Grad Gifts for The Class of 2022

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Congratulations to the class of 2022!

 

Student Loans, Mental Health, and Relationships.

At Ambassador International, we know that GREAT books form GREAT adults, and we would like to welcome the class of 2022 into the club!

Life’s About Relationships and we would know – one of our authors wrote the book about it! Pastor Don Woodard’s book takes the basic struggle of every human and puts into perspective, helping new grads solve relationship problems from the get-go. A must-read for every graduate – high school on up!

The need for money (and student loans) means  The Love of Money is the perfect gift for the new grad looking to balance student loans, saving for a mortgage, and investing! Give the new grads in your life the gift of financial responsibility.

Imagine Not As Much gives new grads a healthy perspective on nutrition and bodies – ever so necessary for adult life!

 

What to Do After Graduation?

 

There’s nothing like Obstacles to knock over a new grad, but what if there’s a success story in there? Readers of all ages will find themselves entertained and encouraged by this story of athletic feats that is NOT about football.

For the Display of His Splendor meets this generation where they are in anxieties and mental health struggles, reminding everyone to look upward to the One who formed them. This book is an absolute for new grads in 2022.

The Divine Deal: Life Lessons on Preparing for Adulthood answers the questions every new grad has and shows them just where so many of the answers to adulting lie. The Divine Deal is the adulting manual every 2022 grad should read!

 

Biblical Grace Today!

 

The Other 3:16s takes the Bible’s most famous passage and reminds its readers of the other 3:16s. Perfect for the new grad with new study times on his/her hands and a hunger to learn more.

There’s not a blueprint for life after graduation, but there is The Bible Blueprint. Join Rose Spiller and Chris Paxson as they study the Bible like the blueprint it is – readers will want to leave their thinking caps on for this book.

And finally – The Life She Once Knew is the incredible, true-life story of a high school graduate who survived a brutal attack, but was changed forever. Graduates of all ages will be inspired and shaped by Queena’s story and the faith her family displays.

 

To Our 2022 Graduates:

We are so proud of you. We pray and hope that you shape the world with your dedication, knowledge, and absolute love for Jesus Christ our Savior. Takes these books and walk in faith.

~Ambassador International

Memorial Day Reading List

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Ambassador International Remembers

 

Source: iStock

On Memorial Day, America honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Military. Below you will find books written by military spouses and by military members who have faithfully served America.

 

The Warrior’s Bride by Carrie Daws

The Warrior’s Bride is a book written by military wives Kathy Barnett and Carrie Daws. In this book, Barnett and Dawes give biblical strategies for helping other military wives thrive based off their own personal experiences and what God has spoken to their hearts.

 

A New Home for Allie: Carrie Daws, Joanie Bruce, Joanie Bruce: 9781620207994: Amazon.com: Books

A New Home for Allie by Carrie Daws, illustrated by Joanie Bruce

A New Home for Allie is a heart-warming children’s story written by military wife Carrie Daws and illustrated by Joanie Bruce. Allie’s story mimics what it’s like for military family kids to have to move around as Allie has to move from Kenya to Somalia. This is the perfect choice for any military family!

 

Repurposed Faith by Rosie WilliamsRepurposed Faith: Breathing New Life Into Your Quiet Time: Williams, Rosie: 9781620205587: Amazon.com: Books

Repurposed Faith is an inspirational book written by military spouse Rosie Williams. Repurposed Faith is designed to reignite the fire in your heart for Christ and his Word. If you are looking to reignite this fire once again, then this is the book for you!

 

 

 

 

For Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis: Lawson, Kenneth E.: 9781935507475: Amazon.com: BooksFor Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis by Kenneth E. Lawson

For Christ and Country is a biography about General Gustavus Loomis written by army chaplain Kenneth E. Lawson. Lawson writes of General Loomis’ unwavering faith and heart to serve his country. General Loomis was a man who was eager to speak about Jesus to anyone who would listen!

 

 

 

A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel
by Lester L. StephensonA Biblicist View of Law and Gospel: Lester L. Stephenson: 9781620201565: Amazon.com: Books

A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel is written by retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Lester L. Stephenson. Stephenson argues for an in-depth interpretation of the law and stresses the importance of the Old Testament while also arguing for how the testaments work together.

 

 

 

 

Armorbearers: The Revolutionary Choices of Servant-Leadership: Watford, Gerald: 9781620202999: Amazon.com: BooksArmorbearers: The Revolutionary View of Servant Leadership by Gerald Watford

Armorbearers, using scripture as its guide, dives deep into what it means to be a servant leader. Armorbearers author Gerald Watford knows exactly what it means to be a leader; he’s been a Marine, pastor, State Trooper, and teacher. Read as Watford encourages his readers to be servant-hearted leaders!

