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D Glover (northern bc, canada)
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The Club of Queer Trades
The Club of Queer Trades
by G. K. Chesterton
Edition: Paperback
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4.0 out of 5 stars Truth is stranger than fiction, May 31 2010
In one of the most memorable statements in this collection of half a dozen short detective stories, Basil Grant argues against his detective wannabe brother, Rupert, that truth is stranger than fiction out of necessity since fiction is a creation of the minds of men. Chesterton implies that since truth is a creation of the mind of God, a mind unfathomable to men, it must therefore be stranger to our thinking than the fictions we human beings can create.

I can't help thinking that, of all the people creating fiction, Chesterton was one of the very best and his fictions some of the strangest. This collection of six short stories all relates to the mysterious Club of Queer Trades, where a person must not only invent a brand new trade but must earn their living at the unique occupation. While not as good as his Father Brown stories or "The Man Who Was Thursday" (in my opinion), Chesterton's first attempts at detective fiction are very clever and much fun to read. They are at once a spoof of detective fiction and a brilliant example of it, something probably only Chesterton could have acheived. If you can find an edition with his essay on the justification of detective fiction, it is also a gem.

Knights Of The Cornerstone, The
Knights Of The Cornerstone, The
by James P Blaylock
Edition: Hardcover
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but far from great, May 25 2010
Some of Blaylock's other works came highly recommended to me so when I saw this one on the shelf, I thought I'd introduce myself to his work. "Knights" is a quirky story with quirky characters which is something I like. However, the mood of the story felt superficial, the descriptions of people and places often seemed heavy handed, and the characters were too under developed to feel any true sympathy for. The overall effect for me was that this is a good idea that needs more work. Unfortunately, it was published prior to that work being done.

I confess I wanted to like this book and there was a spark of excitement when on the opening page there were quotes from both George MacDonald and G.K. Chesterton, two of my all time favourites. The teaser on the back cover seemed promising also. However, the combination of the things listed above along with frequently clunky prose made this an overall disappointment for me. If a book is truly good one doesn't usually find oneself thinking things like, "maybe this would make a better movie than a book", or "man, if this got published maybe even I could publish a book". I'm pretty sure no author wants to hear that about their work but that was where my mind went more than a few times. If the main character had been in his adolescent years and the love interest removed or altered, this would have been at about the right level for a teen adventure.

A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four
A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 4.75
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Defense of format..., May 10 2010
I will not recount the general plot of the story nor comment on the importance of this novel as the first of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tales. Other reviewers here have done a good job of each. What I want to defend is the format of the book. Many reviewers have mentioned that the flashback of the middle section of the book is an odd and unhelpful format including many unnecessary details and messing up the otherwise consistent chronology of the novel in parts 1 and 3. I want to defend this format as ahead of its time and highly appropriate for the particular story being told. I can understand if the format bothered its original reading public, being used, as they were, to mostly chronological stories. However, in the postmodern literary climate of the present day and for some time already, readers surely must appreciate the many fine novelists and short story writers who have successfully employed non-chronological story telling to great and pleasing effect. This is not only an acceptable way of telling a story, it has been widely praised in many post-Doyle writers, both present day and past (think of Umberto Eco and Jorges Luis Borges for example). I believe that Doyle has used it to winning effect in "Study in Scarlet".

As a secondary note, one has only to read non-Mormon accounts of the history of the Mormon religion, either present day or contemporary to Doyle, to appreciate not only the plausibility but the general truth of Doyle's account. It is not widely known to the average person but nearly any historical account will tell you that in the days of the Mormon migration west and of their settling the Great Salt Valley, the Mormons, often in unconvincing guise as Native Americans, slaughtered hundreds of non-Mormon settlers who attempted to pass through their territory peaceably, plundering their provisions and livestock. Also, no good history of the movement is without its account of the Danite tribe or the "avenging angels", whose job it was to discipline errant, wayward and defecting Mormons, many (if not most) of which were killed and which served to instill fear and submission in the rest of the community. There are also several accounts of Brigham Young which tell of his particularly tyrannical reign and messianic self delusions. Before critiquing Doyle's picture of early western Mormonism, readers would do well to educate themselves on this movement which at one time was at war with the government of the United States and killed several American soldiers and some government officials, as well as destroying or plundering much government property.

