. It is no surprise that the embarrassed British had to quietly change the name of their King from a German-sounding name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. People have written many volumes detailing the deception, crimes and ineptitude of the “ruling elite” in government: even my own brother Dennis has produced a book of this sort many moons ago, titled “What is Going On?” (or something like that). I would not have drawn the same conclusions as Dennis, yet agree that there is a “deep state” that gives democracy an illusion of populace control of the state, when actually the ideology, thoughts, and decisions of the public are expertly manipulated by very few people, and decisions made and kept secret from the population. Have we not seen that in our recent impeachment hearings and the uncovering of deep moral vacuousness in the FBI and other state institutions? I’m not surprised. Dennis lacks by being too kind to the depth of depravity transpiring in the unseen world of world politics. A number of recent books have come out, and there are now YouTube videos that have taken Buchanan’s book and run with it. See the Horus YouTube site, for instance. I’ll be reading yet 1-2 more books after this also on the causation of the two world wars. This book was good in offering detailed accounts of the subterfuge and deception of Churchill and Grey exercised in desperately trying to get a war with Germany (in 1914) while the British parliament was deeply opposed to the idea. The basic idea was that Britain was never honest in its diplomacy with Germany which led to misunderstandings that resulted in the tragedy of WWI.

The book is an assemblage of four papers that Kollerstrom wrote that form the four chapters. The typesetting and book organization is horrid. The call-outs are just lengthy repetitions of the text and serve no useful purpose. Statements are multiply repeated both within chapters and between chapters. Kollerstrom fails to sufficiently develop the England-causality idea sufficient to be completely credible. Other than that, the book offers some intriguing insights, some of which I will discuss.

Chapter 1, How Britain initiated both world wars, is the lengthiest and takes up over 1/2 of the book. Starting with WWI, the author brings up multiple statements and news clippings from the pre-war years showing how Kaiser Wilhelm (II) was a man of peace. Germany had not been at war for 50 years, while Britain remained in a constant state of war over those years, and France engaged in other wars. Diplomacy failures and horrible treaties all resulted in the ensuing carnage of the Great War. The treaty of Germany with Austria, and France with Russia forced very unwilling hands to act. Secretive but later uncovered defense treaties between France and England escalated what could have been a limited conflict, when everybody would have realized the illogical nature of the battle. Fueling the turn of the war from a few defensive skirmishes and attempts to assure a position of safety, Churchill and Grey were most masterful at creating a war that the politicians (of both England and Germany) did not want, and that the people of England were soon to regret. Untruthful propaganda by Britain’s war department still prevails in western thinking even when it has been shown to be nothing but malignant lies about the German people.

World war II is really a continuation of WWI, since the treaty of Versailles was patently unfair in both the assumptions (war responsibility 100% Germany’s) and the “punishment” to Germany. It is no wonder that Germany behaved like a wounded lion, ready to settle the account. Yet, history doesn’t show that at all. The Versailles’ decision to divide Germany up into many pieces and allot those pieces to Poland, Czechoslovakia (a horrible mistake), resulted in lands that were almost entirely of ethnic German peoples now serving under other nationalities. It is not that these nationalities, especially Poland, were benevolent and impartial governors. Tabled from view were the atrocities that German people received from their new Polish rulers, which explains the mass migration westward of Germans that occurred in the 1920’s. The west noted that this simply was a lie that Hitler created to justify his actions. There is no doubt that Hitler created lies, but this was not one of them. Above all, Hitler made it abundantly clear that he did not wish for a war with Britain or France. They forced his hand. Multiple quotes from many of Hitler’s writings (even Mein Kampf) and speeches noted Hitler’s desire to remain peaceful with Great Britain. Churchill would have none of that. Churchill wanted war. And, Churchill got war. It is surprising that the west has the naïveté to regard Churchill as a great statesman and hero of the west.

