Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity: A Book Review

This was an interesting book – to say the least. There was some great information in the first half where Albert Schweitzer focused on the Old Testament prophets. When he started focusing on the New Testament and Primitive Christianity (read early first century), he started getting off on a the whole critical search for a historical Jesus deal. The deal being that the Jesus of the Gospels is not the “real” Jesus, but a mixture of “real” information and “added” information. Schweitzer really liked Mark and Matthew – as they are the two oldest Gospel accounts – and, as such, focused his writings around those two books.


It’s a good read – however, I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone. As I mentioned above, Schweitzer gets pretty critical when dealing with the New Testament – especial the Gospels. The problem being that you really can’t throw out parts of the Bible as “false” just because you don’t like it or think that it’s not true. The Gospels, for the most part, when eye witness accounts. The writers wrote what they saw – who are we, two thousand years later, to say that they did not see what they said they saw?

Schweitzer falls prey to the modern logical mind of discounting anything supernatural… we must remember that God is not to be contained within our little box. He is much bigger – and we will never, ever fully understand Him on this side of the mirror. One day perhaps, but for now, we must learn to live with the mystery. [@more@]


Schweitzer does a great job at explaining the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament – especial in the pre-exilic prophets (Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah). As the book progresses through the prophets, Schweitzer brings in some of the beliefs and thoughts of the Iranian Religion around 650 to 600 BC. The main focus being on Zarathustra and on how his views on the Kingdom of God influenced the Jewish people.

At first, I was quite put off on the fact that Schweitzer was suggesting that Biblical prophets where influenced by non-Biblical religions and leaders. Then I stopped myself – is God limited to only what is recorded in the Bible? No. He is bigger then the Bible – most likely He was working in and through Zarathustra to show the world His glory.

Schweitzer also made me question the dating of the book of Daniel. While I’ve been through Bible school, I didn’t remember that the date that Daniel was written was questioned… but it is. The two main schools of thought place the Book of Daniel either during the time of Nebuchadnezzar (ie. 605 BC – 562 BC) or some time after Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the altar (176 BC).

Of course, if it was written in the second century BC, that means that Daniel didn’t write it. The later date would also cause the “prophecies” contained therein to be commentary instead of future visions. After thinking and praying about, I decided it really didn’t matter. The book still tells us about the Lord and His working in the world through different means. The Kingdom of Heaven still wins – either way.

I also enjoyed the way Schweitzer brought some of the writings of late Judaism – mainly Enoch and the Apocalypses of Ezra and Baruch. For years I have been meaning to read the Apocryphal – now I have a greater desire to do so. (G – I borrowed your old Oxford Bible with the Apocryphal….)


Schweitzer denies the physical resurrection of Jesus – claiming instead that what the apostle’s saw was only a vision. He disregards the Biblical passages of Jesus eating and drinking with the apostles and disciples saying that they were added later to help ‘prove’ the myth of Jesus’ physical resurrection.

In addition, Schweitzer also places an almost unhealthy stress on the humanness of Jesus. Part of this was a reaction to the times when he lived as most theologians in the late 1800 to early 1900’s focused on the divine part of Jesus. This stress comes to light in Schweitzer’s comments about how Jesus did not knew who he was – but instead considered himself nothing more then an man who was following God. This view leaves out the claims of Jesus to BE God – of course, Schweitzer would say that those passages where added later. You can see how Schweitzer went from one extreme to the other.

Small Footprint, Big Handprint – a book report

Every once in a while you come across a book that echos the cry of your heart – in a lot of ways, Tri Robinson's Small Footprint, Big Handprint: How to Live Simply and Love Extravagantly does just that. It puts words to the desire to go beyond the status quo of normal, everyday life – to go beyond our wildest dreams and change the world for the Kingdom of God. This may seem like a cliche – but it is truly the cry of my heart – one that will not shut up or be quieted.

Small Footprint, Big Handprint echos this cry and gives the Church a choice: simplify your life and live big for God or continue with the same old live that fades into nothing.

I, for one, choose to take on the challenge and change the world for the Glory of the Most High Lord.


"For when I begin to live simply thus leaving a smaller footprint, I can begin to love extravagantly thus making a bigger handprint."

This quote sums up the entire book. If we really want to make a difference in the world for the Kingdom of Heaven, we must begin to simplify our life – getting out of debt, living simpler, and basically creating a smaller footprint. Once we have done this, we will have the resources (time, money, energy, etc) to pour into the work of the Kingdom. [@more@]

"Whenever God calls me to do something, I want to be able to do it immediately, free from excessive responsibility that prohibits me from following him fully. And when I'm living a simplified life, I'm more free to love others, demonstrating the power of the Gospel at its essence."

Through out the book, Tri provides actions points for people who want to try to simplify their lives. At the very end, he recaps everything in four steps to reformation:

  1. Consecration – a willful decision to commit oneself to God
  2. Transformation – this is an issue of the mind. It is the process of coming into a new worldview – the "Kingdom perspective"
  3. Sanctification – the process of which God makes us more like him. God renders our hearts "to see the world the way he sees it and gives us not only the desire to do something about it, but empowers our gifts and abilities to be effective".
  4. Reformation – we must be willing to let God re-form not only our individual lives, but also we must be willing to let God reform us on the corporate church level.

"A reformer is an agent of social change, a person who will never be satisfied with a complacent status quo society that's destined for destruction. A reformer is a fighter who as the heart of a Spirit-filled warrior. They are not overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, but have received the call to place themselves on the very front lines of a world in crisis, seeing it as Kingdom opportunity. They have embraced the adventure. They are people who believe that God delights in doing extraordinary things with ordinary people – if they will have the faith to believe it and a willingness to step out."