Far from taking away from the story, I found both the non-chronological format and the picture of the Mormon western migration and early settlement to be assets to the tale, adding significantly to it.

Solomon Among The Postmoderns
Solomon Among The Postmoderns
by Peter Leithart
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 28.59
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Wisdom of Solomon dialogues with Postmodernism, May 6 2010
Peter Leithart's "Solomon Among the Postmoderns" is both timely and important. Timely since postmodernism is the "ism" we find our selves in and scholars and cultural figures of every stripe frequently make sweeping statements about it and about us in light of it. As such, anyone who desires to engage intelligently in the conversations of our times needs to know what postmodernism is and what it isn't, where it came from and where it is likely heading, and most of all, how it affects our thoughts and lives whether or not we realize it. And this book is important. Most attempts to distill postmodernism (whether from a Christian or secular perspective) by authors writing for the average person either sing the unqualified praises of postmodernism and its apostles or they reject and demonize all things postmodern as the cause of all the evils of our time. Leithart's approach is refreshingly balanced and fair and thankfully devoid of rant and over inflated rhetoric.

The book opens with an alternate interpretation of the central thought of Ecclesiastes, believing that we have misunderstood it all this time. Rather than the famous, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity", the author believes Solomon actually to say "Vapour of vapours, all is vapour". I am always skeptical when an author makes such claims but in this case, Leithart's interpretation of Solomon's observations of this life fit far better and more consistently with the wise man's own conclusion of the matter. If all is truly vanity, and by the common understanding, pointless, Solomon's conclusions to simply live and work at one's vocation and embrace the simple things in life with joy, peace and gratitude are at best an empty piety and at worst a cruel joke. But if all is vapour and beyond our control, it makes perfect sense to not fret about and try to direct what things are by nature beyond our control. Such a desire to control is ultimately an attempt to "shepherd wind". Solomon concludes that just because we can't shepherd the wind that is life doesn't mean it is out of control. We can pursue our work on earth with joy and thankfulness of heart because we know the One who can and does shepherd the wind.

Leithart sets out to examine what the postmodern thinkers are telling us about ourselves, about reality, about experience, all within the context of what Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes about ourselves, the world and our interactions within it. Leithart quotes and refers frequently to myriad scholars and philosophers evidencing both a broad and deep engagement with first and secondary sources and yet the prose of the book never gets bogged down by technical language nor do Leithart's distillations ever get shrouded in the mists that so often render other writers on this subject open to innumerable misinterpretations (which perhaps provide an unintended defense of the caricature theories on the postmodern understanding of knowledge, communication and interpretation). There are illustrations from everyday life and culture which serve to emphasize the author's observations and conclusions and keep this work accessible to a broad and contemporary audience.

The author is the first to admit that this is not a comprehensive look at where postmodernism comes from, what it means today or where it is leading. Leithart needs to start somewhere however, and with this book, he starts with the Renaissance. He traces, albeit in summary fashion, the development of postmodernism from the Renaissance to today, and shows how postmodernism is both a reaction against the all consuming experiment and ideals of modernism with its attempts to separate, classify, compartmentalize and control everything as well as an intensification of those desires and attempts but from subtly different angles and, at least to some degree, from different motivations.

The greatest strength of this book is its evenhandedness. Leithart is not a bitter modernist wishing to turn back the clock but neither does he see postmodernism as our messianic deliverer from all that modernism got wrong. Following the wisdom of Solomon, Leithart guides the reader through many of the genuinely wise observations and interpretations of the postmoderns when they show us that, contra the modernism project, there is very little we can truly know in fullness and even less we can really control. At the same time Leithart shows that the postmoderns have not really abandoned all the supposed evils they decry of modernism. Solomon holds a running dialogue with the conclusions of postmoderns throughout the book and where postmodernism has made astute and correct observations on the follies of modernism and man's attempts to control all things, we see that true wisdom already knew this. There is nothing new under the sun. Where post is right, it was not the first to be so...there is something pre. And where post is wrong, it stands in a long tradition of humanity's wrong answers.