Chapter 2, On the avoidability of WWI, mostly reiterates what is found in chapter 1. Chapter 3, Britain as pioneer of city bombing, demonstrates yet another propaganda lie that Churchill has shoved on the British people. We are taught that the British bombed to smithereens every Germany city because the Germans started it all by bombing London. Actually, the opposite is true. Germany had no interest in going to war with Britain, and had no long-range bombers to accomplish that. Meanwhile Britain was building a huge long-range bomber force with anticipation that they would someday bomb Germany. History clearly records Britain bombing civilian centers in Hamburg and Duisberg and Berlin months before the first aerial bombing of London by the Germans. Precisely, Hamberg was bombed on May 11, the day after Churchill became chancellor, and the first German bombing was on September 6 of 1940. This was in spite of clearly stated British declarations of war morality noting that civilian bombing was completely off-limits. Hohum. I presume that one’s moral statements and one’s actions don’t need to coincide. Worse yet, in spite of having declared the immorality of civilian bombing, the Brits were bombing civilian populations in India and Asia years before, in the early 1930’s. Oh wait, I forgot, Indians and Asians and Germans are not human, so guess it doesn’t matter.

Chapter 4, will of the warmongers, provides additional historical material regarding events leading up to WWII that destroys the notion that Hitler was an insane maniac desirous of ruling the world. Victors write the history books, but fortunately, enough history is still existent that we are able to question the forced narrative of the past to ask what really happened to start WWI and II. Truth be told, we all stand guilty. My only regret is that history still offers Churchill a “saint” status. He was a chain-smoking besotted drunk womanizer thirsty for war and willing to destroy nations to accomplish his blood-thirsty lust for power.

People often attribute my stance on Churchill and German as representing me as a Hitler lover or pro-German-regardless-of-the-truth subscriber. Neither is true. I might be of German heritage, but I am American. I do care about the truth, and when facts are given that are inconsistent, then I question the facts. The prevailing narratives of WWI & II are such situations. Therefore, whether or not you tend to accept the prevailing explanation as to why the great world wars occurred, I suggest that you challenge those thoughts momentarily and ask as to the veracity of those explanations. I believe that you may not like what you find. I offered only the briefest details of what was spoken of. You might have many questions as to the veracity of this book since it’s not what you were taught in school, yet the documentation comes mostly from easily available sources as so remain credible. I don’t recommend this book as a starting book on the topic. Watch some the Horus YouTube videos on Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, or better yet, read Pat Buchanan’s book for yourself and discover a replacement narrative that is truer than the one you’ve been taught.

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Dec 20

The liberal Media Industrial Complex by Mark Dice ★★★★

OK, it’s another review of a book by Mark Dice. I’ve followed Mark since he was doing Bohemian Grove exposés and Illuminati discussions. Mark has been accused of being a conspiracy theorist, though some get off the hook regarding conspiracy “delusions” when they speak of vast right-wing conspiracies (eg, Hilarious Clinton). Certainly, the “conspiracies” that Mark discusses are true, though I doubt that they are run by a cabal of hyper-wealthy evil masterminds that sit in James Bond-style high tech caves plotting the destruction of the world as we know it. The “conspiracies better fit the Three Stooges antics or Peter Sellers out on a new detective mission.

In a way, one could identify the Media Industrial Complex (MIC) as yet another conspiracy, but that would further misuse the word “conspiracy”. It perhaps is better to say that the media is a mirror on the nature of all humankind, being evil to the core, desirous of control of fellow citizens, not compelled to exercise integrity when half-truths could better serve their purpose, and examining the world through deeply tinted rose-colored glasses.

Mark is quite successful and heavily referenced in showing the MIC as unduly biased and most sly in their intent to conceal their biases. The chapters of this book are short, detailing how the MIC controls our thinking through censorship of news and information that doesn’t fit the desired narratives, and that has distinctive agendas (anti-gun, anti-God, pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ, enviro-apocalyptic) that through manipulation lead audiences into thinking that their viewpoints are the only existing viewpoints without contest. Mark spends several chapters discussing (not in these words) Trump-derangement syndrome, and the assault on God and family of the media. Finally, Mark does a superb job of detailing the assault on truth and the manipulation of the news and public square for information that social media is inflicting on a purposely uninformed public. Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all fall prey to the discerning knife of Dice’s exposé. Most scary is the final chapter (The Future…) where the possibility of news being created by AI programs that now already exist, which can reconstruct anybody’s voice to say what it will, or incorporate a person in video that never ever happened. This technology is not Dick Tracy-esque, but already exists.