 

 

 

Miracle Man: A Bullet That Ignited a Purpose-Filled Life
by Brett Parks

Miracle Man is written by Brett Parks about his own real-life miracle. In 2012, Navy airman Brett Parks was shot as he ran to aid to someone being mugged. Read about Parks’ near-death experience and how God showed up during his time of need.

 

 

Persuaded: The Story of Nicodemus, A Novel - Kindle edition by Harder, David. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.Final Grains of Sand - Kindle edition by Harder, David. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Persuaded and Final Grains of Sand by David Harder

Persuaded and Final Grains of Sand are both written by David Harder who served in the United States. Navy. Persuaded is a biblical fiction novel following the life of Nicodemus and his encounters with Yeshua. Read along as Nicodemus realizes the joy and power in the Good News!

Final Grains of Sand is a fiction book about how a man named Jim leaves behind his legacy after getting a cancer diagnosis at 60 years old. This novel will help you realize the value of your life and how much your words and actions can touch the hearts of others.

 

Evocatus by Burke SpeedEvocatus: A Novel: Speed, Burke: 9781620207307: Amazon.com: Books

Evocatus is a fiction book written by Burke Speed, a retired Colonel and command pilot who served in the United States Air Force. Speed writes about the story of Jamie, a young veteran who is called again to a new type of duty and faced with the call to fight again.

 

Every day and especially on Memorial Day, we are so grateful for all those who have served America so well!

Job, Daniel, and David: Men Who Came Before Us

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With Memorial Day just around the corner, many of us are preparing for our summer vacations, time off from work, and time with our families.

As we do so, we take time to remember those who have gone before and have paid the ultimate price for our country. We celebrate their lives and their sacrifice. But how often do we do the same for those who have gone before us spiritually? How often do we take time to remember the stories or lives of those in the Bible who lived a life of faith, courage, or repentance? I believe these men and women are just as important to us from a spiritual standpoint. Some of these men include Job, the man who lost everything, Daniel, the man who risked everything, and David, the man after God’s own heart. These men represent three pillars: faith, courage, and repentance.

 

Job examines how deep our faith is when everything is stripped from us. Dr. Jim Halla in his new release, The Book of Job: God’s Faithfulness in Troubled Times seeks to show readers that even in our darkest hour, God is still sovereign over all.

This message is for all believers in all seasons of life, no matter their spiritual maturity.Dr. Halla begins by telling readers, “the book’s major focus is on the very essence of God and the believer’s relationship to Him in all types of God’s providence. Others tend to agree and view the book as cataloging the development of Job to become not only the most righteous among mortals but also the wisest. Therefore, the book has a relational emphasis highlighting who God is in relation to His people and His world.”

He goes on to explain that “Job was blameless and upright, caring for and interceding for his wife, and children, and helping others. However, he had problems – trouble – from the hand of God. Many speak of the suffering of Job. We need to be careful here. Too often the term suffering is undefined and is focused on the subjective – the person’s feelings which too often control his or her response. I prefer the generic term trouble. Labels have significance. Trouble must be understood as an expression of God’s providence: God’s control of His world, His way for His glory, and for the good of His people.”

Even what the enemy may use to harm us, God can turn it around and use it for our good and His glory. After all of the trials that Job faced, he never denied or turned away from God.

Because of this fact, everything that had been taken away was “restored and God brought back Job’s family, who apparently had alienated themselves from Job, the previously prosperous and caring patriarch. All of his family was forgiven, and they came and consoled, comforted, and rejoiced with him…. The faithfulness and trustworthiness of  God are bedrock pillars of truth. Circumstances and experience (God’s providence), feelings, and human understanding divorced from biblical truth don’t negate these truths. Seeking to understand God and His ways may be a blessing or a curse. However, knowing God and His ways are privileges and blessings that every believer has.”

One thing we can learn from Job’s story is that our circumstances don’t change God’s goodness. God is still good, and “God extends His care – common grace – to even His enemies.

