Category Archives: Book Reviews

Perspectives On The World Christian Movement by Ralph Winter and Steven Hawthorne

At 782 pages, the Perspectives book quite the read. In fact, it is less of a “book” and more of a compilation as it is comprised of 124 articles from various theologians, missiologists, pastors, missionaries, and church leaders.

At first it may seem that there is no way a book with that many authors can have a central theme or theology. However, as you read the book it becomes apparent that the Perspectives book was edited specificity to help the reader “live strategically” towards “finishing God's work.”

In fact, this theme of “finishing God's work” or closure is the dominant missions theology for the book. The entire Perspectives course is geared around Matthew 24:14 [Revised English Version]:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the earth as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.”

[@more@]In keeping with the closure theme, Winter and Hawthorne chose articles that emphasised people groups, church planting and frontier missions. The phrase “people groups” is defined within Perspectives as the largest possible ethnic or cultural group “within which the gospel can spread as a discipling, or church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”

Realizing that the evangelism of every individual on earth is both impractical and un-Biblical, Winter and Hawthorne emphasize planting churches within each people group. They chose Kenneth Mulholland's article “A Church for All People” to define and promote this viewpoint:

“Although intensely personal, the Christian faith is not individualistic . . . He came to establish communities of His followers among every people group on the face of the earth.”

The last motif in the Perspectives closure theology of missions is frontier missions. Frontier missions is “cross-cultural Christian work that seeks to establish churches within people groups where it does not yet exist . . .”  Winter and Hawthorne spend the most time and energy on this motif as they seek to motivate the Christian church to devote money, people and resources to this area of world missions.
About three-quarters of the way through the Perspectives course, Winter and Hawthorne lay out what they see as the remaining tasks for the Global Church. These tasks are as follows:

  1. Establishing a “viable, indigenous church planting movement within every people,”  
  2. Establishing a “breakthrough in every people group on earth,”  
  3. Verifying the “progress towards closure.”  

I must point out that while task one and two seem the same, they are actually different as task two is focused on completing the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20] while task one is focused on contextualization of the gospel.
In summary, the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement has a missions theology based upon completing the Great Commission with the motifs of people groups, church planting and frontier missions. Winter and Hawthorne stay very positive throughout the book, believing whole heartedly that closure can happen in their lifetime. This optimism is very prevalent throughout all the articles selected with only a few articles mentioning or referencing the one issue, according to Winter and Hawthorne, that is slowing down the Christian movement.

This issue is one of cultural barriers:

“If the messengers are not sensitive as they convey the message across cultural barriers, then the message becomes only so much intercultural noise.”

However, given the rise in cross cultural training among mission groups, this issue is referenced with optimism and high hopes.

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

The second of the three volumes Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini was pretty dang good. (click here for a review of the first book)

My greedy hands obtained the audio book on Thursday and didn’t let go until Monday evening – 20 CDs and 12 plus hours later…. much to my demise as the time set aside for my paper got taken up listening to the book. Undecided


  • Excellent writing
  • Similar to LOTR, Paolini creates a land with tons of history and multiple back stories
  • The culture of each race is described and talked about


  • As the main character visits the homeland of each race, Paolini describes each of the races religious beliefs. For the most part, this is very good as it helps set each race apart – however, I feel that he kind of over did it with the elves. In a nutshell, the elves – who are portrayed as the “top” or highest race – hold to very atheist, material-base mindset in which they gain immortality through scientific and logically means. I wouldn’t mind this so much except Paolini spends more time on this view point then all the others combined…
  • Similar to The Empire Strikes Back, the Eldest focus more on filler then moving the plot forward..

Overall it’s a great book. Laughing

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Dragons. Elves. Magic. Heroes. Novel. Written by a 15 year old boy.

Those are the rumors that reached my ears about Eragon.

So, I did what any self respecting book worm would do – I checked the book out the library and proceeded to listen to it. (audio books rock!!) Cool

In a word: Awesome!!

Paolini weaves a beautiful story within a masterful prose of descriptions, feelings and excitement. I love the way he develops the depth of the characters as they live their lives across the pages.

Note that it is a thick book – but once you’re into the world of Eragon, you lose yourself into a tapestry of adventure and excitement. *smile*  Time found me wondering around working on the house with headphones and a CD player… Tongue out

It’s a good read. I would recommend it – especially as I move on to book two (of three): Eldest.

Stormbreaker: Alex Rider

Image you're 14 years old and you just lost your uncle in a car crash (your folks died when you were a baby). As you process the grief and shock of this newest death, you discover that everything you ever knew about your uncle was a lie.