So, why do I give this book only 4 stars since it is an excellent and well-researched text? One thing missing from the book is a better in-depth analysis of what is being seen with our eyes wide shut. Mark Dice needs to be not only a provocateur but also a pundit and sage. Perhaps time and maturity will accomplish that feat. Do I recommend this book? Absolutely and whole-heartedly. Stop right now and order your book. It’s worth a read.

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Oct 31

A Sand County Almanac And Sketches Here and There, by Aldo Leopold ★★★

This book is very popular among environmental groups as it offers a strong case for the current environmental movement, and is often quoted by environmentalists. I became interested in the book only after reading another environmental book, Another Shade of Green, also recently reviewed by me.

This edition is divided into 4 parts; 1) a fairly lengthy introduction by Robert Finch, which I’ll not review, 2) A Sand County Almanac, which is observations Leopold made on his farm in central Wisconsin for each month of a certain year. 3) Sketches Here and There, which are brief observations from various states of the USA and Mexico. 4) Leopold attempting to lay a philosophical basis for the environmental movement. Section 2 and 3 are very similar in their style detailing Leopold’s observations of nature, but are organized first chronologically, and then location-wise.

First, I found it challenging to stomach the arrogance of Aldo Leopold. He is constantly making statements suggesting that he sees things in nature that other people callously don’t pause to notice. But, are you surprised? That is what Aldo is supposed to be doing. He has been trained to observe nature, and that was his occupation. He knows the names of minute plants and organisms. I scarcely am able to differentiate the names of various common trees. But, I am a trained surgeon and notice physical characteristics of the human body that go unnoticed by everybody else. Yet, I don’t insult or condescend to my patients for not noticing things that I have been trained to notice. That one does not quickly identify subtle changes in nature, or take note of obscure plants that wax and wane over the year, does not reflect on one’s absence of appreciation for nature. Similarly, my patients appreciate good health, even though they are not always cognizant of subtle signs and symptoms that reflect a loss of that good health.

Leopold appeals most to the irrational emotions of people by creating a Disneyesque nature to our world. Animals talk and think rationally. Animals think out a rationality to nature that simply doesn’t exist. In the process, Leopold turns our world into a giant version of Disneyland. The technique of personalizing beasts of the field and birds of the air leaves for delightful reading. Doesn’t one often have curiosity as to what animals are thinking about? It’s ok to be creating scenarios of sentient creatures, but don’t sell it as a plea to protect our world.

Leopold is often hypocritical about protecting nature. He loves to hunt but laments how hunting has altered the ecosphere. He loves nature but complains when others get out into nature in a different style than him, such as through the use of RVs and motorhomes, etc. He bemoans over-population but doesn’t volunteer to help reduce human population by eliminating himself. Clearly, he lives in a solipsistic world that has reduced tolerance to those different from himself.

The greatest thing I noticed in reading this book is that Leopold remains entire blind to the most obvious fact observable in nature, that of a Creator. Leopold will frequently refer to Biblical stories, though they are treated more in a fairytale fashion than actual history. His god is evolution which created his beloved environment through time and chance from the primordial slime. Yet, the heavens and firmament are screaming at deafening volumes as to a loving, wonderful God who gave us a beautiful earth. It is sad that Leopold doesn’t see the forest because of the trees, and fails to realize that there is a connectivity, and moral rationale for protecting nature based on a desire to care and nurture the world God has given to us.