Fallen man has nothing within to “lure” or draw the Holy Spirit to him. On the contrary, God saves in spite of the person simply because God saves. This fact is captured by Jesus in John 6:44-65 and 12:32. The term for draw indicated the supernatural, inside-out influence of the Holy Spirit who regenerates the believer. It is not an ‘against-your-will’ influence but a heart-opening, eye-opening, ear-opening activity that moves the now-believer to desire and seek Life and Light – Jesus Christ. In Christ by the Holy Spirit, the believer is something – he is more than simply God’s image-bearer. He is God’s child, bought with a price, and indwelt with and by the Holy Spirit. In that sense, he is something because something was done to him and in him. As a result, Jesus gave Job, and Peter, and all believers, the command to minister in His name. Believers are to follow suit. The magnitude and awesomeness of God’s redemptive work can’t be overemphasized. You, too, will persevere and minister because God has you!”

We can find peace and rest in this, that God is control and is with us through every trial or trouble we may face. We can have the courage to face the unknown. This is evident in the life of Daniel. Terry Thompson takes readers on a journey through Daniel’s life and the courage he had despite his circumstances in his new book, Daniel: Prophet at the Kings Command. Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians as a teenager and had to find a way to make the best of a difficult situation as a slave in the king’s court. Daniel and his friends had to try and honor God amidst a people who did not. Terry paints this picture by writing about Daniel’s life in a story-like format.

Throughout the Bible we can see many prophesies and see them fulfilled; however, “to begin exploring prophecies, particularly as they apply to our future, we need to dig into the book of Daniel.

Daniel lived in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. He was born around 620 B.C. and lived to about 536 B.C. During those eighty-four or so years, the Hebrew people – the Jews – suffered one of the worst times in their history. Of course, the Jews have experienced physical and spiritual affliction from their origin in Abraham to the Egyptian slavery, to the exile in Daniel’s day…” and the list goes on.

The exile of Daniel’s day began with “the Babylonians invading the southern kingdom of Judah three times between 605 B.C. and 586 B.C. and took most of the country’s Jews into exile in Babylon.

Daniel, along with many other young men, were taken to Babylon in 605 B.C., almost twenty years before the ultimate defeat of Judah and the exile of the majority of the Judahites. [He] was a teenager when he was taken by force to Babylon. He was never the typical prophet of his day but became more of a seer, or a receiver of visions about the future. God gave most of the prophets’ supernatural knowledge of future events, but none received more than Daniel. That’s why he is a special source for understanding how events of the past and today relate to what is to come.”

“Daniel’s revelations pointed to the promised Messiah, and he trusted that promise. Other prophets before and after Daniel received messages about the coming of the Lord to Earth in physical form.

In fact, as I have mentioned repeatedly, the central theme of the whole Old Testament is the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. If you miss forging a personal, committed relationship with Him, you miss God’s eternal plan for your life. The decision to be a loyal follower of Christ can’t come out of an infatuation with prophecy or from respect for a person. It has to come from a personal encounter between an individual and Jesus Christ.” Daniel had such an encounter. This is what allowed him to stand up courageously in and for his faith despite what was going on around him.

As we continue to read through the Bible, we find that David also had such an encounter and faith in God. David: The Godly Heart of a Sinful Man by author Terry Hyman examines David’s heart, identifying specific character qualities that influenced his response when confronted with his sin.

Humility, honesty, and confession were common, and it was evident that David cared more about getting right with God than defending his actions. The main point that we can find displayed in David’s life is that God does not expect us to be perfect, but instead, He wants a heart that is sensitive and responsive to the ministry of God’s spirit, a contrite heart.

By examining the story of David, we find the “ultimate ‘unexpected success’ story. An obscure shepherd boy from Bethlehem rose to become king of Israel.

Unqualified, undeserving, and unsuitable are all words that man would use to describe this unlikely candidate for royalty, yet God does not reason like man. He saw something in David that made him worthy of divine attention. David’s heart was different. David had a yearning to follow God, an eagerness to have God’s blessing on his life, and a willingness to sacrifice when necessary. ‘A man after His own heart’ is how the prophet Samuel described God’s view of David.”

What high praise to receive! However, even though God chose David, that does not mean that he was perfect or without sin. What set David apart from others was his response to his sin after he made a mistake.

He repented. But before he repented, we see that “for almost a year after his sin with Bathsheba, David lived with the disgusting shame of a man haunted by what he had done. He was suffering, and his guilt was overwhelming. It made no difference what he did or where he went – he could not escape the awareness of his dreadful deeds and their horrible consequences. Though God had chosen David to lead Israel specifically because of his godly heart, he was still only human. Acknowledging David’s fleshly nature doesn’t provide an excuse for his sin; it simply states the obvious truth. David was guilty of a series of despicable sins. Lust, adultery, deceit, murder, and hypocrisy mixed with pride and arrogance to produce unbearable guilt in his tender, responsive heart. His sins were committed secretly, willingly, and without human accountability.