Leithart believes postmoderns are not to be feared and reviled, which is the reaction of so many Christians. But neither are they to be embraced uncritically as many others in the church do. In their critiques of modernism, postmoderns are often right, benefiting as they do from retrospect. But they are also wrong on many things, as people who forsake the wisdom of God so often are. Solomon is a reliable guide for the person who wishes to navigate postmodernism because his source of wisdom comes from beyond the temporal and the temporary. Solomon's wisdom comes through one who set out to experience all this life had to offer and found it all vapour. Therefore his wisdom is practical, applicable, earthy, experiential. And yet this wisdom comes from beyond the vapour, from a "time beyond the time that is under the sun". The conclusion of the postmodern matter is for Leithart that one must turn to God's wisdom to understand the vapourous nature of existence and experience since only God is beyond the vapour, only God can shepherd the wind.

End Of Reason
End Of Reason
by Ravi Zacharias
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 13.18
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable reasponse to Harris's unreasonable book, April 15 2010
This review is from: End Of Reason (Hardcover)
Ravi Zacharias has, as the first reviewer says, done an able job in answering Sam Harris's book length rant against religion (mainly Christianity). Ravi, as always, writes with intelligence, keen logic, grace and aplomb, none of which can be said about the author or book Ravi is refuting. Ravi is perhaps uniquely gifted to apply a sharp slap in the face to the modern hostile atheist authors all the while making it feel like a warning from a concerned wiser, older friend. As Ravi takes Harris's atheistic tenets to their logical conclusion, he shows that atheism always has and always will lead to a world of individualistic license, unrestrained evil, loveless existence and empty despair. Also well done is Ravi's job of showing how whenever Harris makes a morality statement or a pronouncement of the "evils" of religion, he has to import categories (good and evil, right and wrong) that his own worldview has no explanation for and therefore no right to employ. Harris's whole argument against religion has to spend borrowed moral capital from Christianity. Harris can only say and believe the things he does about any Christian beliefs or behaviours being evil because many of his presuppositions are still very Christian. There is no such thing as an objective standard of good and evil in a universe without God; there is only personal preference and the strength to over-power someone else's preferences.

When Ravi systematically unravels Harris's arguments (often merely unfounded assertions), one is left wondering how Harris's book could ever have been taken seriously by a half way intelligent person much less become a best seller. I find it amusing to watch how the "new atheists" argue for a world of pure secular humanism with all the passion of a pack of religious zealots. As the likes of Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens flog their rabid atheism they sound more like wild-eyed desert prophets than anything. It is clear, perhaps to everyone but them, that they are every bit as religious as the most extremist religious practitioner they rail against, and just as dangerous should their views ever receive wide subscription. The only difference is that their god is themselves, all the while it is labeled and masquerading in their writings as "science". All this Zacharias does a masterful job of exposing. Although Ravi admits to this being his most edgy book, one cannot read it without detecting the genuine love and desire on his part to see the new atheists wake up to the bankruptcy of their worldview.

For those interested in another excellent rebuttal of Harris's rant, here is a much punchier contribution that focuses more on exposing the internal inconsistencies of atheism than on positively proving Christianity Letter from a Christian Citizen: A Response to Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.

Quick Service
Quick Service
by WODEHOUSE P.G.
Edition: Hardcover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Laughs come quickly, April 12 2010
This review is from: Quick Service (Hardcover)
Right off the cricket wicket, I need to say that I am an avid Wodehouse fan. In my admiration for his writing and the intense enjoyment I get from reading his works, I am in very good company. As always, I enjoyed this Wodehouse offering very much. In my opinion this book is not as funny as the Wooster & Jeeves stories or the Blandings Castle tales or even as some of his other one-off stories (like "Easy Money") but this ought not deter anyone from reading it however, since the Jeeves books are so funny they really are in a league of their own and are therefore an unfair standard to compare even other Wodehouse works to. I highly recommend this to any already committed fan of Wodehouse but warn again that this is not Jeeves and Wooster so don't expect it to be. It is not written in the foppish first person of Bertie Wooster but rather from the omnitient narrator's perspective. And for anyone new to Wodehouse, read this and some of the other stand-alone stories before jumping into the world of Blandings or especially of Jeeves and Wooster and you will only find your reading enjoyment escalating and your laughter multiplying as you move on to them.