I found part 4 of this book the most interesting, but also the most muddled in thinking. He agonizes about a “land ethic” but never defines it completely. Then, he details the two types of environmentalists, those that are mostly hunters/RV campers/occasional participants in the outdoors, and those that have a strong interest in going as natural as possible and preserving wilderness as a natural phenomenon. He could have picked two names, Gifford Pinchot and John Muir, to make his point, but he didn’t. His idea was that the more “natural” we keep nature, the higher good is obtained. Now, I have my repulsion for hunters and RV campers, but that doesn’t make me establish a superior attitude to them. We all enjoy nature in different ways. I tend to side with the later (John Muir) camp, but also realize that we have a responsibility to care for nature. I also have a very difficult time identifying that the more natural things are, the better off they are. A perfect example is the California forests, which are burning up because of the absence of forest management. Another example is the rise of Lyme disease in the Northeast because of the return of farmed lands to “nature”. It is difficult for me to grasp exactly what the most proper natural state of the biosphere would be. I also have difficulty seeing the moral superiority of a burned-out piece of wilderness over a carefully managed piece of wilderness. The most aggressive environmental pundits long wistfully for wilderness in the Daniel Boone sense, but that is a wish that is similar to wishing that one could again believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. An expansive wilderness that covers half a continent simply will never again happen.

Aldo Leopold paints a very fancy picture of the outdoors and longs wistfully for the wild untouched land of yesteryear, but that doesn’t help when attempting to create a rational policy toward wilderness and natural sites management. The environment remains an emotional issue for all. Who is there that cannot gaze upon a majestic mountain scene or a stately elk in its native environment, and not be overwhelmed with emotion. These emotions don’t help when attempting to formulate public policy. Leopold worked in the public sector all his life and should have known better. In my opinion, wilderness speaks for itself. Most people agree that we must not destroy the natural beauty of our world. How we go about saving our natural areas, and exactly what is meant by saving our natural areas remains a topic of discussion. Overmanagement might be a grave evil, but so is undermanagement. This is our earth, and we must care for it diligently but cautiously.

I can appreciate the witness that Leopold gives to the beauty and majesty of our natural world. I don’t appreciate that he fails to discuss the most obvious conclusion of his observations, that…

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

…yet, there remain so many folk, especially educated elitists like Leopold, that close their eyes and remain deaf to the obvious, that we live in our Father’s world, and because it is His, we darn well better take good care of it!

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Sep 01

A Different Shade of Green, A Biblical Approach to Environmentalism and the Dominion Mandate, by Gordon Wilson★★★