So deep was David’s anguish of soul that his words pulsated with urgency as he sought God’s forgiveness. He no longer cared about concealing his sin. His resolve to justify his sin was gone.

He wanted only one thing – he longed to be reconciled to his God. At that point, everything changed. David’s guilt was gone. When David’s sin was concealed, he was miserable… when David’s sin was confessed, he regained his humility. When his sin was covered (as a result of his confession), his joy returned. He was forgiven and his guilt was gone!” David was willing to repent from his sin by confessing it to Nathan when Nathan confronted him about what he had done. He humbled himself before God.

 

Although David’s life could be viewed as a ‘rags to riches’ success story, what we should take away is that his life “is not about his accomplishments, his victories, or his faithfulness. Nor is it about his godliness.

It’s about David’s dependence on his God and God’s willingness to use him in spite of his human weaknesses. If we learn anything from David’s life, it is that David’s godly heart was not the result of his character. Instead, it was a consequence of David’s awareness of his ungodly character. The essential truth is that genuine godliness is possible only when we realize that it is impossible without God’s help. David clearly understood that principle. His life reflected that understanding, and his example is a challenge to every believer.”

 

No matter what circumstances you may be facing, God is still good.

Whether you are facing a difficult situation of loss like Job, experiencing uncertainty caused by outside forces like Daniel, or struggling with past mistakes like David, remember that there is peace, courage, and forgiveness to be found through Jesus. Our circumstances never change God’s goodness. He is constant. So, as we remember those who have gone before and sacrificed for our country, let us also remember those who have gone before in the faith and the example they set for us.

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

A Mother’s Day Gift for Mom

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“I’ve been called many things in life, but there’s no title so precious as ‘Mom’.”

Who knows which royal said this? Hint: she might just be American!

This Mother’s Day, give Mom the gift that keeps on giving – a Mother’s Day book for her bookshelf!

 

Love Romance Novels with a twist?

Why not check these out for Mother’s Day?

Amazing Grace: A love story; a missionary story – set in the plains of Africa. 

Love’s Lost Star: A bride disappears on her wedding day…

Gifted: A young, talented runner; a soul-searching coach; a determined father…

 

 

Or perhaps a novel on a completely different timeline might suit Mom’s fancy?

Sabal Palms and the Southern Squall: a hurricane brings to light the undercurrent of dark forces working against a community.

Second Chance at Happiness: A young widow, an old flame, a decision that shocks the community. 

Solomon’s Concubine: A gripping spin of life in King Solomon’s harem from the perspective of a kidnapped Jewish girl. 

 

Or a book for Mom about the Christian walk?

Revelations from the Revelation of Jesus Christ: an empowering discussion of the book of Revelation. 

Real Recovery:  the story of one woman’s journey of recovery from an eating disorder. 

For the Display of His Splendor: A Christian’s deep dive into anxieties and mental and emotional stressors that plague humans today.

 

While there is no best way to thank the mothers in our lives, we hope you will consider picking up a book for Mother’s Day, along with flowers and a nap for all the moms in your life.

May Mother’s Day 2022 bring hope, blessings, and joy to all who celebrate it.

Here’s to you, Mom!

To Love a Child…: A Letter from Our Publisher

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As families come together to celebrate Mother’s Day, we must painfully remember the children who are without a mother.

Mary Sandford explores life for children in an orphanage in her book titled Unwanted. Mary follows the life of Debbie Spencer. She is like most children her age, she has friends who she cares about, she loves to play and laugh with them, and she has no fear praying to her Heavenly Father. However, unlike most children, she lives in an orphanage…even though she is not technically an orphan. Mary Sandford shows how Debbie, and many of the other children in the orphanage, felt not having a family there with them to comfort and love them.

*****

       “I didn’t know what made me more embarrassed, wanting Daddy or being scared over a silly commercial in the first place. After I was back in the dormitory, thinking about the awful music kept me awake for hours every night. That’s when longing for Daddy was the worst. He should have been alive to protect me from scary commercials and bad dreams.”
“For weeks I’d cried myself to sleep. I’d hoped and prayed and waited. My mother never came to see me. Not once. Not even when I had the mumps. After that, I had stopped thinking of her. I’d made myself stop, and now, I never did and didn’t want to start.
Patricia [one of the members of staff at the orphanage] led me into the office and closed the door behind me. My mother stood next to Miss Ritz and her desk.
“Thisss isss my daww-ter.” My mother’s voice was loud but might not be heard over the singing. She wrapped her arms around me and clung to me like she needed me, if only to stay upright. I wanted to step aside and watch her fall. I wanted to pay her back for all the times I’d longed to be needed and wanted but never was.
I pulled away from her arms.
She gave me a bleary-eyed gaze squinting like she couldn’t see clearly. “Ssstill looksss jusss like her Daddy.”
Miss Ritz went around the desk to her chair as if my mother wasn’t there bent over and crying into her lap.”