Talking About Detective Fiction
Talking About Detective Fiction
by P.D. James
Edition: Hardcover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Master discusses the craft, March 23 2010
This is an ode to, as well as a look beneath the surface of, a specific genre (or subgenre) of popular literature: detective fiction. One of the things that makes this book special is that it is written not by a literary critic or a book reviewer but by arguably one of the ablest present day practitioners of the craft, P.D. James, author of the Adam Dalgliesh detective novels.

This relatively brief book (about 196 pages of text - the book dimensions are small and the pages have large margins all round) touches on a broad range of considerations, including the origins of detective fiction and how it was prefigured in Dickens, Austen, Bronte and others as well as the history of the genre through the Victorian and Edwardian ages as well as the "golden age" between the wars and immediately following WWII, up to the present day. James also discusses briefly the major differences between detective fiction on either side of the Atlantic, comparing the "hard boiled" heroes (or anti-heroes) of the American authors with the tidy and familiar heroes, and their "Watsons", of the English "golden age" authors, with stories often set in an idyllic and largely imaginary iconic English country side. Also touched upon is the changing psychology between the "golden age" and the present one, as well as the huge shifts in cultural climate in which detective fiction nevertheless still finds a prominent place. James deals with many more aspects of the genre that I won't get into here. However, for the reader who is looking for an in depth, scholarly and comprehensive work on detective fiction, this is not it. While there is obviously much thought, reflection and broad reading behind it, by James's own admission, this is not a penetrating critical or exhaustive work. This is a brief introduction to some of the beneath-the-surface considerations of a sub-genre as well as an insider's and practitioner's appreciation of all that she loves of the genre...and for me, someone who enjoys good detective fiction, particularly from the "golden age" and James's own work, that is exactly what I was hoping for.

This book's best moments are when James discusses the great detective authors and the worlds they lived in. James reminds us of how much richer our lives are for having faithful and familiar armchair friends like Holmes and Watson, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. I especially appreciated James's discussion of G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy L. Sayers (two of my favourites) and their heroes, Father Brown and Lord Peter Wimsey respectively. It's a shame more modern readers aren't aware of these two authors who, in my opinion, are among the very best in the genre. If James's book accomplishes nothing else, I hope it causes a spike in the sales of these two authors.

I also appreciated the discussion of the importance of character, setting, plot and mystery and how those elements have been weighted differently for different authors and across different eras in the history of the genre. Very interesting was James's reflection on the principle of fairness among writers where one should never hide from your readers facts and clues essential to solving the murder themselves although cloaking them in mystery is, of course, just good form. Also fun was her brief look at the "love it" or "hate it" stance most readers take toward this genre - there are very few people who read it and remain indifferent.

Truly, my only complaint is the cover price of the book, in Canada $29.95. It is an attractive hardcover, but it is fairly small and I read it essentially in two not very lengthy sittings. I'm glad my local bookstore had a $20 promotional sticker on the cover or I wouldn't have purchased it, therefore making my future forays into detective fiction the poorer for it. However, if you like P.D. James or the genre in general, I think anyone's reading of detective fiction will be enriched by this discussion and the Amazon price is more than fair.

Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture
Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture
by Peter J. Leithart
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 37.64
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toward understanding ALL God has to say, March 17 2010
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Peter Leithart has done ministers, Christian scholars and the Church in general a huge favour with this book. He declares that the Scriptures themselves ought to be the authority for how one interprets them. In evangelical, reformed and conservative Christian circles of scholarship, sola scriptura (the reformation principle that "Scripture alone" is the Church's authority for all of life and doctrine) has been the basis for the rejection of all sorts of heretical doctrines and errant practices and for holding fast to "the faith, once for all delivered to the saints", and rightly so. However, without even batting an eye, many of those same well-meaning folks have adopted a model of interpreting those Scriptures which is itself imported from outside of God's Word and then imposed upon it.