This is a book I received recently direct from Canon Press and not from Amazon, and chosen because of my avid interest in a Biblical approach to environmentalism, ecology, and wilderness ethics. Gordon Wilson has a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy and lives in Moscow, Idaho. He is the brother of Douglas Wilson, a preacher and well-known personality in the town of Moscow, Idaho.
The text is easily readable, which I did in about 4 hours, and geared for the early high school level. I don’t have any serious criticisms of the book, save for the book being moderately non-academic and rather incomplete in its thinking. I mostly agree wholeheartedly with the thesis and many of the conclusions of Gordon, but feel that he did a poor job of developing a comprehensive Christian/Biblical approach to the environment. There are many questions which he left untouched and unanswered in the book.
He heavily quotes two people, Aldo Leopold and his Sand County Almanac and Francis Schaeffer in Pollution and the Death of Man, written in conjunction with Schaeffer’s son-in-law Udo Middelmann.
I have read and re-read Schaeffer’s text many times, and it has been formative in my thinking on the environment; I’ve read the Sand County Almanac once and have reviewed it elsewhere on my webpage. This current book tends to support Schaeffer’s theses, and thus I would stand in whole-hearted agreement with all that Wilson has to say. New in Wilson’s thought was his emphasis on the biosphere operating analogically as a giant machine, and each part of the biosphere (and physical earth I presume) being an integral part of that machine. Thus, all species and subspecies play a role in the overall and necessary function for the best operation of the total biosphere.
What did Dr. Wilson leave up to question? He definitely overuses a few words without defining them, such as the word “dominion”. He quotes the word as used in Gen 1:28, where the text really doesn’t give a strong clue as to precisely what is meant as “dominion”. Perhaps the overplay of the word orients around a possible adherence to Dominion Theology. While Dr. Wilson may adhere to Dominion Theology (I don’t), I don’t find Dominion Theology as necessary in building a Christian stance for the environment. Certainly, Francis Schaeffer and Udo Middelmann did not feel that way! Wilson focuses heavily on the animal kingdom, giving the plant kingdom only passing mention, and the physical earth as almost no mention. This is problematic. To what extent is it ok to “remodel” the earth? Is dynamite sinful? What about the preservation of beauty? How would he lean in the (still ongoing) Hetch Hetchy controversy? Would he lean with Pinchot or with (the probably more Christian) Muir? Waffling on the question is NOT an option. What about the state preserving areas such as wilderness? Wilson in the book not once (that I could find) even mentions the word “wilderness”. This leaves a giant lacuna for the book. Can he form a wilderness ethic? Does he have any comments on the wilderness act of 1963? Is it good or bad? How would he change it? He suggests leaving some areas “natural”, yet that is NOT Biblical, as “dominion” suggests caring for all the earth in a fashion to groom, control, contain it. Another giant lacuna is a discussion of bioengineering, the production of genetically modified organisms, and its role in ecology. Is GMO a good or a bad thing from an environmentalist perspective? I would reiterate a question, how would Wilson lean in the Pinchot versus Muir debate? How do we balance utility of the biosphere with the preservation of the native state of nature? Is logging ok? How much logging? What about the grazing of sheep and cattle? Is it simply a question of “sustainability” (i.e., over-grazing”) or are there aesthetic issues involved? What about the preservation of exotic subspecies? Part of my recent hike (the PCT) was detoured because biologists felt that the sound of human steps disturbed the sex life of the yellow-legged frog. I felt that this was misdirected thinking. How would Wilson weigh in on this? The last few years had an unprecedented number of west coast forest fires, and at least a few of these were the result of poor forest management or laissez-faire attitudes toward forest upkeep. Does Wilson have any comments on this? Should we manage forests in a way to limit the number of forest fires, or should we allow natural fires to have their way? He quoted briefly Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, yet this book has come under serious attack for being very bad science, and perhaps completely inaccurate as to the effects of DDT. How would Wilson respond? I have been engaged numerous times with libertarians who contend that a libertarian approach to the environment would have the most salutary effect at preserving wild places. Experience and time have shown that the libertarians are dead wrong on this issue. I believe that there is a role for the state in preserving wild areas and maintaining laws that prevent the destruction of the environment, maintaining necessary areas such as wetlands, fields, forests and other habitats for members of the plant and animal kingdom to survive. How much control of our land does Wilson feel the state should have? How would Wilson interpret Biblical law in order to protect the environment? How does he reconcile the Quiver-full movement with environmental destruction from “over-population”? Any form of development of the land intrinsically leads to habitat destruction. Clearing out the land for a house or housing development, flattening a large parcel for a shopping mall, diverting rivers for flood control, putting in roads across natural ranges for animals (bison!!!), and even the development of hiking trails leads to habitat destruction. How does one balance the good and bad of human activity in this world? This ultimately leads to the most fundamental issue, and that pertains to the orientation of the universe. Wilson and I both believe that the universe was created for man, for both sustaining men but also for man’s enjoyment and pleasure. This makes both Wilson and I side (I presume) toward an anthropocentric universe. This seems to be the fundamental difference between us and the secular environmentalists who do not believe the world is anthropocentric, and that man is an often an unwelcome invader in this world. I wonder why he didn’t develop this thinking further, as any discussion of wilderness focuses on man’s role in this universe?
Enough questions. With time, I could draw more that I think are vital to answer in any form of engagement of Christians with non-Christians in their discussion of environmental issues. The book is a good read, and I recommend it, even to those with a passing interest in environmental issues.

