From the Pastor’s Bookshelf

This is a new recurring article that will introduce you to worthwhile reads.  These books will come from a wide variety of genre’s.  You may see books recommended here from history, theology, biblical studies, etc.  As a disclaimer, I might not always agree with what I recommend you read, but I will try to point out theological differences you should be aware of.  Should I fail in that regard, please make sure to be Berean as you read.  The Bereans were extolled as more noble than the others to whom Paul was preaching.  They searched the scriptures in order to evaluate what Paul was teaching. (Acts 17:11)  We as a Christians need to filter everything through a Biblical worldview!   With that in mind, let’s look at our first review!

Don’t get mad!  Get even!  That’s a characteristic philosophy that permeates society.  Unfortunately, it also characteristic of many Christians and churches.  Yet consider the words of Jesus:  “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ but I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,..”  Matthew 5:44 ESV.  Jesus’ words are revolutionary.  They are countercultural!  They are breathtaking and challenging.  It would be easy to file those away as impossible!  Of course, all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).  This becomes evident when you read The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo.  She and here family experienced incredible persecution at the hands of an individual who attended the small North Carolina church her father was called to pastor when she was a young girl.  Bombings, Break-ins, Vandalism, and Violence escalate and yet Alonzo’s father remains steadfast in  his calling and committment to serve the rural North Carolina church.  The violence eventually escalates into the murder of his wife and Alonzo’s mother.

This book is a harrowing account of persecution that drives one to a fierce indignation toward the community and law enforcement establishment who allowed this to go on year after year.  Out of that indignation, one is forced to wrestle with the Bible’s teaching on forgiveness.  Rather than being an attempt to excoriate the perpetrators, what follows is a revolutionary story of forgiveness that everyone needs to read

Pick it up, but do so when you have a little time.   It will be difficult to put down.

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