Dr. Leithart traces this outside and extra-biblical system of viewing and interpreting Scripture to Spinoza and his contemporaries and up through modernism, with its mindset of scientific and systematic compartmentalization. Such thinking tended to "spiritualize" Scripture since it had to do with religion, relegating its relevance and application to the private, inward life of the soul and separating it from the political and material realms, for example. However, the Hebrew mind (the culture into which the Scriptures were given by God and from of which they spread) did not divide man into body, soul, spirit and mind but understood humans in terms of organic wholeness. Therefore, to the Hebrew mind, the Scriptures have a much broader relevance. In fact, there was not a single area of life or thought that Scripture did not speak to - and the whole Scripture spoke to the whole man.

Leithart shows examples of current exegetical theory which limit interpretations of a given passage to one and only one proper meaning. This is not the way we are taught how to interpret the Bible by the examples we see within its own pages. Leithart gives examples of "poor" apostolic exegesis by the standards of current exegetical practice (Paul's famous "do not muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain" to argue for monetary support for faithful ministers of the gospel and his allegorizing of the Sarah/Hagar story - "these are two covenants...") and argues that, far from being unique and scattered exceptions to the rule of interpretation, these passages display the interpretive rule; they show us how we are to understand and interpret Scripture rightly. One can see many hermeneutics professors rolling over in their graves or toppling over at their lecterns at this point.

Instead of an "only one correct interpretation for any given text" approach to hermeneutics, Leithart makes the case for reviving some form or approximation of the medieval quadriga. With this exegetical method of reading and interpreting the text, there is a literal sense (the plain meaning, with an element of both the historical understanding the original recipients would have understood and the continuing implications for a present day audience), a moral sense (what does this passage call the reader to do or imitate), an allegorical or typological sense (what does this passage say about Christ and/or what is the theological learnings based in this passage) and an anagogical sense (what future hope is this text calling the reader to). Here, many reading this review might either write me as reviewer or Leithart as author completely off based on wild and fanciful interpretations they have heard promulgated by medieval exegetes but hang on...that would be a mistake. One may not be 100% convinced of such a method of interpreting the Scriptures and still receive a good deal of benefit from reading this book. For one, it will make you think about the scriptural basis for your own model of interpreting Scripture.

One theme Leithart returns to over and over is that in our interpretation, we ought to desire to hear ALL God has to say to us through his Word and Leithart argues that God is not saying only one thing in any given passage. It is clear from the way some passages of Scripture treat others that at least the passages they specifically deal with have more than one true sense. If this is the case, one needs to make the decision about whether the Bible itself is our authority on how to interpret it or if modernist literary interpretive method is the authority for understanding Scripture. If we go with modernist methodology, we have departed (in our hermeneutic) from the authority of Scripture and placed it underneath our model, the very thing a faithful Christian knows must not be done.

Leithart gives examples from everyday experience in which we already inherently recognize that there is purposefully more than one true sense in which to understand something. A joke, for example, may be humorous on multiple levels, or a scene in a play, book or movie may have layers of correct, varied and multiple meanings. John 9 is explored in some depth to show how the story of Jesus' healing of the man born blind is so much more than merely a miracle story. And while not everyone will be convinced by all aspects of his John 9 example, one cannot come away merely content to see this narrative the way one has always seen it. Leithart convincingly shows that by Scripture's own rule, a wooden literalistic (rather than a proper literary) interpretive model is not an option for the exegete whose own interpretive work is itself subjected to the authority of the Book he/she is attempting to understand. At the same time, Leithart stresses that the model he advocates must itself be subject to all of Scripture when gleaning the manifold meanings of any given passage. This book is not a license for fanciful "reinventions" of the text but a rigorous reexamination of what biblically informed and faithful interpretation should look like. Knowing Leithart's passion for a full-orbed trinitarian theology of all things, I believe it is safe to say that his interpretive model could be summarized as seeing the different meanings or senses of a text as a one-in-three (or more) and a three (or more)-in-one. This guards against an "anything goes" or a "new is true" free-for-all because it disallows any interpretation that would counter or contradict one of the other senses of the text (say, the literal-historic, for example).