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Aug 04

A History of Western Philosophy and Theology, by John Frame ★★★★

Habe nun, ach! Philosophie,
Juristerei und Medizin,
Und leider auch Theologie
Durchaus studiert, mit heißem Bemühn.
Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor!
Und bin so klug als wie zuvor…

from Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe perhaps best summarizes my feeble investigations into philosophy, law, medicine, and theology, all studied with great zeal, and yet still left feeling like a fool. I thoroughly appreciate Frame’s approach to the history of western philosophy and his merger with theology, as they both breech similar questions and topics of thought. Oftentimes Frame is verbose, oftentimes terse on a subject in discussion. It is impossible to provide a thorough single-volume text to match the magisterial works of Copleston or Windelband. Frame is a philosopher in the school of Kuyper/van Til, though he makes it clear that he is not a rigid vanTilian. For that reason, I have a deep respect for Frame. Frame offers a fly-over view of western philosophy, starting a usual with the Milesians of ancient Greece and ending with modern deconstruction. Frame is always most kind, sometimes too kind when someone deserves to be attacked, such as the modern deconstructionists. Yet, perhaps Frame feels (as I do) that modern philosophy is more a passing fad than a system of thought to be taken seriously.

Frame takes and runs with the vanTil notion that all thought ultimately is defended by circular reasoning, and thus a defense of Christianity demands a position of Scripture as a presupposition and not as a possibility to be explored and argued as true simply through the use of reason. Yet, all belief systems are circular. The rationalists will use reason to defend their case. Like vanTil, the creator/creature distinction must constantly be held, and that the idea of God speaking to man (through Scripture) is a starting point and a given, and not something that you reason into.

More than 40% of the book is added on at the end in the form of multiple appendices, essays that Frame has written over time and now waiting to be published in a philosophical context. Frame might have served the reader better by offering an explanation before each essay as to setting in which the paper was written.

Frame is very kind. As an example, Frame has many disagreements with Gordon Clark, yet emphasizes what Clark truly got right, and how Clark was perhaps misjudged in the vanTil/Clark controversy. After each chapter of text, there is a review of terms and names, as well as questions to stimulate thought; these questions would be invaluable if one were reading the text for a course. I happen to have read it mostly for my own enjoyment and pleasure, and thus did not constipate myself with deeper philosophical ruminations. I also have this book given as a set of lectures in a course given by Dr. Frame. I will soon be applying myself to listening to Frame philosophize. So far, I find that he is easier to listen to than to read.

Do I recommend this book? Yes of course! John Frame has a brilliant mind and thinks well. I appreciate Frame’s perspectives on philosophy and theology. I would hope that the reader interested in philosophy will also find this text thought-provoking and a delight to read.

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Aug 01

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, by JI Packer ★★★★

I have now reviewed a number of Packer texts, and this will probably be the last for a while. Why would I read this book, a very toned down, brief summary of theology themes, when I have already took Packer’s in-depth course on systematic theology? Simple. It’s one of Packer’s texts that I haven’t read yet, and plan on using it as a book that I could refer other to in seeking for texts in classic Reformed theology. Packer is Anglican, ordained in the Anglican church, yet whose theology was formed by the Puritans and the Westminster Confession, of which he freely admits in the preface of this text. In 94 very short chapters, Packer offers a summary of many of the themes of theology. Packer’s skill is that of taking very complex theological issues and making them very simple. His longest two chapters are only 5 pages long, and they are on the church and on baptism. The book summarizes Packer’s thinking quite nicely, while also giving the reader a sense of how Packer handles hot (controversial) issues, which is, in a very gracious fashion. Thus, even Arminians might read this text and find disagreement but will feel that Packer is hard to disagree with. Throughout are little theological gems that make JI shine. It’s a book worth reading, even if you know your theology.

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Jul 29

Praying, by JI Packer with Carolyn Nystrom ★★★★★

I started reading this book in March 2019, stalled because of my PCT hike, and recently resumed and completed reading it. Like its companion volume God’s Will, they were written with the help of Carolyn Nystrom. Both are intended to be both instructional and devotional.