*****

       “Concentrating on the chairs worked only for a moment. Everything that happened before I came to the home bombarded my thoughts.
I remembered waking up to find a cake on the table with “Happy Birthday, Debbie, 12 years old,” written in blue letters across the smooth white frosting. I’d swiped a taste off of the side and ran into Gram’s room to thank her. But Gram wasn’t there. Before I could figure out why, Uncle Lloyd came bursting in.
“What are you doing in here?” he’d asked. “My mother is gone. Her heart gave out, and it’s all Carol’s fault.” He grabbed my arm and added, “And yours.” Then he shoved me out of the room and slammed the door.
Ever since Uncle Lloyd came home from the war and he’d had to sleep on the orange velveteen davenport, he’d been mad. Mad at Gram for letting us move in when Daddy went back to Korea. Mad like he wanted Gram all to himself to take care of him and his wounded hip without my mother and me there, too.
My mother never even tried because, ever since Daddy left for Korea, all my mother did was lay on Uncle Lloyd’s davenport all day with the brown and yellow afghan spread over her. Until the day after my ninth birthday when she got the telegram.
She had started to read it out loud. “We regret to inform you…” but she stopped, and no one ever told me what else it said. No one told me why my mother ran out of the house without a coat or even shoes. No one told me where she’d been before Uncle Lloyd found her. I heard him tell Gram he’d taken her to the hospital, but I didn’t know why until Gram had tucked me into bed with tears in her eyes.”
Just before all of the chaos with her mother coming to visit her in the orphanage, Debbie’s heart was lightened by some much-needed good news.
“An outing. Folks who cared for orphans were coming to take us out? Folks who liked children and maybe wanted a child. My chest swelled up with hope. Was God answering my prayers for a new family?
No matter what I knew, telling Sharon and Noreen wasn’t a good idea at all. I wasn’t telling anyone. It was supposed to be a secret. A secret that could make my biggest wish come true. I was just sure of it.
Gram would have been proud of me thinking of someone else’s feelings like she’s always told me, a sure sign I was starting to put others first or at least for a quick second.”

*****           Mary E. Sandford

It is important to recognize the children who spend holidays in an orphanage or alone, and if we are able, to show them the love they need and deserve as shown in Mary Sandford’s book, Unwanted.
We also want to thank and show gratitude to those who have opened their doors to children and embraced them as their own with loving and outstretched arms. Thank you for sacrificing your time and energy in order to invest in a life. Thank you for being Jesus to these little ones and saying, “let them come unto me, and do not hinder them” (Matthew 19:14).

To learn more about Sandford and Unwanted, visit HERE.

A Mother’s Day Book Gift-Guide

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This May, in honor of Mother’s Day and the great moms in the world, Ambassador International would like to highlight books written for mothers with its Mother’s Day Gift Guide! The perfect Mother’s Day gift for a mom in your life, and a gift that keeps on giving. 

The High Calling of Motherhood (Book and study guide): written for the mom who seeks so much more.

Why Did You Choose Me: a book for the adoptive or foster mom to share with the children of her heart.

Time Out for Tired Moms: a book for the exhausted mom, in need of her own time out and rejuvenation.

The Inconceivable Truth: a book for the woman struggling with the heartbreak of infertility.

The Life She Once Knew: a book for the mother struggling against impossible odds and searching for faith.

52 Conversations to Have With Your Teen: a book for the mother looking to reconnect and grow in her relationship with her teenage children.

Chickening In: a book for the mother searching for a guide to quenching anxiety, fear, and hopelessness, and turning her gaze towards God.

Chronic Love: for the mother struggling to parent and love her children in the midst of chronic illness.

Enough of Me: a study for mothers looking to win in the tug of war between an Instagram-perfect life and the truth of the Bible.

The past year, the world has relied heavily on the capabilities of mothers everywhere, as many women balanced it all, all while striving to still grow in their faith and relationships. This year, give Mom the gift of a good book, a cup of coffee, and a quiet space to enjoy it.

Happy Mother’s Day from Ambassador International. 