In my opinion, the greatest strength of this book is that it calls interpreters back to basing their interpretive methods and principles themselves on Scripture. In the end, Dr. Leithart admits that this subject needs further exploration and that the parameters of the present volume didn't allow for it. I for one look forward to the conversation this book is bound to spur among exegetes and I hope for further material on this subject from Peter Leithart in the future. In the meantime, readers interested in creative but biblical exegesis and hermeneutics would benefit from the works of Kevin Vanhoozer, John Frame and Vern Poythress.

Idols for Destruction
Idols for Destruction
by Herbert Schlossberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 32.30
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do you worship?, Feb. 11 2010
This review is from: Idols for Destruction (Paperback)
I am only about a quarter of the way through this excellent book but it has thus far proven to be a clear and erudite critique of the various ideas that set themselves up in opposition to the God of the Christian faith. Schlossberg shows how the many ideologies of our present culture and time are not so much held by people as people are held by their ideologies. Far from being in control of the ideas they believe, people are actually controlled by those ideas because people are by nature, first and foremost, worshippers. This is even more fundamental to the human condition than the ability for rational thought. As worshippers, people are inherently religious and so any worldview one holds takes on the nature of religious faith, even for self-professed secularists and atheists. But...more on this later. So far, this is great.

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
by John Piper
Edition: Paperback
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yea though I walk through the valley..., Feb. 10 2010
This volume addresses a very important subject and in light of the recent (and ongoing) disaster in Haiti along with many more in recent memory, this is a timely offering. For any readers already familiar with the works of John Piper, it will come as no surprise that this book is an exploration of the comprehensive and absolute sovereignty of God, in this case as it relates to the subject of suffering. The chapters are as different as the experiences and writing styles of the authors who pen them. Some chapters are dedicated to a biblical exegetical defense of the sovereignty of God over suffering, answering the many modern teachings which would deny that God has any responsibility for much less direct ordination of the suffering in the world (John Piper, Mark Talbot). Some chapters are more biographical, discussing the experiences of the authors and what they have learned from and about God through it all (Steve Saint, Joni Erickson Tada). Others are more pastoral, taking a counseling approach to the discussion (David Powlison, John Piper). Some are meant as an exploration of the causes and nature of systemic forms of individual and societal suffering (Carl Ellis Jr.). Wrapping up the book are sections by two of the authors (Piper and Powlison) about their own bouts with cancer.

The book is very obviously a compilation of separate essays, with the main continuity coming from the chapters contributed by Piper. Some chapters are stronger than others in both content and writing style (some are clearly transpositions of verbal presentations). As a result and because of the varying focus from chapter to chapter, if you are reading cover to cover, it will seem to shift gears rather abruptly. However, this is not necessarily a weakness. It tends to keep discussions of different aspects of suffering and God's sovereignty over it within tidy units which can easily be referred back to in future, some likely more frequently and usefully than others. At the same time, there is an overall spirit that all the authors share across their various approaches to the topic - all authors are committed to the absolute sovereignty of God even in the hardest things a person will ever face. As such, they also all believe that, for Christians, this is a great comfort, knowing that God is at the helm even in the darkest times and that he is working even the worst things out for the good of his children and his glory. Simultaneously, God uses such suffering to call unbelievers to himself.

Particularly good is the discussion of how Jesus himself, as God incarnate, suffered in his earthly ministry so that he could be a sympathetic high priest. This entering into the curse and suffering on the part of the redeemer is something too often missing in a self-centered, entertainment oriented and suffering averse modern church culture.

This is a topic that is all too often avoided, mishandled or simply falsely taught about in the church today. Much of the church (like the surrounding society) chooses some form of escape in order to avoid facing discussions on the relation between God's sovereign rule and suffering. Suffering itself cannot be avoided however, so this frank, honest and biblically faithful discussion will serve the church well if it has the maturity to head these authors. God is Lord of all, including suffering. Like a good novel, we should not expect every chapter of our lives to end happily. However, as believers, we have the promise of God that the story ultimately ends joyfully, with all tears dried and all wounds healed. This book recalls a spiritually flabby and immature church to viewing suffering in this life as a part of the overall victory that belongs to all who are followers of Christ.

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