- Shelley´s presentation of church history is both engaging and enjoyable to read. Analysis of the greater picture is kept short, leaving more room for the personal stories of important characters. This is different from the church history I read in seminary, which was much less personal. The timeline of the book is focused on those shorter lines, rather than getting everything in perfect chronology. There are some jumps forward and backward in time, but no more than what one would expect from a volume dealing with such complex history. I am not in a position to evaluate the way in which Shelley has ordered his account, or how he has selected what to include. I just do not know church history that well. Obviously he is not always objective, choosing his side in several important events. And yet I feel that he treats his "opponents" with respect.
- This book raises valid concerns about the Calvinist theology that which affirms the five points of the TULIP system. Especially the presentation of contemporary R.C Sproul and John Piper, as well as historical theologians like Johnathan Edwards are examined. Olson, who holds to Arminian theology, examines the five points of TULIP in great detail, and objects fervently to the middle three. I find that parts of Olson´s account is simply too long, too unorganized and too repetitive. For this the readability suffers somewhat. I believe its length could have been reduced quite a bit by reorganizing and removing repetitions, without actually loosing any of its arguments. This is especially true for chapters four through six. Other parts are much better, particularly chapters three, which IMO gives a very good overview of the TULIP system, and chapter seven which is much more to the point than the previous three. Appendix 2, which is set up in a discussion format, sums and clears up many of the points given in the book. Like everyone else I am unable to read this or any other book from a purely objective viewpoint. I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian, but rather Lutheran. Since Lutheran theology attempts to find the middle ground between the two (in regards to TULIP) I found this book interesting and challenging.
- I use this book as a look-up reference for sermon preparation, which makes it perfect for Logos. Craig S. Keener points out elements of the text that you would do well to be mindful of, and gives you some insights for your interpretation, which can in turn help you apply it. He does, however, not supply you with source documentation, other than by giving you a list of literature in the introduction. I wish he had, because even though I do not always pursue the sources, I like having the ability - especially when someone asks how I know this or that. The lack of documentation is explained in the introduction as a necessary choice, or as he puts it: "keep in mind that this book is not written primarily for scholars, who already have access to much of this information elsewhere. But pastors and other Bible readers who have fewer resources and less time available" "Plain and concise" is what Keener was shooting for (according to the introduction), and that's exactly what he has accomplished. It has its advantages as well as disadvantages, but in sermon preparation it is useful for that very reason.
- This is a review on the style of the book, rather than an evaluation the facts stated in it. The description of the book (above) states that it is meant for the beginning Christian. Throughout the book, and especially in the later chapter, this seems apparent. The study questions in the end of each chapter also suggest that the book could be used in small bible study groups. Still in several locations the book uses terminology and style that to my understanding would better suit the intermediate bible college student. Sadly there is a lack of consistency, and while some chapters are very basic and readable to most, others are more technical and seem to assume that the reader has at least some basic knowledge of theology. Often times I also find that the author mentions far too many aspects in the very breaf text. Rather than helping the rader understand, I believe this causes confusion. I still enjoyed reading this small book. Mostly because of the frequent devotional tone. The author is not objective in his treatment of different theological views, which is not neccesarily a bad thing. He may oversimplify the big picture sometimes, for example by deviding christians into conservative and liberals (meaning perhaps faithful and unfaithful). His objective seems clear though: To guide new christians to a bible study which will help them grow in their faith, in stead of reading material that will break it down. A few quotes: "Without a real and true word from heaven, people are lost in a sea of human opinion and moral weakness" (p14) "The crowning miracle of all, Christ's resurrection, is totally unexplainable by natural means" (p70) "Whey teach your children to keep the Ten Commandments if the commandments themselves bear false witness to Moses' experience with God on Sinai?" (p79) "The greatest secret of Bible study is simply to do it!" (p100)
- While I was studying biblical greek I realized that I did not know anything about how the text had been transmitted from autographs to the small book I was holding in my hands. Since this was not taught at my seminary I realized that I had study the subject on my own. Having recently discovered Libronix, I headed over to the website and bought this book. I found the book to be very clear and readable. It is devided into sections that the inexperienced student was able to digest, and I found each chapter to be more interesting than the last. The pictures are a nice touch and the tables are relevant. I felt I was given a thorough, but still not too difficult introduction to the subject. Both the OT and NT side of textual criticism is examined as well as the general topics like the study of transmissional errors. Like most recent work in NT textual criticism this book embraces the methods and results produced by Kurt Aland and Bruce Metzger. Though this is common I would have liked to see a chapter where other methods were examined, particularly what Wegner calls the "Byzantine-priority approach". In fact I believe he is a bit unfair in opposing it to Alands "balanced use of internal and external evidence" on page 239.