 

Social Justice Goes to Church: The New Left in Modern American Evangelicalism | Book Review

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Social Justice Goes to Church:
The New Left in Modern American Evangelicalism

(Ambassador International, Belfast, 2020)

Jonathan Harris

Reviewed by Colin R Reeves

The idea1 of ‘Social Justice’ has been creeping into the evangelical church for some years, although many believers were probably unaware of it. Even many pastors in the UK may not have seen it as a significant threat. But with the rise of ‘Black Lives Matter’ in 2020, we are now saturated with it. Christians are becoming ‘woke’ in the UK2, if not yet as much as in the USA. A narrative based on ‘critical theory’ has taken hold, especially in the area of ‘race’ although feminism, LGBT and transgenderism are coming down the tracks.

How did this happen? Jon Harris has studied this phenomenon3 for several years, having come across it while a student at Southeastern Baptist Seminary. There he found lecturers emphasizing categories taken from critical theory: the fundamental idea being to divide people into two groups based on power relationships; you are either a power-less ‘victim’ or a power-full ‘oppressor.’ These categories do not depend on actual sins of oppression, or actual victimization; rather they are based on group identity—black people, women, homosexuals are victims; white people, men, ‘straight’ people are oppressors. On this basis, terms such as ‘systemic racism’, ‘white privilege’, ‘standpoint epistemology’ have become embedded in our culture, and are now making headway in the church4. Rather than viewing culture through the lens of biblical categories, ‘woke’ leaders now apply secular categories to the Scriptures.

As a historian, Harris knew that a similar emphasis had arisen in evangelicalism in the 1970s, before apparently fading away. I am old enough to remember when books by Ron Sider and Jim Wallis were popular. Harris shows that it did not go away, and he traces the way in which some in the next generation of evangelicals quietly absorbed the message of social concern as defining the gospel. Moreover, the social action promoted was not the older idea defined by the Lausanne Covenant of 1974, but was taken from critical theory—a blend of the cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School with post-modernism. More central social concerns of the 1970s, especially abortion, were largely ignored.

One of the key personalities in this ‘progressive’ evangelicalism, besides Sider and Wallis, whose Sojourners magazine carried the post-1970s torch, was Richard Mouw (Fuller Seminary), who sought to provide their ideas with a theological underpinning. Harris provides a clear analysis of his thought and influences. But the revival of progressivism in the early 2000s owes most to Timothy Keller. His book Generous Justice (Penguin, 2012) was a milestone in the introduction of what are now called ‘woke’ ideas into mainstream evangelicalism.

That book has not been without its critics, both for its re-definition of what the Bible means by justice, and for his misuse of a famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards. But Harris’s Appendix, devoted solely to Dr Keller, discusses his influences, starting from the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School, and moving on to progressives like Mouw, Sider, Wallis and John Perkins, and post-modern thinkers like Foucault. He then shows Keller’s development through acceptance of systemic injustice and white privilege, documenting this from his sermons. Keller’s big idea all along has been to ground Marxist solutions on a biblical basis; unfortunately the Marxist house is incompatible with the biblical foundation.

Harris reports all this largely without comment—in fact, the book as a whole is dispassionately written; his aim is to describe the different streams of thought that have brought evangelicalism to a state where (apart from a significant movement of the Holy Spirit) a separation of ‘woke’ and ‘unwoke’ leaders and churches is becoming likelier by the week. Harris’s own views on these developments are clear from his video channel, but here he is content to act as the historical reporter and leave the drawing of conclusions to the reader. As such, it is highly recommended to elders and concerned laypeople alike.

I had several reactions of my own, which could fill pages! I will confine them to a few comments on what is exemplified by Tim Keller, since he is the most well-known of these names. He is also one whose writings have benefitted many people (including myself), and I know of people who have been saved by reading The Reason for God or The Prodigal God. But Harris’s “deep dive” into his works has raised some important issues.

Firstly, his fascination with Marxism: according to Harris, Keller believes that Karl Marx was the only “major thinker,” other than God Himself, with a high view of labour. This is astonishing! Marx was a notorious workshy free-loader; surely Dr Keller is aware of the stress laid by both Luther and Calvin on the dignity of work—a view that goes back at least to St Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, and, of course, to the apostle Paul.

Then there is Keller’s unsettling view of truth is; not as objective, but (with the post-modern thinkers) as a means to power, while agreeing with the idea that has become known as ‘standpoint epistemology’—the notion that certain ‘oppressed’ groups (e.g., black people, homosexuals) have insights into ‘truth’ that oppressors do not. The black preacher Voddie Baucham calls this “ethnic gnosticism.” In theory, Keller does not hold this view himself, rather he argues for Christianity as a third way: progressives and conservatives both have some things right, so Christians need to carry out a sort of triangulation.