Instead of being a banker, he was a MI-6 spy.

And his boss wants you, Alex, to complete your uncles mission as you can go where other agents can't – being 14 and all.

If you can image this, welcome to the world of Alex Rider.

I first stumbled upon this series by Anthony Horowitz (there are seven books with an eighth on the way) when Em brought home an auto CD (#4) from the library. Seeing that Em has a gift in picking good books, I decided to listen to it with her as we drove back and forth to the Valley.

It was captivating. Alex is a young James Bond – with lots of emotions, depth, and cool gadgets.

Digging in the series a bit more, we discovered that someone made a movie about the first book (Stormbreaker) – and, as luck held, our library owned a copy.

In a statement: it was sweet! A tad short for my taste (93 mins) – but, overall, very well done.

My advice would be to grab a book, an auto CD or a DVD of Alex Rider. It's good stuff. Laughing

A Hat Full of Sky – Terry Pratchett

Ah – the fun filled, wacky world of Terry Pratchett. It makes the day go smoother and faster. (not that the day actually walks or otherwise moves).

Yesterday I had to pleasure of spending half an hour browsing the local Library – which can be a bad thing if your name is Ardell and you have a love of books, CDs, DVDs and audio-books. It can also be a good thing if your name is Ardell and you… oh, you get the jest.

One of the treasure I walked away with was an audio-book by Terry Pratchett – as you might of guessed from the post title and the picture to the right.

Listening to the book brings out new pictures and characters as they jump across the sound waves into one’s mind. And being Discworld – the characters actually do jump from sound waves to brain waves.

Off to the sky with ye.

The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology

Heaven is receiving a new book.  In this case, I just received a copy of Adrio Konig’s “The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology”. This is a book I have been waiting to read ever since I heard Derek Morphew refer to it in his 2006 seminar on the Kingdom of God.

A bit about the author:

Adrio Konig is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. (note that this bio was written in 1989 when the book was written…I don’t know what he is doing now)[@more@]

Since I have not read the book yet (it may be a while as my homework is pilling up…), here is a brief review by Ray S. Anderson of Fuller Theological Seminary:

Konig is persuasive and provocative. His bilibical and historical approach to systematic theology stays close to the pulse beat of the divine heart which we encounter in the Christ for us, in us, and with us. Eschatology has to do not with the last things but with the person of Christ, who is the first and last One.

With this book Konig has pointed the way forward for a whole new generation of theological studies. This book combines critical dogmatic inquiry with careful exegetical work in the finest of the tradition in biblical theology. The result is a book on eschatology which is irenic in tone, relevant to contemporary issues, and surprising in its simplicity. This book will inspire pastors to preach once again with conviction on the eschatological themes essential to Christian life and faith. It might also put eschatology back once again into the theological curriculum.

With a review like that, I can hardly wait to read it!!  Cool

Muslims, Magic, and the Kingdom of God

I picked up an amazing book this last week while at the Missions Conference:  Muslims, Magic, and the Kingdom of God by Rick Love.

While I have not completed the book yet, I have read enough to recommend it to anyone interested in ministering to Muslims – or anyone outside of their cultural.

Dr. Love (yelp, he holds a D.Min and a Ph.D.) is the International Director of Frontiers (an organization dedicated to loving Muslims).

In this book, Dr. Love draws out the difference between formal Islam and folk Islam (read an excert here). Basically, to the majority of Muslims in the world, the formal religion of Islam answers all the ‘hard’ questions of heaven, hell and where we come from.[@more@]

But if they want their crops to grow good, find a job, or overcome a disease – they turn to the spiritual world around them (ie. the trees, ancestors, charms, etc). It is this folk Islam that really runs the show – not the formal religion.

This makes me wonder how many “Christians” are really folk Christians… They may confess a belief in Jesus, but when it comes down to the day-to-day struggles and happenings, how many people turn to charms, favorite prayers or rituals to gain God’s favor?

Formal Islam

  • Cognitive, Truth -oriented
  • Legalistic
  • Ultimate Issues of Life: Origins, heaven, hell, purpose
  • The Quran
  • Sacred Traditions
  • Institutional
  • Supplicative

Folk Islam

  • Heart-felt, Emotional
  • Mystical
  • Everyday Concerns: health, guidance, success, prosperity
  • Spiritual Revelation
  • Inspirational
  • Manipulative


As I was reading “Doing Church” by Alexander Venter I came across a passage that made me stop and think:

“Doing” should really come from our sense of ‘being’ and ‘being’ should come from our relatedness – to the Creator of the universe for starters! The disciples were with Jesus, then He sent them out to preach (Mk 3:14). Paul teaches ‘being’ and then ‘doing’ through the body metaphor (1Cor 12:12). For example, a finger finds out who it is and what it does by virtue of where it is joined and to whom it belongs.