The book reads in a relaxed fashion, as though JI were sitting with you, and giving you his thoughts on prayer. The various chapters include 1) discussion of who we are praying to, 2) encouragement for a life that is patterned in prayer, 3) spending time dwelling/meditating in prayer, 4) using prayer to praise God 5) searching the self for sin / bad attitudes when approaching God, 6) advice of asking in prayer, 7) advice on complaining to God in prayer, 8) perseverance in prayer, 9) necessity of corporate prayer and 10) praying with your whole heart and sincerely. The postscript is a delightful little statement on gaining the habit of a prayerful life.

My dear readers by now should be aware of how deeply I admire and respect JI Packer and his writings. This book is yet another example of how you cannot go wrong by reading Packer. It is Packer at his mature best.

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Jul 10

18 Words: The most Important Words You Will Ever Know, by JI Packer ★★★★★

Those of you who have followed my posts and book reviews should be aware that I am a fan of the writings of JI Packer. I took a class in Systematic Theology from him, and have deeply appreciated his insights, style of teaching, and way that he writes. JI Packer, more than anybody that I know, writes exactly like he teaches, the same style, vocabulary, and manner of presentation. Exceptional about Packer is how he can tackle very complex theological topics, like that of election, and make it extremely simple. This book is an example of how Packer will take theological topics and turn those topics into a lengthy lesson in practical theology. That has been JI Packer’s first statement on teaching theology, that right theology (orthodoxy) should evoke right living (orthopraxy) and worship. Each of the 18 words above comprise the 17 chapters of this book, with a preface explaining in more technical language exactly what he is up to. Only 17 chapters? Well, sanctification and holiness are both from the exact root in both Hebrew and Greek. There is no verbal form “holiness”, but there is the word “sanctification”, just as there is no adjectival form of sanctification, but holiness is the word that fits that category. So, from a Greek and Hebrew point of view, they are just different forms of the same word. How do all these technical theological words have significance for the Christian? That is best explained by reading this book by Packer. I’ve read many of the books that Packer has written, and certainly this text is one of his best. He shows insights from a lifetime of living and walking and teaching the Christian faith that are true gems in this book. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy to read. You won’t regret it.

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Apr 03

Nature’s Case for God: A Brief Biblical Argument, by John Frame ***

This is a very short book which I was able to start and finish on the train from Tacoma to Kelli (on the way to San Diego). The book is divided into three parts, the first being the witness of the physical world, the second the conscience and the third part a discussion of natural law by the use of several letters that Frame wrote. The case of the physical world argues for the vastness, the perceived unity, the goodness, the wisdom, and God’s presence in the world. Arguing from a presuppositional basis, his arguments are that the world gives strong support for a creator God of the description found in Scripture. Regarding the argument for conscience, Frame demonstrates how conscience in its various modes truly attests to God.

A book of this sort suffers from the problem of its briefness. None of the arguments were as well developed as they should of been. I didn’t find the book in toto to be a compelling case for God save for the person who believes and needs no case for God.

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Apr 02

Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, modern revision ****

I have read this book several times before on the original language, but decide to read this highly recommended edition in contemporary Sprache. This new edition reads very similar to Bunyan’s original text, and was a delight. Modern color illustrations were also added.

The story is that of the journey of pilgrims from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. During the journey the main character, Christian, encounters multiple obstacles on the way, makes wrong turns to get him into trouble, but also encounters friendships, joys, and soft paths to help him on the way. Bunyan offers encouragement, advice, warnings, and admonition to the pilgrim, as relevant today as is was 400 years or so ago.

For many years, this book was the most read book Ever, outside of the Bible. Written while he was in prison for his faith, Bunyan bares his soul about the nature of the Christian faith from an allegorical perspective. It is a wonderful tale to be read while preparing to start a long journey. This was read on my iPhone on the train from between Eugene, Oregon and San Jose, California.

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