But the Frankfurt ideology he admired as a young man keeps surfacing, particularly in his way of understanding Scripture. Thus the “central story of the Old Testament is liberation of slaves from captivity;” while the “storyline of the whole Bible is God’s repeated identification with the wretched, powerless, and marginalized.” Really? How about “God glorifying His Son by redeeming a people for Himself”?

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Keller’s adoption of critical theoretic categories is his application of them to the work of Christ. He speaks of the Incarnation in ‘Social Justice’ terms: Jesus laid aside his ‘power and privilege’ to suffer ‘oppression’ at the hands of ‘elites’. Using CRT categories and vocabulary is a problem in itself, but he goes on to apply them to the Cross:

through endurance of violence and human injustice he paid the rightful penalty of humanity’s sin to divine justice.

This should sound alarm bells. What is meant by through endurance…? It could be no more than the fact that Jesus was crucified at the hands of men (Acts 2:23). But it sounds as if the human violence and injustice was the instrument whereby the penalty for sin was paid. That injustice, however, was not the rightful penalty for our sins; rather, it was the wrath of God. As Turretin remarks, the sorrow and agony of soul that Jesus felt in Gethsemane was not caused by the fear of what men would do, but the prospect of being made sin for us, of facing God the Father’s “avenging justice” as our substitute. Why invoke power dynamics rather than the traditional biblical categories of atonement?

It is becoming increasingly clear that ‘Social Justice’ is a different religion, and I commend a thoughtful study of Jon Harris’s book as a means to understanding this religion, and how it differs from Christianity.

Learn more about Social Justice Goes to Church.

Notes:
1 There is nothing unbiblical about social justice, as generally understood in the past: applying the norms of biblical justice within society; see the Dallas Statement at https://statementonsocialjustice.com/. ‘Social Justice’ (in quotes, upper case S and J) is used here to denote the secular version based on critical theory.

2 See the report on the AberLite conference in the October 2020 issue of Evangelical Times.

3 See the extensive archive of podcasts at https://www.socialjusticegoestochurch.com/archives/

4 Ben Lindsay’s book We Need to Talk About Race (SPCK, 2019), highly recommended in some quarters, is a prime example of how these unbiblical ideas are getting into evangelicalism.

Books for Celebrating Easter

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Easter is a great reminder of not only God’s impact, but His grace. Whether you need a book to stuff inside a little one’s Easter basket, or a title to strengthen your walk with God, here are four books that are great for Easter and spring:

Chocolate Socks by Holly DurstChocolate Socks by Holly Durst

Perfect for Easter, this book isn’t just about chocolate but encourages children to chase their dreams. This adorable Christian tale is about the exciting adventure young girl has when she combines her two favorite things: socks and chocolate! What a perfect book to read while munching on chocolate!

Jazzy and the Dog Walk by Tica TallentJazzy and the Dog Walk by Tica Tallent

Jazzy wants to help out needy children and develops a plan. This adventure reminds readers how important it is to help others who are less fortunate. Perfect for reminding children and adults alike how important it is to share a helping hand to those in need.

 

For His Name's Sake by Nancy CretacciFor His Name’s Sake by Nancy Cretacci

This daily Christian devotional provides daily verses with room to meditate and write down your reflections on how His name impacts your life. This daily devotional is a great gift for a friend or for your own personal spiritual journey to help strengthen your relationship with Christ.

 

Declutter Now! By Lindon and Sherry GareisDeclutter Now! By Lindon and Sherry Gareis

Are you looking to declutter your heart and mind? Declutter Now! is the perfect Easter gift for you to clean your home and your mind! Easter is the perfect reason to let go of any negative or emotional baggage we have accumulated and focus on your spiritual well-being.

 

Don’t forget to check out our pinterest boards with more great ideas for your holidays and more!

Spring Reads Coming Your Way!

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It’s finally SPRING!

After a long winter and an already- difficult year, spring has finally sprung. And with it – new books for all to read.

Here’s our April book list. We hope everyone can find one, two, or more to add to their “to be read” stack!

 

 

Someone Like You

From the pen of Michelle Dykman comes a Young Adult novel about teen pregnancy, choosing life, and redemption. 