If I ‘hang in’ relationships long enough, and yield to those I connected with I will discover who I really am (not what I have decided I am). I will then be free to be my real self and will be empowered to fulfill what I stand for – through the relationships.

I have found very few people who have the faith for this, who take the time and trouble to entrust themselves to relationships long enough to allow themselves to reach their full potential in God. Church really is a community of birth, discovery, growth, equipping and empowerment – through the quality and longevity of our relationships.”

[@more@]The longer I know Him, the more I’m convinced that we draw near Him not by studying the Bible, attending church, listening to worship music or anything else. We draw near to Him by abiding in Him. Practically, at least in my experience, this means talking to Him drive down the road, as I work through out the day – asking Him for help when I lost a pencil or a bolt…. It’s the realization that He wants to have a relationship with us beyond the hour service on Sunday or the 15 minutes a day reading one’s Bible.

“If I ‘hang in’ relationships long enough, and yield to those I connected with I will discover who I really am (not what I have decided I am). I will then be free to be my real self and will be empowered to fulfill what I stand for – through the relationships. “

O’ how many times have I wanted to cut bait and run!  To go to a new town or job and start anew; to not have the baggage of yesterday hanging over me. Yet, it is through these very relationships that growth comes. (Granted, sometimes it does help to go to a new location before you ‘hang in’ a relationship!) Tongue out

Free Book: Leave It To Chance by Sherri Sand

A friend of mine is giving away a free book by Sherri Sand entitled Leave It To Chance. I have copied part of her book review below to give you a taste. If you want to win the book, all you have to do is leave a comment on her blog before June 3rd and you will be entered in the drawing. Laughing

Leave It To Chance by Sherri Sand
Review by A Little Bit of Sunlight

From the back cover:

Single mom of three, Sierra Montgomery is desperate to find a new job to keep from having to move back home and be smothered to death by her mother’s good intentions and overbearing love. So when Sierra inherits Chance, a quirky old gelding she doesn’t have a clue what to do with, she thinks her best bet may be to sell the horse to cover another month’s rent–a decision that devastates her children.

Enter Ross Morgan, a handsome landscaper who just happens to have an empty barn and fenced pasture… perfect for an old horse to live out his days as the pet of three wounded kids. Ross develops a soft spot for eldest child Braden…and he just might have one for Braden’s mother. But what he doesn’t have is time for distractions–he’s got a landscaping business to run and nursery plants to tend.

But there’s just one problem. Sierra’s terrified of horses and–thanks to her past–wary of attractive men. Yet seeing the way her angry son idolizes Ross and adores that old horse forces Sierra to confront her fears. Will she remain distrustful and self-reliant, or will she seek help from God and those who love her?

[@more@]Sands characterizations have drawn me in and kept me glued to the pages of this sweet/bittersweet romance. Sierra is faced with some of the worst things imaginable – trying to care for her children, no job, moving in with her mother and dealing with her worst nightmare – but through it all, I can see how God could use a similar story to show that He loves his children. The idea of forgiveness is evident throughout the novel.

It is an easy to read novel (its only taking me so long because of time constraints!), with just enough angst to feel real, but not depressing. I adore Sierra’s best friend who tries to witness to Sierra in her own flamboyant way!

I honestly cannot wait to see the rest of the journey!

Please visit Sherri’s website to learn more about this author!

Free Book Contest!

Leave a comment to be entered into a contest for a free copy of Leave It To Chance! Also, members of my (A Little Bit of Sunlight's) mailing list will earn a second chance at winning a copy, so leave a comment and join today!

Contest ends 6/3/07.

'Aliens Are My Brother'

The Vatican has announced that it’s ok to believe in aliens. In fact, Father Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said that there may be “some aliens could even be free from original sin.”

Interesting statement.

This reminds me of a book I read a few years ago called Alone in the Universe? Aliens, the X-Files & God by David Wilkinson.

It was a great book that looked at everything from the possibility for extraterrestrial life, government conspiracy theories, scientific arguments for space travel, and claims that the Bible describes alien encounters. Wilkinson also talks about what would happen to the Bible and the Christian belief if aliens are discovered.[@more@]

The end result: it doesn’t really matter. If there are aliens out there, God made them and he has a plan for them.

Comic by ironychan of Get Medieval