I love how Tri calls people to live boldly – to embrace the adventure of living for Christ:

"The adventure is not an organization; it's a philosophy…The adventure is simply embracing the idea that we can join a movement that is a spirit-inspired and change people's lives. Try as we may, we can't keep God under control. It's up to us to recognize what he is doing and join him in the great adventure that he is laying out for all his people who will willfully and joyfully follow."

Through out the book, Tri provides actions points for the reader to follow – both in a small group and as an individual. This is a rare jewel to find in a book.



Serve God Save The Planet – A book review

I have resolved to start writing book reviews on all the books that I read. Seeing that I tend to read a ton of books, I'm praying that I will be able to force myself pause after each one and type up something. =)

The first book on the block is Serve God Save The Planet by Matthew Sleeth.


In keeping up with the title, the book show how taking care of the environment and serving God can (and should be) connected. It does this by showing the connection between areas that are usually disconnected:

  • Materialistic lifestyles
  • Abuse of natural resources
  • Rise of cancer and health problems
  • Poverty in third world countries

Through out the entire book, Dr. Sleeth continues to point the reader back to the One True God:

"For me to love God, I must love all people. This book has been about the works we can do to save the next generation. Some may say that I've shortchanged faith. The argument about good works and their relative merit to faith is as old as the book as Acts. The Bible settles this issue: There is no faith without works, and no works without faith. It is like arguing the merit of my left hand versus my right as I flatten a piece of clay between them. One hand may be stronger, but it is useless without its weaker half."


The way Dr. Sleeth connects the dots between a cheap fast-food burger and the Central/South America farmers who are clear-cutting forests. The loss of forest in the Amazon is in turn helping to cause droughts in Africa, which drives poverty and death. Everything is connected…

I also enjoyed the way Dr. Sleeth calls for the Church to simplify their lives so they can do more the Kingdom of God. For example: he calls for people to get rid of their TVs and spend more time with their families. This is something everyone in the US needs to hear as the TV is becoming the next generation's baby sitter.


Sometimes Dr. Sleeth gets a little carried away in telling 'war' stories from his days as an ER doctor. While they are good stories, I didn't see how they fit into the topics being discussed. =/

Ranking (1-10 with 10 being excellent):  8.5

It's a quick and easy read with some great information.

My Reading List

I thought it might be nice to share a bit about the books that I’m currently reading or getting ready to read.  Lord willing, I will get better at posting quotes and/or comments from each of the books as I read them. Undecided

#1 Serve God Save The Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth, M.D.

Written by a former emergency room director and doctor, this book looks at how the materialistic lifestyle of America has lead to an increase in cancer, asthma, and other chronic diseases.  Dr. Sleeth shares how material downscaling led his family to healthier lifestyles, stronger relationships, and richer spiritual lives.  

#2 Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century: Its Background and History by Karl Barth

Barth provides an overview of the major theologians who have shaped modern Protestant thought and practice (Rousseau, Lessing, Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Ritschl). He also looks at some of the lesser known figures in history while exposing his own personal views on doctrine, the church and intellectual history.[@more@]

#3 Kingdom of God and the Teaching of Jesus: In 20th Century Theology  by Mark Saucy

Is the Kingdom already realized when people live in the Christian ethic, or does it await fulfillment in the Second Coming? In this penetrating analysis, Dr. Mark Saucy shows that how we answer such questions is far from being merely an academic issue. He holds that emphasizing the "already" or social aspect of the Kingdom over the "not yet" or apocalyptic aspect results in failed utopianism and devaluation of the Church as the contemporary expression of the Kingdom. [Copied from]

#4 The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede by Albert Schweitzer

In this broad survey of the efforts to establish, amend, or deny the historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer presents the history of a debate about what mattered most to millions of people: If God had entered human history, what could history tell about it? Throughout the course of this heated and prolonged dispute, one retelling of the life of Jesus followed another, enjoying — in Schweitzer's phrase — "the immortality of revised editions". [Copied from]

#5 Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity by Albert Schweitzer

A look at the Kingdom of God throughout the Bible, starting with the Old Testament and working forward to Paul’s writings.

#6 Artemis Fowl the Arctic incident by Eoin Colfer (unabridged audio book)

Ok – this may seem a bit out of place, but it’s a really good young adult series!!!!  If you want a nice, relaxing, fun book – check out Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books. Laughing

Breakthrough by Derek Morphew

Over the course of my life there have been five books that have changed my life – now there are six: Derek Morphew's Breakthrough. 

Derek Morhpew is a South African theologian who provides an amazing over view of the Kingdom of Heaven/God theology in Breakthrough.  I have spent the last few months reading this book and pondering the themes and implications thereof.  It took so long, not because how the book was written (it is very readable), but because if what it says is true – then everything changes. The way I work, live, eat, server, vote, ect. Everything changes….

Change is always hard… not matter if the change is for good or bad. Yet, to really know God is to invite change. We are to ALWAYS be changing and growing closer to Him – not sitting still or being content with the status quo. This reminds me of a sermon my Grandfather gave about ten years ago. In this sermon, he points out that the Church is an invading force – no matter if one is ten or ninety. We, the Church and Bride of Christ, are suppose to be taking back the land for Jesus!  We are to continue fighting against the gates of hell to our last breath!

Breakthrough. Kingdom of God.

I don't have the space to give a detail view of the Kingdom of God and why it's so important. I will say that the Kingdom of God refers to the rule and reign of God – not an actually geographical kingdom.  Looking at the Bible through these eyes brings new light to EVERYTHING![@more@]

I wish I could copy the chapters about cessationism, healing, Israel, and pre/post/amillennialism so you all could read them…

If your heart is to learn more about the Lord, I pray that you will pick up a copy of this book and read it. While I may recommend many books, this is one of the top six books in my life – and I've read a lot of books!