Candice Hillman is on the precipice of completing her senior year at Bethel Private School. Although her parents are mostly absent from her life after their divorce, Candice finds support in her housekeeper, Mrs. Potter, and her boyfriend Brad. When a night of too much partying leads to a pregnancy, her carefully-constructed world comes crashing down forcing Candice to relook at her life and the choices she makes regarding her baby.

Someone Like You is a heartfelt look at the struggles of teenage pregnancy and takes readers on a journey of acceptance, forgiveness, and the wonders of God’s grace with a little bit of romance thrown in along the way

 

Sabal Palms and the Southern Squall

From award-winning author, Terry Overton, comes a story of a supernatural squall and those who chose to ride out the storm.

Elaine Smith lived in the small coastal town of Sabal Palms long enough to know when to worry about a squall and when to simply close the windows and wait for it to pass. This one would be significant. It would be significant in terms of damage, but that was to be expected. What no one expected was the profound effect it would have on the lives of people from the Texas coast to New York City. Positive qualities of humanity are often displayed during times of natural disaster.

But a supernatural power had attached to this storm and subsequently worked within the hearts of the most needy, the most lonely, and the most sinister. The lives of four delightful women, a homeless teen, a rebellious son, a grieving lover who is at the bottom, a son who lost his faith, and a hired murderer are all intertwined in the aftereffects of a Category 3 hurricane thanks to a few passages written by one determined woman.

 

Second Chance at Happiness

From the talented Greta Picklesimer comes a love story about second chances and the power of standing for what is right.  

After Catherine Reed’s husband dies in a tragic logging accident, Catherine and her four-year-old daughter, Clair, move home with Clair’s mother and brother in order to accept a new position as the teacher for the town’s one-room schoolhouse. But Catherine carries a dark secret that she hasn’t even shared with her mother. Will she ever find forgiveness?

Samuel Harris has suffered his own loss, losing his wife and unborn child over a year prior. Although he is the town’s preacher, he struggles to trust God, blaming God for allowing him to be absent when his wife died. The guilt has burdened him ever since. But when his old flame Catherine Reed comes back to town, he wonders if they can find healing together.

Catherine believes that anyone who wants to learn should be allowed to learn, but she is quick to find a town divided on that issue. As she and Samuel set out to change people’s minds in a post-Civil War era, they find themselves drawn to each other over and over again. As they join together for the same cause, could they also find a Second Chance at Happiness?

 

From the desk of Sara A. Jewel flows Solomon’s Concubine, a historical and biblical fiction novel about the women in King Solomon’s harem, and one girl’s journey from ordinary Jewish girl to glorified concubine. 

Nalussa is a simple Jewish girl, living with her family in a small town a day’s travel from Solomon’s kingdom. When a strange man meets her one day at the town well, Nalussa suddenly finds herself whisked away from all that she wants and desires to fulfill the lusts of a king she has never met. But one word of outcry can lead to her family’s harm and her own disgrace and removal from society.

While giving in to her new life at Solomon’s palace, Nalussa still holds onto hope that God will rescue her. When the king suddenly dies, the kingdom is in turmoil over who will be king next. Could this be her opportunity to escape? But where will she go, and will anyone want the king’s concubine?

S.A. Jewell looks at life in Solomon’s harem through the eyes of a concubine, taking the reader on a quest through Scripture to see a different side to the king who was given great wisdom and wealth from the one true God. Did Solomon die outside the will of God? And who is the mysterious woman he writes to in Song of Songs?

Amazing Grace: A Novel

From the pen of Malanya M. Donaho…

When Dr. Sam Gray is sent to Africa as a volunteer physician, he is counting down the days until he can go home again. During a trip to the local school to take care of the students, he runs into the Cloverdales, a missionary family determined to win every soul in Africa to Christ. While fun-loving, brightly dressed Esther Cloverdale befriends him from the start, her more serious twin sister, Grace, is not as easily won over by the agnostic doctor. And Dr. Sam is convinced all their father, Thomas, wants to do is convert him.
Try as he might, Dr. Sam can’t seem to resist the family and finds himself being pulled into their midst again and again. As he battles his own beliefs, Dr. Sam begins to find that maybe he’s in need of a Physician as well, but Who will ever be able to heal his hardened heart?
Grace Cloverdale has only one purpose—to serve God. She has determined she will only fall in love with a man who is strong in his faith. So when she meets Dr. Sam Gray, she has no interest in pursuing anything other than a professional relationship. But the more time she spends with him, the harder she finds it to keep her resolve. Will she give in to temptation and fall under the charming doctor’s spell? Or will she remain faithful to her God?
Amazing Grace answers the questions so many people have—what’s so amazing about grace?